My friend Deb for years now has grown the most beautiful dahlias. Raised beds upon raised beds dance with dahlias, zinnias and among other blooms in her cutting garden. This spring, I was inspired to try dahlias in my garden. It was Longfield Gardens once again that gave me a boost. They generously sent me some dahlia tubers to put into the ground.
I planted the tubers after Memorial Day. The danger of frost had passed. In they went, all 20 something of them and then I watered and waited. It took a few weeks for those buds to emerge from the ground. Then over the following weeks I’ve watched healthy tall plants grow. As they grew, I staked them eagerly awaiting blooms. If dahlias are not staked then the stalks can become damaged from the weight of the blooms. Some blooms are so large they are the size of dinner plates!
This is a dinner plate variety of dahlia is called “Mom’s Special”. Surprisingly dahlias are very simple to grow. The dahlias are planted in the ground only a few inches deep. They prefer soil that drains well. They also like full sun.
They require regular watering but like to dry out in between. Otherwise the tubers can rot.
I feed them with a liquid fish emulsion fertilizer every few weeks. Cape Cod critters that love to bother them include Japanese and Oriental beetles, slugs, and even earwigs. For the beetles and earwigs I pick them off one by one and crush them. I use crushed eggshells for the slugs around the base of the plants.
The dahlias will continue to bloom until the first frost. Then the tubers should be pulled from the ground and stored in a safe dry cool place until next spring when they are ready to be planted again.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest