Dahlias forum: Do you seem to gravitate towards a certain classification?

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Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
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Kabby
Feb 6, 2015 9:22 AM CST
I have ordered 6 dahlias for the spring and my preferences seem to be all over the place. This is my first order and I chose 2 informal decorative, 2 semi cactus, 1 waterlily, and 1 formal decorative. So far the ball type seem to be the least attractive for me but I'm sure if I saw one growing in someone's garden I would probably want one. Do regular growers of dahlias feel the same?
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Feb 6, 2015 9:40 AM CST
For the longest time I was drawn to ORANGES! Hilarious! Any style but I always picked shades of orange. This year I bought a ton of dahlias and I'm getting a range of colors.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Feb 6, 2015 9:42 AM CST
I am pretty much all over the board also. And I do like the ball type, even pompons. They are usually pretty small and look nice in the front of the bed. I suppose I could run a report that gives me a summary of each type I have bought over the last several years. You might notice that sometimes there is a difference of opinion on classification (form) of a dahlia. I can surely understand that. Some are so blended if you will, that a semi-formal can look an awfully lot like a semi-cactus. Hilarious!

The only ones I just can't get into are the orchid form. Just don't get the attraction.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Feb 6, 2015 9:57 AM CST
My number one criteria is strong stems! I cannot stand it when the big blooms droop.
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Feb 6, 2015 10:05 AM CST
The waterlily and the incurved and semi cactus are definitely my favorite forms. I stayed away from the tight formal and ball dahlias for my first few years, but now I find I like them. If I am putting together a bouquet (which happens to a good portion of my flowers), a variety of forms is nice. I have one type of orchid (Juul's Allstar) and one anemone form (Lucky Ducky). I like them quite a bit and plant 2-4 of each every year, but I don't seem to like the form enough to expand my collection of them.

I find myself more and more interested in growing the smaller flowers 3-6", and less interested in the giants. I think its mostly because I get so many more flowers per plant. With my orders and trades this year, I'll be up to about 85 different dahlias. As always - I can't wait to see my new ones bloom………..maybe 6 months from now ? Shrug!

Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
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Kabby
Feb 6, 2015 10:29 AM CST
I have always been drawn to large flowers, the biggest bloom daylilies I could find, BIG plants like crinum, and so I've ordered those huge massive blooms of Emory Paul and Blondee. Purple is my thing Jennifer but not as much as previously in my gardening life. And flopping I was worried about that too from the dahlias so I bought some extra tall tomato cages that hopefully will be camoflaged with the foliage.
Mary Stella I had to look up the orchid form, ummm yeah. It's like daylilies that have the forms of iris, NO! I adore your delphinium, definitely some zone envy for me there.
Geof I'm sure your garden will be magnificent will all those varieties.
All of y'all are northern gardeners, I bet the blooms up there are a sight to see! Hurray!
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
Feb 6, 2015 1:52 PM CST
Maybe I'm just fickle. I like most dahlias and spend months arranging them on my photo program by color. I agree with Jennifer about strong stems, not being fond of those that flop in a vase or in the garden.

No matter how often I try to get away from the orange family, I end up with so many of them, but they do glow in the garden.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Feb 6, 2015 2:00 PM CST
I grow all my dahlias along my fencing. I do tie them to the fence because big storms will push them down. What I really meant to say was that I insist on strong stems to hold up the actual blooms. What is the point of a big beautiful six inch bloom if it just crimps the stem and flops? So hopefully the ones I ordered this year will fit that bill.

Next year I am going to collect some of the dahlias that are only about two feet tall.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Feb 7, 2015 1:56 PM CST
I actually have more problems with the smaller blooms that have bunches on one plant. Indeed, they just crimp over. Don't know why. They are in good soil and are fed right. Rebecca's World is a good example. They were okay earlier on in the summer (love the colors) but then they started 'crimping'. I like that word. It really expresses what they look like. I checked and I have more formal decorative than any other - all sizes. That would be a good summary report to create counting how many of each form and size. Water lily form is a winner for me, anemone is okay but rather depends on the color. I find the recurved cacti to be more eye appealing than the big boofy decorative maybe because they are more complex and with some of the colors like Taylor Swift, it enhances that recurved structure.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
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
Feb 7, 2015 3:55 PM CST
Mary - you may be pleased to know that I finally do know who Taylor Swift is! Amazing what seniors can learn.

My problem is plants that flop because they're huge and heavy with blooms. Some I had tied up four and five times but they still weighed too much. This year I will try to refrain from pinching (after the first pinch) and see if they behave better.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
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Kabby
Feb 7, 2015 4:40 PM CST
I'm just soaking all this knowledge in. I know pinching will make the plants bushier, so refraining from pinching will make a stronger stem?
Jennifer I have ordered 2 that are 2 ft tall, the others are 4 ft. I am so eager to get started, March won't get here soon enough. Does it take long for new plants to emerge?
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
Feb 7, 2015 6:38 PM CST
I have tested my theory yet, Kabby, but I'm hoping that by just pinching once I won't get huge plants that need three stakes and yards of stretch plastic to keep them erect.

Pinching out all but the main bud will give you the largest possible blooms for the Dinnerplate dahlias.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Feb 8, 2015 8:36 AM CST
I have mostly B an BBs, all colors except white.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Feb 8, 2015 9:35 AM CST
Arlene, I have infinite trust in your ability to learn anything you have an interest in. Hilarious! Hilarious! Who Taylor Swift is would not seem to be a top of the list item though. I am up to 35 new dahlias coming. What an idiot. I simply must stop looking.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
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
Feb 8, 2015 11:19 AM CST
Thanks, Mary. By patience and diligence I've learned so much but still have to learn to love all this snow.

I've been good and haven't ordered any dahlias. My resolve is withering away and maybe I'll order a few that tempt me. As Oscar Wilde said, "I can avoid anything except temptation".
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Feb 8, 2015 3:41 PM CST
Amen. I agree
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
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
Feb 8, 2015 9:47 PM CST
Success! I placed my Swan Island order and they still had all I wanted!
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
Butterflies Tropicals Bulbs Lilies Daylilies Garden Procrastinator
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Kabby
Feb 8, 2015 11:10 PM CST
Okay Arlene fess up, how much damage did you do? Angel
@frankrichards16 no whites because you just don't care for the color?
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
Feb 9, 2015 7:53 AM CST
Only three: Nadine Jessie, Gitt's Perfection and Citron de Cap. I still have three other orders to place.

I realize you didn't ask me, Kabby, but I grow very few white dahlias (just the freebies I seem to get) because they seem to get too many earwigs, as do the white tipped blooms.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
Butterflies Tropicals Bulbs Lilies Daylilies Garden Procrastinator
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Kabby
Feb 9, 2015 11:57 AM CST
Nadine Jessie is one of the 6 I ordered!
I 'm just not overly fond of white and I know I need to incorporate it more in my flower beds. Earwigs, ugh I think that would put me off too.

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