Growing Dahlias


Marian Jeans, owner of Oakridge Dahlias was the speaker at our September, 2022 meeting.   She gave us lots of information about Dahlias, including the origin, planting, digging up and storing, diseases to watch for, Dahlia virus and pests both harmful and beneficial. Here is a summary of the information Marian shared with us.

Dahlia – Basic Needs

  • Sun: Minimum 6 hours/day
  • Water: 1 inch/week
  • Staking: if 30 inches tall or more

Outdoor Planting

When the lilacs bloom, it is time to plant your dahlias outdoors. Plant tubers 2 feet apart unless they are dwarf varieties which can be planted 1.5 feet apart in holes 4 to 8 inches deep. Add a stake at the time of planting. Place the tuber on it side, close to the stake and about 6 inches below the surface. If there is a shoot exposed, leave it exposed  and add soil as it grows.

Topping and Debudding

You can top the dahlia to stop upward growth to create a shorter bushier plant. This will also allow for more flowers to develop. This can be done when the plant has 4 sets of leaves. If you choose to debud the dahlia, it will create longer stems on the flowers, making them better for cut flowers.  Also the flowers will be larger.

Dahlia Virus

If you find that you have a stunted, twisted plant with  pale coloured leaves, you probaly have dahlia virus. Dig up and destroy the plant. Do not compost. Sterilize the tools used.

Digging up the tubers

  • after killing frost or early October
  • tie label on stem
  • cut off the top 6 inches above the ground
  • leave for a few days, up to a week to allow the eyes to set
  • using a spade, lift the clump
  • wash the clump and leave covered in a sheltered location for up t0 10 days
  • split the clump removing broken, rotten, diseased, old and eyeless tubers
  • leave exposed for 24 hours to allow cuts to scab over
  • place in storage medium ( vermiculite, shavings, peat) in containers
  • store in cool dark place (5 to 45 degrees F)

Taken from handout entitled Growing Dahlias provided by Marian Jeans

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