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Better to put dahlia in the ground or in a pot?

ManderMander Posts: 335
I have a red dahlia that I bought on a whim from the supermarket. It's still in the pot it came in for now but I'm wondering if it would be better to find a home for it in the ground or put it in a pot if it needs to be lifted every year. 


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,070
    Whether you keep it potted will depend on your climate and soil. I'd guess looking at your location, it would be better lifted for winter, so it would probably be better kept potted, if you don't want to dig it up each autumn. 
    It's cold wet ground that's a problem for them more than anything.
    They will generally grow better in the ground, but they can also be kept perfectly well in pots, given the right care  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,334
    Depends where you are, what your soil is like and the sort of low temps you usually get.

    If planted in free draining soil then just mulching over the top of them as a layer of insulation in autumn may well be enough. Sitting in cold damp conditions will kill them though.

    I left all of my newly grown dahlias (from seed) in the ground last winter with no protection at all and they’ve all come back. But it was a very mild, if very wet, winter. My soil obviously didn’t get too waterlogged though.
    East Yorkshire
  • ManderMander Posts: 335
    It's generally quite mild here, occasionally it snows but in 12 years I think we've only had one winter where it stayed below freezing for more than a day at a time. But I can't decide whether it would be better in a spot in the north facing front garden or in the back. My garden style is "haphazardly stick plants wherever without thinking about an overall plan" so there's no colour scheme or anything like that to worry about. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,070
    It's wet cold though that's the problem, so you'd have to make a judgement based on where it would be going, as we've both said. Free draining soil is fine, with a bit of protection. Some people use a cloche   :)

    I'm surprised you have so little sub zero weather.  :)
    North facing won't be sunny enough when it's growing, unless you have a spot which is clear of buildings etc which would keep it in shade. My north-ish facing front garden is long enough that the bit furthest away gets good sun, from spring until late autumn.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,206
    I'd keep it in the pot for now and decide next year because you'd probably want to dig it up and dry it out for the winter in a couple of months.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,790
    Our potted Dahlia's have been flowering for months.  The only one that we have in the ground has very sparse foliage, and has yet to flower.  I find that the ones in pots do better, as we regularly feed and water the pots, something we don't do with most of our plants in the ground.

    It has the added advantage, as others have pointed out, that we can easily move them into our greenhouse for Winter.
  • Fran IOMFran IOM Posts: 2,412
    @Mander. Beware of slugs/snails! I had a beautiful one in a pot as a present recently and left it out overnight to decide where I was going to plant it. Next day there was nothing left of it. Not one leaf remaining just a few bedraggled flowers on stalks. I mistakenly thought with it being in a pot it would be safe.  :(
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