It's time to plant dahlias
Each garden has its own "calling card." At the manor, climbing roses will meet you at the entrance, another will amaze you with the magnificent clematis that decorates the wall of the house. Village gardens are colored with rudbeckias “golden ball” and digitalis, lupins and daylilies and only sometimes - dahlias. Earlier, about 10 years ago, a rare front garden did without dahlias. Unfortunately, there are gardeners who consider the dahlia a "rustic" flower, and besides, it is difficult to preserve in the winter. Those who think so are wrong and not up to date with modern garden fashion. Beauty Dahlia (as the botanists call dahlia) is now experiencing a new peak in its popularity. Currently, garden centers offer a huge variety of varieties of dahlias. Mostly Dutch breeding. Labels are amazing! And you should buy now, or even in February - there is more choice. But how to keep rhizomes purchased right now until the warm May days? No need to store - plant! The fact is that the dahlia is a plant of late flowering occurring in August - September. By the way, that’s why it falls into disgrace among gardeners in the middle lane, they say, it is only going to bloom, and summer has already ended. My plants bloom with might and main already in July, and begin flowering in June (it all depends on the weather). And this despite the fact that the garden is in our suburbs. It is with gardeners of the middle strip and to the north that I want to share the experience of early forcing dahlias.
To start, a little about preserving tubers. I dig up tubers after the first light frosts, when the ground part darkened a bit and went limp, usually in early October, leaving no more than 10 cm from the stem of the plant. Carefully and carefully clean the tubers from the ground with a special, not very hard, but not a soft brush, like an archaeologist at the excavation site. I do not recommend digging in rainy weather, only as a last resort, since it is not easy to clean wet tubers. For many years I used the following recommendations of experts - to wash, remove all the earth and soak for 30 minutes in a HoMa solution to dry. Not bad, but time consuming! For gardeners with loose soil, a suitable option is possible. But we have loam - even with minimal humidity, it’s difficult to clean the roots, and it is not comfortable to rinse thoroughly in cold water in a summer residence. By that time, the air was already cold, hands even in thick rubber gloves freeze. I don’t want to “spread the dirt” in the room. I stopped washing. I generously pour cleaned into dry roots with ash and lay them out to dry on paper in a cold, but not freezing room. We have this attic on the floor. By that time, we no longer live in the country, and all of October we come only on weekends. So once a week I turn the tubers over, pouring them again with ash. And so 3 weeks, just before the end of October. Then I pack them in pre-prepared cardboard boxes, pouring now dry horse-drawn (red) peat mixed with ash and take them home. I keep boxes with dahlia roots in a common corridor (it is closed from the landing). During the winter, I check my “burial place” 1-2 times a month. I remove the rotten tubers. This is very important, because everyone can die from one! Well, for those who find it difficult to dig out and store it, either “entrust” this matter to their neighbor friends for free, or simply leave it in the ground, then buy fresh ones. There is another option - to collect seeds and plant seedlings in February-March.
And finally, the landing. I plant roots in late February - early March, referring to the lunar calendar. Please do not worry! I’m not planting in beds, at this time we are waist-deep in snow, but in containers made by hand from transparent tanks for drinking water. But first, I inspect the roots, cut out rotted ones, treat the places of the slices with green leaves, and before planting, I must stand for half an hour - an hour in slightly warm water with a solution of Holm (according to the instructions) or potassium permanganate. Then I take in equal parts garden soil, peat (the same horse) and sand. In a week, shoots appear, the main thing is to provide pets with bright light, fluorescent lamps or removal to an insulated loggia are suitable for this (by the way, this is the most ideal place for winter storage of tubers). Dahlia is growing fast. And do not be afraid of this! Cutting - it takes root well, and for the 100% guarantee, you can apply “Rhizomes”. I dip the freshly cut stalk into the water, then into the Rhizomes and into the ground, for greater certainty under the can.
Thus, by May I have already formed adult plants, with buds, sometimes with flowers. In early May, I plant. I keep an eye on weather reports, as strong return frosts can destroy plants. In this case, landings must be delayed. Lutrasil saves from lungs, but even if frost destroys the ground part, the overgrown root system quickly gives new large shoots. I put humus with sand in the landing pits, cut the containers into 2 parts, freeing the plants, and transfer them to the landing pits. A lot of fuss? But believe me, nothing beats blooming dahlias! she is good both as a tapeworm and in group landings. You will forget about all the hardships that preceded flowering, the plant will repay you a hundredfold for all the troubles! The flowers last for a long time - at least a week, bloom one at a time and "packs", turning their "faces" to the sun. That is why they must be planted from east to west in a line. They also like protection from the wind from the north side (dense landings, a fence, the wall of the house) and a high support, which they put when planting so as not to damage the tubers. The main stem of the plant is tied to it. Planting dahlias themselves can serve as an excellent decoration for other plants in the mixborder; it looks great with asparagus, hosts, daylilies for staged plantings. My dahlia served as the background even for roses in the rose garden, and it looked like a single carpet, moving from a plane to a “wall”. One more thing that needs to be said about the dahlia - it is not recommended to plant it in one place from year to year, after it is good to “refresh” the land with plantings of lupine. It remains to feed on time and enjoy the ongoing show all summer!
There is still one sad note in this dahlia story. Yes, this plant is also a short day, with the peak of flowering in August-September, I made it bloom earlier. Yes, in June there are simultaneously 10-12 flowers on one plant, as in August, and yet it should be planted earlier! After all, 3-5 flowers is enough to make it look picturesque, but if there are several plants? From day to day, beautiful dahlias will gain power and beauty, and so on to frost. But still in October, with plants that are in full bloom, they have to part. The hand does not rise to this outgoing beauty. If the bush is small, it can be carefully transplanted into a container and on your insulated dahlia balcony for a long time will delight with its flowering and remind you of a fast-flowing summer. It's time to plant a dahlia!