The Dahlia Disaster of Dallas

This is the VISION of the Dahlias that could.

Dahlias in Dallas

This year I gave all I could at a chance with this beautiful flower. It became a nil attempt with multiple hurdles for this flower in the outskirts of Dallas.


I am so in love with these flowers! They come in thousands of different varieties in sizes and colors. Dahlia’s are striking and unique. Quite frankly, I’m totally obsessed.

The Case Study

I knew this was NOT a common flower that flourishes here. This was simply an attempt at the possibility of growth. I tried to give it all the requirements it needs, but as you can see, it may just be too harsh of conditions.

What I’m Working With…

In my garden, I have adjusted the soil with organic matter including, mulch, compost, manure, and sand. It has taken almost 3 years to get it just right. Kevin has tilled it together so much that when you grab the soil it crumbles in your hand. When weeds grow, we can simply grab them by the root and pull them out. The ground in the garden is almost bouncy when you walk on it. I call this soil “luxurious” for Texas.

When farming in clay soil, comes so many deterrents. Soil depths, nutrients, and wet/dryness of the soil, to name a few. There are only CERTAIN plants that can tolerate clay soil.

This was my FIRST YEAR with these tubers, so I am trying to give myself a break. Quite frankly, I feel like I can grow just about anything (except lavender–that’s another story) from seed and be fruitful.

My Green Thumb

I get it honestly from my Mother. She always has perfect beds and flowers flourishing everywhere. She’s inspiring with her gardening. She’s able to make a house feel like a home so easily.

I am more into seeding and the farming aspect as she is more urban. All around, we both are able to grow some fun stuff.

What was interesting to me was the fact that I historically have struggled with lavender thriving. This year they took off. They loved my neglect.

Zinnias always do well. Push come to shove, this might end up simply a Zinnia Farm. They may be simple but are such a joy!

The Franny Plan

My plan was to designate these wonderful tubers in a special place in the garden. This was a TEST YEAR so it consumed less than 1/4th of my space. I planted immediately after our last frost which is typically the end of March. Of course, they were planted in my rich, composted, well-draining “dreamy” soil.

The Disaster

Here is what I found. I found them thirsty, then too wet, then too dry, and cycling between too dry and too wet. Some grew over a foot, then stopped due to too much rain at the time. Using a sprinkler may have also been an amateur way to save time. They just can’t be consistent and become costly.

It was sincerely a hard year to grow ANYTHING. There were record highs and over 60 days without rain. Despite my altered soil, the conditions were just TOO ROUGH.

Next Years Plan

The best thing I can think of is to start growing in a Greenhouse. It seems the best way to control the severe environment. I will use drip irrigation or soaker hoses as well to control the watering.

Here is where I tried mid-summer to salvage them and relocate them to pots. Basically, it was too late and too dry all around.

Attempt at Recovery

I found a Dahlia a little early on with eyes that were TRYING. So I potted it and put it under a sprinkler for intermittent showers (4 times/week). Initially, it loved it and started sprouting. Then, as my luck has it…the CHICKENS WENT FISHING THROUGH IT. You bet I gave them a good talkin’ to. I was so upset! As if I didn’t have enough hurdles. And, out of all the places they could have dug, they chose this random pot?! grrr.

As life has it…

There are hurdles and there are lessons here. I learned a lot this year. If you know me well enough, I WON’T GIVE UP. Farmer Franny WILL succeed at a Fresh Flower Farm. The let-downs are only room for improvement and finding ways to nail it eventually.

If you have thoughts or suggestions…

I’d LOVE to hear them. Criticism is the only way to GROW (ba-dum-ching! lol).

With a love of blooms,

Failed Farmer Franny

The dream. I believe I can, I believe I can, I believe I can!!

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