Best Cutting Dahlias

nana8(5)March 7, 2011

What is the best cutting Dalias in your opinion? I read the previous post, but it was a couple of years old, and I was wondering if there are any better varieties for cutting than Karma. I called to order some Karma today and they seem to be sold out of the collection at K.van Bourgondien $ sons. Has anyone tried the Biltmore Estate Collection, from Netherland Bulb Company?

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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

A gazillion cultivars are great for cutting. And I prefer to purchase tubers from the growers who specialize in dahlias. Swan Island, Aztec, etc, etc. For the same $$$'s one would pay at a big box store, one can buy tubers from a grower that are guaranteed to grow, to be true to name and, in addition, they offer customer service and growing assistance to the buyer.
Disbudding and de-branching will help make bigger flowers and sturdier stems.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Big List

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:56PM
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Noni Morrison

You will get much better tubers from a dahlia grower. Swan Island has a list of good dahlias for cutting. When I have ordered from non-growers I usually get clumps that are badly broken with few eye. Sometimes they are too dried out. There are wonderful dahlias being bred right here. You do not need imported ones.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 12:52AM
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Thanks, I just placed an order with Swan Island, but they seem kind of expensive, and wholesale is available only if you order 100 per variety, seems rather excessive. I hope they are worth the money.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 11:35PM
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steve22802(7a VA)

Hey nana,

I just ordered a small selection of Dahlias from Swan Island too. Maybe we can compare performance notes later in the season. I've grown some Dahlias before but now I'm trying some that are specifically recommended for cutting.

Victoria Ann
Bride To Be
Peggy Jean
Smarty Pants
Uptown Girl
Ahoy Matey

They are certainly more costly than the 3 for $5 Dahlias from Walmart but hopefully they will have better/longer stems and will be a good investment for the future.

- Steve

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 2:06PM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

Ednie in New Jersey now sells Karmas. They have a 25 per variety minimum. At this time of year they don't have many cultivars left (if any - I don't know if they're already sold out for this spring). They do offer a mix if you order early.

The tubers I got from them are large and healthy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ednie

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:04AM
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steve22802(7a VA)

I just got my order from Swan Island and I have to say I was rather taken aback by their packaging method. All 12 of the different varieties I ordered were packaged together in one plastic bag of peat moss and the cultivar names were stamped right on the tubers. The tubers are all solid (no signs of rot) and all but one have visibly swelling eyes. The tubers are average sized. I've certainly gotten bigger tuber clumps with much more active sprouts at Walmart. I guess what I'm paying extra for are the unique varieties that are better for cutting.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 2:25PM
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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

Size is not an indicator of good tubers. Different cultivars tend to have different size tubers. It's more important to have firm, healthy tubers than to have big ones. Also, Swan Island and other dedicated growers will guarantee their products as to cultivar and healthiness. Their tubers are stored under ideal conditions, not like the big box stores where they could sit on a pallet for long periods of time.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 10:00AM
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I have bought dahlia tubers from greenhouses as plants, from Lynch Creek Dahlias (worst looking tubers but will see how they do) and Swan Island Dahlias. Swan Islands are the BEST.
I recommend "Jitterbug" my favorite. or Larry Heslin (which I killed and can't find another of) Jitterbug is a waterlily type. I just love it.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 12:02PM
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Steve and others - I would love to see a follow-up to your initial post. How did those different varieties perform? I have a tough time with zinnias (powdery mildew) and asters (yellows) so I'd like to find a good medium sized dahlia with good stems. I was under the impression they weren't long lasting in bouquets.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 6:26AM
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steve22802(7a VA)

Well my Dahlias really perked up late in the season, they seem much happier with the cooler wetter weather we've been having this past month. During most of July and August I was really disappointed with them. The plants grew great but the flowers looked awful. Most of the flowers were not opening up fully double as shown in the photos. I have since learned that this is caused by hot dry weather, which is what we usually have here in Virginia in the summer. Grrrr! :( But in mid August, the weather cooled and we got regular rains and now they look fabulous! :)

I tried about 15 new varieties this year and the varieties I liked best were:

From Swan Island Dahlias:
I really liked: Maarn, Victoria Ann, L'Ancresse, and Taboo.
I didn't like Bliss at all. I don't think I've seen a fully double blossom on this plant yet.

Mystique was a stronger grower and bloomed well but the shade of color didn't impress me. The catalog states that the color is "very difficult to describe" and now I understand what they mean. I will try it again next year, maybe it just needs the right partner for contrast.

I grew 5 others from Swan Island but I neglected them somewhat and I will have to reserve judgement on them until next year when I will try them again.


From Walmart:
Onesta - at first they looked washed out in the heat, but now in the cool wet weather they are a wonderful shade of deep pink.
Kelvin Floodlight - very reliable big yellow dinner plate dahlia. I gave I number of these away to friends just as a single blossom and they loved them! :)
Akita - snazzy orange and red explosion.
Peaches 'n Cream - underwhelming, often misshapen blossoms, wide color variability.


My biggest mistake with Dahlias this year was not providing good support. I had too much flopping and branch breaking going on. :( I'm also inclined to give them some part shade, maybe 80% shade cloth, during the hottest part of the summer. Hopefully I will get more fully double blooms and better color saturation if I can find a way to keep them a bit cooler and wetter during mid summer.

- Steve

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 10:04PM
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steve22802(7a VA)

Oh yeah, regarding vase life. I haven't been able to get much more than 4 days out of my Dahlias. Next year I may try a commercial hydrating solution, I think that's suppose to help. It would sure be nice if I could get them to last a full week.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 10:16PM
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bfff_tx(z8b TX)

Our very own forum poster "FlowerFarmer" - Miss "Trish" is Banner Flower Farm. If you'd like Dahlia Tubers, she is highly recommended. A member of the ASCFG and has been doing this for decades.....
Cheers Kim - BFFF

Here is a link that might be useful: Banner Flower Farm

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Am a little surprised some folks were having such short vase-life with them. My Karmas (5 colors this year) have been outstanding. One week a left-over bouquet didn't get tossed until nearly the end of the 8th day. 6 days was about normal with no extra care or treatment.

Yes, the dahlias did go to town after we got some rain and the cooler, shorter days kicked in. Some weeks there were so many I didn't find homes for them all. That was a bummer as they were so beautiful 'til killed out 10/28.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 10:01AM
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