In this post I will be sharing how to start dahlia tubers for my home garden.
Starting Dahlias for My Summer Home Garden
When I saw my first dinner plate dahlia at the small garden center I worked at in 2006 I remember thinking I could never grow that. I’m frantically looking for a photo of that bloom because I remember admiring it every day I worked just dreaming of that flower in my garden someday. This past summer I grew over a dozen different dahlias from tubers in my home garden.
For the past three years I’ve been starting the dahlia root early in my greenhouse. You can do this indoors if you have a place to store the containers that stay above freezing and gets sunshine. A garage will work if you move the planted containers out into the full sun each day and bring them in when the temps go below 40*F.
Video on YouTube at Bren Haas YouTube Channel.
For this project I use 1-gallon containers that I recycle each year for this project. These are containers you get when you purchase plants at garden centers. Be sure they are CLEAN! Wash the pot off if you have stored it in a shed or garage.
Soil Mix For Starting Tubers
Use a fresh mix of seed starting soil. My recipe is as follows:
- 1/2 organic peat moss
- 1/3 organic potting soil
- 1/4 perlite
You can also use a good potting soil just be sure it doesn’t stay soaked with water. Too much water can kill the tuber.
I water my newly planted dahlias with a fish emulsion water in the greenhouse when possible. You can use rain water too!
Potting Up The Tubers
Dahlias can be kind of tricky when you pull them out of the shipping container. At first, I had a hard time trying to figure out what was what?! Seriously – it all looks like a big root alien when you pull it out of the wood chips during shipping.
*** I was told to make sure to plant tubers horizontally with visible eye pointing up with some of the eye showing out of the soil. For the past few years I’ve not been leaving some of the eye point out of the soil and the dahlias have grown successfully.
I have a few dozen containers in the greenhouse that I dug up last Autumn and thought the tag would make it till spring. WELL GUESS WHAT – now I have 12+ dahlias that I have NO IDEA what variety they are. What I learned from this.
- Always tag your plants
- If tag is fading – take the time to re-label
I give my dahlias the head start in my greenhouse but you could also store them in a garage or sunroom overnight as long as it doesn’t freeze. Be sure to set the containers outside in the sunshine during the day. I will plant these in my garden after all danger of frost has passed. This year is going to be an amazing Dahlia Garden Show in my yard and I can’t wait to share them with you on my site so please be sure to subscribe!
In conclusion, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment on this post or reach out on my contact page.
Thanks for this wonderful information and video.
Thank you for replying to my post. I really appreciate your feedback. I also hope you will share more with me as your dahlias grow.
Try the dinner plate variety “lemon ice.” Huge lemon/white blooms. Stunning.
I will have to order some of those Lemon Ice Dahlias – they sound beautiful. Thank you for the suggestion.
Thank you for sharing this video. I just potted up my tubers for a jump start on summer. I have read a lot about not over-watering or watering at all until you see sprouts popping up. I used moist potting soil but some of the soil looked rather dry in a day or so. Do you recommend watering them, even before you see sprouts?
I am hoping to do another video featuring the dahlia tubers started in containers and just as they are starting to emerge. The thing I notice is once that soil starts heating up the tubers start to show signs of life with new green growth coming out the top. Be sure to not submerge the tuber too deep in the container or landscape. The soil I use is not super wet – I let it get dry but not dry in hot sun for too long. I hope that makes sense.
Happy Gardening! I hope you come back and share your blooms with me. You can email me too at http://brenhaas.com/connect
Thank you for all this great info.I am moving forward with a dahlia garden with different varieties. I’m so excited to grow them ,fingers crossed !
Very exciting Sandee… I hope you come back and share photos with me from your garden. Send me a message on my contact page so I can get you my email information for photos to share!