Dahlias are popular herbaceous perennial plants with tuberous roots. They come in a vivid range of colors and shapes. They are the most loved garden plants, as well as cut flowers.
How to grow dahlia?
Dahlias love moist, moderate climates and full sun. There do not thrive in scorching environments. They require 6-8 hours of sunlight. They prefer well-draining, loose soil with good organic content.
Propagation using tubers
Plant dahlia tubers in springs. Do not use tubers that look brown and wrinkly. Instead, choose the healthy ones with growing eyes on them. Once planted, water it lightly. Do not leave the soil too moist, as it leads to the decay of the tuber. When new growth appears, water the plant regularly.
Propagation using cuttings
Wait until the sprouts from the tuber grow at least 3 inches. Then, cut the stem just below the node and partially into the tuber. Remove the lower leaves and plant the cuttings. Dip the cutting in hormone solution for fasting root growth.
Propagation using seeds
You can grow dahlia from seeds, also. Fill a seed tray with seed starting mix, sow the seeds and keep it near a sunny window. Keep the soil moderately moist. Transplant the saplings once they have one true set of leaves.
You can grow dahlias in containers easily. Choose a big pot with 12 inches of depth and width. If you choose a big container, you don't need to repot the plant. If you are growing dahlias indoors, bring them outside and expose them to sunlight in summer.
Dahlias are heavy feeders. Use a fertilizer that has high potassium content to boost flowering. If you want to store the tubers for the next season, stop adding fertilizers at the end o august.
Dahlia tuber must be dug and stored for use in the next season. First, select a healthy plant with good growth. Once the cold season arrives, cut back the stem and leave the tuber in the soil for one week. Carefully remove the tubers and clean them. Dry in a shady place. Bag the dried tubers and store them in a cool, dark place with a low temperature.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
Common pests, like slugs, caterpillars, aphids, and thrips, infest dahlias. Dahlias are also prone to powdery mildew and other fungal diseases. Keep the foliage as dry as possible and maintain adequate spacing between the pants. Treat it with neem oil or another organic pesticide solution if you notice an infection.
How to get dahlias to flower more?
Do not leave the plant to bend down and reach the ground. Instead, provide staking to the plant. Also, ensure to feed the plant with potassium-rich fertilizers. Supply sufficient water and remove dead and spent flowers immediately.
Dr. Vandana K.