Dahlias are beautiful flowers that have adapted well to the climate and growing conditions in the United States, but it still takes some special care to grow them in hot and humid states such as Florida.
Do dahlias grow in Florida? Dahlias will grow in Florida but only under certain conditions. Only heat-tolerant varieties such as Elsie Huston will have a good chance of flourishing in the hot Florida weather. Partial shade, especially in the afternoon, is essential for these dahlia varieties.
Although dahlias are not the easiest flowers to grow in Florida, they can still thrive in the hot and humid weather. Read more to find out how to grow dahlias in Florida.
Growing Dahlias in Florida – What To Know
If you’re new to dahlias and you want to grow them in Florida, you have to find the right varieties that can tolerate the heat and humidity in the Sunshine State.
Do Dahlias Grow Well in Florida?
In general, the weather in Florida is not suitable for dahlias. These flowers that are native to Mexico and Central America are accustomed to drier and more moderate weather.
The high humidity in Florida often triggers fungal and bacterial infections that can stunt the growth of the dahlia if not kill it outright.
Excessive heat and sunlight can also be detrimental to the plant, so you’ll need to take some precautions to protect your dahlias and ensure that they bloom year after year.
Are Dahlias Easy To Grow in Florida?
If by easy you mean that the dahlia plant will grow on its own without help or special requirements, then no. Dahlias are not easy to grow in Florida.
However, if you have enough gardening experience and can tell when a plant, especially a dahlia, is not doing well and take steps to remedy the situation, then growing the flowers will not be a big problem.
Dahlia Heat Tolerance
Dahlias in general have little tolerance for heat. This, after all, is a plant that likes warm weather and struggles when the temperatures rise in the peak of summer.
The average ideal daytime temperatures for the dahlia are between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. As for nighttime temperatures, they should be between 60 and 75℉.
In Florida, the summer temperatures are usually in the eighties, but the extreme humidity can stress out the dahlias and make them susceptible to infections and diseases.
Challenges To Expect
When you grow dahlias in Florida, you can expect some challenges. For one thing, the Florida weather is far from the mild temperatures and low humidity of their natural habitat.
However, with some patience and a little work, you can still get dahlias to grow in Florida.
The combination of the heat and high humidity makes Florida a less-than-ideal place for dahlias.
However, you can choose an area facing the north or east that gets morning sun and partial shade in the afternoon. Make sure that spot gets plenty of air circulation to prevent fungal infections.
After planting the tuber, don’t water it until it sprouts. That way you’ll avoid tuber rot. Once the dahlia establishes, give it 1 inch of water every week, and factor in any rainfall.
Keep the soil evenly moist but not overly wet. Allow the top 1 inch of the soil to dry out between irrigations.
Dahlias are prone to many fungal and bacterial infections in Florida. These include powdery mildew, wilt, tuber rot, gray mold, bacterial stem rot, and viral diseases.
Get rid of any infected plants, and dispose of them safely. Improve air circulation around the dahlias, and use an appropriate fungicide.
The weather in Florida is suitable for many pests that attack dahlias. Some of these include aphids, caterpillars, cyclamen mites, earwigs, leafhoppers, obscure mealybugs, slugs, and spider mites.
Use neem oil spray to eliminate the small pests before they infest the plant. As for slugs, you’ll need to pick them manually and drown them in a bucket full of soapy water.
When Can I Plant Dahlias in Florida?
In Florida where most of the state falls under Growing Zone 9, the best time to plant dahlias is in the moderate months.
March is the best month to start the flowers, but if you missed March, you can plant them in October or November. Because of the warm winters in Florida, overwintering dahlias will not be a problem.
When Do Dahlias Bloom in Florida?
Dahlias are known for their long bloom season. In Florida, they will start blooming sometime in midsummer and stay in bloom well into the fall.
Can You Leave Dahlias in the Ground Over Winter in Florida?
Unlike cool or moderate areas where the winter temperatures drop sharply and the soil freezes, Florida has a mild winter.
You won’t have to dig up dahlia tubers in the winter and store them until the next spring. Just leave them in the soil, and mulch the dormant plants. They will grow back in the spring.
Best Dahlias for Beginners
If you’re new to growing dahlias, you should stick to the simple varieties that don’t require special growing conditions and don’t put you out in care and maintenance.
I recommend Anemone Dahlia, Collarette Dahlia, Single Flowered Dahlia, Waterlily Dahlia, and Honeymoon Dahlia among others. They are highly decorative flowers that will brighten your garden throughout the fall.
Florida is known for its excessive heat and high humidity. Not all dahlias will grow in this weather. However, some heat-tolerant dahlias can thrive in these conditions.
Some of the best heat-tolerant dahlias on the market include Belle of Barmera, Bracken Rose, Sweet Natalie, and Rock Run Ashley among others. Keep in mind that these varieties still need afternoon shade during the peak of the Florida summer.
Tips for Growing Dahlias in Florida
- Mulch to protect the roots of the dahlia, and keep them cool when the soil temperature rises in the summer.
- Water regularly to keep the soil moist, but allow the top 1 inch of the soil to dry out between irrigations.
- Make sure the dahlias get plenty of airflow to prevent fungal infections.
- Use well-draining soil, and add plenty of organic materials.
- Consider using grow bags to better control temperature and moisture.
Are Dahlias Drought Tolerant?
Dahlias need soil that is evenly moist, but they have a low tolerance for both drought and wet soil. Water dahlias 2 to 3 times a week during the growing season, and cut back on the water in the winter when the plant goes dormant.
How Deep Do Dahlia Roots Grow?
Dahlia roots grow close to the surface. They’re usually 2 inches deep. Mulching can help the roots stay cool in the summer when the temperature rises. It also helps the soil retain moisture.
Some heat-tolerant dahlia varieties can grow in Florida. You’ll need to provide well-draining soil, morning sun, and afternoon shade, and be sure to keep the soil evenly moist.
The mild winters of Florida make overwintering dahlias unnecessary. Mulching is important to protect the shallow roots of the dahlia from drying out in the hot soil.