Useful information

How to grow dahlias

Dahlias, after a number of years of relative oblivion among gardeners, are again becoming fashionable. And a collection of a dozen varieties of the most diverse in shape, color and size of dahlias is now not uncommon.

According to information found in the literature, there are currently more than 15 thousand varieties of dahlias with a height of 35 cm to 3 meters. And all this variety of varieties is divided into 11 large groups, which differ in structure, size, doubleness of inflorescences and the shape of reed flowers.

In terms of the variety of colors and shapes, dahlias undoubtedly occupy one of the first places among other flowers. Unfortunately, they are odorless. The decorativeness of plants is determined not only by varietal qualities, but also by the observance of relatively simple agricultural techniques.

Dahlias grow very well in open, sunlit areas protected from strong winds. In shaded areas and under trees, plants bloom poorly, stretch out, they form small tubers that are poorly stored in winter. The soil on the site should preferably be loamy, structural, well fertilized, moisture-absorbing and breathable.

The soil for planting dahlias is prepared in the fall. To do this, organic fertilizers are introduced into it (up to 1 bucket per 1 square meter) and dug to a depth of at least 30 cm.On heavy clay soils, an additional 1 bucket of coarse-grained river sand and peat chips are added and a liter can of stale blackened sawdust is added.

In the spring, a week before planting the plants, the soil is dug to a depth of 15-20 cm, making 2 tbsp per square meter. tablespoons of complete mineral fertilizer. When digging the soil with a pitchfork, all weeds are carefully removed, especially rhizome (sow thistle, wheatgrass).

Large-flowered dahlias look especially good along the main paths on the site or in the background - near fences and shrubs. And it is better to plant low-growing dwarf dahlias in wide ridges, bordering them with a border of dark-leaved perilla or silvery seaside cineraria. Sometimes lower plants, such as alissum, are planted in front of this curb.

Dahlia breeding

Dahlias are propagated mainly in two ways: by dividing the tubers and by cuttings.

Dividing dahlia tubers produced in April-May. Tubers are brought into a warm room, placed tightly in boxes, half covered with earth, peat chips or sawdust and set in a warm, bright place. The soil is watered from time to time. After 10-15 days, the first eyes appear on the tubers. After that, they begin to divide: with a sharp knife, cut the tubers so that on each section there is a nodule, a part of the root collar with one or two eyes. Long tubers can be shortened. All cuts are immediately covered with finely crushed charcoal.

The separated tubers are planted one at a time in pots or boxes of nutrient soil, separated by partitions, and placed closer to the light. The room temperature should be 15-20 ° C, watering is moderate. After the tubers have rooted, the boxes with the plants are transferred to a cold greenhouse and the plants are gradually hardened.

But if it is necessary to get a large amount of planting material in a short time, then dahlias are cut. Depending on the variety and quality of the tuber, more than 200 cuttings can be cut from one mother plant.

For dahlia cuttings in February, the tubers are transferred to a room with a temperature of 18-20 ° C, laid out in boxes and sprinkled with a nutrient mixture, leaving the necks of the tubers not covered, watered or sprayed moderately. After 10-15 days, when the first shoots appear, the temperature is reduced to 4-5 ° C, and the boxes are placed in a bright place.

The best cuttings are obtained from shoots 6-7 cm long with short internodes, the so-called heel cuttings. They take root faster, grow better and form good tubers. Cuttings can be broken out if there is a growth bud near the open root collar.If the growth points are only in the upper part of the stem, cuttings are cut with a sharp razor with a part of the heel.

Cuttings are planted in boxes filled with nutrient mixture. The first 2-3 days they are protected from direct sunlight and watered moderately. If they start to wither, then they are sprayed with water from a spray bottle several times a day. The air temperature in the room with cuttings must be maintained at 18-20 ° C. To improve rooting, cuttings can be treated with a solution of growth substance.

Dahlias are planted in open ground after the threat of late spring frosts has passed. In the prepared area, pits are dug, placing them 70 cm apart. In each hole, half a bucket of humus is introduced, 1 glass of wood ash, 1 tbsp. spoon of superphosphate and potassium sulfate and 1 teaspoon of magnesium fertilizer. In the northern regions, it is a good idea to put a layer of warm manure or leaves on the bottom of the pit under the nutrient mixture.

Planting and leaving

A stake is driven into the prepared hole and the plants are planted so that the root collar is covered 5 cm below ground level. Then watered abundantly and tied to the stake. From above, the soil is mulched with peat or humus.

Further care consists in tying plants to stakes, weeding, loosening, pinching the side shoots in the lower part of the bush, feeding, watering during the season.

It is advisable to carry out the first feeding at the time of the appearance of the buds with a solution of ammonium nitrate (1 tablespoon per bucket of water), spending it on 4 plants. The second time, dahlias are fed before the start of mass flowering of plants with mullein infusion (1:10), spending a bucket of solution for three holes. From mid-August, no fertilizing of plants should be done, since this can adversely affect the keeping quality of tubers.

Dahlias shape differently. If you need a profusely flowering bush to decorate the site, then you need to pinch the top and remove the stepsons from the side stems. This will result in a branched bush of 2-3 shoots covered with numerous inflorescences. And in order for the plants to bloom earlier, they are grown in one trunk, and all the rest are removed as they appear.

Removed stepchildren can be used as cuttings. At the same time, the open neck ripens better, the stem does not thicken, which contributes to better keeping quality of tubers. It is better to pick the first early buds so that they do not retard the development of the entire plant. In the future, caring for dahlias consists in regularly tying to the stake and removing faded inflorescences, which spoil the view and greatly deplete the plants. Dahlias bloom before frost; one bush can have up to 20-25 inflorescences.

Dahlia tubers storage

Dahlias suffer quite a lot from early autumn frosts. Already at a temperature of minus 2-3 ° C, leaves and inflorescences are affected. Therefore, before the onset of frost, the lower part of the stem must be covered with earth to a height of 15-20 cm and the leaves removed from the lower part of the bush to a height of up to 40 cm. This promotes the maturation of tubers and the root collar, their better storage in winter.

Dahlias are usually dug after freezing. The stems are cut off, the stake is taken out and the tubers are carefully dug out, shaken off the ground, washed from a hose, disinfected in a solution of potassium permanganate, dried and stored in a dry room. The best storage temperature is 3-5 ° C. They are well stored in boxes with peat chips or sawdust at an air humidity of 60-75%.

And in an apartment, like gladioli, it is better to store them near the balcony door in a box isolated from room heat.