Planting Cuttings & Tubers
When your rooted cutting arrives, unpack it immediately and give the cutting a good drink. We recommend that you then pot this into a 9cm (or similar size) pot and grow it on until all risk of frost has passed when you can then plant it out.
Organic material is important for dahlias as they are a tuberous plant. Ideally, incorporate plenty of well rotted manure into the growing area as early in the year as possible.This gives time for winter weather to breakdown the material.
Ensure that all of the previous year's plant material is removed to prevent disease being carried forward. One month before planting the ground should be worked again to aerate the soil and break up any large clods.
Planting times vary depending on location. South of Birmingham planting can take place in mid May, further North planting should be delayed up to mid June. In any case young plants need protection from frost.
For individual plants, holes for planting should be 6 inches (15cm) deep 3 ft (90cm) apart. If it is planned to stake the plants, it is important that the stake is hammered into the ground at this stage to avoid damaging the tuber by running a stake through it.
Place the tuber in the hole laying longwise on its side, with the sprout or eye facing up. If the tuber has a sprout an inch long (2.5cm) or more, care should be given not to damage the fragile shoot. However, if this does happen, auxiliary eyes at the base of the broken shoot will grow.
If planting cuttings that have been grown on, or indeed tubers that you started in pots, carefully remove the plant from the pot and plant to the level of the root ball. Tie a name-tag on your stake to to help identify the Dahlias.
Once planting is complete and the bed marked out, a top dressing of a general purpose fertilizer such as Growmore or for those organic gardeners bone meal, is all that is required.
Gently work this into the top inch (2.5cm) of the ground & Water dry tubers well and keep them moist.
Your dahlia tuber can give you many years of summer flowers but you have to start at the beginning. Tubers which have been stored need to get hydrated before they will properly start to grow. Our suggestion is that you put your tubers in a bucket of water for 24 hours before planting.
We then always suggest planting in a pot and growing a young plant before planting out in the garden. Choose a pot that is appropriate for the tuber you have, probably a 2 or 3 litre pot. ¾ fill it with a proprietary compost, place the tuber on top with last year’s old stem facing upwards and then top up with compost around the tuber. Firm the tuber into the pot. The end result should have the tuber very close to the surface with last year’s stem just showing.
Water well and place in a warm bright place with no risk of frost. Keep the compost damp but not wet and you should see signs of growth within 2 weeks or so.
You can then grow the plant on and commence hardening off with a view to planting out perhaps in early June when all risk of frost has passed.
If you do want to plant directly into the garden then make sure the soil is well prepared and delay planting until probably mid- May so that any young shoots do not get affected by frost.
Make sure you do not plant too deep since this is the biggest cause of no performance of tubers.
In both cases protect against slugs and make sure you label your plant or mark you tuber if planted out directly.
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