Dahlias are hands down, my favorite flower to grow! They are easy to grow with some simple guidelines and the gorgeous flowers will definitely be worth the effort!
Dahlias thrive in a sunny location that has well draining soil.
Tubers can be started indoors 2-6 weeks prior to last frost date or planted after all threats of frost are absent. Zone 4 tends to be early to mid May (check your specific zone for last date of frost)
Plant the tubers 3-4 inches deep with the eye (the nub that is starting to sprout ) side up. Tubers can be planted roughly 12-24 inches apart depending on the size of the plant. Dahlia plants come in all sizes but they generally grow 3 -5 feet tall depending on the variety.
Dahlia tubers DO NOT like wet feet, so water sparingly initially until they are about a foot tall, and then a deep watering weekly after that (initial growth can take 2-3 weeks so be patient)
Some varieties like Giants and dinnerplates will require support or staking.
Dahlias can take up to even 3 months to produce their beautiful blooms (absolutely worth the wait!!!) the more you cut, the more blooms they produce!
As winter approaches and the first hard frost sets in, your dahlia plant will turn brown and appear spent. You can over- winter the tubers to enjoy them agin next year. Cut the stalk back to a couple inches above ground level. Carefully dig up the tubers , clean off the dirt and let dry for at least a couple days somewhere where they will not freeze and store in a cool dry place for the winter. I label then store my dahlia tubers in peat.
~ Enjoy ~
Tips & Tricks
Mulching around the base suppresses weeds and helps maintain moisture
Fertilizing can be beneficial depending on your soil once they start blooming. ( it‘s best to use a low nitrogen, water soluble, organic fertilizer). Refrain from fertilizing in early fall if you will be storing tubers.
When watering avoid getting it on the foliage, this will help reduce disease.
Deadheading spent blooms encourage more blooms!
You can grow dahlias in pots that are at least 12 inches deep and at least 12 inches wide. Make sure there are drainage holes.
Dahlias are considered a tender perennial in zones 8-11. All other zones require overwintering of the dahlias however some people grow them as an annual and start fresh every year.
There are many types of dahlias flower forms; Decorative, Pompom and Ball, Cactus, Giant, Water Lily, Anemone, Novelty... just to name a few.
There are thousands of varieties of Dahlias! My favorites are; American Dawn, Caitlin’s Joy , Penhill Watermelon, and NTAC Eileen (because my Mom was named Eileen)
The Dahlia flower symbolizes; inner strength, creativity and elegance.