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How to Grow Dahlias

How to grow dahlias:  I do love my dahlias. They are so beautiful in my summer gardens. But first I have to plant them into my spring garden if I want any lovely dahlia blooms in my summer garden.
Now I am sure that some of you are looking at that beautiful yellow dahlia and wondering if you could possibly grow something that big and beautiful. Yes, you can. I will teach you how to grow dahlias as beautiful as that.  Now get out to the garden center and get some Dahlia tubers before the good ones are all gone. That’s right Dahlias grow from tubers, not seeds.  I am going to get out those dahlia tubers that I put away last fall.  Here is a good online grower that I have had good success with the tubers I’ve purchased from them.  


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Think small ugly fingerling potatoes with stems on them. In the case of some dahlia tubers think big giant oblong potatoes. That is what a dahlia tuber looks like.
I have a big stack of crates filled with dahlia tubers in my garage. Yup that stack of crates that I had to walk around all winter. Those crates made me smile and remind myself they hold the promise of all those dreamy dahlias to come. I put those crates in the garage after I filled them with the dahlia tubers I dug up last fall.  I couldn’t leave the tubers in the ground all winter because they would freeze and turn to mush come spring.  Then I wouldn’t have had any dahlia’s the next year.

Now let’s get digging Even though the thermometer dips in the 20s at night the tubers will be safe and snuggly in the dirt. I plant the tubers as soon as the ground is thawed enough to easily dig.
Bugle please: (I fired the drummer)
Let’s open the crates up and see how they survived their time packed away. This is the time to inspect the clumps of tubers and remove any tubers that are damaged or unhealthy looking and discard them. Please don’t compare those little tubers you bought to these big ugly looking creatures. If you do, you will be wondering why does your tuber looks so tiny. Each of these huge clumps started as a baby tuber just like the one you bought. Each year the tuber grows and multiplies so after a few years it has grown into a big ugly creature just like mine.

I couldn’t resist the daffodil picture. They were hanging out next to where I was planting the dahlias.
Now is the time to plan out how you want to arrange the Dahlias in your flower gardens. Decisions, decisions, if you only have a few tubers, then the hardest decision you have is what piece of prime garden real estate will show them off the best? I will often plant like colors together and will do a pink, white, and purple garden. Or a red, yellow and orange garden. Remember they will all be beautiful, and each plant will become a showpiece of beauty and source of cut flowers all summer and fall.

How to grow dahlias – Up next hole preparation: First though:  Don’t you just love that half and half dahlia? I thought might.  Now back to getting that hole dug.  This is when you show that tuber love. Get your loving started by digging a hole that is at least twice the size of the tuber. A good shovel full of dirt removed makes a sweet sized hole. Put the tuber in the hole and fill that hole with composted organic matter or peat moss. The top of the tuber will be just below the surface of the soil. 

Now is an excellent time to place some posts or support around where you planted the tuber. That way if the neighbors’ dog decides to dig it up you will know where you put all that good dahlia love. You will also need to know where to replant it. Seriously it will need the extra support when it grows up. My dahlias grow to be over 6 feet tall and are happiest if they are well supported. If you support them, they will reward you with beautiful flowers for cutting and arranging. They might even be lovely enough to give as gifts or enter in a flower show

Pop on over to my social media sites where you’ll find exclusive Doctor Jo’s pictures of what’s new in my gardens. Also, what new recipes I’m creating in my kitchen. I love your comments. So let me know what you think in the Leave a Reply section at the end of this blog. Please leave your first name at the end of your comment so I can reply to you by name.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Which is the top of the tuber

  2. growwithdoctorjo

    The top of the tuber is the end that is flat. Think of it as a long skinny radish. The root is the tapered end with a “tail” If you look at the above picture of the ground next to the picture of me, you will see what looks like several flat discs on the ground. These are the tops of the tubers that were planted level with the ground.

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