Otway Gem - Dahlia
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Dahlias: (Zones 1,2,3,4)
Dahlias are bright showy Summer and Autumn flowers. The tubers are easy to grow and have a long flowering life from Summer well into Autumn. Plant from September to December when your area is free of frost. Plant 10cm deep and 60cm apart. Select a full sun to half sun position. Protection from the hottest sun is ideal. Prepare your ground with rotted animal manure, blood and bone, compost or general purpose fertiliser for top results. This can be supplemented by top dressing through the growing season.
Taller dahlias or dahlias with large flower heads can fall over in rain or high wind. If you intend to stake yours, drive in the stake first before planting. Tie loosely to the stake as the dahlia grows. When the dahlia has 4 or 5 sets of leaves (40cm tall), pinch out the main growing point to promote side shoots and more prolific flowering. Dahlias will stop flowering when they have finished their reproductive phase (setting seed). Stop them reaching this point by deadheading old flowers. Dahlias like to be pruned and the best way to do this is to pick the flowers and enjoy them.
Dahlias can be left in the ground in Australia but will form a mass of competing tubers in time. Lifting and dividing the clumps will give you the best possible year to year display. The clumps can be lifted when all the foliage has died after a frost or in mid Winter. Cut stem off near the ground, lift with a fork and carefully remove dirt or wash. Dry out and place in just moist sand or sawdust in a frost free environment. To divide, each tuber must have a section of the main stem including an eye (growing point). These are small pimples and hard to see at this stage. Store till frosts have finished and replant.
Note: Watch for slugs and snails. Too much nitrogen may result in lots of foliage but less blooms. High potassium and iron sulphate are recommended for increased blooms.
Aspect: Full sun to semi shade
Growing Zones: Zones 1, 2, 3, 4 (refer to Climate Map)
Product Type: Dahlias
Product code: D11
Scientific Name: Dahlia hybrid
Supplied as: Dry Bulb
Water Wise: Yes
Planting Time: Sep;Oct;Nov;Dec
End Use: Garden;Cut Flower;Naturalising
Frost Hardy: No