Our Accidental Hanging Dahlia Experiment


It started with a couple of seed heads, lying forgotten on top of the soil in a flower pot in the garage. I’d brought the pot into the garage before a hard freeze last winter, placed it in a corner and forgot about it.

A few weeks later, while puttering in the garage, I noticed a jumble of sprouts coming up from the pot, so I watered them, not knowing what they were, but curious.

I promptly forgot about them for a few more weeks. When I noticed the pot again, the long, spindly plants, almost white from lack of light, hung sadly over the lip of the pot. I watered again, just for fun.

Spring arrived. I began moving pots and gardening materials back outside again and discovered the pot, again. The tangle of whitish stems and leaves hung a good ten inches over the pot. I had an inkling they might be dahlias but couldn’t be sure. I also wasn’t sure that whatever they turned out to be, they’d survive, let alone grow into something interesting.

I put the pot outside and watered. In a week or so, the plants started to turn dark green. They looked healthy! And they were definitely looking dahlia-esque.

I was intrigued.

I added a little fish fertilizer. I kept watering. They grew healthier and healthier but were still draped over the pot and showed no sign of being able to support themselves upright. So I moved the pot to the deck rail. The plants cascaded to the bottom of the pot and beyond. Buds developed. And then flowers. Dahlias!

So a serendipitous end to a little accidental experimentation that resulted in a pot full of spectacular hanging dahlias. Now I just wonder if I’d be able to replicate the trick if I attempted it on purpose.

Ever had a happy accident like this?

About Benjamin

Gardening, Raising a Family, Hobby Photography, Reading & Philoso-phizing...not necessarily in that order.
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12 Responses to Our Accidental Hanging Dahlia Experiment

  1. Jim says:

    Thanks. A fine accidental experiment and a good story. The dahlias look great!

  2. Chloris says:

    How exciting! Are the dahlias the same as their parents or do you have nice new varieties.?

  3. bittster says:

    What a great deal! They sure don’t look like struggling pale sprouts any more, nice job.
    So many of my garden successes are happy accidents, it’s hard to think of anything that actually worked out the way it was supposed to 🙂

  4. Many of my herbs are accidentals from previous year’s flowers that I didn’t have the heart to take from the bees before seeding. Wait, that’s why I’m growing this garden, isn’t it? For the critters, not for me! 🙂

    • Benjamin says:

      I have a hard time removing anything the critters seem to be enjoying, as well. Might look a little unkempt sometimes but I like the hugger-mugger of it!

  5. Mary says:

    Some of the nicest things in our garden our happy accidents. My partner and daughter have both praised me for cleverly planting frosted explosion grass at the base of the sweet peas this year. I had no idea how they’d got there, until I remembered leaving a few pots of the grass there for a couple of weeks last year when moving things around. They must have taken the opportunity to set seed. Your dahlias look lovely and very happy,

  6. I love this! I have happy accidental dill and calendula throughout my garden this year, always fun when surprises are not weeds!!!

    Good luck on your accident on purpose! Great blog 🙂

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