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

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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
Apr 3, 2016 12:16 PM CST
The usual way to plant them is horizontally - completely buried - when outside, the whole thing 4-6" deep.

I have heard of people eyeing them up by just burying the "root" end, and leaving the end with the eye exposed. But I have never done that.
Are your pots large enough to place the tuber horizontally at the bottom? When I was using compostable pots, they were 5" pots, I put abut an inch of soil at the bottom, then put in the tuber, then buried them. even if the eye is facing downwards, the sprout will find its way up to the surface. Some tubers are just too long for those pots, and you can either cut them down to size, or find something larger to plant them in.

Or......since they are still dormant, you could put them in some moist (barely) mix and put them in a baggie, place them some where 65-70 degrees. and when you get back from your trip, they will probably be eyed up, and you can pot them up then.
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Apr 3, 2016 12:18 PM CST
Pirl and I cross posted - between the two of us - you should have a good handle on it all !!
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
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LizinElizabeth
Apr 3, 2016 6:44 PM CST
Thank you very much! I'll do the baggie thing this week before we leave then pot them up when they've started growing. If I put them in the compostable pots with the eye exposed I can still lay them horizontally. I'm just afraid I'd destroy the new roots if I tried it any other way.
LizB
Name: Marie
Brigham City, Utah (Zone 5b)
Cottage Gardener Dahlias Hibiscus Region: Utah
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MyRee
Apr 3, 2016 9:36 PM CST
OK, That is just not fare. I just spent over an hour watching videos about Dahlia's,. I should be getting ready for bed, but they were so interesting. I am learning so much. Thanks.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
LizinElizabeth
Apr 4, 2016 4:02 AM CST
Isn't it wonderful??!!
LizB
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Apr 4, 2016 7:40 AM CST
Geof, so when you pot them up you put them very close to the bottom of the pot? Oh dear. I have been putting them near the top although buried by about 1" or more. I figured the eyes needed to be closer to the surface. I can see how your way would get the roots closer to the source of water when I start to bottom water. I don't have to saturate the pot so far to get to the roots. Too late for this year so I will top water until the growth would indicate some decent roots to draw from the bottom.
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Apr 4, 2016 9:41 AM CST
Yes - I plant them at the bottom - with the baggies, I just sprinkle in a little soil mix, and the put in the tuber, then cover that with the soil. When the sprout emerges, I add more soil to cover it, until the quart sized baggie is a little over half full, then I finally let the sprout emerge and put them under lights. I did pretty much the same thing when I was using pots. One of the reason I didn't like the pots was that they all taper, so only really small tubers would fit at the bottom- I was chopping off a good part of my tubers to get them in there, which mostly seems to be ok as long as the roots hang started growing from that end yet.

When you plant them directly outside they go about 6" deep, so I have always figured I should plant them as deep as possible.

I suspect there are a lot of ways to do this successfully.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Dahlias Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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pirl
Apr 4, 2016 9:57 AM CST
I think most of us would love to see how Swan Island starts their tubers, and the amount of heat and humidity they get all winter.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Apr 4, 2016 10:17 AM CST
I agree Arlene but it would probably depress us to realize how perfectly they have it down and how impossible for us to emulate

Geof, what you said makes sense, it simply never occurred to me. And you are right about the pots tapering and having to cut the turbers to fit. I know that both you and I think Dan do this so I did it this year. As long as it wasn't too radical I just snipped off the tail ends to fit my pots. I supposed if I were really ambitions I could dump my pots and repot. I am sure that many of those not showing growth above ground have growth below. Judging by the semi-rejects that I put into flats that have already sprouted most all of those that went into pots had eyes, unless I only had one of a kind then I potted it no matter what it looked like.

Haven't decided if I want to do cuttings this year. It takes up a lot of space although by the time they need moving out of their little 4oz Dixie cup greenhouses I could put them outdoors. We'll see who sprouts healthy enough to take snippets.
Name: Dan
NE Ohio (Zone 6a)
psudan
Apr 4, 2016 2:14 PM CST
The way I start my tubers is simple but it has worked well for me the past few years. I put them into trays about mid April. The tubers are lying on potting soil but not completely covered. I only water when the soil is completely dry and I will only use a spray bottle, just lightly dampening the soil. Once they start showing green sprouts and hair roots, I move them to 24" planters or big round pots. I find it's important to put them in the planters head-to-toe so the roots are on opposite ends. Otherwise, they can become a snarled mess. I don't have enough sunny windows or enough grow lights for all the planters. I carry them outside every warm sunny day and let them harden off for a couple hours. After a couple weeks of increasing exposure, they stay outside 24/7, unless it turns cold. I just move them under the eave of the house at night in case of rain. I try to plant in early June. Biggest mistake I've ever made was starting them too early and ending up with a lot of tall, spindly plants that needed to be staked as soon as they were planted.

