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Dahlia in perennial garden 2013

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The wikipedia article on dahlia says that they are perennial plants

Dahlias are perennial plants that grow from tubers, although most gardeners grow them as annual plants. These flowering plants form seeds, but...

Dahlias are perennial plants that grow from tubers, although most gardeners grow them as annual plants. These flowering plants form seeds, but...

How to Grow Dahlia Flower Plants - Gardener's Network

South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."

Polymerous
Aug 17, 2013 6:21 PM CST
This subject came up recently over on the site talk forum, where I questioned where to post threads on dahlias. In short, are dahlias a perennial, or not?

They are tubers, so I don't really think you can call them a bulb.

They aren't herbaceous perennials (or are they?), and they are not shrubby perennials.

In the colder climates, they aren't perennial at all, in the sense of persisting indefinitely in the garden. Come winter... they are gone. You have to dig them up and store them and replant them in the spring, if you want to keep them. Even here, in my garden in Zone 9b, their longevity is questionable. Most of mine have overwintered in the ground (unless the ground was saturated), but the ones left out in pots don't survive. (Ask me how I know.) Moreover, the short bedding type dahlias ('Figaro' comes to mind) are typically sold as annuals here.

So what say you? Are dahlias perennials or not? And where, on this site, would it be proper to discuss dahlias on their own (apart from such things as their use in a perennial garden)?


Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait'

Dahlia (Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait')
Photo by Polymerous


| Quote | Post #467713 (1)

How to Grow Dahlia Flower Plants Perennial

Dahlias are perennials that produce beautiful blooms throughout the summer. They continue blooming into late summer and autumn when other plants have...

When growing dahlias as perennials in warm climates, they do not need to be lifted from the ground in fall and overwintered indoors, but they may benefit from it. To overwinter them in the ground, cut back the foliage to 4 inches tall when the plants stop producing flowers. Dahlias that grow in USDA zones 8 through 10 can be left in the ground. In USDA zone 7, they may survive if you place a 10-inch layer of organic mulch over them. Plants in USDA zone 8 may also benefit from mulching. Tubers can be dug and divided in fall to make more plants, or if you have dug and stored them, divide the tubers in the spring, just before planting.