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  • Jane Westoby

When will my Dahlias Bloom?

Dahlia Rainbow

I don't know about you but its all go on the Dahlia front for me right now. It's the time of year I most look forward to - potting up my Dahlias and watching them grow. Are you thinking when will my Dahlias bloom?

It generally takes around 90 days from planting for Dahlias to bloom although it can be variable depending on the species, light, temperature, precipitation, and if your are taking cuttings. The earlier you can pot them up the earlier you will bet blooms.

Dahlia Tubers

I live on the south coast of England which is on zone 9, simply because we are very close to the sea, but much of the south of England is typically zone 8. To get a head start on the season and some early blooms I bring mine indoors ( into the house) in February.

I leave them in the crates for the first 2 weeks. This allows the tubers to wake up with a little gentle heat and start the formation of eyes.

Dahlia Tubers

After about 2 weeks I pot them up into trays and pots with a little soil and give them some water. The warmer they are kept the quicker they will sprout so by placing them on a heat mat they will generally start sprouting a week later or in my summerhouse which is unheated within a couple of weeks. You can get the same affect by simply placing them in the house if you have space.

They need a little water, just so that soil is damp but not wet. If its too wet then the tubers will just rot. As they grow bigger and the weather warms their watering requirements will increase.

Dahlia Tubers

I do take cuttings, so this will put them back by around 4 weeks generally. (It's worth noting that although the mother plant will bloom later if the first shoots are removed those cuttings can actually bloom earlier than the mother plant)

They need to be kept in a frost free area. You can use a porch, a shed, greenhouse, summerhouse or even the kitchen windowsill. I'm pretty small scale at the moment but I can manage to get around 300 tubers all started in this way without too much disruption to the household. If you area planning on being a professional glower with thousands of tubers you will need a space large enough with enough heat and light.

I also use a portable mini greenhouse for mine which my other half very kindly made me a trolley base for with wheels on. This way I can just wheel it in and out of the house when the weather is good/bad.

Once we get to the end of April there is little chance of frost here on our site so I can start thinking off planting them out. Due to our wet site I grow mine in raised beds as much as I can or at the very least ensure good drainage. I wait until they are at least 15-20cm tall, any smaller than this and they are very susceptible to slug damage. Simply dig a hold, pop them in, water well and stake. At this point I will also pinch out the growing tips to make a bushier plant if I haven't already done so.

I can usually get a steady steam of flowers from July onwards, steadily increasing throughout August to a crescendo in September. Then weather dependant and with the declining levels of light they will start to slow down before eventually being blackened by the frost.

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