I brung the tuber and didn't know better to plant them directly on the ground instead of starting them on a pot. This pot is about 5 or 6 inches feep. My work schedule had me home late and have not been able to move it. This is the first time I am growing a Dahlia. I am thinking I can carefully move it in the ground in front of the house, just over the fencewhere it gets afternoon sun and good drainage.
I need some guidance. She is already about 5 inches tall.
If the Dahlia is growing OK and there is foliage already formed, then YES you can place the plant outside, BE VERY CAREFUL how you remove the tuberous roots from the pot as they will be swollen and fat now you have been watering them and the plant has got into the growing season. DONT water it before you remove ot from pot.
Go out and prepare the hole for taking this plant, add humus and a handful of feed (DONT add more than the directions say on the feed packet or you will get all greenery and no flowers or even kill the plant) add a few garden canes to the hole IF this is a taller type of Dahlia, don't stab them through the tuber but keep the canes close to the plant allowing you to tie (soft garden twine) to the cane and around the taller stems, I use a figure of eight loosely around the stem and cross the twine to go around the cane, never tie tight or the hollow stems will be crushed, all your doing is offering support IF required.
Water the plant after re-filling the hole with the soil mix of feed, compost / humus and make sure the plant is watered regularly as Dahlia's are greedy plants and need a lot os water BUT, NEVER bury too deep, the tuber should be NO MORE the inch under the soil and the roots spread out without breaking bits off the tuber.
come Autumn IF you get cold or frost, you will lift the tuber when the cold / frost turns the foliage black or dark, cut off all this top growth leaving bout 1 inch attached to tuber, place the tuber upside down so any excess water runs out down the hollow stems after a few weeks, the tuber should be dry, gently brush or gently use fingers to remove any soil, keep the dried tuber in a dark but cool place till maybe FEB next year and then place it into a box / pot of good quality compost, once you see new shoots of green regrow, you can take cuttings by removing the greenery with either a whole tuberous ball OR remove the greenery attached to a part if the tuber that has a bit of root attached. set this into a pot that same compost as the parent plant. DONT bury either just lay into a hollow and surround the tuber by gently laying compost, shake to get the compost bedded into the tuber and keep just moist till about April, then give more water as for a fully grown plant, I like to plant the tubers out by June BUT I have a shorter season and you will have a longer growing season than I get here in UK.
Hope all this helps you out and you can enjoy your plant for years to come AND increace by taking many cutting too.
LucyGee, well done your plant look like it's healthy and will put on a good deal more growth before you get flower buds. make sure you give it a liquid plant feed every 4 weeks as these are greedy feeders and will soon use up all the nutrients held within the soil in the pot, DON'T ever overfeed, too much is sometime worse than no feed, read the directions / dosage as given by the company who makes the stuff as they have done all the tests.
In winter / summers end, IF you get frosts, this will blacken the foliage on your Dahlia, cut this away leaving about 2-3 inches of stem, lift the plant out of the soil IF you cant store the large container, lay the cut plant upside down so the cut stems are under the tuber allowing any moisture to run free from the large tuber, after about a week, you try remove as much soil as you can from the tuber. store the cleaned tuber in either slightly damp compost or damp sand, store like this over winter and you MUST keep checking that the tuber has no sign of disease, there are powders you can dress the tubers with to keep the moulds or fugal diseases away.
As spring arrives, start to offer a TINY bit water, then when the new tender shoots appear, either take new cutting OR replant as before.
Hope this helps you out and you enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Best of luck and Kind Regards.