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

Allium Guide: When and How to Plant Them

Alliums are plants of exquisite beauty that deserve a place in perennial gardens. Easy to grow and undemanding, these ornamental bulbs come in a diverse range of colour, height and bloom times, to give you beautiful blooms from spring all the way through till summer.

Throughout this Allium blog, we will guide you through our most popular varieties, planting partners, a full planting guide and even video planting tutorials to get you ready for your autumn bulb planting.

Planting Guide

Planting time: September – December

How to Plant: Dwarf Tulips

Need advice on planting Dwarf Tulip bulbs? We’ve compiled our gardening advice in this informative blog guide on planting, arrangement, and aftercare to help make your gardening job easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulips are one of the most popular Spring bulbs for a reason. Fantastic colours and attractive shapes make them a stunning choice for your garden displays. There are a wide variety of Greigii/Kaufmanniana or dwarf Tulips within our range, from First Price, Little Beauty, Humilis, and Scarlet Baby; all with stunning colourful blooms that would be perfect for any spring border, or even hanging basket, and their spectacular foliage produces year after year whilst requiring minimal care.

Planting

Tulips do not need to be planted until October in to December. Plant bulbs in well dug soil about 8-10cm deep and approx. 15cm apart. It is often beneficial to use a little bonemeal or super phosphate mixed in with the soil. Tulips delight during their growth in a sunny location.

Video

In this video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff talks us through how to plant Dwarf Rockery/Botanical Tulips, with great easy to follow advice on how to achieve a terrific spring rockery display.

Aftercare

After the tulips have bloomed and when leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. This allows the bulb to store more food and produce flowers the following year. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.

Click here to view our full Tulip range!

Plant of the Month – Dwarf Rhododendrons

Dwarf Rhododendrons

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The stunning flowers of the Rhododendron have earned them a legion of fans, and quite right too! Some varieties of full size Rhododendrons will simply keep growing until they grow into giant trees, although you can prune them down, these larger varieties may not be an option in your garden.

This month we’re taking a look at some stunning dwarf varieties. The compact growth habit of these shrubs give them an outstanding formal appearance, making them ideal for small city gardens or courtyards where space is at a premium. They’re even small enough to slot nicely beneath taller shrubs in the border, or grow nicely in a rock garden.

Rhododendron Princess Anne

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A dwarf evergreen shrub variety with soft primrose yellow flowers which appear in spring, sitting nicely alongside the green foliage. A very reliable performer, its holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Height and spread only 50-60cm as adult plant.

 

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Rhododendron Dwarf Collection

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Our collection brings together Scarlet Wonder (red), Moerheim Lilac (lilac/mauve) and Pink Drift (cool-toned, light pink). A burst of colour for your border or patio, all three are exceptionally compact and manageable. These varieties produce trusses of up to three funnel shaped, vibrant flowers from April-June, against a lush background of ovate, glossy dark green leaves.

Planting

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You can plant out in March/April or in October.

Prepare the ground by digging in plenty of compost, neutral or acidic organic matter, or leafmold etc. Plant so the roots are covered, not too deep and apply a good layer of mulch lightly over the surface, don’t pack it down. Re-mulch and feed with an ericaceous fertiliser each spring.

Ericaceous fertiliser? This is for plants that are not as happy in limey soils. It’s a lime-free acidic compost that was habitually made with peat – however as awareness that adding peat to soils is bad for the environment you can now easily find peat free varieties to buy.

Dwarf varieties can cope with positioning in full sun but need evenly moist, well drained soils so keep on top of watering them in the hottest part of summer. Rhododendrons like lots of water and use rain-water if you can – you should particularly avoid tap-water if you live in a hard water area. As with larger Rhododendrons they won’t do at all well subjected to frost so take care to protect them and avoid areas you know are prone to it in your garden.

Rhododendron Praecox

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Technically this one will reach a mature height of 150cm, so not quite as dwarf as the varieties above but this stunning variety shouldn’t be missed out. Its one of the earliest flowering varieties, producing an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. It holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons – what’s the difference?

In truth not very much! Azaleas are a group within the Rhododendron family and they have some small differences. Rhododendrons will have ten or more stamens, while an Azalea will usually have five stamens. Rhododendrons have larger leaves and they will be paddle-shaped, Azalea have smaller, elliptical leaves. Also Rhododendrons are evergreen, whereas Azaleas can be evergreen or deciduous.

Tulips: Spring Garden Guide

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The many shapes and shades of the Tulip have helped to make it one of the most popular spring flowers. A familiar sight in British gardens, Tulip bulbs are so versatile that they can be planted with any other spring bulb, as well as having multiple uses in borders, patio pots and flowerbeds.

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Equally useful in the garden or the vase, planting tulips in the autumn will give you a guaranteed display of vibrant colour throughout the spring.

