Are Dahlias Easy To Grow? ( Top 5 Problems )

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Dahlias are one of the most beautiful plants that you should definitely grow in your garden or even in pots. A lot of people consider growing Dahlias to be relatively easy, while others are having an absolute nightmare just trying to keep them alive.

Dahlias are easy to grow, and their beautiful blooms are sure to bring joy to any garden. When it comes to planting dahlia tubers, the ideal time is from mid April to early June, taking into consideration the specific climate and location. These flowers thrive in sunny spots, so it’s best to choose an area that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.

As long as you know how to grow Dahlias, and what kind of precautions you have to take in order to keep them healthy, then you probably consider growing them to be relatively easy. However, if this is the first time you are growing them, then you will notice that these plants can be extremely sensitive. Dahlias have a lot of pests that simply eat them alive, and they are also prone to diseases which can make growing them rather difficult.

If you love Dahlias, but you have never planted them, then my personal recommendation is to give them a try, you will learn a lot about them in the first season. This way you will learn how to keep them safe from pests and most importantly healthy. If you want to plant your Dahlias next to vegetables then check out my recent article Can You Plant Dahlias With Vegetables?.

Are Dahlias Easy To Grow?

Yes, dahlias are generally considered to be relatively easy to grow. They are popular garden flowers known for their stunning blooms in a wide range of colors and forms. Dahlias thrive in warm climates and require full sun and well-draining soil. They are typically planted in the spring after the danger of frost has passed and can be grown from tubers or started from seeds. With regular watering, adequate sunlight, and proper care, dahlias can quickly establish and produce abundant blooms throughout the growing season.

While they are generally low-maintenance, some attention is needed to support their growth, such as staking taller varieties, deadheading spent blooms, and protecting them from pests and diseases.

Dahlias Are Not Frost Hardy

One of the main things that make Dahlias somewhat more difficult to grow than other plants is that they are not frost hardy. Although these are perennial plants, which means that they come back every year, but they will not survive winters with below freezing temperatures. This means that Dahlias have to be dug up at the need of the season in autumn, overwintered indoors, and planted outside in the spring.

Dahlias can be left in the ground over the winter only in hardiness zones 8-10, in all other hardiness zones you have to dig up the tubers and bring them inside. If you want to plant Dahlias in groups then check out my recent article Can You Plant Dahlias In Groups? ( 5 Things To Look Out For ).

Pests Will Make Growing Dahlias Difficult

Dahlias have a lot of pests that do like to feed on their leaves, flower, and even on their stems. The most common pests that can do massive damage to Dahlias are slugs, snails, and sap-sucking insects. Slugs and snails can eat freshly sprouted Dahlias in a matter of hours, this is why so many beginners plant the tubers and wonder why they haven’t sprouted when in fact the slugs have already eaten the sprouts.

If you have slugs, snails, and sap sucking insects in your garden then it can become a challenge to grow Dahlias, especially in rainy summers. Even if you use pesticides you might notice that your Dahlias are still being eaten. For example, if you use slug pellets after the slugs eat these pellets they still live long enough to damage the Dahlias. Fresh Dahlia sprouts are one of the favorite meals of slugs and snails.

It is extremely important to keep the Dahlias safe from pests especially when they are sprouting. Once the Dahlias are a little bit taller, they will be able to handle some damage by these pests, but they will not survive if their fresh sprouts are constantly eaten. You can protect the fresh sprouts by simply pre sprouting the Dahlias indoors, by growing them in containers, or by placing a physical barrier like a plastic bottle on top of them. If you are growing your Dahlias in pots then check out my recent article How Often To Water Dahlias In Pots ( Top 4 Things To Consider ).

Diseases Will Make Growing Dahlias A Challange

All gardens are prone to different types of diseases, no matter what kind of plants you are growing. However, in the case of Dahlias, a lot of diseases can affect the plants long term. Dahlias are prone to powdery mildew and wilt among other diseases. Diseases that thrive in damp and moist areas pose a significant problem for Dahlias, oftentimes their leaves will start turning brown to black and then simply fall off.

If you have a couple of spots in your garden that are prone to diseases like wilt and powdery mildew then it is only a matter of time until your Dahlias will get these diseases as well. Mature Dahlia plants that have large tubers have a higher chance of fighting these diseases, while Dahlias with small tubers usually don’t stand a chance. Some diseases can attack the Dahlia tubers, oftentimes this leads to root or tuber rot.

Poorly Draining Soil Will Make Growing Dahlias Difficult

When you are doing your research on a new plant that you want to plant in your garden you will often see that they need “well draining soil”. This requirement is so common that most people simply ignore it. However, Dahlias really need a well draining soil as their tubers are prone to tuber rot if the soil holds too much water. Usually when Dahlias die is due to tuber rot, either due to poor drainage or excessive watering.

This doesn’t mean that you can not grow them in clay soil, as some would claim, far from it, they can grow relatively well in clay soil as well.

Growing Dahlias In Pots Is Easier Then In The Ground

Every garden is different, from the local climate to the soil, there are way too many variables that can make growing Dahlias either very easy or way too difficult. When I first started growing Dahlias I planted some in the garden, and others in pots to see how they grow. What I did notice was that the ones growing in pots were a lot bigger than the ones growing in the garden. Although all Dahlias looked healthy and even flowered in the first year but the ones in the garden seemed to be stunted.

This is fairly normal for Dahlias growing in the garden, there is a lot of competition from other plants, the soil doesn’t retain as much moisture as pots do, and pests and diseases can go unnoticed for a fairly long time. If you are having difficulty growing Dahlias, don’t give up, plant them in pots and you will see that they will grow bigger than ever and you will have a lot easier time growing them this way.

Key Takeaways

  • Dahlias for the most part are considered to be easy to grow, although they can be somewhat difficult to grow as they tend to be prone to a lot of pests and diseases. However, you should take this as a challenge, as there is nothing more beautiful than the first time you see your own Dahlias flower. If you have difficulty growing Dahlias, then you should grow them in pots, as it is a lot easier to grow them this way.
  • The most difficult part of growing Dahlias is keeping them safe from pests and diseases.
  • Growing Dahlias in pots is a lot easier than growing them in the ground.