Do they need to wait until the soil is warm, or plant as soon as it
thaws and nights are usually above freezing? Or do they need to be
started indoors in pots, then set out like tender annuals?
I almost bought a dozen bedding dahlias at Sam's Club today, but then
thought it might be too early. I know they are day-length sensitive;
that's why I've never tried starting 'em from seeds (days are long while
it's still cold up here)
Bob, in southern MN
Dahlias are actually tropical or towards the tropical end of
subtropical. Plant them about a month after the date of when the last
expected frost might occur.
In the fall as they die down, dig up the tubers and store them in damp
(not wet) sand, sawdust, or peat moss in a place where temperatures
might be quite cool but never freezing. Cut the stalks to about 2
inches from the tubers, but do not divide them until you are ready to
plant them again. When it is time to plant again next year, cut the
stub of the stalk vertically to separate the tubers so that each tuber
has a piece of the stalk. The new growth buds will be where the stalk
meets the tuber.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
Thanks David. I know *how* to dig and store them, but I've never been
successful at it up here. 7+ months is just too long for me to keep the
dormant tubers from either drying out or rotting.
Wife buys a few 4" pots of dwarf dahlias every year, so I thought I
might try planting tubers and see what happens.
So that would be end of June... ;-) (I'm really not exaggerating much)
If you want them to bloom before later summer/fall, start them indoors
in pots right now.
If you live in the Twin Cities area or south of that, you can plant
them outdoors around the end of May. Average last frost date falls
within the first half of May, depending on specific location.
Also, if you're in southern Minnesota you're almost certainly in zone
5. Local rosarian Jack Flaker wrote an article about the changing
climate zones in Minnesota and how the USDA documentation is outdated.
You can read it here:
As with other plants usually dahlias are sold in their correct
planting zone, and almost always directions are on the packaging
material. There's plenty of info on the net, I suggest checking
several sites to glean the facts that best pertain to your parameters:
> Do they need to wait until the soil is warm, or plant as soon as it
Dahlias are summer blooming tubers that are generally only hardy in USDA
zones 7-11. Almost of the country, Dahlias must be planted each spring
and then cut back and dug each fall after the first killing frost.
Dahlia plants grow and bloom best in full sun, tolerate most soil types,
but prefer a sandy, well drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.2-
If your soil is heavy or clay, adding sand and peat moss will help to
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