Dahlias are colorful blooms to your garden and are related to the family of daisy, sunflower, chrysanthemum and zinnia. Dahlias are usually planted during the spring season and the soil has to be warm enough to a temperature of 55 – 60 degrees. This article will talk about the ways and tips to plant and care for dahlias ensuring a lovely blossom of this flower throughout the season.
- Dahlias cannot grow in cold soil; the ground temperature should be at least 60°F. Rich, well grained soil and the ph level should be 6.5-7.0, slightly acidic. You can additionally loosen the soil for better drainage.
- The spot for growing dahlias should have enough of sunlight. Dahlias need more that 6 to 8 hours of sunlight; windy location is not preferred.
- The dahlia beds should be parted by 9 to 12 inches apart. The smaller ones should be spaced two feet; while the larger ones can be three feet apart.
- Place 5-6 feet tall stakes that will support the plants and help in growth.
- Do not water the plants immediately after planting.
- Use slug and snail bait that keeps away pests.
Ways to Care for Dahlias
- Do not water the soil unless the dahlia plant starts appearing. Overwatering dahlias encourage rot; you can deep water the plant thrice a week for half an hour with the help of a sprinkler (if the climate is excessively dry and hot).
- Use low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer in the ratio of 5-10-10 or 10-20-20. Fertilize the plant only after they have sprouted and then once after every 4 weeks until early autumn. Do not use excessive fertilizers though!
- Be careful with the big dahlias before and after rainfall, open blooms usually fill up the water and get rotten easily.
- To avoid the slugs and snails, keep baiting from 2 weeks post planting until the end of the season. Spray at regular intervals to avoid spidermites.
- If you stay in extreme cold weathers, start digging up the tubers during the early fall and keep them stored over the winter season.
- Keep the tubers clean by gently shaking off the soil; cut the rotten ones off the clump. You can also store tubers in a frost free place that is well ventilated and has temperature of 35 to 50 degrees F.
- Once the winter is approaching, make sure you freeze the dahlia stalks in the garden itself as the skin starts thickening.
- Storage should be done loose in paper bags or in cardboard boxes lined wrapped with newspaper. The storage temperature for winter should always be 40-50 degrees.
Dahlias need significant care and maintenance much more than other garden plants. However, the hard work invested will show up in colorful blooms in the coming seasons as well. The basic tip of growing dahlias is the more you cut the stems, the more they will bloom.