How To Plant Up Dahlia Tubers - Friday 2nd April
With the extra free days over the Easter weekend, now is the perfect time to pot up dahlias for a glorious late summer display of flowers. Dahlias are probably my favourite flower - they're easy to grow and care for and will provide you with multiple blooms which look good in the garden and in the vase from July to the first frosts. Their only drawbacks, in my opinion, are that they have no scent and that they're a bit of a slug magnet whilst they're small.
Dahlias come in a wide array of sizes and colours and have a range of flower shapes too. I grow lots of the 'single' varieties that have an open face with the centre clearly visible but I always squeeze in some of the small 'pompom' ones too, even though they have a 'closed' face, as they work well in vases. As we're now all trying to grow more flowers for the insects to feed on please choose some 'single' varieties for your garden so that the bees can get easy access to the centre because that's where they get the nectar and the pollen.
If you don't have any dahlias yet there's still time for a quick trip to the garden centre and a google search will reveal plenty online too (try Sarah Raven, although the website is deliciously tempting and I'm sure you'll end up buying more than a couple of dahlia tubers!).
When you see a dahlia tuber you can't quite believe that such a beautiful flower can come out of such dusty, ugly beginnings. The tubers resemble a bunch of dried up sausages or fingers - these are their food storage organs. They produce their new shoots from little buds (technically known as 'eyes') from the base of last year's stem, so that stalk (which is dry and hollow and looks completely unecessary) needs to face upwards when you plant them. If you haven't grown dahlias before and want to give it a try, I've done a little video to show you how.
Remember that they need protection from the frost, so keep them somewhere cool but sheltered until about mid May when you can plant them in the garden.
There's also a video if you dug up your tubers last autumn and have stored them carefully over the winter. There's the possibility that they grew and bulked up so much last summer that you can now split them into two! This is very exciting! Plants for free! Have a look and see if you can do it to yours...
Do drop me an email at hi@thriveyoga if you have any questions at all - I'm always happy to talk plants. Have a wonderful Easter and a lovely time in the garden.