Do You Need To Stake Your Dahlias? How To Decide

Dahlias are a beautiful addition to any garden. But, like all plants, they need the right support to grow properly. Staking your dahlias is a great way to ensure they stay healthy and bloom all season long. But how do you know if your dahlias need to be staked?

Your dahlias will need staking if they grow in loose, sandy soil, are top-heavy with blooms, or are exposed to strong winds. Stakes will also help to support the heavy flowers, which can cause the stems to bend or break.

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at dahlias and whether or not they need to be staked. I’ll also give tips on how to stake your dahlias, so you can keep them looking neat all season long. Read on to keep your dahlias in the best shape possible!

Benefits of Staking Dahlias

The benefits of staking your dahlias are numerous.

Here are several reasons why you should consider staking your dahlias:

Supports Heavy Foliage

Dahlias have large, flat leaves that can grow up to more than 10 inches (25.4 cm) wide. While these leaves are beautiful, they can also be quite heavy, especially when they are wet. This can cause the stems to bend or even break, especially if the dahlias grow in loose, sandy soil. 

The weight can also cause the plant to flop over. This not only looks unsightly, but it can also damage the leaves. By staking your dahlias, you can keep them upright and prevent the leaves from being damaged.

Wind Protection

The wind can damage your dahlias in several ways. It can snap the stems, break off the buds, and even uproot the plant. The large leaves can act like sails, catching the wind and causing the plant to bend or break.

And the flowers themselves are also quite fragile and can be easily damaged by the wind. If you live in an area with high winds, you’ll need to take extra precautions to protect your dahlias.

One way to do this is to stake them. Staking will help support the plant and keep it from toppling in strong winds.

Prevents Flower Damage

The flowers of the dahlia plant are quite large and can weigh up to several ounces. Because of their size and weight, the flowers are prone to damage if they are not properly supported.

If you want to prevent your beautiful flowers from being damaged, you’ll need to stake them. This way, the flowers will be supported and less likely to bend or break

Enhanced Air Circulation

Dahlias need good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases. If your dahlias are growing in too much shade, they may become susceptible to powdery mildew. And if the plant is too crowded or if the leaves are touching the ground, this can prevent air circulation and lead to fungal diseases.

Staking will help keep the plant from getting too crowded and improve air circulation around the leaves and stems. This will help to prevent fungal diseases from developing.

Keeps Plants Neat and Tidy

Dahlias can grow quite tall, reaching heights of more than 6 feet (1.8 m). And because they are top-heavy, they can become leggy and unruly. If you want to keep your dahlias looking neat and tidy, you’ll need to stake them. 

Staking ensures that the plants don’t flop over and that the blooms are displayed to their best advantage. You will have a tidy garden, and your dahlias will look much better.

Set up Support When Dahlias Reach Over 3 Feet (91 cm) Tall

The height of your dahlia will give you a good indication of whether or not it needs staking. If the plant is taller than 3 feet (91 cm), it will need support. Keep in mind that border dahlias may not need staking as they generally grow shorter than regular dahlias. 

The weight of the blooms can cause the plant to flop over, especially if it rains. If you decide that your dahlia needs staking, you have a few different options. 

You can use bamboo stakes, metal garden stakes, or old broom handles. Anything sturdy enough to support the plant without bending is a good option.

When staking your dahlia, it is important to do so early in the season. Doing it early will help the plant grow around the stake and make it less likely to be damaged. If you wait too long to stake the plant, the stem will be too weak, and the plant will be more likely to fall over.

Staking Techniques

Staking your dahlia is not difficult, but it is important to do it correctly to ensure that your plant stays healthy and blooms beautifully all season long.

Here is a breakdown of what you need to do:

1. Choose a Sturdy Material

There are a few different options when it comes to stakes. You will want to choose something strong enough to support your plant without bending. Bamboo stakes, metal garden stakes, and old broom handles are all good options. 

You should also choose a stake that is taller than your plant. This will give the plant plenty of support. Generally, you should choose a stake at least 3 feet (90 cm) tall. 

But if it’s a large variety of dahlia or you live in an area with high winds, a taller stake may be necessary, from 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 m).

2. Hammer the Stake Into the Ground

You will want to hammer the stake into the ground next to your dahlia plant during the early part of the season. It is important to do this while the plant is still young

This will give the plant time to grow around the stake and become securely attached to it. If you wait too long to stake the plant, the stem will be too weak, and the plant will be more likely to fall over.

When hammering the stake into the ground, be careful not to damage your plant’s roots. You should also avoid placing the stake too close to the plant.

Place the stake about 6 inches (15 cm) away from the plant. This way, you will give the plant enough room to grow without being constricted by the stake.

3. Plant the Dahlia Tuber

You should plant your dahlia tuber 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) deep, and the stakes should be 18 inches (46 cm) apart. This will give the plant plenty of room to grow a strong root system. It is important to plant the tuber deep enough

If it is not planted deep enough, it will be more likely blown over by the wind or damaged by animals. When planting the tuber, ensure that the pointy end is facing up. 

This will help the plant to grow more evenly. If the tuber is planted upside down, the plant may grow sideways or backward.

4. Attach the Plant to the Stake

After your dahlia has grown to about 9 inches (23 cm) tall, you will need to attach it to the stake. You can do this with garden ties, twine, or old nylons. Whatever you use, make sure that it is not too tight. 

You don’t want to damage the plant by constricting its growth.

To attach the plant to the stake:

  • Make a loop around the stem of the plant. By doing this, you will be able to adjust the tightness of the tie as the plant grows.
  • Take the other end of the tie and loop it around the stake. This will help to keep the plant in place.
  • Pull the tie snugly but not too tight; you should be able to fit two fingers between the stem and the tie and then knot it in place. 

You should do this every 6 inches (15.24 cm) to ensure the plant is securely attached. As the plant grows, you will need to continue to tie it to the stake. This will ensure that it doesn’t fall over and break the stem.

5. Support the Plant With a Cage

As the plant grows, you may need to provide additional support. This can be done with a tomato cage or a similar structure. Just ensure that the cage is tall enough to support the plant and placed around it before it gets too big.

If you wait until the plant is too big, it will be difficult to get the cage around it without damaging the plant.

Final Thoughts

Staking your dahlia is an important part of the growing process. But it is also a bit of a juggling act. You must ensure that the plant is securely attached to the stake without constricting its growth. 

You also need to ensure that the stake is tall enough to support the plant and that it is placed in the ground before it gets too big. If you take the time to properly stake and support your dahlias, you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms all summer.

Dr. Moritz Picot

Dr. Moritz Picot is a horticulture enthusiast and the founder of, where he serves as the lead content writer. He established the website in 2022 as a valuable resource for both gardening aficionados and beginners, compiling all the gardening tips he has accumulated over the past 25 years. Alex has a passion for nurturing plants, transforming backyards into inviting spaces, and sharing his knowledge with the world.

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