Darling dahlias


DIY and how-to

Bright pink dahlia flower head with yellow centre, surrounded by green foliage in the background.

Dahlias are available in a striking range of colours and varieties, from miniatures, to blooms the size of large dinner plates. Once regarded as old-fashioned, dahlias have made a major comeback to the gardening world and are also frequently used in flower arrangements and for décor purposes. October is an ideal month to plant them, as they take about 10 weeks to flower, so they will be ready just in time for Christmas.

Here are a few pointers to ensure that your dahlia tubers get off to a good start:

  • Plant dahlias about 1m apart, or slightly closer in windy areas, so that the plants can provide support for each other.
  • Dig holes about 30cm deep and place half a spadeful of compost at the bottom, followed by a tablespoon of superphosphate or bone meal. Mix it all together and then cover it with about 5cm of soil from the original hole.
  • Plant the dahlia tubers on top of the soil. It’s important that they do not touch the compost mix, as this can cause the tubers to burn and rot.
  • Plant tubers with the “eye” about 5cm below the surface of the soil and with the tuber slanting back into the soil.
  • Feed dahlias monthly with 2:3:2. Each plant needs about one tablespoon of fertilizer.
  • Deadhead your dahlias regularly to ensure that each plant produces the maximum amount of blooms.

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