Our Complete Guide To Planting Dahlia Tubers

Dahlias are an ever-popular choice for many a summer garden. Their easy-to-grow tubers produce phenomenal displays of colour and texture in a range of styles throughout the season. However, if you’re new to gardening, you may be wondering how to plant these beauties.

Planting Dahlia tubers is a straight forward process, perfect for those with less experience. With their beauty and effortless maintenance, it’s easy to see why they’re a horticultural favourite.

Why Choose Dahlias?

  1. Dahlias are easy to grow and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. These blooms are fast-growing by nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (keep them stored and frost-free over the winter).
  2. Dahlia tubers are versatile and will tolerate most types of well-drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.
  3. They are a firm favourite due to the many different types, sizes, and colours available on the market.
  4. New varieties are created each year. Once you’re hooked on Dahlias, you will always be able to find something new.
  5. They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
  6. They look fantastic as cut flowers, making any display a memorable one.

Varieties

Before we move onto planting dahlia tubers, here are the main types of Dahlias. Each variety can be classified into several different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.

Anemone Flowering – Also known as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a fluffy ball.

Cactus – A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Are sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias.

Dark Leaf – As the name suggests, the foliage on this variety is not the usual bright green that you see on your average Dahlia. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer, with each bloom appearing on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.

Decorative – Produces large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. A perfect choice for cut flower displays.

Dwarf – A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border. They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed in pots on the patio.

Dinner Plate – As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Another popular choice as cut flowers.

Pompom – Love the unusual? Pompom Dahlias produce ball-shaped blooms that appear through the summer. Each petal has rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges, and are available in plenty of colours.

Planting Dahlia Tubers

All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted as soon as you receive them. The success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high. They are also an inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one plant.

Dahlia tubers should be planted 10cm deep in fertile well-drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart. In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter. Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.

Planting Dahlia tubers in Pots & Containers

Planting Dahlias in pots and containers is a fantastic way of brightening up your patios. Their unique colours and shapes will brighten any space, a perfect choice for gardens with less space to play with.

  1. Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.
  2. When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, leaving plenty of time to grow a well-established root before the summer.
  3. It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes.
  4. Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards.
  5. Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.
  6. Water well after potting, keeping the compost moist but not waterlogged, as the tubers will rot. Add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they have a strong love for Dahlias.
  7. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
  8. Very little pruning is needed with Dahlias. However, you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

More Dahlia Tutorials

Dinner Plate Dahlias

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

Spring Photo Competition Winners 2019

We asked you to send in your #JParkersBulbs spring photos and you did not disappoint! We had an amazing turn out this year with people sending in their entries by email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We would like to give a massive thank you to everyone who entered this year; we received so many amazing photos that narrowing them down to the final 10 was a real struggle.

So without further adieu, here are this year’s results…

1st Place Prize Winner

The top prize of a £100 J. Parker’s voucher went to this beautiful Crocus image from Isabelle C. sent to us via email.

Isabelle C – Crocus

2nd Place Prize Winners

We awarded 2 £50 J. Parker’s vouchers for our second place prize winners.

Nataliya H – Allium

One voucher went to this beautiful bee-friendly Allium photo from Nataliya H. sent to us via email.

Peter G – Daffodil

The second £50 voucher goes to this delightful daffodil shot sent in by Peter G. via email.

3rd Place Prize Winners

 Our seven third prize winners each won a £25 J. Parker’s voucher and here are their beautiful entry images.

Our Favourite Entries From Previous Years…

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Get started on your 2020 displays and Pre-order your Spring Flowering Bulbs here!

Top 10 Perennials for Year-Round Interest

Having a beautiful garden through every season of the year can be quite a challenge, but we’re here to help. Perennials provide flowers year after year. We have carefully selected our top perennial plants that will bring interest to your garden all year long.

Monarda

Native to Eastern North America and Canada and grows naturally from Quebec to Georgia. The Monarda’s other name “Bee Balm” refers to the fact that North American tribes would crush their leaves to ease the pain of bee stings. This popular perennial is ideal for their fragrance and would make the perfect addition to a wildlife garden.

Monarda Knight Red

This beautiful perennial provides beautiful whirls of vivid red flowers from July through to September and a mass of spicy-scented bronze tinged foliage. An added bonus of this Monarda is that their enticing fragrance attracts butterflies and bees, so they are perfect for anyone planning a wildlife garden.

 

 


Lewisia

Native to western North America, Lewisia are one of the most treasured rock garden plants. This gorgeous little plant produces rosette-shaped flowers that come in a range of different colours and is super durable, even in sandy or rocky soils.

Lewisia Cotyledon Mixed

This hardy, low growing perennial plant produces bursts of ornate, slender stemmed flowers with star-shaped petals that bloom in delicate colourful shades in the spring and summer. The foliage is particularly distinctive with their succulent, glossy leaves  that form attractive rosette-shaped arrangements at the base of the plant.

 


Scabiosa

Scabiosa is a plant that every gardener should try. Also known as the pincushion flower, Scabiosa is an easy-care plant that works well nearly everywhere and their flowers are a stunning sight to behold.

