Mar, Apr, May
At its best:
Jul, Aug, Sep
Before planting out your dahlias, hammer several 1.2m stakes into the soil. Make sure they are firmly placed and unlikely to wobble, as these will provide support for your dahlias.
Dig a hole at the base of each stake, about twice as wide as the dahlia rootball.
Add a deep layer of well-rotted manure, home-made compost or or peat-free multipurpose compost to the bottom of the hole, to increase nutrients and aid moisture retention.
Water each plant thoroughly before gently removing it from its pot. Tease out the roots, then settle the rootball into the hole.
Plant each rootball deeply, so the top is 5-8cm below the soil surface. This will help to support the brittle stems.
Using your heel, firm the soil around the plant, then water well so it settles the soil and soaks down to the roots.
Spread a 5-7cm-deep layer of mulch over the soil around the plant. This should stop it drying out in summer.
Weave garden twine back and forth between the stakes, running it at different heights to hold the stems.
Once the plants are 30-50cm tall, cut out the tips of the main stems, to encourage side shoots to form.
Water generously when the weather is dry, and add liquid fertiliser every two weeks. Cut flowers as required.