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Jul 27, 2015 5:02 PM CST
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
What should I feed my dahlias?

When I potted them, I used compost and bone meal.
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Jul 28, 2015 12:02 PM CST
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Dahlias Region: Wisconsin Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I fertilize potted plants very differently from in-ground plants. Potted plants get watered so frequently that fertilizer is washed out of them easily, so I use a diluted balanced fert pretty much every time I water them. Also the soil in pots is unlikely to build the whole network of microbes etc that is needed to break down the organic fertilizers, so I just use MG or what ever is cheapest.

In the garden, I fertilize organically, composted manure and bone meal mixed in when I plant, then a fish kelp fertilizer several times during the season, plus I mulch the beds with more composted manure.

I have read that to much nitrogen toward the end of the season is bad for the tubers, encouraging them to rot during storage, so I pretty much stop feeding them anything extra at the end of July.
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Jul 28, 2015 4:32 PM CST
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
Thanks, Geof.
What is MG?

I want these to be flowering a lot by September 5 for a former student's wedding.

Thanks,
Gerry
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Jul 29, 2015 9:12 AM CST
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Dahlias Region: Wisconsin Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
MG = Miracle Grow
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Aug 1, 2015 8:32 PM CST
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
ALFALFA MEAL!!!

mix in two cups of meal per plant. it may seem like a lot, and it may be a little too late at this stage of the game, beings how its august first already, but just work it all in around each plant. two cups per plant every month until frost. and be sure to deadhead. you'll have flowers coming out your ears all the way into October! the meal is a great soil conditioner, a great way to retain moisture, and alfalfa meal is loaded with growth regulators and amino acids that dahlias and especially roses LOVE!!
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Aug 2, 2015 6:51 PM CST
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
Thanks, Jason. I use alfalfa a lot but I have been told that dahlias do not like much nitrogen. I will give it a try.
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Aug 3, 2015 5:38 AM CST
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Dahlias Region: Wisconsin Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
Gerry - they do like nitrogen - just not late in the season
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Aug 3, 2015 12:33 PM CST
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
Thanks.
Next season, I will start with alfalfa in the compost for the dahlias.
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