My daughter grew a dahlia from a seed a few years ago. It bloomed in its first year, died down over winter, the following spring it grew larger and had far more flowers. That thing is in its third summer now, and it covered in incredible yellow flowers.
For some reason I haven't been able to collect any seed from that plant. I'm not sure why.
Last winter I bought a packet of mixed dahlia seed to grow with my daughters. Much like the first dahlia, these seeds grew and have started to bloom in their first year. My daughters have done well with the dahlias and I am proud of them.
As they are mixed seeds they display a lot of genetic diversity. So far we have flowers that are yellow, or pink, or white, some have purple backs to yellow flowers, some have flowers with the occasional red stripe down one petal. Some plants have green stems, others have red stems. Most plants are short but some plants are three times as tall as the others.
|Seed grown dahlias blooming in their first year|
One thing I am enjoying about these dahlias is how they attract honey bees. Each plant produces many flowers, each with ample pollen and nectar, and the flowers are produced late in summer when there is usually little else in bloom. My bees are collecting a lot of pollen and raising a lot of brood. This should mean they have strong hives going into winter.
Some of the dahlias have very long stems, making them perfect as cut flowers. Others have shorter stems and need a short vase if they are cut and brought into the house. All of them look great in the garden, and every plant seems to have a long flowering period.
Being perennial means the dahlias should come back year after year if looked after properly.
|Large bright yellow dahlia|
|Yellow dahlia - the colours are washed out in my pictures|
|Yellow dahlia with mysterious red stripe|
|Every time they start to fade, my kids pick more to replace them|
I want to buy seeds for a few more types of dahlia and try to grow more of them next year. My daughters want to grow a few to keep and a few to sell to make money for Christmas. Dahlias are edible, and I would love to aim for better tasting tubers, but unless I can collect seed I won't be able to do any breeding. Either way, dahlias are lovely flowers that are worth growing in my climate.
Next year we will likely have some small dahlia plants for sale, if we do I will list them on my for sale page.