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WE'VE NEVER MET A DAHLIA WE DIDN'T LIKE

When the dahlias bloom, many a gardener will beam with delight. These easy care prolific bloomers give new life to the summer garden just when other flowers begin to fade. You'll find several different varieties available that bloom as early as June. All varieties last well into October in the Pacific Northwest.

HOW TO PLANT YOUR DAHLIAS

Plant your dahlias in full sun, using soil that drains well. Avoid clay or any soil that clumps when wet.

Give them plant of room to grow. Allow 6-12 inches between plants. They don't like to share space (kind of like teenagers).

Stake your plants to support blooming stalks. The best time to do this is when they get to be 7-12 tall.

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR DAHLIAS

Water deeply on a weekly basis. Wait until the top inch of soil is dry before the next watering. Make sure not to overwater your dahlias! The tubers will rot if they receive too much moisture.

Feed them weekly with flower or tomato fertilizer (such as 5-10-10 or 10-15-10).

Deadhead for continuous bloom. Remove spent flowers by following the flower stalk to the end, where you will see the joint. Cut the stem here. Remove any dead leaves at the bottom of the plant.

END OF SEASON CARE

By August, slow down or stop feeding altogether. Add soil if the top of the roots are exposed.

At the end of the growing season when your dahlias are getting ready to go dormant you can choose to leave your dahlia tubers (their "bulbs") in the ground or store them in a cool dry place over the winter. Many gardeners make their decision based on their microclimate and level of rain they expect.