Plant of the Month: August
Dahlias make a showy statement with their strongly coloured blooms. The dahlia can add interest to your garden in late summer and through the autumn months when other flowers have faded.
They range from single flower blooms that would suit a cottage-style garden, through to the more exotic double blooms and ones with large, pom-pom flowers. Some are dark-leaved to give greater variety.
There are so many vibrant colours, shapes and sizes, and they are superb garden performers for any outdoor space. You can use them in containers or as low-growing border plants, right through to tall-growing plants at the back of your garden borders.
Dahlias grow and bloom best in full sun. They tolerate most soil types but prefer a sandy, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Feed them monthly with a liquid fertiliser, beginning a month before they begin to set buds, using a high nitrogen feed, changing later in the month to high potash, such as a tomato fertiliser. Taller dahlias get top-heavy with the weight of growth and flowers, so give them extra support, especially in wet weather.
They make excellent cut flowers, which last about a week indoors, so if you have a sunny patch of soil, you could grow them especially for cutting. Dahlias should keep flowering till the first frosts, so you’ll have a lovely long time to enjoy them.