Moonlight Sonata Dahlia
Can You Hear the Music?
Moonlight Sonata Dahlia (Dahlia ‘Moonlight Sonata’) evokes the rich strains of Beethoven’s same-named piano work. Deep undertones of coral and top notes of peachy-pink on each flower petal combine in a botanically harmonious composition. Each blossom of Moonlight Sonata Dahlia bursts open to reach up to 8 inches in diameter – a visual masterpiece for your garden!
A Little Care Reaps Big Rewards
Dahlias have a reputation for being a little finicky, but they’re actually a snap to grow. For the payoff of abundant flowers later in summer, all you have to do is follow a few early-season care tips for your Moonlight Sonata Dahlia:
• Plant in full sun (at least six hours each day).
• Loosen and amend the soil so it’s rich and drains well.
• Moonlight Sonata Dahlia grows from underground tubers, which you plant in your garden similar to other garden bulbs. You’ll see some growth buds or eyes on the tubers – be careful when planting to keep these buds undamaged.
• Plant the tubers with the “eyes” (buds) and the stem -- where the plant was cut after the previous growing season -- up.
• As soon as the plant develops several sets of leaves, pinch out the growing tip. This will cause the young plant to branch out and produce more flowers.
Support Growing Plants
Because each Moonlight Sonata Dahlia plant grows to 4 feet tall, a helping hand from you will keep the growth upright so the stems don’t flop over from high winds or heavy rains.
• Press a tall stake – five to six feet tall – 12 inches into the ground next to each tuber when you plant your dahlias.
• When the dahlia stem is 12 inches tall, tie it to the stake with soft fabric and continue tying it as it grows at 12-inch intervals.
You’ll enjoy spectacular flowers in your garden as well as dramatic specimens for your indoor floral arrangements. Plants yield superb cut flowers, which are long-lasting in vases.
Tip: Moonlight Sonata Dahlia flowers should be cut after they’re fully open, because the buds won’t open after cutting.
Lifting & Storing
If you live in Moonlight Sonata Dahlia’s perennial range (USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11), you can leave the tubers in the ground year round. But if you live outside this range, cold weather will kill the tubers.
Easy how-to for “lifting” the tubers each fall, storing them inside during the winter and re-planting them outside the following spring:
• After the first frost in autumn, cut the stem 6 inches above the ground.
• Carefully dig the tubers, being careful not to damage the eyes (buds). Lift the entire clump, digging about 12 inches away from the stem.
• Gently loosen and remove the soil around the tubers.
• Place the tubers in a cool, dry place – away from direct sunlight – and let them dry for a few days.
• Pack the tuberous clumps in cardboard boxes with peat moss, vermiculite or shredded paper covering them.
• Store boxes in a dark, cool (35-50 degrees F), dry place for the winter.