If you know me at all, you know that I’m absolutely obsessed with growing dahlias. I honestly, for whatever reason, just cannot help myself. They come in just about every size, shape, and color that you can imagine – did I mention that they’re absolutely gorgeous?
The first few years that I grew dahlias, I was so frustrated. I would see these amazing photos online of these gigantic bushes completely covered in flowers – but mine looked nothing like that. Sure, mine were tall, but they would get one or two blooms before the frost and then be finished. What a waste of space, or so I thought! After figuring out that it wasn’t the amount of sunlight, the soil, or any other factor – the issue became obvious when my neighbor visited one day and showed me the flaw in my ways.
When topping dahlias, I generally wait until the growth has gotten about 18 or so inches tall. As you can see in the photo above, this dahlia basically looks like a “tree trunk” growing straight up. That’s the issue. By topping (or basically cutting off the growth tip) we’ll be encouraging even more growth and potentially more blooms.
Essentially, I’m taking my awesome zebra scissors and snipping above a leaf joint of my choosing. While I have read that some folks choose to top their dahlias twice during the season, I usually only do so once and make sure that it happens before July (depending on where you live). I don’t grow dahlias on a large scale at the moment, so all my cuts are done by hand. However, I imagine that this could easily be done in fields with the correct height mower setting.
Do you have any experience topping dahlias? Please let me know all about it in the comments! Much love!