If you think that your garden lacks colour at this time of year it might be worth thinking about planting some Dahlias. These half hardy perennials are great for filling gaps in borders or for growing in containers and will provide you with a bright long lasting display of flowers well into the autumn. Dahlias are available in almost every colour with a wide variety of shapes and sizes of plants available. While Dahlias have suffered from being out of fashion for the last number of years, the good news is that with a number of new varieties coming on the market the Dahlia is back with a bang.
Dahlias are whats known as half hardy annuals, which means that they are usually too tender to survive outdoors all year round but if the tubers are lifted and dried just after the first frost they can be replanted in the spring. Dahlias are very easy to grow from seed and it is usually less trouble to grow new plants each year and to treat them as annuals. Dahlias require very little attention after planting out and will grow in almost any soil but they will really thrive in a sunny position in well drained fertile soil. They really benefit from organic matter such as compost or well rotted manure being dug into the soil and once planted should be watered and fed with a liquid fertilizer in the same way as other bedding plants. It is also important that you dead head regularly to extend the flowering season and to treat the surrounding area for slugs and snails.
While Dahlias will provide you with months of enjoyment in the garden, their beauty is not restricted to the outdoors. All types of Dahlias make excellent cut flowers for indoor decoration. Dahilia flowers cut for indoor display will normally last more than a week if the water is changed daily. Dahlias grow quickly and flowers removed for display will soon be replaced. Flower buds on these plants usually grow in threes and if you are growing them for cut flowers you should remove the two side buds as this will devote the plants energy into making the remaining flower.