How to Grow Beautiful Dinnerplate Dahlias

Dahlias always impress. These flower-producing machines begin blooming in mid-summer, reach their peak in early August, and then bloom continuously for ten weeks. While each type of dahlia has its own charm, if you want the most direct way to WOW, consider growing tabular dahlias.

Dinnerplate dahlias do not belong to any official dahlia category. Rather, it is a term used for any variety that produces large flowers at least 8 inches in diameter. Flowers can have classic decorative shapes and perfectly shaped petals

A generation ago, disc-shaped dahlias were a novelty. Great for winning prizes at state fairs, but less popular with the average home gardener. Today, they are sought after by gardeners everywhere. They are a must-have flower at weddings and the star of luxury summer bouquets.

Growing tabular dahlias is not much different than growing other types of dahlias. But to ensure these divas reach their full potential, it’s worth paying a little more attention to planting, fertilizing, proper support and pruning.

Planting Dinnerplate Dahlias

Dahlias should be planted outdoors only when there is no longer any risk of frost. If you garden in the northern half of the country, you should plant your dahlias in pots before transplanting them into the garden. The sooner you allow these plants to mature, the sooner they will start blooming. If you give them a head start, you can start picking flowers as early as mid-July instead of early August

Tabular dahlias should have a prime location with full sun and the best soil. Well-drained soil is important. When the weather is heavy and wet, it stunts their growth and leads to disease and insect problems. Dahlias thrive in raised beds and vegetable gardens. In fact, if you treat your dahlias like your beefsteak tomatoes, you’ll have great success.

It takes a large plant to produce such impressive blooms, so you can expect most dinner plates to be at least four feet tall. Due to their shrub-like size, they are best planted behind flower beds or in cut flower gardens.

Water and fertilizer

Dahlias grow best in high-quality soil that is high in organic matter. Before planting, enrich the soil with compost and all-purpose fertilizer according to package directions. Dahlias respond well to regular fertilization. Once the plants are 12 inches tall, feed them a general-purpose liquid fertilizer at least once a month.

Consider recommended dilution rates.

Dahlias should receive about an inch of water per week. It’s best to water deeply and infrequently. Try targeting the root zone. Keep leaves as dry as possible to prevent slugs, snails, earwigs and leaf diseases.

Support the Dinner Plate Dahlia

Dahlia stems are somewhat fragile and can be damaged by strong winds and rain. For a dinner plate, the weight of a large flower head (especially in waterlogged conditions) is enough to pull the entire plant on top. Unless you’re in a very secluded spot, it’s important to secure your plants early and tie them off as they grow.


As with other dahlias, the more flowers you pick, the more flowers you get. Visit your dahlias at least a few times a week, and bring three things with you each time: sharp scissors, a clean bucket with some water in the bottom for maintenance, and a larger bucket for collecting spent flowers. Tub or wheelbarrow.

Cut off the back petals as soon as the dahlias open and before they soften. Try to cut off the nice long stems, even if it means removing the flower buds. Over time, this encourages the plant to grow longer stems.

Remove flowers the same way, snipping off the entire stem instead of just the flowers. Be sure to remove any flowers that are past their prime. Wilted flowers can trap moisture and become a home for pests and diseases. This is especially true for large flowers on a dinner plate.

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