Soil and Bed Preparation for Growing Dahlias

Page 17

Dahlias prefer soil that has a regular source of fresh water.

Water and Dahlias

  • Dahlia plant foliage contains 75 to 80 percent water. Fast growing root and branch tips contain even more -- 90 to 95 percent. They need water in their tissues to permit photosynthesis -- the means by which nutrients are turned into new plant growth.

  • Transpiration -- the evaporative cooler for plants. Water enters plants through their roots and evaporates through their leaves cooling the plant in the process. If water evaporates through the plants leaves faster than it is taken up by its roots, plants wilt as in the picture at the right. Without enough water plants become limp, the foliage turns yellow, and the plants become stunted as in the picture at the lower right.
  • Water delivers nutrients to the plant. Moisture in the soil holds soluble nutrients, the only form of food that plant roots can use. This is the major way that plants get nitrogen and the only way they get phosphorus and sulfur.
  • Water in the soil is a life support for micro-organisms beneficial to plants.



Continued on next page.

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