Can dahlias be planted in the fall? Also, what kind of flowers can I plant...

Asked October 23, 2014, 10:18 AM EDT

Can dahlias be planted in the fall? Also, what kind of flowers can I plant this fall on the east and south side of my house?

Becker County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Dahlias can be grown in Minnesota and are a lovely addition to the garden. In Minnesota, dahlias are often treated as an annual since they can’t survive our winters. You can plant them each spring and let them die over winter, or, you can lift the underground portion called the tuber after the first frost in the fall and store them indoors, ready to plant again in the spring. Dahlias generally flower starting in July and are fast growing. They need moist soil and the large ones need staking. They are also heavy feeders, so when you prepare the garden, loosen the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches and work in well rotted manure or compost and fertilize with a 5-10-15 or 5-10-10 fertilizer. They need 5-6 hours of direct sunlight daily. For more complete information on growing dahlias in Minnesota, please read this University of Minnesota Extension publication by Deb Brown:

It sounds like you want to plant perennial flowers on the east and south sides of your house so that the plants come back by themselves year after year. Ideally, any planting of perennials would have been done in the spring, or by the end of September to allow the plants to grow root structures to enable them to last through the winter. At this late date, we recommend you wait to plant until this coming spring. Here is a slide show by Dr. Mary Meyer at the University of Minnesota Extension showing many lovely perennials the grow well in Minnesota under a variety of conditions:

Thank you for contacting Extension.