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Uses

  • Bedding and borders
  • Pots and Containers
  • Naturalising (some varieties – see below)
  • Cut Flowers

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Planting Tutorials

How to Plant Tulips

How to Plant Tulip Companions

How to Plant Darwin Hybrid Tulips

Varieties

There are a lot of different types of Tulip to choose from, each boasting their own unique qualities.

Double Early Tulips

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These are dwarf growing varieties that flower prolifically in April through to early May each year. They produce massive peony-like flowers with delicate and brilliant colours which are very effective in flower beds and borders, and make a lovely cut bouquet. Double Early Tulip bulbs are supplied as top quality bulbs ready to plant in autumn and flower in spring.

Double Late (Peony) Tulips

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Double Late Tulips flower later than most Tulip varieties, usually from late April into May. They produce giant peony shaped flowers on very sturdy stems of around 40-60cm and look spectacular when used as cut flowers. Double Late Tulips bulbs can be planted in autumn and will flower in spring. A really beautiful and unusual Tulip!

Fosteriana Tulips

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Fosteriana Tulips, also commonly known as the (Emperor Tulip) are chosen for their brilliant oriental colours and large flowers, creating a startling effect wherever planted. Sensational flowers on very stocky stems, perfect for a sunny border. Flowering in April/May every spring.

Fringed Tulips

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Fringed Tulips (also known as Crispa Tulips) have a very compact habit with extremely sturdy stems that produce colourful and vibrant flowers which have unusual fringed edges that give a ruffled effect. Flowering a little later than some Tulip varieties, they add colour and charm in late April into May. Height 50-70cm.

Greigii/Kaufmanniana Tulips

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Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips are colourful and exciting dwarf growing botanical Tulips which grow to only 20-25cm tall, producing unusual glossy green or mottled foliage that look stunning grown in any area within the garden. Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips flower earlier than many other short stemmed Tulips, from as early as March onwards into April. Try planting in rows along a path, driveway or in a flower bed, where the sturdy stems and bright colours will easily catch the eye.

Lily Flowering Tulips

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Lily Flowering Tulips produce spectacular Flute shaped flowers that produce gracefully reflexing flowers, all on tall and very strong stems. They are particularly useful for cut flower arrangements and look amazing as part of a flower bouquet. Also known as Fluted Tulips.

Multi-Headed and Praestans Tulips

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Multi-Flowered Tulips are one of the most popular and effective Tulips for flower bouquets where their amazing variations in colours, coupled with strong stems allow them to really make a statement. They produce three to six flower heads per stem offering great value for money. Praestans Tulips are a popular botanical Tulip producing 25-30cm flowers which are a great naturalising bulb that multiply profusely.

Parrot Tulips

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Quite possibly one of the most unique but equally splendid Tulip varieties has to be the Parrot Tulip, producing giant irregular shaped flowers with petals that resemble the feathers of a tropical Parrot. Flowering from April into May, Parrot Tulips really do produce some of the most beautiful colour shades and are excellent for bedding purposes, where they can create an exotic look and feel.

Rembrandt Tulips

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Originating back to the time of Rembrandt, when Tulips were first introduced to Holland, Rembrandt Tulips are a combination of colours used to create a flamed effect that will delight almost like a flicker of a rainbow. Modern Rembrandt Tulips bulbs are 100% virus free and produce streaky bi-coloured blooms from May onwards. Height 50cm.

 

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Single Early Tulips

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Single Early Tulip bulbs are a traditional dwarf growing Tulip with a smaller habit than many varieties, but just as effective when grown in groups in a border or rockery. They are excellent for bedding and are one of the earliest of all Tulip types to flower outdoors in spring. Height 30-40cm.

Single Late Tulips

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There is probably no Tulip more versatile as the Single Late Tulip, commonly referred to as a Cottage Type of Tulip. Single Late Tulip bulbs produce very bright coloured large blooms on long, graceful stems. A wonderful variety grown for their beauty and attractiveness, with no cottage garden in spring being complete with some of these.

Species Tulips

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Tulip Species bulbs, also known as Dwarf Botanical Tulips, with their fascinating colours are natives of Asia Minor. These beautiful varieties are highly recommended for rockeries and borders, while also being suitable for patio containers and pots.

Triumph Tulips

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The Triumph Tulip is a result of a crossing between two premium varieties, Single Early and Darwin varieties. One of the largest range of Tulip varieties, Triumph or mid-season Tulips as they are known produce outstanding outstanding colours, with a very strong neat habit. A superb Tulip for planting in large groups in the border, flowerbed or also in patio container pots.

Viridiflora Tulips

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Viridiflora Tulips are one of the most elegant and stylish bi-colour Tulips on the market. Viridiflroa comes from the Latin words ‘viridis’ meaning green and ‘flos’ meaning flower. Combined together they represent the wonderful blend of colours we have come to love from this popular Tulip. Each Viridiflora Tulip bulb has a certain degree of green blended into each flower and is colourful enough to brighten even the darkest day in spring.