How to plant Dahlias

Dahlias

Dahlias are a ‘must have’ flower for every Summer garden! In fact they are loved for their long flowering periods as they can bloom from the summer up until the first frosts. Dahlias bring colour and character and are happy to be placed in a dry, sunny position.

Planting dahlias in the garden

Before planting, soak tubers in a bucket of tepid water for an hour so they can fully rehydrate. Starting off your dahlia tubers in pots will also encourage them to develop more quickly, so they’re likely to start flowering earlier.

Once the risk of frost has past, April/May, find a sunny position with fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Alternatively, you can start them off in indoors in pots in March/April and keep them in a frost-free location like a greenhouse before transferring them outside after the last frosts. Position the dahlia tubers just below the soil surface, covering your tubers with approx. 3cm (1-2″) of soil. Allow approx. 30cm (12″) spacing between each tuber. (The spacing may vary depending on the final size of the variety.) Ensure to plant your tubers the right way up by locating the old stem – this is the top of the dahlia.

When planting in the garden, mulch over to protect them from the risk of any late frost, douse the hole with a watering can full of water and cane as you plant.

Pom Pom Dahlias
Pom Pom dahlias

Harts’ Hint
“After about 5-6 weeks, you may need to start protecting the new dahlia shoots from slugs and snails by using slug pellets or by removing the nocturnal pests at night!

Planting dahlias in pots

Dahlias can spread quite vast so we advise planting 1 x dahlia tuber in a 2 to 3 litre pot or 30cm (12″) in diameter and fill with a good-quality, multi-purpose compost. Ensure sure the pot has good drainage because the tubers will rot if left to sit in water. If the pot only has 1 or 2 holes, you can add more with a drill to prevent the tuber from rotting. Adding good draining elements like bark to the base of the pot will help with drainage. Use a slow-release fertiliser to promote strong growth and stake when planting.

Lay your tuber flat in the container with the eye or sprout, if there is one, facing upwards. Plant with the eye just above the soil surface.

Harts’ Hint
Dahlias will flower throughout the summer and dead-heading them will prolong their flowering period.

caring for dahlias

  • You can feed your Dahlias with a diluted Tomato feed every 2 weeks.
  • Support Dahlias with canes on planting and tie in as growth develops.
  • When your Dahlias reach about 40cm in height, pinch out the growing tips with your thumb and forefinger or use a sharp knife. This will encourage branching.
  • Water once a week with a good amount not just a little sprinkle.
  • Deadhead flowers as they fade.

Overwintering:

  • Once the first frosts have blackened the foliage, cut the plants back to the ground.
  • In well-drained soils or in mild parts of the country, you can keep your dahlias planted in the ground over winter, mulch them over deeply with 6-7cm (2.5″) of bark chips or compost to protect them from frost. In colder climates or heavier soils, lift and store your tubers over winter. Replant the following spring. 
  • If you are lifting and storing your dahlias for winter, ensure to clean off any soil and dry them before storing. Keep the corms in a cool, dry spot like a garage or shed.
  • If in pots, stop watering at the end of summer and bring them indoors for winter to protect against frost. Place back outside once the danger of winter frosts has passed. 

Lifting and Storing over winter:

  • Cut back foliage and carefully lift the tubers out of the soil.
  • Allow the tubers to dry off naturally and then clean away any soil. 
  • Trim the stems back to 15-20cm and cut off any fine roots.
  • Make sure the tubers are completely dry before storing them into open trays or boxes. Pack with dry compost or dry sand. Leave the crowns exposed. 
Lifted Dahlia tuber before cleaning and storing for winter.

Video on Planting Dahlias

https://youtu.be/bf9wx6RzhmI

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Lilies for cut flower

This question was asked by
Alistair H

Hi I am looking to plant some lilies for cut flowers. Could you advise on which are the best type for this purpose. I believe the ones my wife likes best are longiflorum type but are there other types that make good cut flowers ?

Thank you

Alistair

Hi Alistair

I would say they are all great for cut flower but maybe avoid the tree lilies are they are rather large with very thick stems. 
All the roselilies are gorgeous, stamen-free and carry a beautiful perfume. These would be my first choice for cut flower. 

The Hart Family

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