The Q&A Archives: Starting Dahlias

Question: Before replanting dahlias this spring, should I soak over night in water?
To get an early start and a lack of indoor space, can you plant the tubers in the cold ground with no frost expected and when the ground warms up, get a early start to beautiful full flowers all summer?

Answer: Unfortunately, there is no magical way to speed them up (except maybe if you consider a greenhouse magic). Dahlias are so pretty they are worth the wait -- and the effort to get them to grow. Dahlias are not at all frost tolerant and require a warm soil to grow. If you plant them into cold soil they are quite likely to rot rather than grow. To get a head start, many gardeners plant them into pots indoors and then set them in a warm sheltered and sunny spot each day but bring them indoors at night until the weather is settled and the ground is warm. Although the tubers look somewhat unpromising, they should grow fine in well drained damp but not soggy soil without presoaking. If your tubers are shriveled, you might try a quick soak or a sprinkling or two of water to see if they will plump up. If they are too dry due to improper storage they are probably dead.

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