Image by Fabien Lebre

HOW TO PLANT DAHLIAS

Don’t be in a hurry to plant, dahlias will struggle in cold soil. Ground temperature must reach 60°F . 

Dahlias are grown from tubers and not bulbs. Tubers have “eyes”.
Bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils can be planted in the fall when the ground is cold and wet.
Wait until all danger of spring frost is past before planting. 

PREPARING A PLANTING SITE
Dahlias grow and flower best in a well-drained, sunny site. Select a planting site with full sun. Dahlias grow more blooms with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. They love the morning sunlight best. Choose a location with a bit of protection from the wind. Dahlias thrive in rich, well-drained soil. Basic top soil is a good soil to use for dahlias. The pH level of your soil should be 6.5-7.0, slightly acidic. If you have a heavier (clay) soil, add in sand, peat moss, or aged manure to lighten and loosen the soil texture for better drainage.  

WATERING
DON’T WATER WHEN YOU PLANT !! 
Do not water until the sprouts appear above the ground. An exception would be an extremely dry climate where the soil would need moisture added. Dahlia tubers are susceptible to rot after planting, especially in soggy, wet soils. At first, it’s best to keep the soil on the dry side, rather than the wet side. When you see the sprout above the soil, begin watering 2-3 times per week with a deep soaking 30-45 minutes.


FERTILIZING
Dahlias benefit from a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer such as a 5-10-10. Fertilize after sprouting and then every 4 weeks from mid-summer until early Autumn. DO NOT over-fertilize, or you risk small/no blooms, weak tubers, or rot. 


WEED CONTROL
Hand weeding is the only type of weed control you should use. 


PESTS &  PROBLEMS
SLUGS LOVE DAHLIAS !!  Especially as they are emerging from the soil. Use the slug bait of your choice until your dahlias are at least 12″ tall.
DEER  DON’T like dahlias. EARWIGS – Not much can be done about earwigs. You can spray insecticidal soap. 


PINCHING YOUR DAHLIAS
To promote a compact, bushy plant with more blooms, pinch out the center growing tip right above the 4th or 5th full set of leaves,  when the dahlia is 18″ – 24″ in height. This will create a stronger, more manageable plant with more blooms.  

It will also make the plant less top heavy to where you have a need for staking.



Enjoy your dahlias!! 

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