How to Plant Dahlia Bulbs

Dahlias bring color to summer and fall gardens. image by Tarie:


Dahlias bring color to your garden in late summer and fall when other flowers have stopped blooming. These multi-petal flowers come in a variety of colors to choose from. Considered a summer bulb, dahlias actually grow from short root sections called tubers. While simple to grow, the plants won't survive frost. Plan to plant the tubers once all danger for frost in your area has passed in the spring. Prepare the garden bed in the fall so you will have minimal preparation in the spring.

Step 1

Choose an area with full sun or full morning sun and afternoon shade. Work compost or peat moss into the garden bed. Till the soil to loosen to a depth of at least 10 inches.

Step 2

Dig planting holes 8 inches deep and space them 18 inches apart.

Step 3

Hammer a 4-foot garden stake into the soil behind each planting hole. Do this before planting the tubers to avoid damaging them.

Step 4

Place tuber in the bottom of the hole horizontally with the sprout side facing up. Fill the hole back up with the soil.

Step 5

Apply a 5-10-10 fertilizer to the soil 4 weeks after planting the dahlias after leaves have begun to appear on the shoots.

Step 6

Water dahlias one to two times weekly when there is no natural rainfall or moisture. Too much watering will cause the tuber to rot.

Step 7

Tie the dahlia stem to the stake when it reaches 12 inches tall with garden ties. Continue tying every 18 inches as it continues to grow.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not water tubers after planting. Plant in a protected area if not staking as wind will break the stems. Weed regularly and do not mulch to prevent powdery mildew.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Hoe
  • Spade
  • Stakes
  • Mallet
  • Garden ties
  • Fertilizer


  • JRG Dahlias
  • Flower Gardening Made Easy
Keywords: dahlia bulb planting, summer tubers, fall flowers

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo by: Tarie: