Plant dahlia tubers in the spring
image by MUmland: morguefile.com
Gardeners looking for a striking flower that will shine brightly in a flowerbed often add dahlias to their landscapes. Dahlias range from short dwarf varieties that are ideal for the front location in a flowerbed to tall giant blooms that may be as much as 10 inches in diameter. Dahlias bloom reliably throughout the majority of the growing season and are not difficult to grow in a sunny location with average soil.
Select a growing site in the autumn that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. More sun means more dahlia blooms. Add 1 to 2 inches of compost to the top of the soil and work it into the soil. Allow the growing site to sit this way over the winter months.
Work the soil again in the spring when the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Till the soil down to a depth of 6 to 10 inches. Add 3 to 5 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet to the top of the soil and work it into the soil with the spade.
Plan your planting arrangement. Group colors together, if you like, and make sure that you place shorter dahlias in front of taller ones. Space the tubers between 18 and 24 inches apart (short varieties closer together and taller varieties farther apart). Space the rows 3 to 5 feet apart.
Dig the holes approximately 5 inches deep. If you will be staking tall dahlias, pound in a stake beside the newly dug hole. The stake should be about 5 feet tall.
Place the tubers into the prepared holes with the eyes facing up. Often tubers will have growth beginning on them in the spring. If this is the case, handle these tubers very carefully so you do not damage the growth. Place 4 to 5 inches of soil over the tubers and pat it down firmly.
Skip watering dahlia tubers after planting. Do not water newly planted dahlias until you see green growth emerge from the soil. At this point, water the dahlias once every two to three days. Keep the dahlias evenly watered throughout the growing season by watering deeply instead of superficially watering just the surface of the soil.