Whether you're a Carrie or a Samantha, whatever your taste, you can find a Dahlia to suit you. With this guide, you can learn to take care of it as well!
Once a plant that you’d only ever see on a vegetable patch, dahlias have become much loved garden specimens that fill borders and pots with vibrant colour. They come in an enormous range of varieties so you can always find the perfect plant to suit your tastes and as long as you take care to over-winter them, you’ll have swathes of beautiful flowers year after year.
Dahlias are not too fussy and will generally thrive in any sunny and well-drained position. They often need some slug protection and are best started off in pots for this reason. They also need to be overwintered away from harmful frosts.
It takes one hour per 10 plants.
Planting dahlias should start after the last frosts have finished and you should place dahlia tubers 10cm deep in pots with richly organic compost. As shoots emerge and plants establish themselves, pinch out a few growing tips to encourage bushiness.
Once plants are growing well, transfer them to their final growing spot and ensure that the soil has been enriched with a general purpose fertiliser. If you're growing taller varieties, stake plants by tying stems loosely to canes.
When the first buds appear, give plants a potash liquid fertiliser feed every two weeks and ensure that the soil is well watered.
Remove flowers as they die to encourage new buds to form and prolong the flowering season.
Protecting from frost
When the first frosts blacken foliage, it’s time to lift dahlia tubers and store them.
Use a fork to lift tubers out of the soil, and trim stems back to 15cm. Wash off any soil around the roots and place tubers on newspaper to fully dry out.
Carefully transfer dahlias onto a shallow bed of sand in a frost free place, covering them so that just the crown is exposed and overwinter in a cool area.