One of the most stunning Dahlias you will ever see, let alone grow, Bishop's Children is a warm-toned mix in shades of a tropical sunset. Deep reds and crimsons, copper and turmeric-yellows, as well as peach and plums.
The single and semi-double, peony-formed flowers bloom from one hue to the next with deep solid colour. But what makes these blooms really extraordinary is that they arise atop dark foliage.
A first year flowering perennial that you sow from seed, the 7 to 10cm (3 to 4in) large blooms form a colourful canopy atop the neat but bushy plant. blooms,
Stunning in the garden and long-lasting in the vase they bloom from July to October. Bishop's Children may become your favourite cut flower as well as a showstopper in the border and bed.
As its name suggests, Bishop's Children is a seed grown descendant of that most famous of all Dahlias, Bishop of Llandaff. Introduced in 1927 and grown extensively in England (where it's one of the most popular plants of all time), Bishop of Llandaff is certainly magnificent, but we think that its 'children' are even more impressive for modern gardens.
Dahlias are straightforward to produce from seed it will flower 12 weeks from sowing until first frosts. Superb as a cut flower and excellent for creating a statement in displays and herbaceous borders. They are particularly useful for filling in gaps that appear as other plants go to seed.
Seed-raised Dahlias flower well especially towards the autumn, after which the tops will die off. The plants can be treated as Annuals and grown for just one summer, though they do produce a tuber to survive the winter, which can be dug up, stored and replanted the following year. Start indoors at the end of March in short-season areas and set out after frost.
Sowing: Sow in spring for flowers 12 weeks from sowing.
Fill cells or pots with a free-draining, seed sowing compost, and stand in water so that the compost is thoroughly damp, then allow to drain. It is advisable at this point to use a suitable fungicide prior to sowing, to prevent damping-off disease (available from any garden centre)/ Sow the seeds onto the surface of the compost and cover with a layer of vermiculite. Cover the trays with clear or milky polythene to maintain humidity, until the first seedlings are visible. Keep moist at all times.
Germination takes around 7 days at 18 to 20°C (65 to 68°F)
Once germination takes place, remove the cover and keep the seedlings moist. As soon as the plants are large enough to handle, usually at around three weeks, prick out into 7cm (3in) pots to grow on at 15 to 18°C (59 to 65°F).
Harden off and plant outdoors 30 to 45cm (12-18in) apart in soil with a good nutrient content. Once the plants are established, a balanced liquid feed can be applied to promote flowering. Take prevention against slugs – they love Dahlia seedlings!
Water well in summer, Dahlia do not like dry conditions. Feed weekly during the growing season and dead head regularly. Plants are sturdy but may need some support in exposed situations. Cut flowers early or late in the day when the blooms are almost fully open.
When the foliage begins to die back, cut stems to 15cm (6in) and lift the tubers. Store in straw, wood shavings, or vermiculite in a frost-free place. Divide tubers in spring and plant out once danger of frost has passed. The soil temperature should be at least 13°C (55°F). If planted before this temperature is reached may rot before they can sprout.
Native to Central America, the genus Dahlia was named in honour of Anders Dahl (1751-1789), an 18th century Swedish botanist. He was a pupil of Linnaeus. Anders Dahl regarded it as a vegetable rather than a garden flower, but interest switched from the edible tubers to the blooms when the first varieties with large, double flowers were bred in Belgium in 1815.
Although dahlias were discovered in the 16th century by Spanish conquistadors, not until 1872 was a box of tubers sent to Holland. Within a few years nearly every colour had been introduced and Victorian catalogues listed hundreds of varieties.
From just a handful of original species Dahlias have been hybridised over the centuries into an amazingly diversified genus, with plant sizes from 30cm to 200cm (1 to 7ft) tall, and flowers in almost any colour imaginable from 5cm to 30cm (2 to 12in) wide.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 750mg Average Seed Count 100 seeds Family Asteraceae Genus Dahlia Species variabilis Cultivar Bishops Children Common Name Dahlia Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Flowers 7 to 10cm (3 to 4in) blooms, July to October Height 90cm (36in) Spread 45cm (18in) Position Needs full sun to flourish Soil Moist & fertile preferred Germination 7 to 10 days at 18-20*C (65-68*F) Notes Actually a perennial in warm areas, it is often grown as a half hardy annual