Grow dahlias

For fabulous summer blooms, cut flowers for the house look no further than the fabulous dahlia says Jean Vernon

Keep your garden, pots and containers looking fabulous right into the autumn with dahlias. These amazing garden plants repeat flower, look amazing, are easy to grow and will produce masses of cut flowers for the house too.

Dahlias are half-hardy and will need winter protection. Bring them into the shelter of a shed or greenhouse for the winter and keep the tubers relatively dry until they start to sprout in spring.

Here are five great varieties chosen by Jon Wheatley from the RHS Gold Medal Winning National Dahlia Collection.

Cuttings of these varieties are available from The National Dahlia Collection

Dahlia ‘Magenta Star’:

This beautiful dahlia has lovely dark foliage with lots of amazing, deep clear magenta pink flowers each with a wonderful rich orange/amber centre. It has open accessible flowers so it’s a good choice for bees. It’s a good repeat flowerer and a medium sized plant growing to around 1.2m tall.

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’:

This is such a pretty dahlia and it’s a prolific flowerer too. It’s what is known as an Anemone dahlia with a mass of rusty orange red/pink florets in the centre, surrounded by a halo of pretty pink/orange petals on the outside, creating a striking/contrasting effect. Grows to around 60cm tall

Dahlia ‘Ethereal’:

This classy dahlia is a modern single variety with fabulous starry white flowers and dark spicy red/orange eyes giving it a really exotic look, especially freshly opened flowers, where the centres are almost black. It’s a beauty with almost lily like flowers, great for cutting, or adding a little substance to the border or containers.

Dahlia ‘Eveline’:

This variety is called a decorative dahlia, with fabulous large, balled flowers packed full of petals. The white petals are edged with soft pink/mauve as the flowers open creating a pink centred effect that fades as the flowers matures. It’s a great plant for adding drama to a border, or grow it in a large container where it will reach around a metre in height. The flowers have strong stems making this a great choice for cut flowers and the more you pick the more it flowers.

Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’:

If you like dark flowers you will love this dahlia. It’s one of the darkest varieties with rich, dark red, almost black velvety flowers and lots of them. Described as one of the best decorative dahlias it has an astonishing number of double flowers on each plant that are excellent for cutting. Grows to around 1.2m tall.