Dahlia bulbs, also known as dahlia tubers, are very low maintenance and a joy to plant and watch as they flourish in your garden.
They’ve only become more and more popular here in the UK, especially in recent years. Dahlias certainly flaunt their colours during summer and autumn. They come in a wide range of shades from delicate pastels to bright and vibrant hues. Naturally real floriferous, they’re also suitable for cutting, so you could say they’re very versatile, working perfectly in a variety of settings.
Dahlia bulbs are just fabulous, and another excellent example of horticultural magic. The plate types can grow a full four to 6 feet tall in isolated a couple of months while producing blooms almost a foot across. Underground, an equivalent supercharged feat is occurring. You do not necessarily have to plan to obtain your dahlia tubers at the top of the season; you will be impressed with what’s been happening under the soil surface, even all year round. As we discussed, they can be cut, so expect to seek out clumps of potato-like tubers which frequently are often divided into several pieces (and new plants) for next year’s garden. Even if you have a small garden, why not add a couple of dahlias? You will not be dissatisfied.
Growing these beautiful bulbs
In March (or early April at the latest), start your dahlias off in pots, be they rooted cuttings or tubers. If you’re using tubers that are in storage over winter, give them a radical inspection and stop any diseased or soggy pieces with a clean knife. You want them cut to be crisp and concise. If you’re planting a tuber, search for last year’s stems and plant with these to the highest. If you’re using rooted cuttings, gradually pot on, increasing the dimensions of the pot as your plant grows. You can then allow for sufficient growth. Keep the pots well watered and when your dahlias reach about 40cm tall, pinch out their growing tips just above a group of leaves. This may encourage them to expand.
If it’s a little colder than you like outdoors, you can, for ease, start them off indoors, in containers while soil warms up outside. To do so, in containers, lay tubers on their sides with the stems up and canopy with 2 inches of soil. Wait until you see new growth breaking through to the water. If you would like to keep the plants within the containers, choose more compact varieties before planting, and we would recommend you search for a 12-16 inch diameter container to plant the tubers.