Dahlias forum: Dahlias.... Perennials, or not?

Page 1 of 4 • 1 2 3 4
Views: 2718, Replies: 60 » Jump to the end
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Aug 17, 2013 6:21 PM CST
This subject came up recently over on the site talk forum, where I questioned where to post threads on dahlias. In short, are dahlias a perennial, or not?

They are tubers, so I don't really think you can call them a bulb.

They aren't herbaceous perennials (or are they?), and they are not shrubby perennials.

In the colder climates, they aren't perennial at all, in the sense of persisting indefinitely in the garden. Come winter... they are gone. You have to dig them up and store them and replant them in the spring, if you want to keep them. Even here, in my garden in Zone 9b, their longevity is questionable. Most of mine have overwintered in the ground (unless the ground was saturated), but the ones left out in pots don't survive. (Ask me how I know.) Moreover, the short bedding type dahlias ('Figaro' comes to mind) are typically sold as annuals here.

So what say you? Are dahlias perennials or not? And where, on this site, would it be proper to discuss dahlias on their own (apart from such things as their use in a perennial garden)?


Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait'



The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Aug 17, 2013 9:40 PM CST
I've always considered dahlias a perennial. Family Compositae. Sunset Western Garden Book describes them as 'perennials grown from tuberous roots.' Since I don't have to lift them, I treat them like any other perennial I grow - plant it, fertilize it, enjoy it, mark it in the fall, look for it in the spring. Most make it, some don't. The same is true for my other perennials. The issue dahlias have in my climate is their roots rotting from too much moisture over winter rather than freezing temps. Some folks do lift them, and I helped my neighbor dig, label, and store a huge amount one year. That was a bit daunting. I then spoke with Dahlia-Dave, a local officianado, and he advised digging/storing a few roots from those I really liked (or were more expensive) to have as a back-up if the in-ground roots failed to return. I don't even do that now. If I can get them past the slugs as they are emerging, they are good to go.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Aug 17, 2013 9:50 PM CST
The issue I have had in the past with in-ground dahlias has been gophers (so sadly, they now all have to go into tripping-hazard gopher baskets Angry ). I did have one spot in my garden where everything seemed to die, and that included a dahlia which I had there. We finally concluded that (although the top of the ground looked dry) the soil was too wet.

The discussion over on the site talk forum seems to have come to the conclusion that it is a perennial, also.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
Image
ge1836
Aug 18, 2013 2:23 AM CST
In Zone 6 we dig out tubers and store for the winter.
Its a tantalizing question.I would call them perennials but tender ones because of fall lifting.
The plants that dont work out ,become annuals.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Aug 18, 2013 2:31 AM CST
I've never grown them as a perennial, they changed us from 7b to 8a and I never felt like storing them. The ground still freezes once in a while so conditions are iffy. I grew the mixed border type for my mother and they were cheap and spectacular! Problem was when a storm came up it snapped them off at ground level. Angry

http://gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/1086/can-dahlia...

The last couple of years I ordered bulbs and I did not like them because they were unpredictable. Most need to be staked because they flop over when they bloom. Not a real problem for gorgeous blooms but I just hate digging them up for winter and I hate not knowing if the ground will freeze or not. I've never had any come back because they either freeze or rot. They are so ratty by fall, I just toss them and buy new ones in spring if I decide I want some.

http://www.ask.com/question/are-dahlias-perennials-or-annual...

This above link explains it best I think. They are native perennials in Mexico.

http://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/annuals/dahlia.html
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Image
abhege
Aug 19, 2013 8:00 PM CST
Susan, you shouldn't have to did them up where you are. I never dug them in Maryland. Sure, you may lose some, but typically they should be fine.

Now, I have grown them from seed and some consider them to be an annual from seed, BUT, I didn't do anything with those plants and come spring they were back. When I checked, they were huge tubers!!! Too bad there's only one that's really worth keeping.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Aug 19, 2013 11:02 PM CST
Well, maybe they just rotted. I will try again soon! Thumbs up
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
Native Plants and Wildflowers Critters Allowed Garden Procrastinator Herbs Vegetable Grower Plant Identifier
Organic Gardener Keeps Goats Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Composter Houseplants
Image
gardengus
Aug 21, 2013 2:52 PM CST
Thumb of 2013-08-21/gardengus/81b981


Thumb of 2013-08-21/gardengus/c85d66
a couple blooms
My first year with large dahlias from tubers
Kindly given me for a volunteer project by some nice people over at dahlia cubit.
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Image
abhege
Aug 21, 2013 4:07 PM CST
Beautiful! I especially like the purple one!
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
NJBob
Aug 21, 2013 4:24 PM CST
I would also call them tender perennials.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Aug 21, 2013 5:39 PM CST
gardengus said:Thumb of 2013-08-21/gardengus/81b981


Thumb of 2013-08-21/gardengus/c85d66
a couple blooms
My first year with large dahlias from tubers
Kindly given me for a volunteer project by some nice people over at dahlia cubit.


