I was strolling through our local grocery store, when I spotted the most beautiful display of packaged Dahlia tubers. They came in all different sizes and colors. Dahlias are one of my favorite flowers. I quickly snatched my favorites off the shelf. That should have been enough but I couldn’t help myself and ended up buying more at the San Francisco Garden Show. I ended up with a grand total of eight new dahlias. Come June, my side yard is going to be bursting with Dahlias.
Location: Typically, dahlias grow best in full sun. In zone 9, we have extremely hot summers and I find they do best in partial shade. Plant in an area that drains well. Prepare the soil by removing rocks or in my case dog rawhide from the space. Add compost or bulb fertilizer to enrich to soil.
Planting: Plant after all risk of frost has past. Dig a hole about a foot deep. Place the tuber flat with any growth pointing upwards. Spacing depends on the size of the flowers. Bigger dahlias should be placed two to three feet apart. While smaller, dwarf varieties can be spaced a foot apart. Larger varieties will require a stake to keep them from drooping and to protect them from the wind. Dahlias will not require a lot of watering until they start to bloom. Water thoroughly once they start to appear. Dead head spent blooms to keep them blooming. They make great cut flowers and last quite a while in vase.
Problems: The biggest problem I have had with Dahlias is slugs and snails. They can cause a lot of damage especially when the plants are just starting to grow. You can remove them by hand or apply an organic product like Sluggo.
Where to buy: