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Dahlias

Dahlias are classed as tubers and look completely different to bulbs with
their finger like appearances, they are frost tender and will probably need
some kind of frost protection if they are to survive a cold winter.  However
they are easy to grow and low maintenance.  They come in a wide range of
colours, shapes and sizes that can be subtle and low key or have big and
blowsy blooms the size of a dinner plate.  They can bloom from midsummer
right up until the first frosts providing long lasting colour, making
magnificent displays either in the garden or pots and containers and they
also make gorgeous cut flowers for the house.
Planting dahlias is easy, after the risk of frost has passed plant the
tuber  in well drained fertile soil and scatter a granular feed around the
planting hole choosing a sunny position if frosts are a worry place cloches
over the tubers for protection.

Follow the instructions on the packaging for depth or make a hole around
25cm square, spread out the tuber cover and water.

To get a head start with dahlias and get them blooming earlier in the year
plant the tubers in plant pots water and keep in a light frost free place
such as a greenhouse, tunnel or porch then by the time the risk of any frost
has passed your plants will be bushy and can be planted straight into the
garden in their final flowering position.  Deadheading will ensure that the
dahlias keep flowering.

Dahlias are ideal for planting in pots for the patio and offer long lasting
colour. Choose a variety that doesn't get too tall, choosing a pot or
container to suit no less than 30cm in diameter make sure there are drainage
holes in the bottom and add broken pot to the bottom of the container for
extra drainage. Use a multi-purpose compost adding a handful of granular
fertiliser
and plant as you would in the ground, keep the compost moist and
water with a high potash liquid feed fortnightly when the dahlias are in
flower. Dead head to prolong flowering.

Pinching out the growing tips of the plants when they get to around 15cm
high will encourage the dahlias to branch out only allow 3-5 stems to
develop if you should require large blooms. Bedding dahlias do not require
any pinching out to encourage branching.

Feed the dahlias fortnightly with a liquid high potash feed once they have started to bloom, some of the taller varieties may need staking to ensure
they do not break in the wind.

Dahlias are frost tender and will need lifting and storing or give them some
protection if they are to stay in the ground in milder areas to over winter.
When the first frost has arrived and blackened the stems cut them to the
ground before lifting the tubers, shake off any excess soil and allow them
to dry naturally, store these in a box in a cool dark frost free place such
as a shed or garage. If the tubers are to be left in the ground cut the
stems down in Autumn after the first frost and apply a thick layer of mulch
such as compost or bark.

 
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"Dahlia's provide long lasting summer colour in borders or planters follow our planting guide for excellent results."