Thank you for supporting Eastward Gardens! Please know we are here to help make your dahlia growing experience the best. If you have any questions or needs please email us at [email protected] with subject Questions About Dahlias or call Michelle at 502-744-2942.
Dahlias are a late summer to fall flower, with each plant producing a lot of blooms. You want to plant tubers once you know the frost in your zone is no longer a threat. Choose a spot that drains well, tubers will rot easily if they are in a spot that holds water or puddles. Dahlia tubers are best planted 12 inches apart in row with a range of 4-6 inches deep. It is my understanding that the deeper you plant the tuber the better tuber production you will get. Make sure the eye is facing up when you plant the tuber and then cover with soil. You will not need to water until you see the first green leaves appear. It is best to set up drip irrigation if possible so that once the plant is growing you can consistently water once per week or more if needed depending on the weather.
Once you see 2-3 sets of leaves on the plant I recommend pinching the plant. Pinching the center growth leaving 2-3 sets of leaves will force the plant to branch more, making a more robust vigorous plant that will produce more flowers.
It is a must that you are prepared to stake your dahlia plants as they grow tall and top heavy with the buds and blooms. One wind or rain storm can blow them over and even break there stems. Because we grow 100 dahlias per row with 2 rows per bed we use a staking method called the Florda weave. We pound T-post into the ground every 20 feet and take baling twine using the figure eight patterns between T-post which holds them up nicely, giving them the support they need to not fall over. If you are only planting a few in an area you can individually stake each plant to give it the support that it needs.
Your dahlias will produce flowers until the frost. It is best to harvest the blooms early morning or in the early evening as to not be in the full heat of the day. Flowers should be at least 3/4 of the way open because they will not open more once they are in the vase. When harvesting check the back of the flower to make sure it is not starting to fade. You will find that the more you pick the blooms the more flowers the plants will produce. Also, the more aggressively you pick, meaning cutting the flower so that it has a long stem, the more branching will happen and the bigger you plant will grow. If you have a variety that starts off short, typically if you pick hard and low on the branches you will force the plant to make longer stems. Dahlias store well in a cooler and we find it is best to harvest every day or every other day and while harvesting it is important to deadhead any blooms that are past, unless you are wanting to save seeds for breeding purposes. If you do not deadhead this will cause the plant to put it’s energy into making seeds instead of putting all that energy into making flowers.
Saving Your Tubers:
Each tuber planted will produce more tubers that will be true to the original “mother tuber” you planted. Once the frost has killed the plant it is a good idea to wait a week or two before digging them up. This allows the tubers time to cure and thicken their skin for better storage. However, you must also make sure to dig them before the ground that they are in freezes solid. The first few frosts of the season are usually not so cold that it freezes the ground. You will need to watch the weather to determine your window to make sure they have time to cure but do not freeze in the ground which will destroy them. Once you dig your tuber clump you can leave the dirt around the clump to hold in moisture and store in crates until you have time to wash them off and divide them. Once they are divided you can store them in sawdust or wood shavings. They prefer 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit in storage. we store ours in our basement. I recommend watching a video on dividing tubers if you have never done this. You must make sure that each tuber has an “eye” or it will not produce a plant.
If you receive a dahlia tuber that does not have a visible eye or that does not sprout we will refund your money. If you plant your tuber and in about one month time you do not see anything sprouting out of the ground we recommend that you dig up the tuber. If the tuber fails to grow because of improper storage, environmental causes outside of our control such as damage due to pests, rotting due to poor soil, poor drainage, excess watering, or negligent plant care then we are not responsible for refunding your money.