Dahlias forum: Quick Question

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Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
May 25, 2014 6:35 PM CST
I've never grown dahlias and I doubt it's too tricky but it's going to happen this evening. I really never had an interest but with a freebie in my canna purchases I opted for some "dinner plate mix" to see if it's something I like?

Soil is worked and amended for pretty much anything. I was advised here to utilize tomato cages and I do have one good cage for the largest tuber of my purchase and the others will get stakes.

Instructions on the package say to water them in but I've read otherwise. We're expecting rain within a few days. Good enough or should I proceed with mulch and water this evening?

Confused
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
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pirl
May 25, 2014 6:59 PM CST
Many people do not water them, especially when they're newly planted. The tuber isn't supposed to be drenching wet so it can adjust to the soil and begin forming roots. Once you spot growth above the soil line, you can water but don't drown it.

Allow enough room. The plants can get very large! Good luck.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
May 25, 2014 7:52 PM CST
pirl said:Many people do not water them, especially when they're newly planted. The tuber isn't supposed to be drenching wet so it can adjust to the soil and begin forming roots. Once you spot growth above the soil line, you can water but don't drown it.

Allow enough room. The plants can get very large! Good luck.


Very good, thanks! Easy enough to pass this area of the bed for now and there is uncontrolled moisture in my forecast. I'll cover them and be done for now! Smiling

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
May 25, 2014 8:16 PM CST
I did not water my tuber when I planted it in. That was the advise given to me by the seller. I only started watering when I see it poking thru the soil, but even then I water around it not too heavily. Seller said the tubers need to feel the soil warm.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
May 26, 2014 4:56 AM CST
Basically, watering a dahlia tuber before it develops the start of a root system could cause the tuber to rot. Of course, if you have really wet weather right after you plant, you run the risk of rot. Also, I avoid planting tubers in really wet soil.

I usually pound in a stake when I plant. It helps me remember where I planted the tuber and reduces the chance of pounding a stake through the tuber. Tomato cages work well too. I bought some 54 inch cages this year. I have never tried such a tall cage ( going to use them for tomatoes as well).

For staking I use fiberglass 4 foot poles from Tractor Supply. They are intended for electric fences, but work really great for plant stakes. And, they are only $1.29 each.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
May 26, 2014 9:19 AM CST
I'm not too terribly concerned with the weather (yet). Our local weathermen er, meteorologists get excited at any chance of non-stop broadcast to warn us about a storm. LOL, they actually pay those folks to drive around with a camera in search of rain. (I actually saw that last week, a live feed of rain not found!) Blinking

In the event of an actual impending soaker I'll just cover my small planting with a tarp. I like the fiberglass fence post idea for staking but I went with bamboo. The steel posts at TSC make pretty good tomato stakes. I had a few left over from a project and they served just fine in the garden.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
May 27, 2014 12:35 PM CST
Well I couldn't have timed this planting much worse, lol. Drove 120 miles and not a cloud in the sky until my return. Strong winds, dark clouds.

I covered the dahlia area of bed with a tarp. Sticking tongue out
Name: Dianne
Sacramento, CA, zone 9a
Bulbs Cut Flowers Peonies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California Vegetable Grower
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soilsandup
May 27, 2014 6:57 PM CST
I don't think you have to worry too much about the dahlias getting wet by one rainstorm (continuous days of rain may be a problem). They are pretty hardy as long as they have good drainage and don't sit in saturated soil. I know I live in an entirely different zone from you, but I leave my tubers in the ground and they survive the winter rains.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
May 27, 2014 7:24 PM CST
I think I'm set regarding soil and location. The weather passed but I was equally concerned with the dwarf zinnias planted in front of the dahlias, storms wreak havoc on direct sown shallow seed rows. I'm holding off on my other zinnias until what appears to be certain rain has passed as well.

Hoping to keep it tidy...Lol, as if... Whistling I do try.
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
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pirl
Aug 16, 2014 9:22 AM CST
How are the dahlias growing and blooming, @Wes ?
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Aug 20, 2014 12:51 PM CST
So far so good! Haven't been online for quite awhile but two of three plants are blooming which came as a bit of a shock given the circumstances.

I planted a couple of rows of dwarf zinnias in front of the dahlias thinking it would make for a longer show in that bed space. The package said 18"-22" and I've seen dwarf varieties stay in that size range. Unfortunately these "dwarves" grew to 4'. *Blush*

No "dinner plate" dahlias in my mix but a nice fluffy purple with a 5-6" bloom and a smaller red/white "candy cane" looking flower that I really like (a lot). Tomato cage vs. bamboo stakes? I definitely prefer the cage method but I've had a chain link fence (and of course the zinnias) to help support the plants.

I'll get some pictures later after cutting some of the zinnia growth away.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Aug 22, 2014 10:09 AM CST
I need to thin these "dwarf" zinnias a bit but it's soaking wet and I don't feel like changing clothes but here are the two dahlias currently in bloom. There is yet a third dahlia plant hiding in there yet, going to need the hedge shears to give it some more sun. Not bad for a first effort and ill conceived front border. As always, an experiment with a lesson learned. *Blush*

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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
Aug 22, 2014 10:31 AM CST
That's great for your first attempt. It's great for a 100th attempt as well. Congratulations!
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Aug 22, 2014 10:54 AM CST
Thanks Pirl! Thank You!

These might be the first but they certainly won't be the last. Regular assortment bag from the store, I think next year I'll choose some specific named varieties. I was up for the surprise and 2 tubers never showed at all so I'm curious what number three might be...

Definitely interested in the orchid form such as the one recently posted by Frank and those big dinner plate varieties so there will be more variety next year. I rarely regret a new flower but I'm exceptionally pleased with the addition of dahlias and it all started with finding a "freebie" in a bag of mixed cannas. Can't beat that! Big Grin
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
Aug 22, 2014 11:13 AM CST
You're right. Your found dahlia could be the start of a new dahlia collection.

I've bought dahlias quite often from the big box stores and they're fine and true to the name so go ahead and splurge next March. Shop early for the widest assortment. You can't beat the price and there's no shipping charge!

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