Northern Gardening forum: Dahlias for Northern gardens???

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Sep 26, 2012 10:27 AM CST
Some of the dahlias did not flower, and I am wondering if there is such a thing as
an early dahlia or a short season dahlia?
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Apr 9, 2013 3:41 PM CST
Don't really deal with annuals, but need them in small areas for colour.

For sunny open locations, I generally use small and medium-sized dahlias,
bought in pots in flower and I dispose of the tubers in fall.
This way, they're always reliable.

Find they really give a good showing, though they must be continually deadheaded.

Below, planted in later May, is August 29, 2012.

Thumb of 2013-04-09/SunnyBorders/a382ca
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Apr 9, 2013 4:58 PM CST
Looks lovely Charlie, but doesn't that get kind of expensive, buying them in bloom means bigger pots and they sure charge a lot for those.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Apr 10, 2013 10:26 AM CST
I guess that is a way of doing them---to keep to dwarf and mid sized dahlias.
The big dinner plate ones need to be started ahead of time here.
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Apr 10, 2013 12:03 PM CST
Nice thing about doing it as a business, Margaret, is
that the customer pays for the materials (and the labour).

As gardeners realize, meticulous gardening requires either a lot of labour (and knowledge)
or being able to pay for it all. In the first case, laziness stunts the net effect, and in the second,
trying to do things on the cheap (including not really being able to afford it).

I have no experience with raising dahlias, Caroline, but I love the big ones with big flowers.
The problem with them, for me, is that to get blocks of colour requires a lot of space.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Apr 11, 2013 9:07 AM CST
Yes, it is either labour or money.
I enjoy the process of raising things from seeds.
I could probably start a few of the dwarf type dahlias under lights.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 11, 2013 2:31 PM CST
I've started lots of dahlias from seed and they flowered for me. I've saved a few of the tubers, but for me it's just easier to start them from seed each year.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Apr 11, 2013 3:27 PM CST
I did actually save the tubers from those medium-sized pink ones as I liked the plants so much.

I'm going to pursue growing from seeds, Woofie.
Big coincidence: I have to see the accountant tomorrow and he's an avid annual gardener.
He raises all his plants from seed and each year has a great showing of large dahlias!
Even if he's too busy now (tax deadline coming up), I can talk to him in a couple of weeks.
Name: Peter
(Zone 9a)
The only scarce resource is time
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Cantillon
Jul 21, 2013 8:03 PM CST
Caroline,

Grow singles , better for the bees and other flying insects, start with Bishop of Llandaff and maybe Magenta Star for colour, after that go for your own from seed from those plants. Dinner plates are vast, over heavy heads and repositories of earwigs and caterpillars, never mind the grazing slugs. Single flowers open in a few days, but the complex varieties take much longer to mature a flower and if your growing season is short you really need speed.

It takes about three years to grow good tubers from seeds and get a full sized plant without blasting them with a steroid mix. I start many from seed , with about 100% success and it is cheap as chips. Grow from seed, drop the seedlings into 3inch pots in year one and let them form their first tubers. They die down in winter and bring the pots inside and leave them somewhere peaceful I leave them in their pots as they tend to get drier if you clean them out and they shrivel like prunes. They will show you a leaf above the pot using the energy from the tuber in the following late spring. At that point you can water them.

In year two you can plant them out when the fear of frost has gone, they should be about 6 inches high by then, put bone meal or blood fish and bone in the hole for them water them in, put down slug pellets and make sure they get water every few days for a couple of weeks.You should get a full size plant that year, and you should put a stake with about eighteen inches above the ground showing. I tend to grow them on for another year in the raised beds before I put them in the garden, as I want to see what their form is for shape of bush and frequency and form of flower. I photograph and label the year two plant and if it is good, I don't let it flower much as I want the energy down into the tuber. If it is lovely but not for me, they make ideal gifts for other gardeners and for the garden society bring and buy each month or church charity drives. If it is a poor flower or shape it goes on the compost heap.

Inexpensive, with the opportunity of surprising blooms, and with an endless supply. Cheap, plentiful and a joy to grow. I will send you seeds if you want, although I don't know how that works on this forum.

All the best.
[Last edited by Cantillon - Jul 21, 2013 8:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Jul 21, 2013 8:34 PM CST
Welcome to ATP, and thank you for the information on growing dahlias from seeds.
I do have some seeds as I did not get them started this spring.
Name: Peter
(Zone 9a)
The only scarce resource is time
Dahlias Dog Lover Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Roses Bulbs
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Cantillon
Nov 2, 2013 5:36 PM CST
Hi Caroline,

I found these guidelines on Wynnes Dahlias, very good explanation and set of pictures. Some excellent tips.

http://www.wynnesdahlias.com/apps/photos/album.jsp?albumID=3...

Kind regards,

Peter
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 2, 2013 8:04 PM CST
Thanks for that site.
I have it bookmarked, so I get back to it next season.

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