Every year, there seems to be one flower that skyrockets to popularity in the gardening community. This flower becomes the centerpiece of the annual garden and, many times becomes a recurring character in the landscaping design scheme.
This year's flower to watch is the semi cactus dahlia. Here's what you need to know about this stunning bloom and how to grow it in your yard.
What is a Semi Cactus Dahlia?
Dahlias are a versatile flower with a lot of variations in shape and color. They're a must-have for any floral garden, thanks to their hardiness. With the right treatment, you can grow stunning dahlias almost anywhere.
The semi cactus dahlia is a variant with vibrant blooms growing up to 8 inches across. While most dahlias have wide, flat petals, semi cactus dahlias are known for having narrow, pointy blooms.
Cactus vs. Semi Cactus Dahlias
Both cactus and semi cactus dahlias are characterized by having conical, pointed blooms that stand apart from the traditional dahlia petals. However, there is a difference between the two.
Cactus dahlias have more prominent points. The petals almost roll in on themselves to create a narrower appearance. Semi Cactus dahlias are less pronounced, with the rolled in petals creating a narrow point and broader base. They're a mid-point between the traditional and cactus variant.
One of the benefits of cactus and semi cactus dahlias is that they're lower maintenance than traditional dahlias when grown outside. The conical shape of the leaves creates better water drainage during heavy rains. While traditional dahlias often require a lot of staking and tethering to hold up heavy blooms, cactus, and semi cactus variants do not.
Can You Grow Semi Cactus Dahlias in Pots?
All dahlias are very similar in temperament and care requirements. Like the traditional variant, semi cactus dahlias can be grown in pots. However, they're not for the faint of heart.
Dahlias require well-draining soil and frequent watering. If they dry out, they tend to die quickly. This isn't an indoor plant that you can forget to water, so we recommend you use plant watering globes. They also require frequent fertilization and staking. These beautiful flowers are quite fragile and not ideal for households with windy stoops or curious pets.
Tips for Growing Semi Cactus Dahlias
If you want to grow semi cactus dahlias, it's best to start from seeds, which are available via Seed Needs, or the tubers. These flowers are sensitive to shock and don't perform well as transplants.
Look for sandy, loamy soil to encourage proper drainage. It's worth blending in a soil mix if your ground isn't naturally loamy. Plant the seeds or rootball approximately 6-8 inches down and add a stake near each planting site. This stake will help you mark where you've placed your semi cactus dahlias and provide a post if tethering is needed later on.
Once the seeds are planted, water thoroughly. Dahlias are known as tender perennial plants, meaning they should come back every year but are sensitive to cold winters. If you live in a cold area, the best way to keep your dahlias alive is to dig up the tubers and store them in a cool, dry area. Then, when the risk of frost is gone, replant them.
Semi Cactus Dahlias and Pollinators
While semi cactus dahlias seem like they'd be perfect for a butterfly garden, they tend to attract fewer pollinators. This effect is because the conical shape of the leaves makes it harder for them to land and collect nectar. The semi cactus shape is more appealing than cactus variants, but not as accessible as the traditional flat petals.
Dahlias also attract slugs. To keep your garden and pollinators safe, look for an organic, non-chemical slug deterrent to keep your flowers and the butterflies alive and well.
Make a statement this summer with some stunning semi cactus dahlias in your garden!