No garden would be complete without these fabulous flowers, and mid March, says the BBC Gardeners’ World presenter, is when you should be checking over dahlia tubers ready for planting. He shared his advice on how to check and plant dahlia tubers on a Gardeners’ World video last March, so now is the perfect time to remind ourselves of his top tips. March is the time to check on the condition of dahlia tubers that you dug up and stored away last winter in a dry, frost-free shed or greenhouse. To inspect each tuber: ‘first get rid of all the loose compost around it and check each dahlia is in good nick,’ Monty Don explained.  The respected gardening broadcaster advised to look for the following to check if the dahlia tuber is good:

A nice plump dahlia tuber;Check the tuber is firm;If the dahlia tubers are too shriveled up they are too dry;If they are rotten they are probably too wet;Check for slug damage on the dahlia tuber;A little bit of mould on a tuber is no problem;Cut out bad or damaged tubers

Once you have checked the condition of the dahlia tubers and cut out any bad bits, you can plant them in pots, advised the gardening guru. For growing dahlias successfully, he has these tips. ‘Use a plastic pot at this stage that is just big enough for them to grow. We want them to start to develop a root system,’ the presenter advised. Use a good quality, fresh compost as ‘dahlias are greedy plants,’ he added. Water the potted dahlias, put them somewhere sheltered and warm to trigger the growth, such as in a cold frame, greenhouse or conservatory, and keep them moist by watering once a week.  ‘Do not let them dry out. You’ll very quickly see new shoots,’ encouraged Monty. Keep an eye on the mercury levels outside, however, as if another cold snap sweeps in, you may need to cover them with protective fleece. The dahlias that have been potted under cover will be ready to plant out in the garden in about mid May, when the top growth is about a foot high. ‘Dahlias are something that I’m going to be growing here at Longmeadow with a vengeance, because I love them,’ added Monty.