Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

growing from bare roots

Dahlia – Pompon Snowflake & Decorative Crazy Love

We paid a visit to Wilkos on this very snowy morning with the intention of buying a cat carrier. I came back with my first flower buy of this year in the form of a Dahlia Tuber. White Dahlia Pompon Snowflake. According to the package these Pompom Dahlias produce fabulous double spherical blooms and so I am looking forward to seeing them in my garden this year. Each flower head is made up of layers of silky, inwardly curved petals creating a perfectly formed sphere. Tall sturdy stems provide excellent support and give the pompon its iconic habit of bobbing in the breeze. Dahlias are quite easy to grow requiring only  well-drained soil and a sunny position. The advice is to dig in manure or compost and top with general purpose fertiliser for best results. Dahlias are invaluable for the summer border, in patio containers or as cut flowers, often flowering until the first frosts. Flowering from July to October these plants can reach a height of 3′. I have grown Dahlias before many years ago at the allotment but this one looks spectacular. I plan to plant these tubers in a large container in March, weather permitting.

I have planted the Dahlias is a large pot of multi purpose compost. Along with Snowflake I have planted another decorative Dahlia called Crazy Love. This looks a beautiful flower with white pointy petals edged with lilac. Dahlia tubers can be planted outside after frost or started off in pots in late winter to early spring. Allow enough room between each tuber so the plants can grow and spread to their full size without being over crowded. I am trying to keep the compost moist whilst the pot is still indoors and already bright green shoots are appearing through the soil. I can’t wait to see them in flower. These tubers have both put on lots of fresh green leaves and I am putting them out into the garden but bringing them in every time there is risk of frost. This weekend is Easter and we have been promised snow and low temperatures.

While in growth provide a high nitrogen liquid feed each week in June then a high-potash fertiliser each week from July to September. Stake with canes if it becomes necessary. Dead head regularly to encourage more and bigger flower heads. In mild areas, leave them in situ over winter but protect the crown with a generous layer of mulch. In colder areas lift and clean the tubers once the first frosts have blackened the foliage and allow them to dry naturally indoors. Then place the dry tubers in a shallow tray just covered with slightly moist potting compost, sand or vermiculite and store in a frost free place until planting out again.