Container Growing A Dahlia

What You'll Need
Container, at least 12x12 inches
Garden soil
Compost soil (sand, peat moss, humus, manure)
Low growing Dahlias

Container growing gives gardeners freedom to rearrange plants throughout their yard, deck or home. When growing in containers, you can start growing indoors earlier before you plant your outdoor beds and enjoy plants past the summer months. Container gardening gives the gardener artistic freedom, from choosing unique containers to decorating patios and sunrooms. The beautiful dahlia with its large colorful blooms and long blooming season can be grown in containers and moved around so that you can enjoy its beauty wherever you are.

Dahlia Growing Facts

Sun Exposure: Dahlias need partial to full sun, at least a half day of full sun.

Soil Requirements: Dahlias prefer well-drained soil, especially when grown in containers.

Watering Needs: Water every few days once visible. Don't water before sprouting as this can cause root rot. Watering leaves and flowers will cause mildew.

USDA Zones: Dahlias grow in zones 7-11

Fertilizer Needs: You can add fertilizer mid-summer if you like. Dahlias like a low nitrogen fertilizer, like 5-10-10.

Container Growing Tips

  • Use a container at least 12x12 inches per tuber or seed. 
  • Be sure the container has plenty of draining holes in the bottom. 
  • Vary the types and colors of containers.
  • Combine your dahlia with two more plants in your container. Add a filler (a lower growing less conspicuous plant to fill the empty space like a geranium and/or sage) and a spiller (a plant to tumble over the sides like verbena). This will make your container look like a beautiful bouquet.

Step 1: Choose your Dahlia

Choose a dwarf or low growing dahlia under 36 inches. Your choices will be endless, but the Melody, Karma or Gallery series are a good place  to start if you are unsure. The Karma dahlias grow to about 36 inches, and the others 24 inches. Most dahlias will be purchased as tubers, although some dwarf dahlias can be grown from seed. Decide which planting method you prefer.

Step 2: Prepare your Container

Line the bottom with newspaper so that soil doesn't fall out the draining holes. Fill with a well-draining soil that you can purchase or make yourself by mixing your garden soil with 1/3 of a compost mixture made from equal parts of sand, peat moss, humus, and/or manure. 

Step 3: Planting

Plant indoors several weeks before you plant outdoors. Move outside after danger of frost is over. For planting tubers, dig a hole 4 to 6 inches deep and place tuber horizontally with the eye facing up. Cover with soil. When planting seeds, bury 1/4 inch under the soil. 

Step 4: Caring for Your Container Dahila

Disbudding your dahlia will result in larger blooms. Clip off side buds and any blooms (with their stems) that look puny. The more you cut away, the bigger the ones that remain will be. Water regularly and give plenty of sun. When your dahlia loses its final bloom, dig up the tuber and store in a cool, dark place in a crate or cardboard box lined with several newspaper and covered in peat moss, dry shavings or sand.

Enjoy your beautiful, portable Dahlia wherever you spend the most time!