small dahlias, how to find

linnea56(z5 IL)February 18, 2007

I'm looking for small (short and compact) dahlias, as I have a small very stuffed garden and the giant monsters take up too much space. Last year I grew some called "window box" that were quite compact and started blooming way before the big ones. I don't need too many (hope the ones I stored come through), not enough to justify an order from a dahlia specialist; or so I think.

What's an easy way to identify smaller-growing varieties? A lot of descriptions I've read show flower size but not plant size. I saw some in a reputable seed catalog called the "Gallery" series that looked promising.

I love the look of collarettes, but am not sure if just the flower is small or the plant too?

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Noni Morrison

Costco carries some boxed dahlias that are low growing. They have the height printed in a box on the front panel and also may use words like "low growing". "Mignon" is another key.Park Princess and Prince Charming are nice border dahlias for the princess, white for the Prince.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 12:13PM
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plantlady2(NW Washington)

Gallery series are short for container planting. Collarette dahlia plants are usually about as tall as any regular dahlia- not dwarf.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 6:56PM
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Check out They have a large
selection of low growing dahlias.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 8:11AM
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Linnea, you may have to call around local nurseries and inquire whether they sell particular sizes of dahlia.
I suppose you have seen the flower sizes expressed as:
AA.......Giant....over 10 inches
A.......Large...8 to 10 inches
B......medium....6 to 8 inches
BB.....small....4 to 6 inches
M....miniature....up to 4 inches in diameter

Then there's definitions:
Mignon.....plants about 12 to 18 inches in height with single flowers less than 2 inches in diameter in shape of other dahlia forms, but on small plants. shaped
Pompom...,miniature, more globular versions of the ball form

Most nurseries would I think carry only those varieties that have proven themselves being wanted so you might phone around and ask if they carry such and such...and if so, would they put aside for you---give them a phone number and some assurance you intend to come and purchase.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 1:33PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

There are no nurseries around here that sell dahlias. There are 1 or 2 that are open only in the spring to sell their own green-house grown flats of annuals, but they don't sell bulbs or tubers. So far I have bought my dahlias only at Lowe's, HD, or Walmart: they don't have much choice of varieties. There is no Costco either.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 1:39PM
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Then Linnea, you are stuck with buying on-line.
There are enough large greenhouse sellers that you can order from and get information from online.

Try putting into your browser...."nurseries of Illinois"...or "nurseries of xxx...your closest large city"....

Usually the large bulb houses will have such a supply of tubers and roots.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 4:11PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

So if I'm looking online for "clue" words to tell if a variety is small, then "gallery", Mignon, or "Border" would all be tip-offs?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 8:14PM
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Linnea - did you get in to Stein's last year then? I bought Extase, Bluesette and Berliner Kleene there that were all under 2 1/2 ft.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 10:57PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

No, I never made it there, and couldn't justify the trip unless it was on the way to something. But I was in Racine in November (for a funeral, sadly) and stopped in Stein's on the way back just to check it out. Bought some end-of-the-year discounted crocuses and such. Checked out Mileager's too: I get their ads even this far away.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 11:57PM
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I do believe all the gallery series are short. Border,edging,patio I would think be tips.

Anyway - Stein's would have 5-10 varieties if you get there, between 4/1 - 6/1 or so.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 9:55PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

I just located a nice selection of Gallery-type dahlias at Willow Creek Farms. I, too, was looking for the 12"-16" varieties. I don't get full sun, and the taller ones get too leggy. I also liked that they had several pink ones to choose from. And very reasonable shipping.
That's if you want to start them indoors so they will already be blooming in June.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 6:58PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

bunnycat, do you have a link for Willow Creek Farms? I tried google without finding it (wrong kind of farms), and Dave's Garden too.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 8:21PM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

"My Bad" sorry! It's Willow Creek GARDENS.

The price is for a bag of three, and goes down for 6, 9, 12+ of the same.

Hope you find something that you are looking for.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 1:35PM
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The spring Dutch Gardens catalog lists a large variety of

Smaller type dahlias. Plus $25.00 off order $50.00 or

More (expires 5/13/07) Sounds good and looks good BUT...

Some people have had problems with this supplier.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 1:15AM
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Van bourgondien bulb catalog had some good looking ones in it. Never ordered dahlias from them though they look tempting.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 10:12AM
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