The planters in these photos had been sitting on tarps in the living room for a week while I was in Virginia. I had feared they might dry out, but they were fine except needing sunlight.

I think I'll try Geof's method and start a few in bags this year.

Thumb of 2016-04-04/psudan/2361d8


Thumb of 2016-04-04/psudan/370bbc

Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
LizinElizabeth
Apr 4, 2016 8:49 PM CST
The new roots don't get damaged when you move them from the baggies or pots to the ground? I'm not the most gentle person when transplanting, I'd have to break necessary parts off!
LizB
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Dahlias Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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pirl
Apr 5, 2016 8:24 AM CST
Some parts of some roots may break off but don't be alarmed. They grow new roots very fast. It's very easy getting them out of the bags (just slit the bags) than getting them out of trays (sometimes awkward).

Bodacious, grown in a pot:


Ayer's White Knight had some growth but not many roots - easy to plant!


Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Apr 5, 2016 8:27 AM CST
that's another problem when it is time to plant out. if they are very big, the plants are really delicate and you risk breaking the main stalk(?) when you tip the pot over. Sometimes it is almost a two person job. Not sure what is going to happen this year as I have bunches of little plants sprouting. Largest is about 3-4" already though most are maybe 1" but it is only the first part of April and Unless I can get the poly on the raised beds up soon (I put them out there when it is warmer but still not safe to have them exposed to sun and breezes) it won't go well. Seems like it is always a race of some sort or another. And I am leaving May 18 (Wed) and won't be back until the following Monday night. Not too concerned about the dahlias but I am starting seed planting for vegies and annuals. They will be very vulnerable. Hoping my neighbor can handle watering without drowning. Shrug!
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
LizinElizabeth
Apr 5, 2016 7:52 PM CST
I hope so, too, Mary Stella! Best of luck!
LizB
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums Cactus and Succulents
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javaMom
Apr 15, 2016 1:26 PM CST
Hello,

I am new to this forum and would love to join you all....
I planted Dahlia on and off, but not really great of it and would like to learn more...I planted some earlier this Spring and see some sprout about an inch but also lost some...
Will get back to you again and wishing you all a wonderful week-end !
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Apr 15, 2016 2:58 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to our little group. I am sure we have some other Texas dahlia growers to help you along. Your conditions are quite different from mine and many of our more northern growers but lots of members are from further south. It must be getting quite hot down there now. Not sure how dahlias handle that; mine have to tolerate cold. Rolling on the floor laughing
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Lilies Irises
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sempervivums Cactus and Succulents
Image
javaMom
Apr 15, 2016 3:55 PM CST
Hi Mary Stella,

Thanks for the warm welcome... The weather kind of funny around here, haven't get any warmer than high 60's lately, it's been kind of overcast this week.. I just saw the sun and the temperature got a little warmer... the grasses have not been grow much either... I am hoping for a nice Springlike Summer so I can grow some great tomatoes & peppers...
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Apr 15, 2016 4:48 PM CST
Yes Welcome !!

- I see zone 8A, so maybe you are not as hot as much of Texas. I know its a struggle to grow them in the heat, but if you can grow tomatoes, you should be fine. I have a dahlia friend growing in Florida - he plants very early (compared to most of us), says they do well until July/ August where they tend to go dormant, then start blooming again as it cools down in the fall.
Name: Connie
Winlock, WA (Zone 8a)
Need has nothing to do with it.
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CLC70
Apr 16, 2016 9:03 AM CST
Swan Island has great big rooms dug down into the earth. They have a dirt floor but wooden walls. That's where they store the tubers. There are buildings up top where they process the tubers. During the festival these rooms become their show rooms where they have big arrangements displaying every flower they have. It's nice and cool down there in the summer. I don't know how they plant but it's probably with some type of machinery. The soil is really loamy. And they mound the soil up around the plants with some type of cultivator. Don't know how many acres they have but must be at least 40-50 acres. They also sell cut flowers all summer long and you can place orders for weddings and big events. Their festival is a pretty cool event to go to. They have a display garden you stroll through and make your choices. Then they have a test garden where you can look at their new dahlias they are breeding(?). And you can also walk the fields. Well worth attending if you ever get the chance. Warning: attending the festival will make you a fanatic about growing dahlias.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Apr 16, 2016 9:48 AM CST
They advertise 40 acres under planting. I went one year but it was the end of May and saw nothing but mud fields. I was there primarily to visit peony gardens. Adelman's was gorgeous, even in the rain and wind. And Schreiner's just across the way for iris.

Maybe this year I will make it to Swan Island toward fall.

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