If you like to grow ornamental flower plants then you should go for Dahlias. I like growing dahlias in pots Because it is easy to move them to any place. This plant produces beautiful flowers and I like to have multiple colorful flower pots in my garden. They reduce my work stress and I can also keep myself busy with flower gardening. Flower plants are easy to grow than herbs and vegetable plants.
If you too like to grow ornamentals plants like me then read this guide. Because in this article I will share my experience with dahlias flower plants. I will also share some secrets that will help you to grow ornamental plants in pots.
Growing dahlias in pots is the best option for those living in apartments or small places. They can put the plant pots on both sides of the front door or on the balcony. Even you can grow these plants indoors with the help of a grow light or a sunny window.
Those who do not have a sunny window can use artificial grow lights for growing dahlias in plant pots.
Note: This ornamental plant needs a minimum of 7 hours of sunlight per day for colorful heavy bloom.
About the plant
Dahlia flower plants do not have bulbs they have tubers. But I don’t know why many garden stores listed them under the summer bulb section. The tubers are just like potatoes. Where potatoes have some kind of fixed shape. These tubers do not have a fixed shape they look like odd-shaped potatoes.
But do not forget that by planting these tubers you can grow a very beautiful flower plant.
One of my friends is working in the local nursery. He told me that the dahlias flower plants the people see in their nursery are grown from stem propagation. Nurseries do not use tubers every time to grow flower plants. Once they have an excellent plant with healthy heavy bloom. Then they start to copy that by propagation. And show that plant to customers and sell their all-other plants.
People believe that the plant they buy will also grow the same as the plant they saw on the nursery shelf.
While purchasing tubers you need to check the plant height. Some plants grow only 2 feet in height and are suitable for pots. But some hybrid varieties grow 4 feet tall. They are not good for plating in pots. They are best to grow in the backyard or in the front garden.
Bonus tip: Choose small size dahlias flower plants. Instead of choosing tall plants, pay attention to the size of flowers. 2 feet tall plants are perfect for plant pots.
If you are planning to directly sow tubers in their final pot. Then you need to have a 14 inches wide pot. The pot should have 2 or more drainage holes. These holes protect your plants from rooting due to overwatering.
Planting tubers indoors
Once you have the tubers at home. The next thing is to decide whether to grow them outside or start them indoors. To directly grow them outside you need to wait until the last frost has passed. Because after that the temperature rise and the soil of outdoor garden become workable. Tubers will rot in cool soil. They need warm soil and a warm environment to sprout.
In my opinion, you should start them indoors in plant containers. You have two benefits of starting tubers indoors. First is you can let the plants grow in pots and then put them outside. The second benefit is once the tubers sprout and become a seedling you can transfer them outside and grow other plants in the same container. Before using the container for other plants clean it thoroughly with tap water.
To grow dahlias indoors, you need to sow them 30 days before the last frost date. They need 3 weeks to become healthy seedlings from a tuber. Because you are transferring them outside you do not need to choose a big pot. Only choose the pots that are about wider than the tuber.
You need to fill the pot with the well-draining seed starting mix. All commercial selling seed mixes are fast-draining and lightweight soils. Then place the tuber on the top surface of the pot. Do not sow it vertically, just place it horizontally with the eye facing the sky.
Now cover the tuber with a thin layer of the same potting mix. Then take a spray bottle and mist some water to keep the soil moist. Then put the plant pot in the warm and high humid location. The humidity has to be a minimum of 50%. High humidity helps seeds to sprout faster. Once the seedlings are 5 inches long then start hardening off. So that they can adapt to the outside environment and stay healthy again weather fluctuations.
Planting dahlias directly in the outdoor garden
To plant it outdoors you need to wait until the last frost has passed. After a week from the last frost, the soil becomes warm and workable. In short plant the tubers at the same time when you plant tomatoes and peppers.
Fill half of the pot with lightweight potting soil. You should use the same type of soil that you use to plant it indoors. Then place it horizontally over the soil. Put it in the center of the pot. Then cover it with a light layer of soil. Use fresh clean water to keep the soil moist. It is best to use a spray bottle instead of pouring the water.
Put the plant pot in a place where the tuber can get enough bright light. Protect it from direct sunlight. Once the tuber becomes a seedling then it needs a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight.
Dahlias caring tips
Do not pour water into the planted tuber only mist water on the soil. Once it sprouts and the seedling grows 3 inches long, you can use a glass of water to pour on roots. The water should be at normal room temperature and free of bacteria.
For heavy bloom and good health of plant give some boost of organic slow-releasing fertilizer. The fertilizer should have a high percentage of phosphorous and potassium than nitrogen. Because nitrogen only helps in growing large leaves. But we grow Dahlias for their beautiful flower. P and K are the two nutrients that boost the size of flowers.
While growing dahlias in pots you need to encourage them to produce more bloom. For that use sharp shears and remove the deadhead spent blooms. This way the plant saves its energy and spends it to produce real fresh flowers.