Growing Dahlia

Botanical Name: Dahlia
Life Cycle: perennial bulb (tuber)
Planting Time: spring
Height: dwarf types from 12" to 18"; standard types from 5' to 6'
Exposure: full sun
Soil: rich, well-drained, evenly moist soil
Hardiness: hardy to zones 8-10; tubers can be dug up and stored in cooler zones
Bloom Time: mid summer to frost
Flower: all colors except true blue; showy, daisy-like flowers from 2 inches to 10 inches across
Foliage: green
Propagation: tubers and seeds
Suggested Use: beds, borders, edging, cut flowers and containers or
Growing Hints: Start with bare-rooted plants in the spring or sow seed indoors from four to six weeks before your last frost date. Seedlings should be pinched off when they are 4 to 6 inches tall to encourage bushier growth. Move them into the garden when danger of frost has passed. In the fall, leave tubers in the ground in zones 8-10. In cooler zones, to save tubers for the next season, dig 8 to 10 inches down into the soil and lift them out before the first hard rain or freeze. Clean loose soil away from roots, leaving any moist soil attached until it dries and is safe to remove. Store cleaned clumps of tubers in a cool, well-ventilated area. They can be placed on newspaper or in sand with the tubers left exposed. Check them monthly and sprinkle them with water if necessary to prevent them from drying out. If they look shriveled they are either too warm or too dry. Remove any soft spots with a sharp knife and dust with a fungicide to prevent rot.
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About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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