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FAQs - Growing Dahlias

Posted by Shelby Gamache on
FAQs - Growing Dahlias

What do I do with my tubers once I receive them?

  • If you’re ready to plant, when your nights are above freezing and your ground is not overly wet, I recommend planting them as soon as possible. A good way to know if you’re ready to plant is to look up your hardiness zone. Be sure to plant after your freezing temperatures are gone. 
  • If you are not ready to plant because temperatures are still too low and your ground is still too wet, you can keep them in the packing material that they are in and store them in a cool dark place until you’re ready to plant. Some storage locations might be - against the interior wall in your garage, in an insulated outdoor shed, in a crawlspace or root cellar. You want to avoid freezing temperatures but also keep them cool so they don’t start sprouting or shrivel too much.
  • The third option would be to pot them up and get them going so they can have a head start when you are ready to plant. This isn’t necessary, but if you would like to get them going sooner it is a good option.
I can’t see an eye. Does that mean my tuber won’t grow?
  • Eyes can be very tricky to identify especially when they are still dormant. If you are new to dahlias, you can put your tuber in some potting soil, peat moss, or pine shaving and place it in a warm spot (possibly on top of your refrigerator) and it should start pushing an eye within a couple of weeks.
  • Eyes can look like small brown, purple or green bumps when they start to grow. You do not have to have a sprouting eye before you plant. The tuber can be planted with a dormant eye and will wake up and start growing once the ground temperatures above 55°. 
  • If there truly is no eye on your tuber it will not be able to produce a plant.

How do I plant tubers?

  • You want to find an area that has well-draining soil. Dahlias will grow in almost any soil, but they do grow better with well-draining soil and a sunny area that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. You’ll plant the tuber 4”- 6” deep and space each tuber about 12" apart. For more information on how to plant check out our planting 101 article.

When should I expect to see plants emerging from the ground after I plant?

  • Each dahlia variety is very different! It can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks to see growth emerging. Be patient, just because you see one variety pop up does not mean the other varieties will be up soon, or that anything is wrong with them. It is normal for growth to come up at different times. It can take the plants anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks to bloom, depending on the variety and the size of the bloom.

Do you amend your soil before planting?

  • Yes! We take a soil test every spring and get fertilizer and amendments according to the fertilizer recommendation from the soil test. Every soil is different and there is no universal answer to fertilizer.
  • Dahlias like a lot of organic matter and a slightly acidic soil of about 6.3 to 6.5 pH. They will still grow in almost any soil but slightly acidic soils is where they do best. 

Do you fertilize your dahlias?

  • Yes, I do fertilize my plants once they are above the ground. I have taken soil tests and I know that my soil is deficient in some of the essential micro nutrients, so I use a micro nutrient fertilizer to help the plants during the growing season. This may not be the case for everyone and I highly recommend taking a soil test before fertilizing.

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