March and April is a good time to plant summer bulbs such as Dahlia and Lilies. If you have the right growing conditions, Dahlias are a great showy garden plant. Dahlia does best when grown in well-drained soil, and in sheltered warmer conditions, which means they thrive and produce better blooms in Southern counties. Dahlias will grow in more exposed gardens, but they will need protection from frost and to be lifted before the winter.
If you buy Dahlias as tubers, you need to plant about 6 weeks before the last expected frosts. This is because Dahlias are not frost hardy (explanation of frost hardy) and frost will damage the new top growth.
It takes about 6 weeks for the new growth to come through, which is the reason for the time delay. If you get caught out, cloche them. If your growing conditions are not ideal, such as colder and wetter, it is better to start Dahlias in containers under glass and bring out to harden off in May. More tips about How to Grow Dahlias.
Where ever you plant Dahlia, the pointy end goes up. If you look at the image, you can see where last year's stem was, and this goes upright, and it's planted as per the image.
Lilies look fantastic in summer borders. The image above right is Lilium Regale. Many Lilies are tall, often scented and make good patio plants. March is the right time to get the bulbs going in pots, which is much cheaper than buying as more mature plants later in the year. Pick a good-sized pot and fill with suitable compost, plant 3 bulbs per pot, and cover with more compost.
Keep the bulbs in a sheltered spot or in the greenhouse until established. The pots are ideal for placing on the patio to enjoy the scent or filling up gaps in the borders. More about growing lilies and images of different types of Lilies.
Crocus has some wonderful bulb offers (affiliate link purchasing may generate commission to the Sunday Gardener,)including Dahlia, Lilies, Freesia, Gladioli, Hemerocallis and more.