Tell the vincas, marigolds and petunias that Santa Claus is coming! Planted as a specimen in the border, Santa Claus's huge pure red and white blooms create an eye-inspiring spectacular. The flower's size and clarity is the most outstanding of all the dinnerplate types. In a garden, the clear red and white is a magnet for the eye as well as our winged friend, the hummingbird. Planted as a specimen, amid marigolds, vinca and petunias of complementary colors, Santa Claus will be the centerpiece of your garden.
Sow indoors 8 weeks before last spring frost. Sow seeds into individual containers filled with seed Starting formula. Keep moist.
How to Grow
After danger of frost has passed, set out in sunny location. (The more sun dahlias receive, the more flowers you get.) In torrid climates, a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day will protect plants from heat, however. Look for a site that is protected from wind but receives good air circulation. Rich, deeply dug soil, good drainage and even moisture are musts. Deadhead regularly to keep plants blooming. Gardeners after large flowers rather than many flowers should disbud their plants.
When flowering ceases in Zone 8 and south, cut the plants to 6" and mulch them. Dig and divide clumps every two to three years to keep them vigorous. In cold regions, cut plants back to 6" as soon as they are blackened by frost. Dig the clumps and store them over winter in paper bags filled with slightly moistened vermiculitein a well-ventilated location where temperatures are between 36°F and 45°F. Compact bedding dahlias are ideal for container gardens and for edging beds. Use the border types to add height and color to gardens in late summer to fall. Dahlias also make beautiful cut flowers.