Brown Thumb? No Problem.

I have always had a brown thumb. Anything living that didn’t have the ability to notify me audibly they needed attention, died. Thankfully, my cat is extremely vocal. But I’ve always wanted to have a garden. To grow some beautiful flowers to cheer up my home.

But where to start? I immediately thought of my grandmother. She is a Master Gardener with the WSU Extension in the Tri-Cities. So I hit the internet and found the Puget Sound Dahlia Association.

The first thing I learned is these are the most friendly flower for a novice like me (thank goodness). They are incredibly forgiving, but still incredibly beautiful.

My first impulse is to go immediately to the garden store to get some flowers and plant them. Not smart. First I need to set-up my planting area. Not as easy as I may have thought. Since I live in an apartment, creating a flower bed is not an option. So, what about containers? The American Dahlia Society  (ADS) has a great blog on how to pick the right container for the right plant.

The first thing that threw me on the blog was the reference of “tubers.” What happened to good ol’ bulbs. Turns out dahlias are grown from tuber bulbs. Ok. I am back on track.

I marched to my local home improvement store and purchased my first planting pot and dahlia “tubers”. I felt so proud I was doing this. Considering the space I have, I chose a plant that would not grow very tall or wide. So, having a pot that is short and wide would suit this kind of plan, according to the article. Dahlias also require adequate drainage, so the pot I got had holes in the bottom and a dish the pot sat in. I am sure my cat will get a kick out of drinking the drained water.

Dahlias require directly sunlight, so I positioned the pot right next to my sliding glass door which gets morning and afternoon sun. The ADS suggested a potting soil that remains loose when wet or dry and is made of acrylic copolymer crystals. I’ll admit, I had to ask for help with that one.

I placed a layer of the potting soil in the bottom of the pot and then placed the tubers and a stabilizing stake I purchased in the pot. I slowly added more soil around the bulb and stake leaving just a few inches above the soil.

If I water religiously every two weeks, I should have some beautiful flowers to cheer up my home this summer!

For something that seemed so difficult, this process was very easy. I hope you are encouraged by my efforts and try to brighten your home with some dahlias this year! Happy planting!