Dahlias forum: How Are Your Dahlias Doing/Growing?

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Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 13, 2016 9:00 PM CST
Have you planted all your dahlias? Have your dahlias sprouted yet? Are they already growing? How tall are they? Some of my dahlias are growing about 1-2 inches. I did an experiment by leaving them in the ground and then laying leaves, cardboard. and then plastic over them. All of these plants came back this year. The mild winter must have kept the soil from freezing.
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
May 14, 2016 6:57 AM CST
All of mine are still in baggies! Most are growing well, some are around 18" tall already and range down to just an inch or 2. I'll probably start planting them out this week as long as the extended forecast looks okay. Still need to get some poles to secure them as they grow....
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
May 14, 2016 7:11 AM CST
Mine will be planted late next week if the weather cooperates.
Name: Connie
Winlock, WA (Zone 8a)
Need has nothing to do with it.
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CLC70
May 14, 2016 9:17 AM CST
My dahlias from storage that I potted up in the green house.
Thumb of 2016-05-14/CLC70/fd3506
Thumb of 2016-05-14/CLC70/ae9402 These are seedlings from Honka.


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
May 14, 2016 9:19 AM CST
Looking good!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 14, 2016 9:35 AM CST
Connie, your dahlias are looking awesome! So much growths already! At this pace, what would be your estimate for the first blooms??
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
May 14, 2016 9:53 AM CST
I am on the same schedule as Arlene and Liz. Today a high of 53, with predicted low of 31. Very glad they are not out there. By the middle of next week I should be good to go.

I have a few late arrivals that haven't broken the soil yet, and some spindly 18"-ers(that I have already pinched back), but most are a sturdy looking 8-10 " plant, which is right were I like them when I plant them out.
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
May 14, 2016 10:52 AM CST
I agree. Having them at 8 to 10 or 12" makes them easy to plant. Mine will be planted late next week.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 14, 2016 12:16 PM CST
Do you grow all of your tubers in pots before planting them out, Geof and Arlene? Where do you put all of your pots?
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
May 14, 2016 12:47 PM CST
I grow mine in quart sized zip-lock bags in standard greenhouse trays (16-18 baggies per tray). The trays are under shop lights on shelves in my work room. I have room for about 36 trays, but that space has to include all of my annuals and vegetables from seed too. As the weather warms up I shift everything out on to my screened in porch where they harden off before planting.

Last night I had to bring everything back inside due to temperature drops, I am just leaving them inside today since it will be even colder tonight, but then they can safely go back outside.

These pics don't have dahlias in them, but its my "system"
Thumb of 2016-05-14/mandolls/d035fd
Thumb of 2016-05-14/mandolls/35411e
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
May 14, 2016 3:46 PM CST
Geof is far more professional than I. Mine are in low, long, boot trays with some peat moss. By their growth I can tell it's time to plant them outside.
Name: Connie
Winlock, WA (Zone 8a)
Need has nothing to do with it.
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CLC70
May 14, 2016 4:30 PM CST
Karen, I'm hoping for mid to late July. Some of my seedlings already have buds. Next year I'm going to try growing mine in baggies like Geof. I've already saved up a couple hundred bags from work. I'll be retiring this winter and going down to Arizona for a few months, coming back by mid to late April so won't be planting any seeds in my green house. The dahlias will take it over when I get home.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 14, 2016 6:09 PM CST
Wow, that is an impressive system, Geof! If you have growths of 10-12 inches, do you bury half of the stems in the soil, Geof and Arlene? I didn't know that I could bury the stems. When I started them in pots last year, I just plant them at soil level. That was not a good idea as I found that they toppled too easily from planting too shallow.

It is definitely nice to have dahlias blooming in July. I strive for that but most of them will end up blooming their best by late August.
[Last edited by kousa - May 14, 2016 6:11 PM (+)]
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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
May 14, 2016 6:27 PM CST
Late August is when most of mine are in bloom. Some start in June, and July but not enough to rave about so I'm patient (or try to be).

