Dahlias forum: Growing Tall/Cutting type Dahlias in Pots/Containers

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Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
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HoosierHarvester
Dec 13, 2015 2:52 PM CST
I've grown several box store tall type dahlias (and a couple online purchased) and used them for cutting. I had a 30-foot row, but really didn't have a good winter storage area. I maintained them for 3 years through the winter outdoors in the row under a cover of about a foot of straw. Then, the one winter that I didn't get the row covered and we got an extra cold winter and all froze out. Thus, I haven't grown any dahlias for the last couple years.

I grow some of the short ones in containers, but never have grown the tall cutting type in containers. Anyone grow the tall ones in containers? What would be the suggested size container for a dahlia tuber?

I have found that these referenced type dahlias do best with plenty of water and some extra fertilizer. Out in the cutting garden, this happens very seldom. I felt I could care for them better closer to the house in large containers. If you've had such experience, I hope you will please.

I've also heard that the Karma line is good for cutting. Anyone have their favorites for cutting? I personally found I like either totally upfacing or slightly upfacing dahlia flowers for cutting. I've grown a couple varieties that the flowers seemed to be completely outfacing (like perpendicular to the ground), or even slightly downfacing, and I didn't like working with those two types in my bouquets. It's always nice to get varieties that have plenty of good stem length as well.

I would like to get a few again this spring. Thanks for any input.

Thumb of 2015-12-13/HoosierHarvester/269c3b

Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Dec 16, 2015 6:59 PM CST
Apparently no one here grows dahlias in containers much. I have chatted with a few people who do on other sites, and they use 3-5 gallon sized pots . You can probably grow them in smaller pots, but once they get bigger you would have to water them twice a day.

Many of the places that primarily sell dahlias have groups they list that are especially good for cutting. Generally the smaller flowers (BB sized) produce more blooms and will last longer in vases. With ball dahlias you won't have the problem of down-facing blooms. What the people who show dahlias are looking for is slightly angled, mid way between up-facing and side-facing. So thats what the breeders aim for.
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Dec 16, 2015 8:20 PM CST
Thanks for posting Geof @mandolls . That would be my perfect type angel as well; although I can work with up-facing too, though I've seldom seen up-facing flowers.

That's what I figured, that the pot size needed to be fairly large for nice production. And I'll keep in mind the BB sized ones when I start looking for a few to test this coming year.
Name: Jai or Jack
Pennsylvania (Zone 5b)
Om shanti shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 5, 2017 3:30 AM CST
I am responding to this late, but I want to chime in because this is the only way I ever grow dahlias. I usually grow the larger bloomed varieties in pots but sometimes grown the smaller seed dahlias, too.

I use 5-gallon utility buckets (from Lowes or Walmart) and sometimes 8- or 10-gallon Sterilite-type totes, each with several large holes melted in the bottom.

For soil I use a mix of peat, potting soil, coarse sand and perlite. I don't measure it exactly or anything. At planting time I also add in some extended release rose food only because that's usually what I have on-hand.

I treat the surface of the containers with snail deterrent preventatively because I've noticed that for whatever reasons snails seem to like the containers more.

I usually put a single tuber in a 5 gallon pot. I will often put 2 (or maybe even 3 smaller varieties) in one of the bigger totes.

I like growing dahlias this way for the following reasons:

They are easier to move around, and thus easier to see, work with, cut, fertilize, and and dig up in the fall.

But they're also easier to stake because you can take a tall, thin, piece of wood or plastic or whatever and just duct tape it around the pot. This doesn't look super pretty but the bucket is not supposed to be the pretty part--the flower is!

You can also buy tape and stakes that match the color of the bucket and you can actually make them less-ugly than you might think at first. One year I had dark blue buckets, pale blue stakes, and medium blue duct tape. It was surprisingly pretty to a see a row of these pots against the dark green foliage and pastel pink/yellow blooms.

Of course, as is the case in all container planting you have much more control over the type of soil you use (or not) and you have to keep special watch on the water levels.

I don't think I have actually ever grown a dahlia in the ground.
Keep going.
Salt Spring Island, BC (Zone 8b)
Dahlias Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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islander
Jun 5, 2017 12:57 PM CST
I agree on pot size - 3to5 gallon but I'd also go only with stout growing Dahlias. I've found Spartacus to be more rigid in it's growth and easier for container growing, if I wanted. I've seen where the vine growers staple a stake to the inside of a container, which if you can figure out how to do that, would be great for growing Dahlias. Landscape Dahlias such as Bishop of Llandoff is commonly grown in containers for landscape use.
He who plants a garden plants happiness.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Jul 8, 2017 8:14 PM CST
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Keep Calm and Carry On
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Jul 9, 2017 5:53 PM CST
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Keep Calm and Carry On
Name: Jai or Jack
Pennsylvania (Zone 5b)
Om shanti shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Jul 11, 2017 2:49 AM CST
crawgarden said:Thumb of 2017-07-09/crawgarden/ff490e



This one reminds me of a fancy old drag queen's lipstick. Such pretty colors!
Keep going.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Aug 11, 2017 9:19 AM CST
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Keep Calm and Carry On
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
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pirl
Aug 12, 2017 7:36 AM CST
Great photo. Love the composition.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Aug 14, 2017 8:02 PM CST
Thumb of 2017-08-15/crawgarden/48aea4

Keep Calm and Carry On
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Sep 11, 2017 1:50 PM CST
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Keep Calm and Carry On
Name: Teresa
(Zone 5b)
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TsFlowers
Oct 5, 2017 7:07 AM CST
Beautiful dahlias @crawgarden !

I didn't get photos, but I was disappointed with my dahlias for cutting. (I just planted some big box store tubers in ground.) They only lasted 2 days in the vase. Another variety lasted 4 days, but was fairly wilted but still presentable the 4th day being a large dinner plate type.

Are there varieties that last longer as cuts? When I read that dahlias are good cut flowers, to me "good cut flower" = "good at least 5 days in vase".

Anyone here use dahlias as market cut flowers?
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: Teresa
(Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
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TsFlowers
Oct 5, 2017 2:56 PM CST
I just did some further reading, including Swan Islands' method of cutting. I'm going to give that a try and see if that increases the vase life.
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.

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