I *love* dahlias. Love.
They are happier, in my opinion, than gerbera daisies. The layered, multiple petals are so luscious and the vibrant colors are so cheery! I'm happier, right now, just thinking about them.
However, dahlias do not thrive in the DC area. You've got to pull them out before winter and store them inside in a dry place. Then, in the spring, you've got to plant them again. Truthfully, I am way too lazy for that. Seriously. Replanting a perennial every year? Blah. Last year I tried to grow some "real" dahlias and the powdery mildew was off the hook. As if I had time to deal with THAT, on top of the constant planting, unplanting!
But, I still can't resist....
This year I started Unwin's Dahlias from seeds. I figure, meh, they're annuals & if they don't work out, the packet of seeds was less than $2, unlike the tubers you buy. Apparently, after a season, the Unwin's Dahlias do form tubers which you can take out of the ground & store & replant. But, happily, they grow quite easily & cheaply from seed. In fact, they were my very first sprout this year & grew quite vigorously. I then planted them in our herb garden where they have grown even more.
In short, I will be growing these every year from now on. Or at least every year I start vegetables by seed. Here are the colors that have popped up so far:
I've still got a few plants with buds that haven't opened yet. I think I spy a vibrant orange...