Dahlias forum→Help! Newly planted dahlia tubers and rain

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NYC_UrbanTinyGarden
Apr 13, 2020 7:36 AM CST
Hi, all.

I'm a newbie dahlia urban gardener. I've always loved this flower, but it's my first attempt planting them. I know it will be a challenge -- all I have is a smallish deck in New York City, and it doesn't get a lot of sun. I planted 4 tubers yesterday, each in a different pot. Today we're getting quite a bit of rain. I've read that tubers do best when the soil is dry, and that they're supposed to be watered only after sprouting a few leaves. Unfortunately my deck does not have any shelter, and I'm afraid the tubers might rot. (It's supposed to be partly cloudy in the next few days, with chances of scattered showers.) Would it be advisable to dig up the tubers and try to dry them with paper towels? Or should I leave them alone and hope for the best? Help, please!
Name: Dan
NE Ohio (Zone 6a)
psudan
Apr 13, 2020 4:35 PM CST
You mentioned rain so I assume the pots are totally exposed to the elements. I don't know your planting zone but I'm right in between zones 5 and 6 and wouldn't consider planting my dahlias till mid/late May. It's a generally accepted fact that dahlias produce no growth at all until soil temps reach 60 degrees. Planting earlier just exposes them to damp, cold soil and a chance of rotting. I once planted some tubers in an area that doesn't drain well. Then we got a lot of rain. I dug them back up, placed them in a box with VERY lightly dampened potting soil and re-planted a week or so later. If they were mine, I'd definitely dig them up and wait till the soil dries and warms.

By the way, welcome to the dahlia forum!
Name: Melissa
Omaha, NE (Zone 5b)
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Melissamaeday
Apr 13, 2020 9:31 PM CST
Welcome to the dahlia forum!

It is a bit early to plant dahlias, so you might want to take them out of the pots and wait a few weeks. Like Dan, I also plant mid May.

I grow some in pots on my patio (in addition to my large garden), and as long as the pots have drainage holes in the bottom, there will be very little rot. The dry soil thing is somewhat true when they are planted in the ground and haven't emerged above ground yet. Dahlias grown in pots need some daily watering (the soil easily gets TOO dry).

NYC_UrbanTinyGarden
Apr 14, 2020 7:04 AM CST
Thank you, Dan and Melissa! I've dug the tubers up this morning and will wait a few weeks to plant them outside in large pots. Given the size of my deck, which is pretty small, I may stick to miniature varieties next year. I'm so looking forward to see if even 1 (out of 5 tubers) is successful this season. Thanks so much for your advice, and happy planting to you both!

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