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.
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