Claus Dalby on the best way to create a beautiful show with dahlias in pots – The Center-Sized Backyard

August seventh, 2021 Posted In: Backyard traits & design, Gardening understand how

Gardener, photographer and writer Claus Dalby has a show of dahlias in  pots that appear to be a wonderful herbaceous border.

There should be a number of hundred pots massed collectively, with each dahlias and different vegetation. The show might be switched round when a flower goes ‘over’ or if the color steadiness wants a lift.

Claus Dalby

Claus Dalby and his ‘border’ of vibrant dahlias in pots. They mix superbly with foliage vegetation and lilies, additionally all in pots.

Claus is known on Instagram and he has a phenomenal Claus Dalby YouTube channel, the place he shares ideas and inspiration from his backyard. He’s Danish, though the YouTube channel is in English. It’s about ‘gardening, hygge and Scandinavian way of life.’ He’s written 30 books on design and way of life in Danish, and his first e book in English will probably be out subsequent 12 months.

The backyard is close to Aarhus in Denmark, which has a roughly related local weather to the UK and to USDA Zone 8. However, after all, one of many fantastic issues about pots is you could change vegetation round or carry them inside simply if it is advisable. A pot-based backyard is good if you wish to develop vegetation that could be slightly too tender in your local weather.

A big backyard sub-divided into smaller gardens

Claus’s backyard is round an acre, however is split up into 15 ‘rooms’. Every zone is a small backyard in itself. So his concepts work for small, massive and middle-sized gardens.

When he first moved in, it was primarily laid to garden. Now there isn’t an inch of garden left. There are many inspiring components, reminiscent of hornbeam bushes pruned ‘umbrella fashion’. However, above all, it’s Claus’s use of color and pots that’s so distinctive.

So I’ve requested Claus to point out us how he creates his container gardens. The total interview and fabulous views of his backyard are on this video on YouTube, however I’ve summarised the details right here.

Do dahlias develop effectively in pots?

They definitely do. Claus grows most of his dahlias in pots and the show is fabulous. He grows a variety of types, sizes and hues.

Dahlia grower Sarah Raven means that it’s best to select the shorter dahlias for pots as a result of they’re much less prone to flop. However Claus places a round help onto the pot on the time of planting so he is ready to develop the larger dahlias in pots, too.

Actually, most vegetation will develop in pots, together with bushes.

The way to plant dahlias in pots

Claus begins in April, which is early spring in Denmark. He first places the dahlia tubers into normal plastic pots. The pots should not a lot greater than the dahlia tubers, so that they match fairly snugly. He then provides only a skinny layer of soil on high. ‘I put simply 1cm of soil on high of the vegetation,’ he says. ‘They appear to begin to develop faster.’

He retains these pots of dahlias in a frost-free greenhouse.

After round 5 weeks, the early foliage of the dahlias has emerged. So he vegetation them into their everlasting containers. As soon as once more, he vegetation fairly snugly. ‘I generally put three tubers into a big pot,’ he says. In smaller pots, he’ll simply put one tuber.

At this stage, he’ll additionally repair the help for greater dahlias into their pots.

Dahlias in pots want common fertilisers and watering.

What to plant with dahlias in containers

Claus says that plant partnerships are crucial. Most of his pots solely have one number of plant in them. However the entire show mixes all kinds of vegetation in pots. It’s a superbly balanced riot of color.

He vegetation annuals in pots, reminiscent of cleomes, in addition to shrubs like ninebark and philadelphus. Any plant will develop in a pot, a minimum of for just a few years.

Repeat the styles of plant within the grouping

Claus believes that repetition is essential when planning both a border or a grouping of pots. You will note the identical lilies, begonias and dahlias repeated alongside the pot grouping.

Grouping of pots by Claus Dalby

The chartreuse inexperienced foliage of Aralia cordata ‘Solar King’,Phsyocarpus ‘Nugget’ and Philadelphus ‘Aureus’, and the intense orange of the begonia add zing to this grouping of pots. And you’ll see the lilies, dahlias and different vegetation are repeated at intervals.

His subsequent tip for making a dramatic color grouping – plant some pots with contrasting lime inexperienced or ‘chartreuse’ foliage. It units off the darkish leaves and wealthy colors of the dahlia flowers. His favourites embrace Aralia cordata ‘Solar King’, Physocarpus ‘Nugget’ and Philadelphus ‘Aureus’.

Dahlias and other plants in pots

The splashes of citrus inexperienced and orange actually make this show of pots work. The orange begonia is Begonia bertinii.

The philadelphus and physocarpus can develop fairly tall, however Claus cuts them right down to 20-25cms in spring. New, vibrant inexperienced foliage springs again. You don’t get the flowers when you minimize them again in spring. However Claus likes these vegetation for his or her foliage not their flowers.

One other method of including that splash of citrus vibrant is to incorporate a flower like orange begonias to the group.

Add peak to the grouping of pots

The subsequent tip is so as to add distinction with peak. ‘Spikes are crucial’ within the pot show, explains Claus. Plant some taller, upright vegetation in your grouping with the dahlias.

Most of the vegetation in Claus’s pots are ones we usually consider as border vegetation.  For instance, he has Cleome Violet Queen, Buddleias Purple, Angelica Gigas and Verbena bonariensis.

Cleome 'Violet Queen'

I haven’t seen Cleome ‘Violet Queen’ grown in pots earlier than, but it surely appears fantastic in Claus’s backyard.

He additionally has lilies, which develop notably effectively in pots. Many individuals preserve their lilies in pots and wedge them into the border in time for a phenomenal show, then whisk them out when they’re over.

Lily Purple Marble

Lily ‘Purple Marble’ , grown in pots in Claus’s ‘pot border’.

Distinction flower sizes

In case you have massive flower heads, reminiscent of dahlias, in a border or grouping of pots, Claus provides contrasting small flower heads. For instance, verbena bonariensis, which is tall and ethereal, with tiny flower heads. In spring, he cuts the verbena bonariensis vegetation again to about 10cm, which makes them extra bushy and fewer tall after they flower in summer season.

What to do with dahlias in pots over winter

Claus takes all of the dahlia tubers out of his pots for the winter. He cleans the soil off and wraps them in newspaper. ‘Then retailer them someplace the place the temperature doesn’t go under round 5C,’ he says. ‘It’s vital that they don’t freeze.’

He re-uses the identical tubers the next 12 months, planting them out in plastic pots in early spring.

Extra about dahlias and pots

To seek out out extra about rising dahlias, see our ‘what it is advisable learn about rising dahlias’ put up. And for extra concepts and inspiration on grouping pots, see 5 methods to make use of backyard planters, plus potscaping ideas. And, after all, as a result of vegetation like dahlias are dormant in winter, right here’s some inspiration on what to place in your pots in winter!

Dahlias in pots and borders want common dead-heading, so I preserve a pair of snippers by the again door. I can simply come out when I’ve a second and snip off any useless or dying flower heads. The extra typically you do that, the extra flowers you get. So don’t depart dead-heading to a once-a-week-job within the backyard.

I exploit Darlac snips, which have been really helpful by Frances Moskovits. I wrote about her borders in ‘The way to Make a Backyard Border Look Wonderful’, which has been one of many Middlesized Backyard’s hottest posts. The Darlac snips can be found on the Middlesized Backyard Amazon store (please word that Amazon hyperlinks are affiliate, see disclosure.)

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