Drooling Drooling Drooling
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Aug 21, 2013 6:43 PM CST
Does anyone try to save those short, small flowered bedding type dahlias, from year to year? I just bought a couple 4" pots, so I can rotate out the larger, taller dahlias in the patio flowerpots into a mixed planting bed that I am going to be working on.

I realize that I will have to store the pots in a shed or something, to protect the tubers from frost... I am just wondering if it is going to be worth the effort.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
Native Plants and Wildflowers Critters Allowed Garden Procrastinator Herbs Vegetable Grower Plant Identifier
Organic Gardener Keeps Goats Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Composter Houseplants
Image
gardengus
Aug 21, 2013 7:35 PM CST
I have for a lady I garden for . I normally just pick the prettiest ones to save . They are larger the second year and flower sooner so I would say , yes.
I store mine in a cardboard box with wood shavings , in my unheated garage, pull them out mid/late April and pot up till late May then into the garden.
you can put them directly into the garden and cover them with mulch but they are much slower to sprout, and if they come up early and get frosted off they you have even a longer wait.

This info is from my zone 5 gardening experence .
Don't know your zone.
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Aug 21, 2013 10:00 PM CST
Gus, do you mean that the tubers are larger, or the flowers are larger?

Fwiw I'm in "northern" CA, zone 9b. Our last frost date is March 31st, but it's been a while since I've seen frost that late.

What I would probably do is just stuff the pots into one of our unheated sheds, and then pull them back out again approaching March 31st, fertilize them, and start watering. I really don't want to have to do any digging up of tubers if it isn't necessary.

The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
Image
ge1836
Aug 22, 2013 2:25 AM CST
I always consult you-yube.
This video gave me something new.She is storing large dahlia tubers and cleans them and lets them dry off for a few hours befor storing.I wonder if just shoving them in a bag has been the reason my storage technique didnt work.
We are going to try to save some of our favorites from a "breeders selection" I bought this season.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4pERmshICM&noredirect=1
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
Native Plants and Wildflowers Critters Allowed Garden Procrastinator Herbs Vegetable Grower Plant Identifier
Organic Gardener Keeps Goats Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Composter Houseplants
Image
gardengus
Aug 22, 2013 5:14 AM CST
The whole plant is larger because the bedding dahlias I purchase are started from seed they are larger the next year because they started from tubers . A lot like the difference in geraniums from seed vs cuttings.
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
Rabbit Keeper Bee Lover Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies Hummingbirder
Dog Lover Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader Bulbs Echinacea Irises
Image
crittergarden
Oct 17, 2013 7:58 AM CST
The thread "Dahlias!" in Dahlias forum
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
Rabbit Keeper Bee Lover Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies Hummingbirder
Dog Lover Birds Plant and/or Seed Trader Bulbs Echinacea Irises
Image
crittergarden
Oct 17, 2013 2:10 PM CST
The thread "could we have a dahlia forum?" in All Things Gardening forum
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Dec 2, 2013 11:26 AM CST
Pinterest always has interesting ideas:

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/63613413459733030/
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/63613413459151586/
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/63613413458067793/
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/179158891399915823/
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Image
purpleinopp
Dec 2, 2013 11:33 AM CST
A tuber is a type of bulb.
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/bulbs/bulbbasics.cfm

I have 2 of these. Although this was their 3rd summer, they still couldn't hold themselves up. I think I will trade them in the spring for something that doesn't need to be staked. The flowers are awesome, but I don't like looking at the stakes, or adjusting them after a wind storm, realizing the flowers are pointed at the ground anyway, yada yada.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
🍀👒☀🍄🍍🌱🌿🌴🎄👣🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻🌽🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌺🌸🌼🌹🌳🌲
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.

Page 1 of 4 • 1 2 3 4

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Dahlias forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by nativeplantlover and is called "Bumble Veronica Pink"