It is the first week of March and now dahlia growers start anticipating the coming growing season. Tuber orders are being delivered and we are assesing growing areas. Now is the time to start thinking about the layout of your dahlias. How much space do you have? Is your soil ready? Did you amend or grow a cover crop? Are you going to make any changes in watering or staking techniques this year?
There is an aspect to the planting season this year that I am going to give more consideration. That aspect is how tall and how wide does a particular variety grow? Tall growers should be grouped together. A tall growing dahlia, when placed next to a shorter growing dahlia could block a lot of sun. Tall growers also require more staking and tying off. It will certainly be easier to stake and tie larger varities together. If you are thinking of trying to hybridize this year, then you should also consider grouping your dahlias together by variety. For myself this year, I will be experimenting with hybridizing water lilly forms and incurved cactus forms. I will be planting these forms near each other in my dahlia garden, in an attempt to gather seeds for the following growing season!