Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ADS?
The American Dahlia Society is the organization dedicated to the promotion of the dahlia. There are many local societies located all across North America. See the list on this site. These local clubs represent a wonderful opportunity to learn everything required about growing dahlias from friendly, like-minded enthusiasts.

Are dahlias perennials or annuals?
Dahlias are readily grown as annuals. However, one can also choose to dig and store the tubers to grow the following season.

What is the dahlia’s blooming season?
Dahlias start blooming in mid-to-late July (depending on the location and the cultivar) and bloom continuously until frost kills the plant.

Are dahlias deer resistant?
Deer do eat dahlias, but largely as a last resort!

How do I divide my dahlia tubers?
This skill is best learned from the experts at your local dahlia society! Lacking that, follow a couple of general guidelines. Cut into the stem, along the edges of the tubers, to retain a portion of the stem with the tuber. Take care not to break the narrow portion of the tuber between the shoulder (crown) at the stem and the main body of the tuber.

What is the proper soil pH for growing dahlias?
Dahlias benefit from a nearly neutral soil with a pH in the range of 6.6 to 7, where nutrients in the soil are available to the plant.

Where can I find dahlia plants and tubers?
Most large garden centers, dahlia society auctions, and dahlia suppliers will supply tubers and plants.

How do dahlia plants and tubers differ?
Plants are produced from a tuber planted early in the season and may also be a rooted cutting from the tuber. In virtually all cases, the plant is identical to the tuber’s parent plant.

What about dahlias grown from seeds?
Dahlia seeds are sometimes available for small, bedding plants. Seeds are also collected and grown by hybridizers to produce new dahlia cultivars.

Do dahlias need to be staked?
Dahlias do need to be staked and tied because the blooms are large and heavy. Using tomato cages can be an easy alternative. Check out this video for your continued education.

How much sun do dahlias require?
Dahlias require partial to full sun. In very warm climates, afternoon shade is a good idea.

What are dahlia tubers?
Tubers represent a dormant part of the parent plant and virtually always produce a plant identical to the parent.

What pests are common to dahlias?
Slugs are a serious problem for young plants. Japanese beetles eat light colored blooms as well as dahlia foliage. Groundhogs can be a problem for plants of any size. Deer tend not to be a serious problem.  Aphids, thrips, and earwigs can be problems for dahlias.  Insects can be a vector for virus in dahlias.

Can dahlias be grown in pots?
Dahlias can be used to produce spectacular pots. Shorter growing varieties tend to be the easiest to grow in pots. For more info see the Border/Container Dahlias page on this site.

How do I store my dahlias over the winter?
Dahlia tubers must be stored in a cool location that does not freeze. The “food wrap” procedure is a reliable way to store the tubers. Visit these articles on our site for more info:

Digging, Dividing, and Storing Tubers
The Saran Wrap Tuber Storage Method

Also, contact your local dahlia society for information on storage methods that seem to work best in your area.