I don’t know if you know this but Dahlias are so easy to grow from seed. They make beautiful cut flowers adding whimsy and wonder to any garden they reside. You can start your Dahlias from seed outside directly in the garden or start them early indoors and get a jump on the garden season.
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Before you begin you will need to source out Dahlia seeds. There are many retailers that will have seeds in stores starting in January and sometimes earlier. If you want more variety than what’s in store I suggest ordering online. Here are some of my favorite places to shop online.
Now that you’ve got your seeds it’s time to decide when and how you want to plant them. The easiest way to start Dahlias from seed is to plant them directly in the garden after your first frost date. You will follow the depth requirements on the seed packet then once planted water them in and let nature do the rest! Kidding, well not entirely. You will need to keep watch for birds and other critters that would love to dig up and eat your seeds
Inside or Out?
Whether you start your Dahlia seeds inside or out is up to you. Both options are wonderful depending on your situation. Starting your Dahlia seeds outside will be the easiest by far but you will have to deal with pest pressure.
Birds, chipmunks, squirrels among many others will be after your seeds as soon as your plant them in the ground. Aside from watering nature will take care of them for you. You will have stronger seedlings that grow into healthy plants.
Follow the planting guide on the seed packet for planting outside in ground. You will likely need to plant your seeds about 2 inches apart and and inch or so down in the soil.
If you also love Zinnias you can learn how to grow them here!
To grow indoors you are going to need patience and space because Dahlias sprout and grow very fast! Here’s what you need to get your Dahlias started.
Seed Starting Supplies
You can get high tech/ expensive with seed starting if you want, but you can totally do it low cost. All you need is what’s listed above. Using seed starting mix when starting seeds indoors is important because seed starting soil is sterile. Potting soil can have bacteria that can aid in seedling death called damping off. So you need to keep clean tools, pots and soil for the best germination rates.
How to grow Dahlia From Seed
Fill your pots with seed starting mix then depending on the size of your pots plant your seeds 1/2 inch down, cover with soil and water them. Be prepared to keep your seed mix consistently moist. Dry soil can be the death of young seedlings
If you don’t have strong window light or overhead grow lights you will get leggy (stretched) seedlings. While you can grow your seeds in a window sill but I highly recommend you get a grow light or two.
Aside from overhead lighting you will want to keep your seedlings in a warm area of your home. Sunflower seeds don’t need to much heat to germinate but do best in a warm room.
Once your Dahlia seeds sprout you will want to make sure to keep the soil moist, light consistent and the space warm. Seedlings need at least 13 hours of daylight. This is made easier by the use of artificial lights. You can leave your grow lights on for at max 16 hours a day to keep your seedlings happy.
When you begin seeing roots growing from the bottom of your pots it’s time to repot your plants. If your outdoor temps are warm enough ( Above 46 degrees at night) you can transition your seedlings into your garden.
To learn how to transition your seeds I recommend you read this post!
If it’s not yet time to plant your seedlings outside then continue with regular care until the weather is right. You may have to repot your seedlings several times before transitioning them out into the garden.
Once you’ve transitioned your seedlings it’s time to plant. You can plant your seedlings in containers, raised beds or in ground. When you plant be sure to use an organic fertilizer to feed your plant. Annuals grow quite fast and are very heavy feeders so make sure to provide them with fertilizer all season long.
Growing Dahlia from seed is such a great way to add beauty and life into the garden and what’s amazing is that you can collect seeds from your own plants and grow your own stock year after year. Dahlias are amazing in potting arrangements and come in so many different heights. You can add them to your landscape or in a cut flower garden.