Dahlias - How to grow them and their edible and medicinal uses

Monek Marie
Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

Does any one here grow dahlias?

I have always loved them but never grew them. I like the idea you dig them up and they will multiply year to year but I am not sure how to store them. My one friend will not grow them saying they are hard to grow.

So for fun I had top look up a few facts on dahlias. They are in the sunflower family.

Medicinal uses: From healthbenefits.com

  • In Pre-Spanish Mexico, tubers were used due to high content of fructose and inulin.
  • Petals and tubers were used by Aztecs for treating infected grazes, rashes and cracks in skin.
  • Tubers skin is rich in antibiotic compounds.
  • The crushed and mashed up petals are used to provide relief from stings or insect bites.
  • Use poultice made from petals over insect stings and inflamed skin areas.
  • Use the petals in footsoak to soothe tired feet.
  • Place the crushed petals on itchy sore spot.
  • Aztecs use the flowers to treat epilepsy.

How to Eat:

  • Flower petals are consumed by adding it to salads.
  • In Mexico, tubers are consumed as vegetables.
  • The sweet extract of tuber is combined with cold or hot water or milk or is sprinkled on ice cream.
  • It is also included in Mexican mealie and chili dish, Dahlia dip, cream cheese and sundried tomato and Dahlia bread.
  • The tuber extract is used as a beverage.
  • It is used as a garnish.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    Thanks for posting this @Monek Marie. I didn't know dahlias were edible or medicinal.

    Not something for me to grow, though. I don't have adequate storage and I'm just not into extra work in the fall.

    I wonder if there is a old standard dahlia that is better for medicinal purposes. As you start to hybridize plants for size or colour or form, they may stray a bit from their original constituents.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey You are welcome

    I am sure there are the older dahlia varieties out there, if you know where to look, and better than the new varieties. I always find it interesting to see what uses flower have that you never thought of before.

    I am a lazy gardener. Any plant with a bulb get placed in a wire basket and I just pull the basket up to harvest. This also protects the bulbs from some animals that eat bulbs.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,482 admin

    @Monek Marie Dahlia tubers love a cold winter. You can either leave them alone and then divide early spring or lift tubers and store in a cold dry place until early spring. Not too much moisture while they are dormant, leads to rotting. They will grow in areas from full sun to light shade and need protection from strong winds ( knocks the flowers around)

    Where I now live, a tad humid in summer and not cold enough in winter but you still see them around. Some people go crazy for them here and have competitions re flower heads. Good to know they are edible.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Interesting. I had no idea the dahlias were either medicinal or edible. I shall have to give them a try.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,411 admin

    @Monek Marie I love dahlias. I grow them and I have to say that they are very easy to grow. I do not have to do anything after I plant them apart from dead heading. But I dig out tubers every autumn. After I dig them out, I shake a bit, but leave most of the soil on the tubers, leave them to dry a bit for a day or two and put them into wooden boxes. I store the boxes in my cellar: no light, temp round 10C, not too humid (that is why I leave soil on). I do not bother about them until spring comes. Then, when there is no danger of frost, I put them back into soil.

    I have never ever assumed they are medicinal plants. I like them, my bees like them. I would not eat tubers, because then I loose my plants, but the petals can be a nice decoration in salad or fruit salad, or, as you write, repellent for insect bites.... Thank you for sharing this information!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe I would not want to eat the tuber either but its nice to know you could if you had to.

    I love dahlias too. By a park close by the one man grows close to 100 foot of dahlias and has for years. I should stop by and visit. I bet he has the older varieties and would probably share some tubers.

    Hmmm, maybe I can escape the house for a bit today.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,411 admin

    @Monek Marie yesterday I dug out all my dahlias. I am glad I did. We had a real frost during the night. The tubers will dry a bit and then will be stored in the cellar.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2021

    Nice harvest of tubers @jowitt.europe !

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

    This is really interesting. I can definitely see myself growing dahlias someday. Thank you for posting this @Monek Marie!

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My mom always had dahlias growing in the garden while I was growing up. So I've tried to do the same.

    I never knew they were one you could eat them, let alone have medicinal benefits. That's awesome!😊

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This year I went to a greenhouse that was closing down. I ended up getting about 10 trays of Dahlia plants for about $1 pieces. 15 plants to a tray. I lost a few but overall I have a ton of new dahlias.

    Most greenhouse and nursery businesses usually throw them away as they don't want to bother storing and starting the bulbs. That seems like a waste to me.