Dahlia 'Purple Gem'
semi-cactus dahlia tuber
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Start Dahlia tubers in pots and keep them in a light frost-free place until planting out time in early June. Try to get them up to a foot in height, because then they will be less attractive to the slugs.
- Position: full sun
- Soil: fertile, humus-rich soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: July to October
- Hardiness: half hardy
This rich-purple, cactus-shaped dahlia will flower from midsummer to mid-autumn, particularly if the spent flowers are removed promptly - or you cut them fresh for the vase. The magnificent flowerheads look incredible when mixed with rich plums, deep purples and near-black.
- Garden care: Dahlia tubers can be planted outside after frost, or started off in pots under glass in late winter to early spring. Plant them horizontally approximately 12cm deep, making sure the ‘eyes’ are uppermost. Allow enough room between each tuber so the plants can grow and spread to their full size without being over-crowded. While in growth, provide a high-nitrogen liquid feed each week in June, then a high-potash fertiliser each week from July to September. Stake with canes or brushwood if it becomes necessary. In mild areas, leave them in situ over winter, but protect the crown with a generous layer of dry mulch. In colder areas, carefully lift and clean the tubers once the first frosts have blackened the foliage and allow them to dry naturally indoors. Then place the dry tubers in a shallow tray, just covered with slightly moist potting compost, sand or vermiculite and store in a frost-free place until planting out again.
- CAUTION do not eat ornamental bulbs
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