The climate in the state of Queensland, Australia, is subtropical and so ideal for growing dahlias which originally came from Mexico and Guatemala. Named after the Swedish botanist Dr. Anders Dahl, dahlias grow from a root called a tuber. They flourish each summer, die back in the winter, and return the following spring. Dahlias grow well in most soils, but prefer a site that is well-drained. Plant them 2 feet apart in full or partial sun.
In the spring, dig a hole large enough to accommodate the tuber. Place the tuber in the hole, making sure that the stalk from last year’s growth is facing upward.
Cover the tuber with compost to a depth of 3 inches, and gently firm it down. Water thoroughly.
Dahlias can grow up 5 feet tall and need stakes to support them. After planting the dahlia, place a stake in the ground, avoiding the tuber. As the plant grows, attach it to the stake with twine.
When the young shoots appear in early summer, protect them from slugs and snails, which like to eat the young leaves. Remove them by hand or control them with a proprietary slug killer. Take care to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once they are growing, do not overwater dahlias. Only give them water if the soil around them is dried out.
Encourage extra blooms by pinching out the lead growing stem. This will create extra side stems and flowers.