The dahlia is one of the most popular flowers in the world, and it is incredibly popular across the globe. The dahlia has a robust flower face and looks really beautiful in any garden setting. If you have dahlias growing in your garden, you should know that they require a considerable amount of care.
The dahlia tends to bloom during the summer months, or during the early fall in most of the hardiness zones designated around the United States. However, in the warmer climates, dahlias tend to flower in the late spring or winter. Most people usually plant their dahlias in the spring season as the climate is more forgiving.
However, you should know that there are a number of factors that can cause stunted growth in the dahlia. Overfertilization, for instance, is going to improve the growth of the plant, but it’s going to affect the flowers. Dahlias look lovely when they blossom, and if you know how to care for the plant, you should know that the dahlia blooms will remain for a while.
But, despite all the care that you might give to the plant, there is always a risk that it might not bloom. This could be due to any number of reasons, but thankfully, you should know that there is a way to fix all of that. If you want to make your dahlias flower, the first step is to figure out exactly what’s causing the problem.
Then, once you are able to identify the problem, you can get down tofixing it. Here are a few simple tips to help you make the dahlias flower, and more importantly, ensure proper care of the plant in general.
1 – The Light Levels
Like all other plants, the dahlia also requires a considerable amount of sunlight. You might notice that parts of the plant that are exposed to the sun are often able to flower the most. Dahlias like sunny spots, and they flower best when they are kept under the sun.
Some might tell you to keep your dahlia in partial shade, but that’s a bad idea. By keeping the plant in the shade, you are effectively limiting its ability to produce enough flowers. Or worse, you could keep it under full shade, and it’s going to have a really adverse impact on its flowering. There is a chance that the plant might not flower at all as a result.
So, the first step that you need to take is to take a look at the overall light levels that your plant is receiving. If the dahlia is not getting enough light due to any reason, you might want to take some steps and fix that. For instance, if there is any kind of overhanging foliage around the plant, it’s going to affect the flower output.
Ideally, you need to make sure that the dahlia is kept in a position where it receives up to six hours of sunlight in a day. This is the requirement that you must meet if you want your plant to grow and flower on a yearly basis. It’s also a common mistake that many people make when it comes to caring for dahlias.
2 – Using Fertilizer
Like all plants, the dahlia does well with adequate amounts of fertilizer. But, if you add more fertilizer than the plant requires, it’s going to affect its ability to flower. Overfertilizing the dahlia effectively limits its ability to flower, and also results in weaker and smaller flowers.
There is also a chance that you won’t get any flowers whatsoever either. The dahlia thrives in soil with low levels of nitrogen fertilizer. You might want to consider using a 0-20-20 fertilizer instead. Even fertilizers with a 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 formulation will do really well.
These fertilizers provide all the nutrients that the plant needs, including potassium and phosphorus. Not only does it strengthen the roots, but it also improves the blooms. However, you should avoid using organic fertilizers such as compost or even fish fertilizer.
Also, you should know that fertilizing any dahlias that are not blooming is a strict no-no. Instead, you should wait out the year and then sprinkle a little bit of fertilizer the next year around the plant. Water the plant generously so that the fertilizer is able to sink into the soil. This brings us to our next point.
3 – Watering the Dahlias
The dahlia is considered a succulent plant. It is also incredibly fast-growing, which means you have to meet its water requirements. If these needs are not met, the plant isn’t going to grow properly. You need to understand that the plant is all the more sensitive to lack of water when it enters its flowering phase.
However, you need to be careful when watering the dahlia. Adding too much water when the soil is already moist will actually affect the plant adversely. Ideally, you need to first check the soil and make sure that it is dry up to an inch before proceeding further. The best way to figure that out is to insert your finger into the soil up to your first knuckle.
Check whether the soil feels dry. If it doesn’t, you should avoid watering the plant for a day at least. On the other hand, if the soil does feel dry, you should add some water. Also, you might want to add straw mulch around the plant; usually up to a depth of 4 inches.
This is going to help conserve the moisture in the soil and prolong the time it takes for you to water the plant. However, you should avoid piling up the mulch against the stems of the plant. That is a terrible idea, and will ultimately increase the temperature in the soil; it’s just not something you want.
4 – Deadheading
A simple way to get even better blooms and to promote the plant’s growth is to deadhead the flowers. Deadheading is the practice of removing dying flowers and pinching them off. It’s a relatively simple way of getting rid of older flowers that are on the verge of death.
Basically, the plant expends a considerable amount of energy to maintain the dying flowers and to make them last as long as possible. By deadheading and pinching off the dying blooms, you free up the plant to focus on the healthier flowers and to promote more flowers to grow.
You will want to take a proactive approach to the deadheading process to ensure that the flowers continue to bloom. Remember, the plant continues to expend a significant amount of energy during its flowering period, so you have to care for it.
As long as you properly care for the plant and make sure that all of its needs are met, it won’t take long for the dahlias to start flowering. More importantly, you need to keep a lookout for pests and diseases. While the dahlia is relatively pest-resistant, there are many instances where the plant might suffer and fall prey to pests.
Ideally, you should spray pesticides every now and then to ensure that the plant remains protected. These are just a few tips to help you make your dahlias flower and keep them healthy!