Potting up your Darling Dahlias

The Darling Dahlia (as I like to refer to them)  is one of my favourite flowers. They can bloom well into October and are rather beautiful, coming in all shapes, sizes and colours (so many in fact that there is one there for everyone). Even better, they are very low maintenance (my type of flower) and will thrive in most sunny spots and soils so long as there is good moisture and drainage. 

Back in October I wrote a blog on how to lift and store your dahlias and in a blink of an eye it’s now time to re-introduce myself to them and pot them up so they have a head start before being planted out in the cut garden.

PS – If you want an excuse to make some White Company purchases then this is one of them – their boxes make great storage for bulbs and tubers!

You need to be careful as dahlias are tender and particularly susceptible to cold weather and frosts. The best way to start them off is either in a greenhouse or a window ledge, only planting them out when the risk of frost has passed. I normally wait until late May to do this where I live, but for colder places you may find you have to wait until June.

The Equipment

  • In terms of pot size, I always go with one that is not too big and not too small, you want the dahlia to be snug but not completely crammed in. Do make sure that the pot has drainage holes.
  • For compost, I go for a peat-free variety.

The how to

  • When it comes to potting up, you do not need to go deep, you just want to plant it just below the soil surface. 
  • In terms of storage, you need to make sure that you pop it somewhere frost free and relatively warm. If you have a greenhouse then pop it in in there on a heated mat. If you don’t then a window ledge is just fine.
  • You will need to water them. I do mine every couple of days but they don’t need too much.
  • It’s then just a case of watching it start to grow!

What is meant by pinching out?

When your dahlia starts to sprout and they have reached about 12-16 inches in height,  you will have to pinch out the tip. Why do this? Well, it’s basically to remove the dominant growth tip and by doing this the plant will then put its energy into forming roots and not just growing upwards, creating a sturdier, fuller plants with more blooms – hurrah to that!

The best time to pinch out, is when the dahlia is between 12 and 16 inches tall and has at least 4 sets of leaves on the main stalk. To do it, locate the upper-most sprout on the stem and then remove it with either scissors or your fingers – just be mindful not to tear the stem.  

Picture courtesy of Longfield Gardens

Once done, your dahlia will usually respond quite quickly by growing more stems and foliage. It’s then just a case of watching and waiting for the milder weather. Once the risk of frost has passed then you are ready to plant out. I shall report back on when I do mine.

Finally, a big thank you to Rose from Suttons Seeds who included us on their amazing blog site and then sent us some gorgeous Dahlia tubers to add to the frighteningly expanding collection! Thank you so much Suttons Seeds, what an honour to be featured on your blog. Click here to read their Dahlia round up https://hub.suttons.co.uk/gardening-advice/expert-advice-growing-dahlias

With love and stay safe, Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot –


Find out more about me – www.flowersandlifestylebymargot.co.uk


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Claire Morgan-Hughesreply
March 21, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Loved this blog Karen thank you. I’ve not grown Dahlias before but I’m might just have to look for some white ones! They are such pretty flowers. X

Rebecca Lovattreply
March 23, 2021 at 12:06 pm
– In reply to: Claire Morgan-Hughes

OOh what a lovely idea! Dahlias are just so gorgeous – go for it! I will pass on your lovely message to Karen – thank you so much for commenting. Rebecca xxx

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