Dahlia Question

Fundybayfarm(z5westernN.S.)March 25, 2005

Hi All.

I started some dahlias from seed, and I think maybe a bit too early. They grow quick!! Anyway, they are about 6" tall, and with me not being able to plant until the end of May, or maybe even June, I'm wondering if you can pinch dahlias? I would definitely like to see a bushier plant because at the rate I'm going, I'll be planting these from 1 gallon pots.


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yes, you can pinch them. In fact, where I got my roots, he plants them before the last frost and lets the frosts pinch and he sells to wholesale florists so the quality is there. You can get more stems that way, but you'll get later than normal flowering.
I'm thinking of growing some in gallon or larger pots so that I can get blooms later by putting the pots in the unheated greenhouse in the fall when frosts are predicted (but it's still above freezing even in the unheated greenhouse). I'd still have to bring them in an above freezing area later, but I can probably store them in the pots, or if I have to take them out of the pots because I don't have much storage space, I can do that in the comfort of my greenhouse or house, not in the blustery windy fall weather after they have been killed back by frosts. It's worth a try.
I usually put my roots in the ground in mid-late April, although we get frosts into May, sometimes up until Memorial Day. They take a while to break ground as you plant them about 6 inches deep.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 5:08PM
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What are getting a grant or something to grow dahlias? Seed dahlias are grown in the bedding plant industry. As they branch freely pinching is not recommended. Why donÂt you buy tubers like the rest of us growers, plant them in the field in May, and get on with the business of growing other flowers. Why would you plant them in gallon pots or milk jugs? Or why donÂt you buy Karma Dahlia plugs? These are the dahlias bred for cutflower growers.

Before Ann goes and gives inaccurate advice again she should do some research. Tubers are not roots. Dahlias grown from seed do not always produce viable tubers.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 7:39PM
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sgiesler(USDA 5)

Wow, I hope Ann didn't take offense to the above post. Seems pretty rude to me. I like her posts. I don't see why one can't post corrective info without being so critical. Shirley

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 9:02PM
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Well now.
Thanks Annie for your response, but that does sound like an awful lot of work! If I had greenhouse space, I probably would grow some in there just for the sake of stretching the season. The only call I got from a florist last year for dahlias was after the frost had turned them all black, but the variety I had wasn't good anyway.
I would love to do what the rest of you growers are doing, but by the time I get around to looking at the dahlia page of the catalogs, I've already spent so d--n much money that seeds start looking pretty good. I didn't do enough research, obviously, and didn't know that starting them from seed was a bad idea. I simply read the catalog, and bought the seeds, which said, "Showpiece Mix"- cutting mix selected for it's high percentage of double blooms. Ht. 48". Also said, "tubers can be dug and stored in the fall for use in following years." The picture looks great, and they are mixed colors. I am only in the second year of growing cuts, and have much to learn, and the truth is, I'm not real fond of these labor intensive flowers that have to be dug back up and replanted every year. I do it for glads because they sell well, and I've always loved glads. Your advise on the kind I should buy is good, and have heard other growers speak highly of this type of tuber. I just need to get more of my market established before I spend anymore money this year. And back to the original question, it's the height right now that I'm concerned about, but don't want to end up shortening my flower stems. If I pinch out the middle growth, will I be doing that?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 10:12AM
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Patty_WI(z4 WI)

I too bought seeds instead of tubers to cut costs. My 2nd year also.

Sounds like we are at about the same stage of growth for our plants. I've read that you should pinch at the 4th set of leaves to get them to branch. I just did that this morning.

I figure that right now I have more time than money and babying these little dahlias might be a good investment of my time.

Good luck with them!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 3:57PM
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pollieplumm(Liverpool, UK)

I have been a 'lurker' on this forum for some eighteen months now. In fact, the cutting forum was a real source of inspiration for me when I was unemployed from academia. Thankfully, I now have a permanent job at the University of Liverpool, UK.

I spent a lot of last year growing plants from seed, sometimes with a great deal of success. I too started some dahlias (Showtime and Children of Landaff). Nearly all of my seeds germinated and I had about 35 plants of each. Some of these I sold as young plants, but I also planted a few of the strongest in a border in my parents' garden.

As I moved away to Liverpool in the autumn, the tubers resulting from these plants overwintered in the ground (although gardeners in the south of England can often get away with this...!). I just wanted to report that five of the plants have spouted again and are now between a few inches and 18" tall. In fact, one of the 'Showtime' plants is much bigger than an 'Arabian night' plant which was bought as a tuber last year.

I just wanted to post this message to encourage Patty, Ann and others who are trying to save money by starting things from seed. I spent a total of £3 on seed and I could have raised about one hundred dahlia plants: buying the same number of tubers would have cost at least £100. I appreciate that big growers cannot afford to take the risk of things not working out, but smaller growers might find it useful to explore all of the propagation methods available to them.

Happy growing and good luck for the season!


    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 2:58PM
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