Open the shipping package and examine its contents to make sure all the tubers that you ordered are there and in good condition. Dahlias
may be started indoors in individual pots with damp peat
moss and vermiculite, but
transplant them outdoors only after all danger of frost has passed for the season.
Select a sunny site with well-drained, sandy soil and space the tubers 12–36" apart, depending on how much space the variety requires. Dig a hole that is a bit larger than the approximately 2" needed to plant each
tuber. Amend the removed soil with peat moss or compost and then put about half of the amended soil back into the hole. Place a tuber, lying flat, into the hole and cover it with the remaining amended soil.
Water lightly if the soil is very dry. If soil is moist do not until the shoots appear. As the dahlias
grow, increase watering and stake the plants to provide them with support. Fertilize
Pinch and disbud dahlias
to encourage larger flowers and a longer blooming period. Buds tend to grow in threes; two-sided ones should be carefully pinched to develop the central bloom.
This is especially important
grown in borders or containers. If the plants are not pinched back, they will not retain their low, compact size.
If you live in a cold zone you will need to lift your dahlia tubers before winter. In the fall, after the frost kills the foliage, carefully dig up the tubers. Cut away the foliage and cut stalk 6” from the ground.
Dig carefully with a garden fork and loosen up the soil. Be careful not to damage the tuber. Gently lift the tuber out of the ground and brush off all the loose soil. You can divide your clumps at this stage or even
in the spring before you plant. Look carefully for the tubers “eyes” or little bumps and divide each tuber allowing each to have an “eye.” This will double your stock for next spring planting! Allow the tubers to dry
for 24 hours before storing them in shallow, plastic-lined boxes and covering them with a blanket of vermiculite or peat moss. Store them in a dark cool garage or basement avoiding moisture and frost. Lifting dahlias
is challenging work. If you decide not to lift the dahlias
you will need to buy new next year. This is your chance to try new varieties!