The Stunning Flower Pinterest Recommends Planting In Your Spring Garden

Each year as the harshness of winter comes to a close, flower gardeners everywhere begin to plan their gardens and beds. Many of those gardeners gather inspiration by perusing Pinterest. When it comes to dazzling spring flowers, the platform frequently showcases the beauty of one particular type of bloom: dahlias. A dahlia — whether a dwarf or a dinnerplate variety — is one of the boldest, most show-stopping flowers around. When these tender perennials bloom, everyone takes notice.

Whether your goal is to liven up your yard with some extra color this year or to keep your indoor vases stocked with striking fresh-cut flowers all summer and into early autumn (or both), dahlias deserve your attention. In fact, they demand it. If you've been stuck trying to decide which flowers to plant this spring, consider this your introduction and guide to growing gorgeous dahlias. You can thank us in midsummer when these beauties begin to bloom. 

How to plant and care for dahlias

Dahlias are tubers, which means they are typically planted as bulbs rather than from seed. When it comes to sunlight, these flowers are demanding — requiring six to eight hours of direct sun exposure each and every day for optimal growth. While dahlias are technically perennials, anyone in a USDA hardiness zone colder than 8 will need to treat them as annuals. This means replanting new dahlias each year or digging up your bulbs and sheltering them in your basement or garage over the late fall and winter.

Once you've chosen a spot with full sun exposure, plant your dahlia bulbs one to three feet apart (depending on their expected size) in well-draining soil. You may add compost or bonemeal to the soil, but do not water the bulbs. Instead, wait for new growth to emerge to begin a watering schedule of two to three times per week. Low-nitrogen fertilizer can be used monthly and aggressive deadheading is recommended to encourage more blooms. 

What to plant alongside dahlias

Thanks to their many varieties, dahlias come in an array of sizes and can fit nicely into any sunny flower garden. Dwarf dahlia varieties are small enough to serve as ground cover or borders, large varieties are perfect for cut flowers, and medium versions look fantastic mixed with other summer blooms in your flower beds. There is one challenge that might encourage you to pair your dahlias with plants that offer specific repellent properties: slugs and snails.

Since snails love to eat dahlias, you can protect your precious blooms by placing plants that both enjoy full sun and repel snails. Companion plants that fit this bill include rosemary, lavender, iris, hydrangea, and peonies. Be careful to consider any size differences when pairing dahlias with companion plants to prevent one plant from shading the other, and place your plants accordingly. If your dahlias are still targeted by snails or slugs, consider applying a natural snail and slug spray for added protection.