• The Chichester Gardener

For the love of dahlias


With the lockdown restrictions easing recently dahlia season began. Dahlias have made a serious comeback in recent years and are very much in fashion once again and thank heavens they have because they are an utter joy. Yes they can be ostentatious and brazen but in the right place in pots and borders they can provide colour for months on end right up until the first frost.



People seem to have a love hate relationship with them but personally I couldn't be without them and love them in herbaceous borders, especially those with their darker foliage. They are a great addition to a cut flower patch as well furnishing the house with an endless supply of blooms of all sorts of different shapes and colours.



To keep them blooming until the first frosts water thoroughly once a week but avoid getting the leaves wet, deadhead regularly (the spent heads are helpfully cone shaped as opposed to the round new buds) and they thrive off a high potash feed every couple of weeks, a liquid tomato feed is perfect.



Sage advice is to lift and store them somewhere dry and frost free over winter but down here in West Sussex I lazily tend to cut them back, mulch and leave in the ground over winter with relatively few casualties as of yet.