How to start Dahlias early in pots

Dahlias are plants that are being recognized again as with great value for the garden. This step by step guide shows how to start dahlias early in pots.
They were ignored in recent years but are again being popular as deserved because they are easy to cultivate, produce a lot of flowers that are available in a huge range of colors and shapes.
If you never tried them, you should consider!

We live in a place with cold winters, so we need start them in pots in a frost protected shed or garage.

We usually start our dahlias in february and only plant them outside when the frosts have passed, in April.

The first and most important thing you need to be care about starting dahlias is that they don’t tolerate excess humidity because the tubers will simply rot. So, drainage takes great importance in the process. We use a mix of regular compost mixed with sharp sand or grit.

How to start Dahlias early in pots - mixing compost -

Then we place the tubers in the pot with the last year’s growth pointing up. As you can see they are like dead before they sprout again for the new spring season.
Sometimes they will start to sprout even in the dry storage conditions. When you see a little red bud starting to grow or thin white roots at the end of the tubers, is time to give them soil and water.

How to start Dahlias early in pots - planting dahlia tubers -

Cover the tubers with soil but not completly, let them slightly above the surface.

Water them reassuring the soil drains fast.

Keep them in a frost free place, inside a garage or a shed is perfectly fine. Keep watching them as they can grow very fast. When the leaves appear they need to be put in light.

If there are any leftovers, tubers that broke from the parent, just give them a try, you never know…

How to start Dahlias early in pots - trying separate single tubers -

As a final note, just make sure there are no snails or slugs around your pots as they will eat dahlias leaves as they sprout.

There is a great Gardeners’ World video about Planting dahlia tubers by Alan Titchmarsh.

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