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Video:Dahlias Care Tips

with Yolanda Vanveen

Dahlias will be a rewarding addition to your garden and they aren't difficult to grow. See our tips on caring for dahlias from spring through winter.See Transcript

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Transcript:Dahlias Care Tips

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen for About.com Garden, and today we are going to learn all about growing dahlias.

Climate for Growing Dahlias

Now dahlias are native to Mexico, so they like full hot sun and really good drainage. And so they won’t survive well in the really cold climates. So if you go below ten degrees, you are going to have to dig them up and store them in paper boxes or newspapers or shavings for the winter. And if you live in a mild climate like the Northwest, I can get away with just tarping them or if you live in a really warm climate, you can just leave them out all year round. They are really easy to grow as long as you have a sunny spot, they will bloom all summer. I just love them in my garden.

Dahlia Bulbs

Now, dahlias come from bulbs and the growth is on the eye. So the eye is where all the other bulbs meet and that is where the stem comes up. So it’s fall now, it’s freezing at night, so they definitely died back. So I am just cutting or breaking off the stems. And I am leaving the bulbs. Now, if you live in colder climate, that will get below ten degrees, you want to store these somewhere inside where they are not going to freeze hard. But I’ve been getting away with just covering them with plastic and that way they come back year after year.

Planting Dahlias

When you are planting Dahlias, you want to plant them where all the balls of the bulb meet and there is going to be an eye and you want to plant three inches deep, not too deep either. And make sure it’s in a sunny spot with good drainage. So again I’m just covering them up for the winter.

Protecting Dahlias During the Winter

Now I’ve been really successful at saving my Dahlia bulbs. If I just leave them in the ground with no protection and we have a really hard winter like last winter and it got down to fifteen degrees, I can lose them. But what I have found is to use the stems to mulch themselves. What I do is just knock all of the stems down and then I’m just covering the entire bed with plastic or tarp or anything so that it’s going to be dry 'cause the real danger with dahlia bulbs is when they get wet, they freeze and then they turn to mush. In Mexico, it stays pretty dry and they don’t get that wet. So if you live in any other climate, as long as you keep them dry in the winter, you’ll never lose them. They can handle the cold if they are dry, not if they’re wet. Just like any other bulb can’t handle the wet.

Revising Dahlias in the Spring

So basically I am going to put wood on each end and I am just going to ignore them. In about March, April whenever it’s not freeze at all which it doesn’t actually do in the Northwest. Take the plastic off and they are going to shoot up and this bed is going to be gorgeous with fall blooms all summer into next fall. I love my Dahlias, they such rewarding plant.

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