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Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this will answer all your questions. If you have a question that's not answered below please don't be shy. Email and we will help you out

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Planting and Care

Q - When do i plant my dahlia tubers

A - As soon as your soil dries out enough to work it up. usually people wait until the third week of May but in some locations in Canada you can plant as early as the first week of April. 


Q - How do I plant the tubers?

a - Dahlia tubers should have about 2-3 inches of soil on top of them. They are ideally laid flat in a hole or trench and it does not matter what part of the tuber faces the sky. they will find their way out of the ground

Q - what kind of soil do dahlias prefer?

a - Dahlias will grow in any soil but do not want to be wet. Make sure your soil is not staying mucky after a rain and that excess rain or irrigation runs off the area around the dahlia tubers

Q - how much sun do they want

a - dahlias want at least 6 hours of full direct sun to flourish and will do best with 8-10 hours of sun.

Q - What kind of fertilizer / soil ph do they need?

A - A good balanced fertilizer will be sufficient in most cases. Something where all three numbers are similiar, such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. you can incorporate about a 1/4 cup of granular into the soil in the area where you are going to plant and then sprinkle some more around the base once the plant starts blooming.  You can also use liquid fertilizer during the growing season if that is easier than adding granular. Your soil PH should be between 6.5 and 7.2 for optimum growth.

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Q - What bugs are most common to dahlias?

A - Thrips, Aphids, lygus, japanese beetles, and leafhoppers are most common. Some people also have a problem with slugs and earwigs.

Q - How do I control bugs in my dahlias

A - some bugs are easier to control than others but here are a few tips:

1. blue dawn soap mixed at as a 1% soluiton in water will take care of some of the most prolific bugs like thrips, aphids and lygus by suffocating them. Bi-weekly preventative spraying is better than dealing with an outbreak. Start when the plants have 6 true leaves

2. Japanese beetle traps are sold during the summer at most hardware stores, just be sure to locate the trap far from your dahlias as it is an attractant and you want the bugs to go away from the dahlia patch. 

3. KONK is a chemical that will kill most bugs and is available at most hardware stores

4. Slug bait is also availble at most hardware or gardening stores. just sprinkle around the base of the plants.

***make sure that if you are spraying something on your blooms you do it at dusk  to avoid direct sunlight burning the petals***

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Bacteria and disease

Q - How do i deal with fungal and bacterial problems?

A - The soap and water spray mentioned above in the section on bugs will also help deal with a wide range of fungal and bacterial problems. spraying until run-off in the evening will help with everything from powdery mildew to alternaria Just like it cleans your hands, it also cleans your dahlias. Alternatively a 1% mixture of hydrogen peroxide can also be sprayed on the whole plant including the blooms to control bacterial and fungal problems.

***make sure that if you are spraying something on your blooms you do it at dusk  to avoid direct sunlight burning the petals***

Q - What should i do if I suspect a problem with my soil?

A - a drench of undiluted houshold hydrogen peroxide is a good solution for many soil born probems. make sure you leave the soil alone for 5 days after the drench before you plant so the hydrogen peroxide has a chance to break down.

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care while growing

Q - do I need to stake my dahlias?

A - some dahlias need support while others are sturdy enough to support themselves. if you are planting dahlias that grow under 30" they will generally support themselves. For anything over that height it is often a good idea to support them somehow. coralling them in an area using stakes and twine works well. you can also stake them individually or plant them close to a structure like a fence or deck and use string to gently attach them to the structure. however you decide to support them make sure the string is loose enough to allow for future growth.

Q - do I need to pinch my dahlias and how do I do that?

A - All dahlias can be pinched but it is not necessary at all. if you decide to pinch your plants it will delay flowering by about a week or two but you will get more flowers all at once when they do bloom. pinching should take place once there are 6-8 true leaves (3-4 nodes). just nip the center growing point out and wait for the side shoots to bloom. The side shoots will emerge from where the leaves meet the stem.

Q - how do I get longer stems?

A - The easiest way to get long straight stems is to grow your dahlias close together. if you make the plants compete for sunlight they will stretch their stems more. For nice long stems plant your tubers in an 8-12" grid pattern.

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digging and storage

The Quality of stored dahlias depends to a large extent on how they were grown. Enough water (but not too much) enough fertility in the soil, and enough sunlight. If you're pretty sure you did a good job of growing here are a few extra tips to help you out.

Q - When do i dig my dahlias

A - traditionally people wait until after the first killing frost turns the plants black but you can dig as early as the middle of September if you have had them growing since the spring. You do not need to wait until they have been killed to dig them. Simple lift them out of the ground using a spading fork and clip the stem off 1" above where it comes out of the crown.

Q - how do I store my dahlias?

A - Storing your dahlias is as simple as putting them in a cardboard box or plastic tote and covering them in peat moss, potting soil, or vermiculite. If they are really wet when you dig them let them dry for a day in a shady spot (so they don't shrivel in the sunlight) before you pack them away. Check on them periodically to make sure they aren't rotting and absolutely do not let them freeze.

Q - Why are my dahlia tubers shriveling?

A - They are drying out too much. Add a bit of moisture by spraying some water on the soil/peat/vermiculite.

Q - What temperature should I store them at?

A - Dahlia tubers can withstand a huge range of temperatures but to keep them from sprouting prematurely they should be stored below 8 degrees celcius and above 3 celcius.

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