Dealing with Dahlias

May 15, 2017  
Filed under Feature Stories, Home & Garden

Dahlia Myrtles FollyWhen & Where to Plant

For best results, dahlias should be planted from mid-April through May for most areas with ground temperature reaching approximately 60 degrees. In general, about the same time you would plant your vegetable garden. Dahlias need a sunny location to thrive. An area that receives at least 8 hours of direct sunlight is best. Less sun equals taller plants and less blooms. Exception for hot climates, they will need morning sunlight, afternoon shade.

Dahlia Soft orange Mix_cvr

Soil Preparation & Planting

Ground should be warm, well drained at planting and in an open sunny location. If you have a heavier soil, add in sand, peat moss or bagged steer manure to lighten and loosen the soil texture for better drainage. Bone meal is ideal at planting time. Put a small handful in the hole and work in well before planting tuber. However, beware, animals are attracted to bone meal and may dig up your tubers. The PH level of your soil should be 6.5-7.0, slightly acidic. Do not amend dahlia beds with purchased top or potting mix soils. The dahlias will do much better for you when plant them in plain old dirt. Lay the tuber horizontally 4-6” deep, about 18” to 24” apart, and then cover with soil. If the ground is bone dry when you plant, go ahead and water sparingly to get them started. Wait to water in well until after the sprouts have appeared above the ground.

Mixed Dahlias - Longfield Gardens

Water, water, water…

Most areas have enough rain to fill dahlia water needs until the sprouts appear above the ground. After dahlias are established, a deep watering 2-3 times a week is required for at least 30-60 minutes with a sprinkler, more may be needed during warmer, dryer weather. Peaople in hotter climates will need to water more often as conditions require. Proper watering promotes proper blooming. Hand watering is not enough. They love lots of water during the growing season. Water, water, water….

 Growing information courtesy of Swan Island Dahlias. For more information on growing and caring for dahlias, visit


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