Dahlia Time Table

Includes compost maintenance

February-March—bed preparation

April—sorting and potting tubers.

May 7th to 21st—planting

June—watering, pest control

June-July—topping, tying, pest control, weed control, watering, fertilizing, fencing

July-August—disbranching, staking/tying, pest control, watering, fertilizing, weeding

August—pinching side-buds, watering, fertilizing, pest and disease control, staking/tying

September—pinching side-buds, watering, powdery mildew, staking/tying

October before frost—pinching, staking/tying, build compost pile

After frost (October, November)—dig tubers, wash/divide/store

November to January—compost maintenance


Reviewing the main points: The most physically demainding chores are digging holes in new beds and pounding stakes. Also hauling wheel-barrows full of compost around. The most time consuming tasks are: watering and tying. Adequate watering is essential. Fertilizing as well. The most under-appreciated chores are: pinching side-buds to enrourage growth of cental flower and also topping the young plant. Dahlias require active management to produce the most beautiful display. They are vigorous growers when the conditions are right, and seem to thrive on pinching and pruning. The greatest danger is letting them sit in soggy soil. Even a fully mature plant will rot where it exits the ground if the soil is too wet. Dahlias need well-drained soil. Note: dahlias don't do well in pots. Even raised beds are iffy. The most damaging pest in this part of the country is the cucumber beetle. Earwigs can also be troublesome. I haven't figured out whether the earwigs are nesting/congregating on the plants or are actually feeding on it. Also: powdery mildew can be devastating in late summer.