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Are dahlias really worth the effort?

SandygardenSandygarden Posts: 119
Im interested in your views, as trying out dahlias in two big pots for last couple of years has been a lot of effort for not much return.
Year 1: munched to a ragged, slimy mess by miniature snails, flopped all over the place, flowers underwhelming
Year 2: infested with black fly all season, despite constant hose blasting, flowered Ok, but not until late August. Flopped again. Both times gave them lovely soil, regular feeding, watering and this year will stake them, but I am thinking that they are the most high maintenance plants going (don’t forget the over wintering palaver) and roses trump them hands down. 
So dahlia lovers, are they really worth the hype??!


  • SandygardenSandygarden Posts: 119
    BTW greenhouse inspection today reveals that the dahlias have whitefly. Say no more.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,534
    To misquote Oscar Wilde
    Dahlia growing is the
     triumph of hope over experience.
    But then again, the same could be said of gardening in general.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • B3B3 Posts: 24,439
    If something turns out to be a PITA to grow, grow something else.
    Try to work with nature rather than fight it.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    My dahlias (first time last year) were ease itself. In pots, irregular watering, no bugs, no slugs, no flopping, astonishing blooms for months no thanks to me at all. I bought mine at an allotment sale when they were about 10'' high and large enough to get going on their own in a pot. I fleeced them in their pots and to my amazement, when I de-fleeced them in April, tender shoots were growing again.

    There are so many varieties of dahlia, maybe the choice is the key. There was no label with mine, so I don't know its name, but I did put manure into my soil mix and slow release fertiliser (new to me) so maybe that help generate four foot plants covered in flowers.


  • SandygardenSandygarden Posts: 119
    Fabulous dahlias Fire, I must just be unlucky...
  • pitter-patterpitter-patter Posts: 2,109
    I’ve also grown dahlia quite successfully in pots (with copper tape) and didn’t have any problems. One of my favourite is Art Deco. Here is a photo from last year. 

  • BrexiteerBrexiteer Posts: 955
    I've grown bishop of Llandaff for a few years never had a problem and plenty of bees
  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,063
    Same here for my Bishop of Aucklands, grown in pots. I honestly find them no effort at all, with a great return. Maybe, as Fire says, it's about which ones you choose?
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • NollieNollie Posts: 6,750
    Based on my, admittedly limited, experience I would say yes they are definitely worth it. They are the dazzling stars of the late summer border, emerging when other things are going over and injecting a welcome burst of late colour. You do have to be careful not to overwater them when they are small, be on constant snail patrol and stake them. But you could say the same of delphiniums, lupins and other snail canapés. For some things, the reward is worth the extra effort.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • My dahlias have been in the ground now for three years without moving them and hopefully will be ok again this year, no problem which growing them,

    Love them.
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