Dahlias are truly stunning flowers which can grow a few inches if kept in a pot, all the way to a few feet if cultivated in the correct garden environment. They come in rich reds, bright oranges, deep purples, and then of course there’s the candy cane striped ones, one’s with pale centres and bright tips, and ones that seem to have several colours in their petals at once.
Dahlias are truly beautiful and can take a garden from pretty to incredible in just a few vibrant blooms.
Generally, Dahlias are very easy to grow. They will thrive in a wide variety of different soil types in a wide range of different environments. However, they are happiest when they are planted in nutrient rich, fertile soil that is well drained.
They also love to be completely drenched in the sun (don’t we all!) and should never be planted when there’s still a danger of a frost, as it will kill them straight away.
Generally, the best time for planting Dahlias is between May and June, however in the South of the UK planting can be done a little earlier, and in the North of the country a little later to allow for a different in seasonal temperatures. Here’s how to protect your Dahlias.
For Best Results…
Try to get the soil you are planting the Dahlias in extremely fertile if possible.
Look at digging in plenty of mulch well before planting and use natural fertilisers to build up the nutrients in the soil.
Make sure tubers are planted in the position they will flower in, at around 5 inches deep.
Take care to pinch off any shoots to encourage the plant to be bushy, rather than long and straggly (similar to how you train a tomato plant).
Make sure you provide them with lots of water and plenty of potassium rich plant food once fortnightly once they come into bloom.
When To Protect Dahlias For Winter
When the first frosts come, allow them to blacken the visible foliage before you cut the plants into the ground. The tubers should remain in the ground and be covered with a 6 inch layer of material to protect them from the frost.
The material can be ground sheeting, although this isn’t necessary. For best results look at laying down nutrient rich compost. If the area you live in is particularly cold, consider taking the tubers out and keeping them stored in a warmer place like the shed.
To do this you will need to be very careful as not to harm them. Trim the foliage right down and use a tool or garden fork to push the plants out of the soil, taking care not to break any roots. Let the plants dry naturally and then carefully rub away any soil left on them.
Trim the stems down to around 6 inches and take care to let the tubers dry completely if you have washed them. Once they are dry, trim any very small roots and place them in trays with sand or compost (no water) which cover the roots but leave the tops exposed. Make sure to cover the trays with insulation material or newspaper if the weather gets particularly cold.
Although Dahlias might take a little more care than other plants in Winter, they are very easy to grow in Summer and once they start blooming you’ll know all the effort has been worth it!