Dahlias forum→A number of questions from a new addition to Dahlia growing.

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Abingdon Oxfordshire.
Jul 19, 2019 7:14 AM CST
Well thank the Lord or at least good luck in finally finding this forum because in my previous search I only found Facebook groups.
I'm an 82 year old gardener who has not looked at Dahlias for some time so at the start of this season when there were still the occasional frost I planted about twenty corms bought from Garden centers at about £5.00 a pack of one or two and some bought from the Internet. All of these I planted in about 7" pots keeping them in the green house until it was safe to plant them outside and they are doing well although they are not very tall they are nice and bushy. The corms from the Internet were not impressive.
I also planted a few trays of Dahlia seeds which did very well. I planted these into small pots and kept them in the green house until it was safe and then moved them to larger pots outside. Yesterday I visited a well respected Garden Center and left it quite demoralised when I saw the quality of their Dahlias although they £9.99 each
I must have made a mountain of mistakes because the ones I grew from seed are tall straggly Dahlias so now for my questions in order to assist me in preparation for next season:
1. Is anyone prepared to offer suggestions as to where one can buy quality Dahlias?
2. Does the size of pot determine how large the seedling will grow?
3. Should I have fed the seedlings and if so what with?
4. Should I have pricked the seedlings out and if so at what stage?
Many thanks in anticipation.
Name: Melissa
Omaha, NE (Zone 5b)
Dahlias Cat Lover Region: Nebraska Annuals Cut Flowers Butterflies
Daylilies Bee Lover Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 20, 2019 12:45 PM CST
Hi BrickyBrian!
The vendor I know a lot of people purchase from over there is Halls of Heddon.
Pot size does matter, as dahlias need room for their roots to grow and for tubers to be created.
As far as feeding/pricking the seedlings, I have heard both yes and no. I would probably err on the side of at least giving them a diluted feeding of compost tea, and stopping the main shoot is a personal preference (I don't usually, unless it's by accident).
Hope that helps some, and don't beat yourself up! :)
Abingdon Oxfordshire.
Jul 23, 2019 4:02 AM CST
Many thanks. I found that Halls of Heddon Web page has a brilliant brief guide to growing and showing dahlias.
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin (Zone 8a)
Roses Dahlias Irises Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Aug 3, 2019 6:45 AM CST
I found a couple more sites there in UK offering tubers. :
However, I don't have any experience at all with them. I'm just too far away! nodding
I use a German site as a source for what is being traded at present:
They offer addresses of the main European providers. ( I now don't understand how this will affect after Brexit Confused )
In my experience with growing dahlias its important to start with a reliable source that provides healthy tubers. It takes time to understand who's who in the market, but its really worth reducing variety and spending slightly more in quality... Sighing!
I start my single types from seed. i.e Bishop of Llandaff. I got those seeds from Thompson & Morgan. I had blooms the first season on very dark leafed short bushes. I still keep them and I've just finished dry storing ( and dividing) by clumps for the next season. I've also grown own crosses( larger varieties) from seed and have kept some that have caught my attention. In every case I do prick my seedlings when they reach 2 pairs of leaves. They go into individual pots (mine are pastic bags 20 cm in diameter) filled with a third organic compost plus manure and 2/3 sandy soil. They stay inside the greenhouse until around the beginning of December when they are acclimatized outside and finally placed in the ground. The exact timing depends on the temperatures and general weather. Normally my dahlias start blooming mid-January onwards and the larger dinner-plates February. They bloom until first frosts.
Since I try to grow them organically, I provide large ammounts of horse manure and also chicken bedding from our farm. The larger varieties are ravenous feeders and require extra fertilizing during the growing season. So they get at least once a generous addition of manure as a side dressing.
Please feel free to ask further questions.
PS I've been gardening dahlias already for about 25 years.

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