At the beginning of March 2020, we were at Costco, right before the craze for pandemic toilet paper began, but you could feel a panic in the air, as the lock down had been announced. On an impulse I grabbed a bag of Dahlia’s.
This is the first year of my growing my own dahlia’s. I’ve never had a yard with enough sun before. There were a few here when we bought the house, but I had never planted my own. We had a very warm March so I planted them on April 4th. Some friends thought this was too early.
I did a little reading up on my new Dahlia’s. I learned that Dahlia tubers are sometimes called a “bulb”, but they are technically a tuber. The tubers multiply each year like potatoes do. You can remove them after they are done for the year and store them till the spring, or let them winter over with some risk.
I followed the instructions on the package and planted the individual tubers about 6” apart. Since they were in a raised bed, I thought this would help me avoid staking them. The plants would be getting a lot of sun. I had hoped they would actually have grown more closely to one another, but what happened is a few didn’t come up at all. Because Dahlia’s can grow quite tall they can get susceptible to wind. Mine aren’t that tall yet, maybe this is because it’s their first year. I guess I’ll find out next year.
By June the plants were really coming up. On June 24th they already had buds by the 26th there were many! On July 2nd the first flower appeared! By the 4th I had enough for my first bouquet.
I read various articles about pinching your dahlias when they’re about a foot tall.I also read you can manage their height by the way you harvests the flowers. As part of my morning ritual I prune around the bottom of each plant, removing all the lower leaves to expose the bottom 6” of the stem. This encourages good air circulation and minimizes disease problems. I also deadhead daily. I actually don’t let them get to that point, as I cut them every day with the flower and stems to make various bouquets around the house. Sometimes this means sacrificing a few unopened buds, but they bloom so voraciously, I feel ok about it.
I love having Dahlias for my bouquets. I think I’m hooked!