What to do with sprouting dahlias until planting time?

coatfetish(z6 VA.)March 29, 2013

Hi ~

I am brand new to dahlias, and I bought two packages at Walmart and they are firm & healthy tubers, but they have already started growing. The stems are 1 or 2 inches tall. I temp. potted them loosely in their own peat that they were packed in, and put them by the window. Should I plant them in a mix of the peat and my garden soil? Will they get too leggy by the window - I have raised lights for my aquariums that I could put them under. It would be stronger concentrated light only inched above the tubers. (The light bulbs are very similar to grow lights - my tanks have live plants).

Also, I have two tiny tubers (3" long, 1/2" wide), each with a live eye that's just barely budding. I got them from the hybridizer and want these to live most of all. He said to remove the tubers from the wood shavings they were shipped in and place them back in their plastic bag until all chance of frost is over (I understand how important it is to avoid frost). However they are a bit soft & not firm like the store bought ones. They are also a bit wrinkly like they are starting to shrivel. Would they be better off if I went ahead and planted them indoors? I don't want them to either shrivel up or start rotting. Help! I really want these from the hybridizer to make it!

My last frost date isn't until mid - late May, so I have a long haul ahead of me! I thought if I preplanted them indoors, I could set the pots out on warm days and bring them in at night or if there is a frost warning. Good idea or bad?

thanks for your help!

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The standard answer to your question is that you can always start your tuber in a gallon sized pot to plant in the garden later. Very many people do this for all their dahlias. Initially after planting in the pots, they just need to be in a 70 degree or so place to start growing. When they sprout above the soil, they will need light and many people put them in solariums or greenhouses etc. Some people put then outside during the day and move them inside to protect them from the cold.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:14PM
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I am not quite ready to un box my stored tubers yet, but what I do is place each tuber in a sandwich sized baggie. with some moist - not soaking wet - peat moss. It allows me to have 20-40 tubers in a standard tray. I keep the baggie mostly closed until I see sprouts, then open it so the sprout doesnt rot. I keep some in a south facing window, and others under fluorescent lights. The baggies take up a lot less room than pots do. The fast growers end up getting moved into pots, but space is at a premium in my growing area, so pots are on an "as needed" basis.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 7:19AM
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coatfetish(z6 VA.)

Thanks for your responses! For some reason I'm not getting the email notifications, or I would acknowledged them sooner.
I shall combine techniques and bag up the small tubers from the hybridizer since the eyes are just minuscule nubs, and leave the bag open. The others that have 2" sprouted eyes I'll pot up.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 2:10PM
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