Dahlia Tuber Time

Today the final box of tubers arrived. The giant bag of bone meal is purchased. It’s digging time!


I’ve become a huge dahlia fan over the past few years. I’m attracted to their long bloom time, the variety of colors and shapes, the great reward for relatively low cost, and the whole incongruity of gorgeous flowers coming from homely tubers. Having inherited a dozen or so tubers in five raised beds when we moved into Coppertop, I’d begun adding to those tubers almost immediately, initially with purchases from Swan Island.

As planting season is finally upon us in the chilly, damp northwest, I’ve taken stock and counted up newly-purchased and old varieties (56 total) and come to this conclusion:  As long as I only plant as many dahlia varieties as my age in years, things will stay in check, and dahlias will not overtake these gardens, yet I’ll still have plenty of flowers and tubers to share. At least it’s a goal! Keep in mind I have many tubers of certain varieties, especially after dividing, probably topping out with 8-10 tubers of T. Edison and a dozen of an unidentified, inherited, red and yellow bushy specimen, pictured here.


All that said, I can’t imagine selecting just one new variety each year, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.


Rawhide from 2016

We are planning a new bed of dahlias closer to the house which we’ll plant in the next couple of weeks. This large 3 foot by 30 foot border will be visible from the home and deck, which the raised beds of dahlias sadly are not. We are digging out (and transplanting) a large swath of grass for the new bed. From its inception I’ve planned this bed to include solids, mainly informal decorative (dahlia classification), many dinnerplate size in peaches, pinks, whites, golds, coppers/bronzes, and oranges. Down the hill, the five beds of dahlias include many purples, lavenders, reds, some yellows, some pinks, and many multi-toned varieties.


Mikayla Miranda from 2016

I purchased tubers for the new bed from a wide range of mostly northwest sources:  Floret, Frey’s, Old House Dahlias, Dan’s, Aztec, American Meadows, Eden Bros., Easy-To-Grow Bulbs, and even Costco. I purchased multiples of almost every new variety, planning to pack about 60 tubers in the 90 square feet. I must say I’m eager to see which company’s tubers are great producers.

This year the only tuber I acquired from Swan Island was a replacement of the variety Blah blah blah, which promises golden beige blooms with pink undertones. It will fit right in with golds, or maybe the peaches. Time and blooms will tell.

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