A Note of Caution for Northern Dahlia Lovers: Don’t Plant Outside Too Soon!

We sympathize: your OHG box has arrived, it’s one of the first warm days of spring, and you are eager to get your new tubers into the ground and growing! Check the soil temperature and weather forecast before acting on that impulse, however. If the soil is too cool, or if spring rains are in the forecast, your tubers may rot before they put down roots. It’s best to wait until your local frost free date or until soil temperatures reach 60°F. Our soil temperature here in Ann Arbor is only 48F, still too early to plant, even though the 10-day forecast shows temperatures well above freezing. If you’re in a short-season area, you can try starting in pots indoors for a head start, but we find in zone 6 that our dahlias are just fine planted after May 15.

We were happy to see that the 2022 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac gives the same advice, and it was lovely to read this quote leading off the article: “As Scott Kunst, former proprietor of Old House Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan once observed: ‘Dahlias get more and more charged up. They’re like fireworks - they can animate and transform the garden.’” Here’s wishing you a glorious display in late summer!