Scabiosa Fama White

This delightful and extremely hardy variety of Scabiosa produces filly flowers all summer long  until the first frosts. They are also perfect for attracting pollinators to the garden. Unlike their annual type, their foliage remains green year round and will return each year.

 

 

 


Ranunculus

If you’re a cut flower lover, and who’s not? – you’ll love Ranunculus. Native to the Eastern Meditteranean, these showstopping flowers are perfect for a cutting garden and their rose-clustered, bright flower heads will give you a flower bed of richly packed colour.

Ranunculus Picotee Pink

This hardy perennial variety boasts large white flowers adorned with multiple layers of delicate, silky petals with purple tips. Each plant produces masses of long-lasting double blooms that are perfect for borders, container planting or for making pretty cut flower displays.

 

 

 


Miscanthus

Looking for a more natural garden scheme? Miscanthus are a great group of ornamental grasses that can give lots of pleasure in the garden and require very little work in return.

Miscanthus Indian Summer

This stunning hardy perennial grass will make a great statement plant in any garden. Blooming with bright orange and yellow feathery stems throughout summer, autumn and well into winter. Their beautiful and unusual floral texture last for so many months after the initial colour has faded.

 

 


Sedum

There are few plants more forgiving of sun and bad soil than Sedum plants, so much so that even novice gardeners excel at growing them. These plants require very little attention and care and will thrive in conditions that many other plants thrive in, but will do just as good in less hospitable areas. Sedums are frequently used to create beautiful ground cover or rock gardens.

Sedum pulchellium Sea Star

This tough, low-growing perennial is drought tolerant and produces a mound of glossy green leaves that are covered in pale pink star-shaped flowers during the summer months. As the weather warms, the green leaves gradually become blushed with a rose colouration towards the tips of the succulent leaves.

 


Veronica

Native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, Veronica plants are low-care, pollinator friendly and easy-to-grow perennials that produce long spikes of tiny clustered flowers in a range of beautiful and vibrant colours.

Veronica spicata Icicle

This compact perennial produces slender upright spikes of white flowers that bloom all throughout the summer. This variety will grow a spread of pretty foliage at roughly half the overall height of the plant with the crisp white flowers shooting above. A perfect addition to pots on the patio.

 

 


Carex

Carex are top-notch foliage perennials that commonly feature triangular stems bearing linear or strap-shaped leaves that are a graceful accent plant for beds, borders, ground cover and so much more. Their wonderful leaves provide long lasting appeal all year round and require very little care for a low maintenance garden.

Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’

A fantastic evergreen perennial grass that will provide a colourful contrast to the border with their orange tipped green leaves. In the autumn, the foliage turns into a darker orange and produce brown flower spikes in the summer. This clump-forming perennial retains its colour all year round for a long lasting garden appeal.

 


Anemone

Anemones grow wild around Europe, North America and Japan and they are a beautiful sight in the summer when they flower freely until late Autumn. These beautiful perennials are generally low maintenance plants and easily thrive in a majority of conditions.

Anemone Multifida

Anemone Mutlifida is a vigorous, long flowering perennial that produces broad foliage with buttery lemon-yellow flowers. They will flower all summer from June to August and will naturalise prolifically if left undisturbed, so you can simply plant them up and forget about them.

 

 


Heuchera

Famed for their truly amazing and spectacular foliage, Heuchera are a real luxury for garden lovers, but their real attraction comes from their evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage. Try mixing Heuchera together in borders, rockeries or patio containers and create a beautiful rainbow effect.

Heuchera plum royale

Heuchera Plum Royale produces spectacular shiny purple evergreen foliage which turn to silver with a purple tint in winter. This plant also produces attractive late spring an early summer flowers in pretty pink and white shades. This variety is a superb year round ground cover plant, even in a shady spot.

 

Top 10 Wildflowers for a Garden Meadow

Wildflowers have been referenced in British literature, poetry and music for centuries, from Shakespeare to D.H. Lawrence. Wildflower meadows and grasslands are our most diverse habitats, rich in wildlife, beauty, history and folklore. So, since the first week of May is #NationalWildflowerWeek, it seems like there’s no better time than now to bring a touch of the wild to your garden.

Here are our top 10 wildflower varieties to plant this spring…

 

 

 

 

 

Astilbe Dark Leaf Avalanche

Native to the mountains ravines and woodlands in Asia and North America, these plant’s are quite simply a gardener’s dream. Astilbe are carefree, summer blooming perennials and this variety produces a dense carpet of dark fern-like foliage with feathery white blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thymus Serpyllum

Native to Europe and North America, this flowering wild thyme will dazzle in a wildlife garden with their highly fragrant pinky-mauve flowers amongst their dark green foliage. This is the perfect wildflower for attracting bees and butterflies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scaevola Brilliant 

Native to Australia where they grow on hot rocky outcrops they are equally good at coping with hostile growing conditions. The lovely fan shaped blooms and shiny glossy green leaves make this a lovely feature plant, great in tubs and containers or planted up fences as illustrated.

