Planting a Dahlia Tuber

 

Dahlias prefer sunny, well ventilated locations. The more sunlight, the more flowers there will be. A MINIMUM of 6 hours of sunlight a day is required for abundant flowering. When placed in a more shaded environment, they tend to produce longer and more brittle stems.

 

Dahlia sunlight requirements

Dahlias prefer sunny, well ventilated locations. The more sunlight, the more flowers there will be. A MINIMUM of 6 hours of sunlight a day is required for abundant flowering. When placed in a more shaded environment, they tend to produce longer and more brittle stems. However, there are varieties that seem to fit this kind of exposure. This is to try different varieties to select those that fit your type of terrain. Dwarf or border varieties usually succeed better in shadier conditions.

 

Dahlia soil requirements

Before planting your tuber or potted plant, you must make sure your soil is suitable. Dahlias thrive in rich soil with good drainage. If you have sandy soil, adding compost is a great way to help retain water and nutrients, as well as give it a good airy texture. For a more clay-type soil, simply adding compost again (but with some sand) will help with drainage. A pH of 6.5 to 7 is ideal.

 

Planting your dahlia tuber or bulb

You can plant the tubers or bulbs when soil temperature is between 10-15 ° C and the risk of frost has passed, usually around mid-May. At planting time, you must make a hole 4 "to 6" (10-15cm) deep. Many recommend a handful of bone meal to promote rooting, but some animals are very attracted by the smell (dogs, skunks) and may wreak havoc on your tubers. If you choose a mineral fertilizer, you need to mix it thoroughly with the soil so as not to cause burns during root development.

 

Place the tuber horizontally in the hole with the buds pointing upwards. Cover with about 1"-1.5" (2 to 3 cm) of soil and do not fill the hole. Wait for the stem and first leaves to appear before watering, or water lightly if the soil is very dry. It may cause rot if you keep the soil too wet. The first leaves should appear 2 to 4 weeks after planting. You can fill the hole after the stem has pierced the ground level.

When planting the tubers, some may have sprouts/shoots that are too long. It is a good idea to fold them at about 1" (2.5cm), and if possible above a node (darker line on the stem). This will help the plant to produce a more robust stem. Space your tubers 12" (30cm) for small dahlias and up to 24" (60cm) for the larger varieties.

 

Staking (supporting) your dahlias

It is strongly recommended that dahlias over 36" (90cm) should be supported by stakes, like tomato plants. The best time to start staking is at planting - you can position a little popsicle stick 2"- 3" (5 to 8cm ) near future buds. This will indicate the location for the stake later in the season and avoid injury to the tuber when you place it.

 

Watering

As explained above - under most conditions, do not water until the first leaves appear as tubers are fragile and may easily succumb to rot and decay. During spring, the soil is usually moist enough to properly hydrate your tubers without the need for additional watering.

Once the first leaves appear, you can start watering. The more leaves appear and grow larger, the greater the surface area in which evaporation (evapotranspiration) occurs and the greater the need for water. One "good soak" a week is better than 6-7 surface waterings. An under-watered plant will tell you in two ways, either by withered leaves or the stems supporting buds will tend to curve.


Watering quantity and frequency will also depend on climate (heat, rain) and soil texture.

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