If you’re not into raising show varieties of champion dahlias from huge tubers in specific colours and shapes, but rather want a lucky packet of dwarf bedding dahlia flowers to colour your garden and for picking for the vase, sow them yourself. It is easy to do and exciting, as you never know what you are going to get.

Planting Dahlias

  • Fill up a deep seedling tray with moist commercial seedling mix and tamp it down gently.
  • Dahlia seeds are quite large, so space them out about 2.5cm apart, pressing them lightly into the soil.
  • Spread a 3mm layer of the moist seedling mix over the seeds and water gently with a fine rose spray.
  • Place your seedling tray in a propagator or place it in a clear plastic bag, then inflate it and tie it securely. The seeds must be kept in a shady but warm spot – ideally at a temperature of about 18°C. Germination can be as fast as 10 – 14 days.
  • As soon as the leaves start touching each other it is time to replant them into small individual pots to harden o before going into the garden after all danger of late frosts is over.


Bedding dahlias shouldn’t be limited to borders and beds – they are equally pretty in pots. Here are two combinations to get you excited.

Good dwarf dahlia varieties to sow include ‘Figaro’, ‘Harlequin’ and ‘Redskin Mix’. New ranges of bedding dahlias will be available this year, including ‘Dalaya’ and ‘Dark Dalaya’.

Combination 1:

Dahlia Dalaya ‘Dark Amba’

Dahlia Dalaya ‘Dark Amba’ has dark leaves that pop with contrast, and the bold red blooms stay around all summer long and well into autumn, making it a magnet for butterflies and birds.

Grandaisy ‘Yellow’

Argyranthemum Grandaisy ‘Yellow’ is an intergeneric hybrid of A. frutescens with impressive flower size and vigour.

Combination 2:

Argyranthemum Grandaisy ‘Ivory Halo’

Argyranthemum Grandaisy ‘Ivory Halo’ has white daisy flowers that are 6cm across with a light-yellow band (the ‘halo’).

Petchoa Beautical ‘French Vanilla’

Petchoa Beautical ‘French Vanilla’ has creamy yellow blooms with prominent veining. It is perfect for pots.

Dahlia ‘Dreamy Eyes’

Dahlia ‘Dreamy Eyes’ are flowering machines, with vivid apricot-coloured flowers that have orange centres contrasted with lush burgundy-bronze foliage.

Question: Are bedding dahlias perennial?

Answer: Dwarf dahlias will form underground tubers, just like their taller sisters, that can be dug up in late autumn, stored and replanted in spring.

For more on gardening: www.thegardener.co.za
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