 

Triteleia Queen Fabiola

Also known as the Starflower, Triplet Lily or Wild Hyacinth, the Triteleia Queen Fabiola is native to California where it grows wild. Bright green, grass-like leaves appear first, followed by clusters of violet purple star shaped blossoms with blue anthers in late spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose of Sharon

Originating from exotic Turkey and Bulgaria, Rose of Sharon is one of the best varieties for ground covers. Not only that, but it is very popular with bees. The large bright yellow star-shaped flowers with  red-tipped anthers make a sunny display from June to September.

 

 

 

 

 

Digitalis Hardy Mixed

Bring the wildness of the woods to your garden with this exciting mix of Digital Purpurea, commonly known as Foxgloves. Flowering from June to August, the foxglove plant bears an instantly recognizable shape consisting of tall, statuesque spikes of tubular, bell-like flowers each with a distinctively speckled throat.

 

 

 

 

 

Veronicastrum Cupid

Native to the United States where it grows in the wild, it’s a great ornamental border plant and is an excellent cut flower for an indoor display. This fabulous upright perennial with tall brush like spikes of blue/lilac flowers will bloom from June to September with whorls of lance-shaped, toothed leaves form at the base.

 

 

 

 

 

Geranium Sanguineum Alba 

In the wild Geranium Sangiuneum Alba is found in sand dunes and on rocky slopes.  This lovely sprawling perennial with small dark green leaves and pure white clusters of perfectly formed flowers in the summer is also known as the ‘bloody crane’s-bill’ for the crane like appearance of the fruit capsules in the spring.

 

 

 

 

 

Anemone Nemorosa

This Wood Anemone originated in the European woodlands and it still retains its natural carefree beauty. Un-surprisingly, given its origin, this little beauty is an excellent naturalising plant and will produce an ever increasing displays each year. Ideal for your patio pots and rockeries.

 

 

 

 

 

Camassia Leichtlinii Alba 

Also known as the Californian white-flowered quamash these will produce creamy-white blooms, densely set on very long stems. These are great naturalisers and will be happy in full sun or partial shade. A great addition to beds/borders, and will look fabulous planted en-masse in a wild garden.

Flower Garden Stories: Legendary Spring Flowering Bulbs and Plants

After an unusual spring and a glorious summer, its time to start thinking about autumn planting. Our full autumn range is now available for pre-order, ready for you to start thinking about what you’ll be planting this year for your spring 2019 display.

To give you a bit of inspiration, we’ve taken a look at how these gorgeous flowers have been catching our eye for thousands of years. Many of the plants we sell to this day have origin stories in the myths and legends of ancient cultures. In Ancient Greece, everything from the sky to the tiny flowers of the earth had their own deity and mythology.

We’ve chosen six of our favourite plants and bulbs that earned a place in the stories of Ancient Greek mythology;

Narcissus

The story of Narcissus is one of vanity and, yes, narcissism.

The beauty of Narcissus was apparently so incomparable that his mother feared he would meet some tragic demise, but was consoled by a local seer that his life would be long and happy so long as he never recognised himself. Like most of these ancient prophesies, Naricissus’ fate came to pass when he fell madly in love with his own reflection and drowned trying to reach himself.

The beautiful Narcissi sprang up where he died, their delicate nodding heads hanging downwards presumably to admire their own reflection.

Anemone

Greek myth states that the Anemone was traditionally white, but was turned red by the death of Aphrodite’s lover Adonis. A similar connection is made to Jesus, who’s crucifixion in Christianity is often associated with the anemone when depicted in art.

Crocus

The story of Krokos in Greek myth depicts him as a young man who’s lover, the nymph Smilax, had died tragically. In his greif, Krokos prayed to the Olympians for mercy. The gods deemed to turn the man into a Crocus and his lover to an evergreen tree, so that the pair may live in each other’s company for eternity. The delicate crocus can often be found flowering in the shade of larger plants to this day.

 

Iris

The colourful, delicate Iris are supposedly named for the greek goddess of the same name. Iris, which means eye of heaven, would deliver the word of the gods to earth via a rainbow. It make sense that the flower would take this name for its rainbow of colours and unusual eyedrop markings.

Hyacinth

Another tragic love story of greek mythology was that of Hyacinth, a mortal who found himself in a love triangle with the sun god Apollo and Zephyrus, the western wind. When their quarrelling lead to his demise, Apollo’s tears burst into life as they hit the ground and bloomed into wonderful, fragrant Hyacinth.

Peony

This particular myth makes more sense in its own time. Paeon worked as a healer under the god Asclepius, who’s symbolism still inspires the medical industry with the Rod of Asclepius forming the logo of health organisations across the world. So talented was Paeon that Asclepius himself envied him, and the king of the gods himself was forced to intervene. In an effort to save the healer from his tutor, Zeus turned Paeon into the flower Paeony, which was in ancient times more widely used for its apparent medicinal properties.

Hopefully these have offered some inspiration to modern gardeners also, and right now you can shop our full autumn range online with our latest free gifts. Get planning!