|Beautiful dahlias like these are easy to grow.|
Dahlias are great for beginning gardeners. It's easy to grow beautiful dahlias with no experience.
With dahlias, it's location, location, location. Dahlias grow most happily in full sun, although they'll tolerate partial shade. Large-flowered varieties need protection from wind, so try to plant your dahlias where there's a windbreak if your area is windy.
To grow successfully, dahlias need a site with fertile, well-drained soil. Because their main root structures are tubers, they are susceptible to rot when the roots are in soil that retains too much water. If your soil is heavy or clay-ish, don't despair; you can probably amend it with a little shovel work.
|Andy and the gang prepare trenches for dahlias.|
2. Preparing the SoilIf your soil is heavy or clayish, spade in sand and peat, composted wood shavings, or other high-fiber material. If your soil is sandy and lacks fertility, add mushroom compost, composted chicken or steer manure, worm castings, or well-finished compost from your compost pile.
|Two to three feet apart and eye up!|
3. Planting Your Dahlia TubersPlant dahlia tubers after the danger of frost is past. In most areas that's between April and mid-June. Locate the "eye" on each tuber (it will look like the eye on a potato, and may even have begun to sprout a bit.) Place the tubers in the soil horizontally, with the eyes facing upwards.
Before you cover each tuber, pound a stake in next to it to mark the place and to support it as it grows. (Don't wait until the tubers are covered or you may damage the tuber by pounding the stake through it.)
|Weeding protects young dahlias.|
Protect your emerging dahlias from pests like snails, slugs and earwigs, too. You can bait slugs with beer wells or organic or chemical baits, go after them with stabbers or ammonia spray (salt is effective but not good for your garden), or try to use barriers like heavy layers of eggshells or copper strips. Organic soaps and neem are sometimes effective against insect damage.
Water very sparingly until the dahlias begin to bloom.
It's hard to wait, but before you know it your dahlias will reward you with beautiful blossoms.