|How to plant and grow dahlias|
Most Dahlias are bought in the spring as pre-pack sections of tuberous roots and these are very easy to deal with if you want to start them off early. If this is something you intend to do then do so no more than six weeks before planting out, but make sure that the threat of late spring frosts is over first.
Pot these root sections on into John Innes No.1 at a depth of about six inches - laying them down horizontally. Unlike most other plants it is important NOT to water them in - if you have done so by accident they will need to be placed into a warm environment for the compost to dry out, otherwise the tubers will rot. Label them and place them back into a cool but frost-free area and once the new growth begins to appear they can be moved on into a bright position - but not in direct sunlight - until the foliage has a chance to harden off. Then they can be planted outside into a free-draining soil located in a bright, sunny location . If you live in a hot Mediterranean climate then they will do better in just the morning sun preferring shade in the afternoon.
As plants near their flowering period you may wish to remove some of the juvenile flowering buds as this can improve flower size and stems. Feed your plants fortnightly with a high potash fertilizer as soon as your plants begin to flower as this will help with further flower initiation. It is also important to deadhead any flowers that are past their best to encourage the next generation of flower buds. If this isn't done the plant will form seed heads and stop flowering. Keep tying the plants in until the end of the season.
Main image credit - Loïc Evanno https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
For related articles click onto the following links:
DAHLIA 'Bishop of Llandaff'
DAHLIA PESTS AND DISEASES
DAHLIA 'War of the Roses'
HOW TO GROW ANTIRRHINUMS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW DAHLIAS
HOW TO GROW DAHLIAS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW THE TREE DAHLIA - Dahlia imperialis
HOW TO OVERWINTER DAHLIAS
HOW TO OVERWINTER DAHLIA TUBERS
HOW TO PROPAGATE DAHLIAS
THE HISTORY OF THE DAHLIA