When to start?

marricgardensFebruary 6, 2007

I have just started growing dahlias. Currently I have 2 that I bought last year. I need to start my dahlias early inside and was wondering if anybody knew when I should start them? Also when I put them in the garage for storage I used shredded newspaper to store them in (we keep the garage just above freezing), is that o.k.? I plan to soak them before I plant. How many things am I doing wrong or am I on the right track? Thanks. marg

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Poochella(7 WA)

Hi Marg, Jroot would be in a good position to answer 'when to start them' as he is in your neck of the woods, I believe. It seems he woke his tubers up in late February to take some cuttings and pot them up for an airing outdoors in April sometime. Perhaps May.

Have you checked your dahlia tubers out in the garage? Only looking at them will answer the question about how they're doing. If they didn't freeze to mush or completely mummify from dehydration then you're doing great!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 10:34PM
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Hi. Thanks for the help. Our garage never freezes. I did go out and checked my bulbs. I have tulips (dug up because I had to move and conquer), cannas which are already sprouting and ready to pot up, but the dahlias are not sprouting yet. The tubers are very healthy looking. I was planning on soaking them before I planted them. I also have to amend the soil because we have heavy clay. What did you mean by taking slips? A friend of mine always just replants the individual tubers. Marg

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 9:04AM
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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

Slips/cuttings= another great way to propagate dahlias. And you still have the tuber !!
I have had pretty good luck with getting the cuttings to root.

Here is a link that might be useful: propagation by cuttings

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 8:39PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Good on the tubers looking good. I don't know why you want to soak them before planting. That's something I haven't heard of being done unless the tubers are really dehyrated. We have the opposite problem here- way too wet in early Spring soil.

Amend away: well-draining friable soil will give you happy dahlias. I got 1/3 sand, 1/3 compost and 1/3 topsoil soil delivered one year and it's working out very well when worked into our heavy clay.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 9:43PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

I usually start in late February / early March with laying the tubers out, slightly/half covered with a growing medium, under lights. I don't think one has to soak the tubers though. As Poochella says, they don't want to be too wet, but need to be kept slightly moist, and they will start for you. You certainly can use the individual tuber to start your plant, as you suggest. If you wish to propogate for more, then you can use the slip cuttings as suggested by Grannymarsh. I've done both.

This year, I will be away in April, so I won't be starting mine early. HOpefully they will be okay, and explode into new growth when I get them started upon my return home.

If they are still firm, in your garage, I would tend to leave them alone. They are happy.

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 8:38AM
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Thanks for all the help. I wasn't to sure about soaking them but after reading your posts, I won't bother. Last year the dahlia had a large clump of tubers on it when I dug them up. Guess I will divide them up and wait to plant them. Thanks again. marg

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 9:52AM
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Stupid question and sorry for my ignorance. When you "lay your tubers out", are they sideways or eye side up or eye side down when potting early?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 12:24PM
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plantlady2(NW Washington)

They're laying on their sides with their eyes looking up- or some people put them straight up & down with the eyes up if they're in a deep pot.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 12:28AM
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Thanks so very much for the advice. I am planning on potting up this week.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 1:32PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

I would have said the exact same thing as plantlady2. I have some tubers that are too big to put into the pot sideways, so it is indeed up and down, or on a diagonal, but the eye is at the top.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 4:38PM
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