Dahlia flowers - climate and soil required to grow

Climate and soil required for Dahlia flowers

Dahlias require cool temperate climate with frost free environment. Temperature and light affect the rate of vegetative growth, flower initiation & development as well as tuberous root formation. The optimum temperature range for vegetative shoot development is 13 to 25 0c. Duration of light greatly influences the production of flowers. Most cultivars flower within a 12- 14 hr photoperiod. Short day light (11 to 12 hrs) induces the formation of tuberous roots, inhibits shoot growth and reduces the number of flowers. Maximum light is required during active growth and supplemental lighting may be beneficial for the first 6 weeks during winter and early spring. Dahlias prefer rich, fertile, moist and well- drained soil with pH 6.5. In areas with heavy or clay type soil, use well- rotten manure or suitable organic matter and sand in equal quantities to make it ideal for planting.

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Dahlia tubers choosing and buying

Select dahlia tubers which contain at least one eye or crown bud. Check the tubers for any infection, cuts or bruises. Infected tubers must be discarded. If stem cuttings are taken, they should be obtained from healthy plants.

Planting Dahlia flowers

Dahlias are greedy feeders; hence plants for exhibition or cut flowers should be grown in competition free beds specially prepared for them. The ground should be well prepared a few weeks before planting. Incorporating plenty of manure in the soil as basic dose will reduce the need of artificial fertilizer during further growth.

Dig a 5-6 inch deep hole, add plenty of well –rotten manure & mix thoroughly to the whole depth. Work in about a basketful of wood ash per square meter in the soil. Wood ash contains potash which promotes tuber growth & flower quality. Add bonemeal at 135gm/m2 in the top layer of soil. Place the tubers 4 inch deep with its roots spread out and ‘eye’ facing up. Fix some support canes in 2 rows, one on either side of dahlia tubers and cover the tubers with soil. Staking is required to keep the growing plants upright and avoid breaking off in strong wind. The giant cultivars may also need one stake to support each branch.

Spacing: Dahlias plant needs space to grow. Plant the tall varieties approx. 60-75 cm apart, medium sized variety 50-60 cm and dwarf or bedding dahlias 30-40 cm apart.

Mulching: Mulching dahlia with organic matter like garden compost or straw helps to keep the soil moist & weed free.