Q&As/Bulbs and Tubers/Growing Dahlia Flowers

Question

Over winter we dug up our dahlias and kept them in dry place in sawdust. We prepared the soil with sheep pellets and pot ash. Then in mid-April we planted them, but only eight came up. Some were rotten, others had no sprouts. Where did we go wrong?

Answer

It can be frustrating when you have disappointing results in the garden.  However there are a few things to consider that could have caused the problem, for example; the tubers may have been planted too deep, been overwatered or planted in soil that is too wet. 

Dahlias don’t like having wet feet and prefer a sunny position with free draining soil.  If your soil is particularly heavy, then mix in some Daltons sand or Daltons Garden Mix to your soil to ensure its nice and light and free draining.  Another option is to plant your Dahlias into raised beds where you have more control over the soil and fill the site with Daltons Premium Flower Bed Mix or Daltons Garden Mix.

Ensure tubers are in good shape before planting; check that they are healthy looking, disease free, and throw out any that are wrinkly, or have in some way rotten whilst in storage.  Don’t plant your Dahlia tubers too deep; aim for no more than 60-70cm.   

Tubers are like bulbs and the green foliage on top needs to have died off completely before lifting them out of the ground and storing them.  Sometimes people cut the neck of the tuber (top where it comes out of the ground) too low and they often wont sprout the following season – allow a 20-30mm neck at the top of the tuber.

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