Planting and Caring for Dahlia
Dahlia Care: How To Grow A Dahlia Plant
If you have ever been to a state fair, you have probably seen a pavilion filled with exotic and amazing dahlia blossoms. These hugely varietal flowers are a collector’s dream, with little starburst blooms to plate sized flowers in every hue imaginable. Dahlias are relatively sturdy plants if grown in the right lighting, heat, and soil. Care of dahlia flowers may vary dependent upon your zone, but here are a few dahlia growing tips to help you get maximum blooms and healthy, bushy plants.
How to Grow a Dahlia Plant
Dahlias are classified according to flower shape and petal arrangement. The plants are borne from tubers, which require well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.
Select healthy tubers of a variety that does well in your zone. The outside of the tuber should be firm with no mold or rotten spots. Prepare the garden bed. These plants prefer well-drained, acidic loam but will grow relatively well in any soil as long as it isn’t soggy.
Dig down 8 to 12 inches (20.5 to 30.5 cm.) and add compost to increase the porosity and nutrient density since dahlias are big feeders. A good dahlia growing tip is to take this time to incorporate 2 pounds per 100 square feet (1 kg. per 9.5 sq. m.) of a 5-10-15 fertilizer.
Small plants can be spaced 12 inches (30.5 cm.) apart, but the big dahlias need to be planted 3 feet (1 m.) apart to accommodate the large bushes. Lay the tuber sprout-side up 3 inches (7.5 cm.) deep in a trench and cover it over with the prepared soil.
Dahlias need to be kept weed free. Use organic mulch around the plants to prevent weeds and conserve moisture.
Pinch back the terminal buds when the plant is 15 inches (38 cm.) tall to enforce good branching and structure and increase budding.
Water very sparingly until the dalia start producing leaves. After that, provide plenty of water to your plants. Water plants deeply once or twice per week. Big dahlias need a support structure to keep the heavy blooms from bending to the ground.
Fertilize monthly with water soluble fertilizer or twice during the growing season use ½ cup (240 mL.) 5-10-10 scattered around the root zone of the plants.
Caring for Dahlia Plants in Winter
Dahlias are hardy to zone 8 and will survive if cut back and mulched heavily. Pull away the mulch in spring to allow new shoots to come up. In cooler zones, tuners need to be stored inside until spring.