New to Dahlias, suggestions for a newbie please

glaswegian(5b, Ont)February 2, 2008

So I got my Vesseys catalogue recently, and whilst browing through the pages, as you do. I noticed that there were 7 pages of these things, how is a new bie supposed to know what is what? :-)

Needless to say I was overwhelmed by all the different types, so I figured I'll turn to you experts to shed some light.

There are some new ones for 2008 like:

English Breakfast ( hmmm...makes me miss the UK )

Carribean cocktail

Let's dance

Clair Obscure


Edge of Joy

Black Wizard

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Last year I had the wife order collections. This year I told her to order her color favorites. Just one way to attack the proble of too many choices

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 1:13PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

How many would you say one should start with, and can they be planted in pots?

Any nice fragrant ones in particular that you guys like?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 1:56PM
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Good luck finding a fragrant dahlia. There are a few open centered ones-- Singles & Orchid form ones that have a very mild sweet pollen scent to them but dahlias in general don't have any perfume.
They can be planted in pots but some get really tall so you have to watch what you're getting or they will fall all over & they can even even tip the pot over. Go to Steve Nowotarski's site on container dahlias & see what a great job he does with dahlias in mixed pots. There's also a place to order the container dahlias so you know those varieties been successfully grown in pots.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Dahlias

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 2:58PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Mick (glaswegian), I haven't found any dahlias with a nice fragrance, not like the brugmansia. However, I still love them for their stunning visual presentation. I have also found that they tend to do best planted directly into the garden. Mind you, I prefer the tall ones ( 3- 5 feet). These would never be okay in a pot unless the pot was very large, as stated by dahliagardener. If you wanted to plant dahlias in a container, I would suggest the smaller varieties. There are numerous ones available.

Dahlia Bloom Size Abbreviations

AA - over 10" dia.
A - 8" to 10" dia.
B - 6" to 8" dia.
BB - 4" to 6" dia.
M - miniature 2" to 4" dia.

Also, check out Dan's Dahlias at:

There is a dahlia society in Toronto. I include their website which contains a lot of information that will help you, Mick, as you explore this new world.

Here is a link that might be useful: Canadian Chrysanthemum and Dahlia society

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 4:57PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Thanks for that John (Jroot ). I was just toying with the container idea really. I will be planting the dahlia ( If I know which one to get ), directly in the ground.

Now you said they like to planted directly in the ground, does that mean you can't start them indoors?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 5:53PM
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I grew several stargazer dahlia's in containers which were started from seeds. I did make the error of planting two to a pot and neither flowered and it was like excavating dinosaur bones trying to get them separated. My decision to go with seeds is that they are affordable for me to play with until I learn to store the tubers over winter. The beauty of containers is that it is much easier to dump the pot rather than dig in the ground (I grow Gladiolus that way too). It is also fun being surprised by the shape and colors they came out as. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 7:53PM
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I had a dog that ran through my dahlias so I planted some in big plastic containers. I also build wood planters for them. For boquets for the wife I grow basil and other herbs for scent.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:32PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Mick, of course they can be started in pots. That is what I was saying in another discussion. ( See below ) What Vikingcraftsman says is correct as well. If the pot is large, or a raised bed then that is good for growing them as well. Leaving them enough room, as Gladzoe says, is good advice as well. I plant mine about a foot and a half away from each other for the best results. That is purely a personal taste though. You will have to experiment and find out what works best for you in Brantford, given your soil and sun conditions.

Here is a link that might be useful: splitting tubers and starting in pots

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 11:29AM
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