Planting Spring Bulbs and Overwintering Dahlias in zone 8

On November 29th, 2020, I wondered if I planted more tulip, grape hyacinths, and daffodil bulbs that day than I ever have in my life. It was not much fun slogging around in the rain planting over 500 bulbs of various sizes. But I didn’t mind a bit because I was getting something done that would hopefully become beautiful masses of color in about 3 or 4 months.

I noticed I had some very healthy looking dahlia tubers left in the containers as I dug and loosened the soil to plant the bulbs. I quickly snipped the foliage off the dahlia tubers and planted them back in there with the bulbs. I used a bag of bulb fertilizer I got from Brecks following the package instructions. I also topped everything off with finished kitchen compost.

Next year, when the tulips start to die as they finish for the season, the dahlias will grow and hide the browned leaves. I plan on saving the bulbs by drying and storing them in onion bags, followed by placing them in the fridge around October 15th. I plan to plant again in late November to mid-December next season.

I also winterized my dahlia tubers by digging up the ones I cared most about and checking them for rotting. I ended up moving some of them to increase the chances of them surviving the winter. I like this pink seed grown dahlia I recorded in the video and plan on using this as a border if all goes well.

Spring Bulb List

  1. Tulip World: 1 Mixed Perennial Tulips Super Pack/100 bulbs, Purple Sensation Allium 25 bulbs, Mixed Small alliums 2 packs 50 bulbs, 1 Queen of Night Tulip value bag 25 bulbs, 2 Don Quichotte Tulip Value Bag 2 bags 25 bulbs
  2. Home Depot (Van Zyverden) Tulips: Pastel Blend late bloomer pack 15, Apricot Impression, mid bloomer pack 15, Double Late blend pack 20, Long Stem blend mid bloomer 2 packs 20, Queen of Night 2 packs 8. Muscari heavenly blend pack 30.
  3. Van Bloem Gardens: 10 Cyclameneus Narcissus Jetfire, 8 Double Narcissus Golden Ducat.
  4. Brecks: Spectrum Sweet Aroma Daffodil Mixture 2 packs 25 bulbs, Guinevere Jumbo Perennial Tulip pack of 10, Blue Grape Hyacinth Super Sak 3 packs 50, Wildflower tulip collection: Golden Charm: Tulipa dasystemon tarda 15 bulbs, Wild Blue Heart: Tulipa humilis ‘Alba Coerulea Oculata’ 5 bulbs, Lilac Wonder: Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’ 10 bulbs, Orphanidea Flava: Tulipa orphanidea ‘Flava’ 10 bulbs, and Odalisque: Tulipa humilis ‘Odalisque’ 10 bulbs.

My First Cafe Au Lait Royal Dahlia Bloom

I stepped outside and there it was, Cafe Au Lait Royal was making a statement on its own. What a beautiful bloom! I noticed when looking at more different blooms that this Cafe Au Lait Royal is bright purple with variations of more or less light-colored streaks. This variability in color means that it is not stable in appearance.

I have purchased a variety of dahlia tubers this year. Cafe Au Lait and Cafe Au Lait Royal are two varieties I couldn’t wait to see in person. I started the bulbs in gallon pots this spring because they were sprouting early. I had to bring the pots inside a few times to protect them from frost and did not water them much at first because sometimes the tubers will rot if they are kept too wet or placed in soggy soil that does not drain quickly.

Dahlias are very easy to start from seeds. The dahlia seeds I planted are Bishops Children, Figaro Mix, Unwin’s Dwarf, and Rainbow Mix. I started with a good quality potting mix and planted the seeds in flats at 1/4 in. depth. When the plants were two inches tall I transplanted them into cells. This past week I got the beds amended with a top dressing of composted wood chips and planted my seedlings. I am excited to see them growing and can’t wait for all the new blooms!