When I plant the tubers outside they are at a depth of about 6" and that includes some of the stem. They do fall over if planted too close to the surface of the soil. If they're very tall I do plant them deeper.
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
May 15, 2016 5:30 AM CST
Same here - last year I had more blooming in July that I had ever had before, but August/September is when the yard is full of color.

Smaller plants/flowers (Poms. Orchids) I will plant with the tubers 4" down, but mostly 6" - supposedly they will make more tubers if you plant them even deeper, but I haven't noticed that. In the baggies they are 2-3" deep already, so an additional 2-3" down - I just pinch off any leaves that will be below the soil line.

The few of my plants that have gotten kind of tall and spindly, I will plant deeper.

My shop lights have multiplied over the years. I buy the cheapest $10 fixtures, and regular fluorescent bulbs. The first year I bought 8 of them (two per shelf), and then added a few more every year for a while. I don't have any more space now - so this is it. and I cut down on how many annuals and vegetable I grew from seed this year, so didn't even use them all. For about 5 years I didn't buy any pre grown plants or any bulbs or tubers. I just grew from seed, and traded for dahlias - it was my way of justifying the expense of the lights and trays etc. I try to be frugal with my gardening, since as you must know................it can become pretty pricey if you let it get out of hand.

I have only been selling my extra tubers for the past two years. While it isn't what you would call a money maker, it has given me a extra couple hundred a year to put into the garden guilt free.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 15, 2016 6:53 AM CST
You have a wonderful setup there, Geof. It is nice to be handy as it looks like you do it yourself. It is a good thing that you invested in what you are using years ago as everything has gotten expensive within the last 2-3 years. The shoplights which I paid $10 4 years ago have increased to $15 this year. THe shelving system that I got for $48 5 years ago is now $80. Even postage has increased tremendously this year. Sad
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
May 15, 2016 7:27 AM CST
The most we ever grew was a bit over 3,000 - mostly vegetables, annuals, with hundreds of our own hybridized daylilies included. The major problem was getting them all planted in a week before we'd go to Cape Cod. That's a lot of work.
Thumb of 2016-05-15/pirl/3e20ec

Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
May 15, 2016 8:45 AM CST
Arlene - Thats a much tidier set up than I have going. I topped 2,000 one year, and the amount of time I had to spend watering was ridiculous. Add another 1,000 and its a 20-30 hour a week job!
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
May 15, 2016 9:11 AM CST
Geof, can you adjust the height of your lights. I tried really hard to keep mine very low but I still have bunches of spindly plants. Could also have been caused by the massive repot when I overwatered. Sad I have pinched just about all but the very bushiest of my plants to try to get them to 'bush up.' I simply cannot imagine 2000 to 3000 plants, no matter what the size. I have never counted anything but my dahlias. Lilies and begonias take up little space. With my new found vow to save only a few dahlias and order new ones, the nursery next spring should be more manageable. Having more than you need is really wasteful and the electric bill is horrendous. Sad

It is so warm here that I planted out some squash and bean plants, although the beans are under poly for now. More to protect from the sun than anything else.

Off topic: my dear grandsons took my car yesterday ( a 2013 Outback) and detailed the exterior. The oldest, 23, has worked as a detailer and has several of their tools. He buffed out scratches, then put a sealer on it. The 'diaper' on the front of the car is almost invisible now (a clear cover that I had put on by the dealer to keep pits from road rocks down). I told them it looked better than brand new. They worked for hours yesterday then still had one side to do. They are so thoughtful but keep insisting (especially the older one) that I have done a lot for them. But then that is what real family is about. Nick, the oldest, isn't blood related, but he has been more thoughtful and loving than most of the people in my blood related family. Just sharing. sniff-sniff. Rolling on the floor laughing
"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
May 15, 2016 10:29 AM CST
Geof - it was a lot of watering! As they grew and needed potting up the space was scarce but we got it done - 99% Jack. The planting out was back-breaking work up to 12 hours a day.

Mary - next year I'll follow the lead of Swan Island and Old House. I received both boxes in mid April and from now on that's when I'll start them, sans lights, on the porch. Those I put out there are all making such nice progress and haven't become too awkward to handle (or plant).

Great news about the grandsons and your car. You have every reason to be happy about it.

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