Dahlias can be started indoors in
individual pots with damp peat moss and vermiculite. Use caution and make
sure all danger of frost has passed when transplanting them outdoors.
Choose a sunny site with well-drained, sandy soil. Dig a hole a little
larger than the 5 cm you'll need to plant the dahlia. Amend soil
with peat moss or compost. Replace about half the soil, then place tubers
flat and cover with remaining soil. Space tubers 30-90 cm apart depending
on variety. Water after planting and not again until shoots appear. Stake
plants and increase watering as they grow while fertilizing sparingly.
Pinch and disbud dahlias for later
and larger flowers. Buds tend to grow in threes; two-sided ones should be
carefully pinched to develop the central bloom. This is especially
important with border or containerized dahlias. If the
plants are not pinched back, they will not retain their compact size.
In areas with winter freeze, carefully dig the tubers in fall after the
frost kills the foliage. Cut the stalk approximately 15 cm above the tuber.
Dahlias should be
dried for only a couple of hours before storing in plastic-lined shallow
boxes with a blanket of vermiculite or peat moss. Hardy in zones 8-10.