Wednesday, 9 October 2013

HOW TO PLANT DAHLIA TUBERS


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Dahlias are fantastic plants and are often the star plants of a later summer border. Whether its big, blousy blooms, vibrant colour clashes or more subtle complimentary flower heads Dahlias have it all. There are so many varieties to choose from that there must be a Dahlia for every garden. They make wonderful cut flowers too. 


Dahlias are prolific flowering plants. If planted in a sheltered spot Dahlias will flower from mid summer until nearly Christmas. I have planted a Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff in my exotic border as the vibrant red provides a zingy, exotic looking accent to the border. It has been flowering its socks off all summer and still looks fantastic in Autumn. One day in October I counted over 60 single blooms on a single plant. 

Dahlias can be expensive to buy from a garden centre as a pot grown plant. The most inexpensive way to bring Dahlias to your garden is to but them as tubers and plant them up in the spring. 

Dahlia tubers are swollen root structures which store energy for the plant. This tuber supports the growth of new foliage and roots, or provides additional support to the plant during tough times. The roots become swollen with stored nutrients which will enable a new plant to develop, much like the role of a seed. The growing point on a tuber is called an 'eye' or bud. 

Dahlia tubers are tender so plant them out direct into the soil in late spring after the risk of frost has passed. Dahlias require a sunny spot with fertile, well drained soil. Dig a hole to a depth of 30 cm by 30 cm wide and incorporate grit and compost to the bottom of the planting hole. Place the tuber in the hole in an upright position, back fill with a mixture of compost and soil and water well. Plant your Dahlias out at about 75 cm apart, depending on variety. 


You may wish to get a head start on the season and can pot the Dahlias up into containers when the weather is still too cold to plant directly outside (February). Select a three litre pot and fill the bottom 5 cm with compost, then place the tuber on to and fill around it with additional soil until you reach 2 cm from the top of the pot. Water gently and place in a frost free place. Water the compost to prevent the dahlia from drying out. Plant out in the garden when the frosts have passed.

For related articles click onto:
Can you keep bees in your garden?
Drainage
Feeding plants
Herbaceous borders
How do I attract bees into my garden?
How to build a cold frame
How to plant Dahlia tubers
How to make compost
How to grow geraniums
How to propagate using division
How to propagate by grafting
How to propagate from seed
Manuring
Preparing a seed bed
Potagers
Soil structure
Watering plants
What is a potager?

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