Dahliahs are one of those flowers that make you do a double take! They are a perennial that comes in a huge variety of colors! They are a true cut and come again flower. In our area they will bloom July through October, until frost hits. Depending on your zone they may require a little TLC! They grow from a root called a tuber. The roots are not cold hardy so they will need to be stored over winter if your area freezes.
Keep in mind there is no cut and dry way to grow
dahlias! You can adjust to what works for you and your area!
Tubers can come in all sizes and shapes.
We plant them after the danger of frost has past. They need to be planted 4-6" deep with 12" spacing. We prep our holes with a sprinkle of bonemeal. Dahlias are a thirsty flower but we don't recommend watering until you see green shoots emerging. If the soil is soggy tubers could rot.
Staking when your tubers go in the ground will help you keep track of varieties later down the road. I do recommend staking or netting rows. When plants get around 3' they become very heavy.
Use a low nitrogen fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks and an insect management method that fits for you.
We use wood mulch to help with weed control and moisture retention.
Dahlias can be grown from a seed or a tuber. Dahlias grown from seed are not a true copy of the mother plant. Dahlias grown from a tuber are a clone from the mother plant. This is where labeling when planting really can be helpful.
When the time for frost comes I cut my plants low and allow any energy left in the plant to be sent back to the tubers.
Dahlias can be dug before or after frost. Just keep in mind they will rot if they freeze.
They are ready to be washed for winter and storage. You don't have to wash clumps but it will help you to see eyes for dividing. Skinny roots can be trimmed off. when tubers are dry you can divide your tubers or you can store the as clumps. We divide to save space.
Store your tubers in a cool, dry place. Temperatures of 40-50 degrees are ideal. For us our crawlspace is perfect. I prefer shoebox bins and vermiculite. In the photo I had used wood shavings. For some people they work great. For us they were just holding to much moisture. If tubers are to warm the will shrivel or sprout, to wet they will mold. Keep an eye on them and adjust if need!
Don't be afraid to take the leap! Dahlias are so easy and beyond beautiful! You'll be hooked!