How To Grow and Store Dahlia Bulbs for Heavy Flowering
Dahlia bulbs are a member of the daisy family and this Mexican plant has easily won the hearts of gardeners around the world. These, along with glads, lilies and begonia make up the most popular of the summer flowering bulbs.
And just to impress you with the botany of this plant, you will be hard pressed to find original dahlia bulbs because after nearly 200 years of selecting and hybridizing, we have hundreds of plants to choose from but youd have to look very hard for the original species.
Dahlia bulbs are not winter hardy and cannot tolerate frost. The first frost sees them go black very fast. Only plant outdoors in the spring after the last spring night frost. Here are more instructions on planting dahlias
Once you've grown them, you may find it useful to read about storing dahlia bulbs
'Gallery Pablo' and indeed all shorter dahlia make excellent container plants
Aim to have the tuber (no matter how large) with a maximum of 2-inches of soil over top of it. (you can squeeze by with a touch more but not
too much) Deeper plantings will reduce the flowering.
Smaller or dwarf varieties can be planted so that only 1 inch of soil is over top of the tuber.
Plant the tubers so they are roughly 12-18 inches apart for larger/taller varieties and 8-12 inches apart for shorter, dwarf varieties.
This plant wants a full sun location. The more sunshine, the better it flowers. It needs sunshine by 10 am to produce a full crop of flowers.
Get More Flowers By Doing This
To get a jump on spring, some gardeners pot up their dahlia bulbs indoors 6 weeks before they want to plant them outdoors.
Pinch off the main growing tips three weeks after you plant to increase the bushiness of the growing plant. Youll see many more stems develop and tons more flowers. And these flowers should be deadheaded (cut off the flower and its stem) as this seems to make the tuber produce more flowers. (and we all want more flowers dont we?)
Flower colour: nearly all colours are available
Flowering period: July - October
Planting depth to base of bulbs: 5 - 7 cm above the top of the tuber
Spacing between bulbs: depends on the type of dahlia (average is 5-7 per square yard or metre-squared)
Type of bulb: tuberous root
Light requirements: sunny, the more the better. Dahlia bulbs need sunshine by 10 am to produce a full crop of flowers.
Wintering - not frost resistant so have to be dug and stored cool and dry for the winter.
Storing Dahlia Bulbs
Storing dahlia bulbs successfully means following a few simple rules.
The first is to harvest the dahlia just before or immediately after they have been frosted. If the blackened stems are allowed
to rot down to the ground, then the dahlia tuber will be damaged and wont overwinter. If the dahlia tuber is frosted, it will likely turn to mush.
If the bulb does develop some rotting over the winter (you do check on them every few weeks don't you?) then cut the rotting area away from
the tuber and dust the open cut with sulphur.
Cool but frost-free area
Storing this tuber is done successfully in a cool but frost- free area. A heated basement is too hot and an unheated garage where it freezes
or almost freezes is similarly not a good idea.
Remember that this is a tropical plant and getting it too cold will stop if from storing properly. Too high a heat will simply kick it
into growth too early and youll lose it this way (if it doesnt rot first).
Try to keep them fairly dry as moisture will rot them. Ive had good luck with hanging them in an old sack, burying them in dry peat moss
(although they sometimes like to grow too early if buried in other growing media) and storing on a screen with air circulating around them.
Landscaping With Dahlia bulbs
Dahlia are long blooming plants so they combine very well in perennial borders. Their exotic looking flowers and brilliant colors act to carry the perennial border over any non-flowering periods. Theres a color and size to match almost every garden design. See below.
The smaller dahlia bulbs are excellent container plants and do very well in mixed pots. There they bloom almost all summer requiring only weekly feeding to keep them going. Look for Mignon, Top-Mix, Dahlietta, Dahlstar, Dahlinova, and Gallery dahlias, as well as all other low-growing dahlias with compact habits to really brighten up your balcony garden or patio garden.
Dahlia bulbs can be grown as potted plants and these receiving a great deal of interest; you can now grow these the same way you can buy potted chrysanthemums. You can also order these dahlias from specialty growers and do the same thing grow them in pots for your balcony or patio.
'City of Rotterdam'
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