Dahlias are a must for any garden, especially cutting gardens. They come in a wide variety spectacular colours, shapes and sizes! Their big, beautiful blooms will add a burst of bright colour and beauty to the summer garden. Dahlias are easily one of the most popular flowers in the garden, as they are beautiful, easy to grow and readily available.
Here are some tips to growing dahlias:
- They do best in climate zones 7-11.
- These summer blooming tubers are generally planted in the late spring, from about mid-April to May, depending on the climate. In warmer areas, they can be planted in March.
- Dahlias are sun-loving plants. Plant in a sunny location to give them at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
- Plant tubers on their sides with the eyes up. The tuber should be in the soil 4-6 inches deep. Don’t water after the first planting, as the spring soil should be moist enough.
- Dahlias can tolerate most soil conditions, but do best in slightly acidic, fertile, well-drained soil. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, add sand, humus or peat moss to amend it.
- Dahlias need space to grow; give them at least 2 feet of space. Choose an area that is away from trees and other plants, but will also give them shelter from direct wind.
- Do not use bark mulch on dahlia beds, as it doesn’t allow the soil to get warm enough and it increases the soil’s acidity, which isn’t good for dahlias.
- Established dahlias need to be watered about once a week. Water thoroughly and deeply. Water more often if the climate is hot and dry.
- Dahlias do not like nitrogen because the plant can get leggy, causes weak stems and produces small blooms. If you are planning on using fertilizer, use a low-nitrogen one (the first number on the packaging should be low, such as 5-10-10). Apply fertilizer a few weeks after planting and feed again in late in the summer. Don’t overfeed.
- Dahlias tend to grow quickly and can easily break off at the base during extreme weather. Most dahlias, especially tall varieties, benefit from staking.
- Dahlias can be prone to slugs. Use some of these ideas to get rid of slugs from your garden.
- To promote shorter and bushier plants with more blooms, pinch or cut (deadhead) the center shoot just above the third set of leaves.
- Plants can be divided in the fall or spring.
- Dahlias should be cut back and dug up in the fall before the first sign of frost.
- Planting Summer Bulbs (funflowerfacts.com)