How to grow  Dahlias in pots – 2022

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How to grow Dahlias in pots
Photo by Timo C. Dinger on Unsplash

While native to Central America and Mexico, dahlias are not limited to one side of the world. These colorful and bushy flowers are a favorite of many across the globe. And that for good reasons!

Dahlias come in a rainbow of colors and many sizes, offering variety and something suitable for every gardener. Whether you have a big backyard, some extra room on your front porch, or can only fit a medium-sized pot on your property, dahlias are a great addition to your home. In this article, we will talk about growing those gorgeous flowers in pots.

Can you grow dahlias in pots?

The short answer to this is yes! While dahlias are commonly planted in outdoor flowering beds, it is possible to grow these stunning flowers in pots or any other suitable container. But as with any plant, there are things to be aware of before you start your propagation project!

First things first! Be mindful when picking your dahlia variety – some are bigger than others. So, a Dinnerplate Dahlia that grows up to 5 feet might not be suitable for the 12-inch pot you have waiting at home. And, of course, learn about the proper care and maintenance of the plant.

Growing dahlias in pots

Like we said, first choose your desired dahlia variety. Smaller and medium-sized flowers perform well in a pot of 12-inch diameter and 12 inches depth. It’s not impossible to grow bigger species in pots, either. The key is to use a heavy pot – dahlias can weigh quite a bit.
The most common way for starting dahlias is with the use of tubers.

Tubers, sometimes called bulbs, are clumps growing under the soil. You can find them at most garden centers for a reasonable price. If you want to start your dahlias outdoors, wait until the last frost has passed before planting dahlia tubers. However, you can get a head start by planting the tubers in pots and keeping them indoors until late May/early June.

  1. Use a peat-free, all-purpose well-draining potting mix. A good tip is to mix some fertilizer in your soil.
  2. Put a bit of the potting mix on the bottom of your pot and mold it into a hill. 
  3. Balance your tuber on the soil with its central stem pointing upwards.
  4. Fill the rest of the pot with soil, lightly tapping it to break any air pockets. The planted dahlia tubers should be fully under the ground.
  5. Water the planted tuber, and don’t water again before the tubers sprout.
  6. It takes 2 to 3 weeks for the shoots to appear. Once the shoots have grown a bit bigger, pinch down the tips of the main shoot.
  7. (Optional). Remove some of the stems from the soil leaving around five. This allows the stems remaining in the pot to get more nutrients and energy, resulting in many flowers.

When growing dahlias indoors, it’s a good idea to use the help of artificial lights. Dahlias want a lot of light, and getting full sun indoors can be challenging.

Growing dahlias from seeds

As we just mentioned, dahlias are generally grown from tubers, as this is the most reliable way to go about it. But it is certainly not the only way to do it! It is possible to grow dahlias from seed. This is a perfect method for those who don’t already have a parent plant to take tubers from. So, how exactly do you grow dahlias from seed?

  1. Fill a pot or seedling tray with moist compost and lightly tap the surface to firm the potting soil.
  2. Sow your dahlia seeds.
  3. (Optional). Cover with a plastic bag or a lid. Indicating a greenhouse effect will potentially speed up the germination process.
  4. Germination generally takes around two weeks. You’ll know your dahlia has germinated when it sprouts. Gardeners often call those sprouts true leaves.
  5. Transplant your seedlings into individual plants. Make sure you use peat-free compost and water well.
  6. Around mid-May, start hardening off the plants by leaving them outside during the day. Don’t leave the plants out during the night before the last frost has passed. Unless you want your plant to die.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dahlias grow in pots?

Dahlias can grow in pots. While the plants are commonly planted in outdoor flowering beds, you can also grow dahlias in pots. Just ensure that you’re using a big enough pot!

How deep do dahlia roots grow?

The depth depends on the species of dahlia you are growing. The roots of a taller plant can grow as deep as 6 to 7 inches, while shorter varieties produce roots of 2 to 3 inches.

How tall do dahlias grow?

The height of dahlia can vary a lot and depends on the specific variety you opt for. Dahlias usually come in three categories: small, medium, and large. While smaller species are around 20 inches (50cm) tall, larger ones can reach 5 feet (1.5m)

Can dahlias grow in partial shade?

Dahlias can handle some shade but need quite a lot of light to grow. If you can’t provide your dahlia flowers with sunlight, use grow lights instead.

Can you grow dahlias indoors?

It is possible to grow dahlias indoors, as long as you take good care of them! Dahlias want plenty of light so keep them in a location where they get a lot of sunlight. Alternatively, you can use artificial lights.

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