Seasonal stunner blooms until first frost

Dahlia "Fire Mountain" is putting on a stunning display at the Dunedin Botanic Garden. PHOTO:...
Dahlia "Fire Mountain" is putting on a stunning display at the Dunedin Botanic Garden. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Fashions change. One such example in the world of horticulture is the spectacular comeback of the dahlia.

A seasonal stunner with many varieties producing magnificent blooms of various colours, shapes and sizes through late summer and into autumn.

Planted in a sheltered, sunny location with well-drained soil, these plants will perform well until the first decent frost. As the stems are very fleshy, following such a frost they will blacken and collapse. When this occurs, affected stems need to be cut back to ensure the ongoing health of the tuber for next year’s flowering.

Despite common practice, dahlias do not need to be lifted every year. If you have soils with good drainage, they can be left. If the soil turns wet and boggy over the winter months it is safer to lift and store them for replanting in the spring.

However, dahlias do benefit from being lifted and divided every two to three years to keep the tubers healthy and vigorous. If left, they can get large and difficult to manage pushing up above the soil surface.

Behind the Winter Garden glasshouses there are three dahlias that are attracting a lot of attention.

Dahlia "Fire Mountain" – is a medium-sized plant with small decorative red flowers in contrast to its dark bronze foliage.

Dahlia "Inland Dynasty" is a real showstopper with large bright yellow semi cactus flowers on long stems.

Dahlia "Longwood Dainty" — previously featured — continues to draw comment with masses of small soft apricot blooms.

Garden life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden

For further information contact Linda Hellyer