Dahlias forum: Hello! Absolutely New Dahlia Addict Introducing Herself....

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Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Sep 26, 2015 9:11 AM CST
I haven't planted tall dahlias before this spring, my obsession is with peonies. I picked up a pack of tall dahlias at Walmart this spring just to try them to have something of a different shape and bloom time between the masses of peonies in my gardens--by mid July it always looks like a sea of green with a few daylilies thrown in. Absolutely fell in love with the dahlia when it bloomed, though! I've already learned that I'll have to support them. I didn't put anything with the 1st ones and they're lying on the ground now--still blooming. Tough plants! I will try to overwinter the tubers I have and I've put in orders for more for next spring already, think I have around 25 coming. I'm hoping I can keep that first one from rotting over winter, I'm getting tips from your posts. I've haunted this forum for the last few weeks and fell in love with most of the blooms you all have posted pics of.....I can see my peony obsession has to share my attention now.....I hope I'm not too much of a pest, I'm sure I'll have lots of questions!
Liz
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
Sep 26, 2015 9:36 AM CST
Welcome to the Dahlia Forum, Liz. Every time I look up a peony I see your name so you must have a wonderful collection.

I put in a stake for every dahlia, manage to tie them up a few times and yet some flop, or the stretch tape I'm using isn't strong enough. I just wrote on every page of the 2016 calendar "tie up dahlias" but should mark that for every single week so I can stay on top of it.

Haunting Home Depot, Lowe's and Walmart for dahlias is fun in late January throughout February. Quite a few have the wrong tubers but it's still a fun shopping trip...trips...many trips!

Which companies benefited from your orders? I love Lynch Creek Dahlias, River's Dahlias and Swan Island.
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Sep 26, 2015 9:49 AM CST
I'll second the welcome!

And yep.........they can become pretty addictive. I started with just a few tubers about 8-9 years ago, and am up to close to 150 this year.

Dry and cold is the key to storage, and I'll bet in CO you should do fine. find a corner in your basement or the bottom of a closet that is on the outside of your home. You are likely to lose a few, as some tubers are more difficult to store than others, but many store very easily.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Sep 26, 2015 12:42 PM CST
Thanks for the welcome! So far I've only ordered from Swan Island and Brecks; those 2 came up when I did a search for the ones I saw on the forum that I wanted. I'll check out Lynch Creek and River's today.
Geof, you're right--we don't have a problem with keeping things dry and cold here in CO. My only concern is how cold and how dry. We don't have crawl spaces and the basement is finished, no open cold spots. Guess it'll have to be the garage, maybe close to the wall but not next to the door.
Liz
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Sep 26, 2015 3:26 PM CST
Just keep them from freezing. I know of people with relatively mild winters that store them in the garage in those styrofoam ice chests. My winters get to cold to think about using the garage. My garage is often only 10-15 degrees warmer than the outside, so when it is minus 20......................its cold!
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
Sep 26, 2015 3:47 PM CST
I lost the great majority of mine two years ago when I thought I had packed them well enough and had them in a huge double bag on a carpet with tarps covering them. They were at an inside wall but it just got too cold. Definitely not worth the risk.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Sep 26, 2015 4:11 PM CST
Welcome! Liz! I think you are going to run out of room in your garden soon with this new love. The only 2 things that are keeping me from growing more of them are digging up the tubers in the fall and providing them support during their growing season. With storage, I am still learning how to perfect the process. I still lose more tubers than I should. Enjoy the whole new class of flowers.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Sep 26, 2015 7:33 PM CST
The thermometer on the garage door switch normally doesn't fall below 40 degrees. Storage room in the basement doesn't ever fall below 55 or 60, don't think that would be cold enough. Think I'll put a high shelf above the garage freezer, corner of 2 interior walls. Maybe I should get a high/low thermometer for that spot this winter so I can test with the two tubers I have now....
Thanks, Karen! I'm already looking forward to next summer's dahlia blooms as much as spring's peonies!
Liz
[Last edited by LizinElizabeth - Sep 26, 2015 7:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Sep 26, 2015 11:24 PM CST
40 degrees is perfect
Name: Jmc
livingxton, MT (Zone 4a)
jmc
Oct 5, 2015 3:55 PM CST
I also am new to the Dahlia addiction-- had some last year and have lifted some-- I live in MT> My question is: What are good growers to order from
thanks in advance
JMC Smiling
Jmc
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Oct 5, 2015 4:18 PM CST
Swan Island, Hollyhill Dahlias, Connell's Dahlias, Dan's Dahlias, Accent Dahlias, Cowlitz River Dahlias, Wynne's Dahlias.

