Dahlias provide a good burst of colour towards the end of the summer, the autumn and up until the first frosts. They can also provide a good supply of cuts stem flowers for indoors. The cutting encourages the plant to produce more buds and those that are already present to mature and bloom.
This picture shows a Pom-Pom type dahlia in early flower.
The petals fold all the way back on opening and form almost a complete sphere.
Over the years i have collected the seeds and created many new plants to cover any losses over the years due to disease and rot over the winter.
This shows three dahlia tubers after they had been removed from their pots and most of the compost removed.
After the flowers have died back or after the first frost, cut all foliage off about 4-6 inches above the tuber.
Remove all compost/soil from around the lobes of the tuber ensuring that there are no insects, slugs, pests etc or their eggs or larvae in amongst the tubers or roots. Remove any rotten,soft or diseased lobes of the tubers that may have been damaged by pests etc.
Store the tubers in a cool, dry place well above ground to prevent rats or mice getting to them. Allow the tubers to dry naturally, do not use forced heat.
Large tubers like the ones shown here can be divided to create two or more plants.
In February or March of the following year plant the tubers in compost and leave them in a warm location until the first shoots start to push through. Ensure no slugs or snails can get to the plants at this early stage as they will devour the fresh shoots as they appear.
For an earlier show of Dahlias, plant them in early January in a greenhouse with some under pot heat to encourage early germination. Starting this early will prolong the flowering season later in the year but does take up a good bit of space in the greenhouse.
Below is a selection of pictures of dahlias in pots and as border bedding plants. The Pom-Pom and Yankee-Doodle types grow to almost 1m tall. The dwarf bedding types grow to 30-40cm tall. With a little effort each year a good display of healthy, green foliage and flowers can be achieved and the plants can be reused year after year.