Dahlia Growing/business questions

danidooFebruary 5, 2008



My name is Nicki and I have a few dahlia/business questions. We are working

on establishing a small hobby type farm with a few key products one being

dahlias. I have grown dahlias for 4 years now and have had great success so

far. I know the large wheat/cattle farmers that live around the area think I

am nuts and there is no way to make flowers profitable but I am really hoping

to prove them wrong. I have a list of questions that I am hoping there are

some kind souls out there who would not mind sharing some info from there

years of experience.

I have posted this on a few other lists as well so if you see it more than

once I do apologize.

I posted a few months ago looking for a list of dahlias that are patented and

not available for resale by private individuals. I have found a list for

Canada and the UK but still nothing in the US. I know I saw a list for the

US last year somewhere but cannot seem to find it again. If anyone knows

where to find it I would love to know. Or if anyone knows of dahlias listed

on THE BIGLIST that are patented and not available for resale by private

individuals that would also be great. Or even a list of breeders that

normally patent there dahlias so I can check before adding them to our


I am getting ready to apply for my nursery license so I can sell/ship dahlias

and will be getting inspected by the department of agriculture for the first

time this year. I have to admit the thought of being inspected is very scary

I dont really know why but I would hate to go through months worth of work

and find out we missed something. When I call and ask what they inspect for

they just say disease/pests. For those who have had there plants inspected

in Washington or other states is there anything common in dahlias that would

make you not pass.

I also read and keep notes on all the pest/disease problems that people have

and am kind of curious if there are people out there who really dont have any

problems? I only ask because I keep looking for even the smallest signs of

anything and have not found much atleast nothing that seems to really affect

my plants. I do have wonderful natural predators lady bugs mainly and have

gone out of our way to maintain some of the natural vegitation inbetween

smaller garden areas to make sure they are happy. We have large mounds of

Canary? grass that usually reaches 6-8 feet tall and each plant usually has

40 plus lady bugs on it. We have approximatley 15 of these large grass

mounds in the garden and are hoping to try and transplant a few to new garden

areas this year. I do have moles but those really dont affect my dahlias as

far as passing a inspection they are just a huge irritant in my day.

We are not really into chemicals and dont really do any fertilizers we have

large compost piles that we use to add nutrients to the soil but other than

that the plants are pretty much on there own. We have irrigation line for

most of the plants to be more efficient in watering and also try and reduce

weeds. But I would love to know how larger growers with 1000 plus plants

keep up on the weed problem? I dont really have major weeds but do have

grass that creeps in from everywhere. We have very dark fertile soil and no

matter how hard I try and stay ahead of it I always seem to lose the battle.

Everything I have read says not to mulch atleast not until the plant has

started to grow. For plants that are started in pots can you mulch right

around them? Should you still leave some area uncovered around the base and

if so how much? We are looking into different mulches to use and may try a

little of everything this year to see what we like but I would love to hear

peoples ideas.

I am also hoping to start some of my plants early I do not have a green house

but I am wondering if anyone uses the hoop houses? I usually plant my tubers

earlier than most would recommend for our area what can I say I hate waiting

:) but for the most part because it is colder the earlier tubers usually dont

develop as well as the ones planted later once it warms up. I am hoping that

maybe a few hoop house rows would be a good solution to starting a little bit

early but not losing early growth.

For those who do sell tubers how many do you usually have on hand for each

variety? I ordered late last year and found I could not find a lot of what I

wanted because everyone was sold out I ordered much earlier this year and am

still finding the same thing MANY growers are already long sold out.

I am hoping to try doing some cutting for the first time this year I have a

bunch of notes written down from a discussion on another forum about taking

cutting but one thing I would like to know is if I want to take a cutting

from a growing plant how late can you succesfully take a cutting and still

have a plant that at the end of the growing season you will end up with a

tuber? I have done cuttings on other plants in years past but it has been a

long time.

Thanks in advance for your help you can either post your reply or email me

privatley at dani2@wildblue.net if there is anyone out there who is currently

in the dahlia buisness and would not mind me asking a few questions from time

to time I would love to get your email address.


Medical Lake Washington

Currently snowed in and anxiously awaiting any sign of spring :)

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Hi Nicki,

1. patented plants/dahlias. I can not help you with a list. I do know that one can propagate patented plants asexually as long as one pays royalties to the patent holder. this is usually done via the purchase of 'patent tags' from the patent holder or through a plant broker. each plant sold must have a patent tag.

2. AG Inspection. the inpsector will want to take a look around (make sure things are clean and sterilized, labeled and stored properly, etc). they will also be your best resource person for any problems you might encounter with pests or diseases. they will also be the one to come and watch if you need a phyto (at least the first time or two).

3. we use minimal chemicals. be sure to ask your AG Inspector if your plants will require any treatments prior to shipping.

4. check out the greenhouse forum to learn more about hoop houses.

5. we usually have a minimum of 25 to 30 of each plant on hand, but we sell a large variety of perennials. some of our selections we have hundreds on hand.

check out the professional gardener forum here, nice and helpful folks over there!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:02PM
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Hi thanks for the info I will be sure to check out he other forums. I have to ask as I am new with the inspection stuff what is a PHYTO?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 7:51AM
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That's a Phytosanitory Certificate & is necessary if you are going to ship out of the country. Your local agriculture agent has to inspect the field during growing season for diseases & insects specific to the country you are going to ship to. Then he has to inspect the tubers before you package them up & ship them. Every over-seas order has to have it's own phyto-cert. The certificates cost around $38.00 each- plus you also have to pay for the field inspections & tests. You have to do this every year.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 5:23PM
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