All of the above are solid trustworthy dealers. (Dan's may be the best prices)
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
Oct 5, 2015 4:32 PM CST
I'd add Lynch Creek Dahlias and River's Dahlias.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Oct 5, 2015 5:42 PM CST
Several of them don't have their 2016 spring selections out yet. I've already ordered from Swan Island and Lynch Creek last month as well as Old House Gardens and Brecks. I haven't ordered dahlias from either Brecks or OHG but have gotten bulbs from them, we'll see how nice the dahlia tubers are! I've fallen in love with the big, multi-colored fuzzy ones like Myrtle's Folly and the big cactus ones...as well as the absolutely symmetrical and perfect ball shaped, and the gorgeous waterlily shapes.....
Liz
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
Oct 5, 2015 7:16 PM CST
You're doing well with your new addiction, Liz! We're so proud of you!
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Oct 6, 2015 8:02 PM CST
Drooling
Liz
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Apr 1, 2016 9:53 PM CST
So I got a box from Lynch Creek Dahlias today, haven't even opened it yet. I'm planning to put them in small pots and was planning to put them on a heat mat with grow lights but have a question. I'm actually leaving town for 4 days next week and there will be no one here that will mist them or anything. Would I be better off leaving them unheated and covered with some type of cloche to retain moisture? I know they're not supposed to be really wet but I certainly don't want to lose new tubers to getting too dry. And in another 3 weeks I'll be gone for an entire week, not sure what to do then, either....Any suggestions?
Liz
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Apr 2, 2016 6:19 AM CST
First - check and see what state they are in. If they re already sprouted, then I'd plant them. If you use plastic pots, they won't go dry in four days, but maybe skip the heat mat. Mine have been bagged up in damp soil for a couple of weeks now and haven't needed any additional water yet. they don't use much until they really start growing. Even a week should be fine. At this stage to much water is not good.

If they are still dormant then you could just keep them that way - if they are in a plastic bag with wood shavings, or peat moss, they will be fine for another week if you keep them cool.

What I have been doing with the ones that I am going to be shipping out in a week or two, is keep them warm and moist until they show signs of a sprout forming, then move them to a baggie with dry vermiculite and put them on my bottom self where it is cool, so they slow down. (Its difficult to pack tubers with long sprouts on them)
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Apr 2, 2016 10:01 AM CST
Thanks for the advice, I'll check them and act accordingly.
Liz
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Apr 3, 2016 9:49 AM CST
I looked at the tubers and I don't even see eyes on any of them. I'm new to online purchasing of dahlia tubers so I don't know what they should look like when I open an order. Most of the tubers are short, probably 3-4', and are plump but again, no eyes. Hope I can tell which end is up on all of them.

So I won't be able to plant them out here until the end of May because of typical weather. I do want to start them inside earlier--when would you all suggest I plant them up? I already have biodegradable pots that will be plenty big enough, I'll probably put them in those to keep from disturbing the roots. I was thinking I'd initially place them so the necks were exposed although I don't plan to take cuttings, just get a head start. I know if I did it that way I'd have to plant the entire thing a bit deeper when putting them outside but how much of the stem should be buried? I assume the necks would be an inch or so underground because that's what I remembered doing with no growth on the tubers I planted last year....
Liz
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
Apr 3, 2016 12:13 PM CST
Once exposed to light you'll see where the new growth emerges - that's the spot/spots where the eyes (you couldn't see) were.

Eyes: Thumb of 2016-04-03/pirl/bf0051

Tuber showing growth: Thumb of 2016-04-03/pirl/1ae495

April is a good month to start them indoors, under lights.

For planting in the garden, this video explains it well: 6" deep is recommended, NO exposed neck, lay them on their sides
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-FvUm1Cy6s

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