Dahlia Newbie...I need help Please

jitterbug4756(zone 8)March 29, 2009

I've been a gardener in many forms for 20 plus years but have only tried growing a fwtimes, buying growing dahlia from local nusery and never had good luck ;( ..My sis this year for Christmas gave me a "starter Dahlia garden...jackson & Perkins tubers as follows; Pigmos...Red pigmy,Little Tiger & Yellow Happiness, and Pink Princess

Dahlia cactus ; Color Spectacle... I plan on adding to this bed once established... I love thier look & form and have drooled over many in others gardens or in magazines.

My question, sorry I get chatty !, is...I've reshearched the basics on dahlia s, but we live one lot off the lake in Greenwood,sc, which is inbetween g'vill & columbia. Its an old home place w/ packed red mud/sand combo,you eed a jackhammer to till soil, so all our beds are raised.Any tips from you guys on to the best combo of soils, additives, anything that will help my babies grow to their beutiful potentail ?... Als, how big and deep ( built up) would you make it. I'm lucky to have carpenter honey who will build me what I need & loves gardening too... any & all help would be appreciated....oh best sun for this area... I can make bed in full sun, but here in July/august it gets 90-100 hot hot temps.... thanks.... Judy

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I live in Aiken county, SC and I had a beautiful Dahlia garden last summer in Pennsylvania.
I will be planting my tubers in the ground and severely ammending the soil to do it, so you will have an easier job using raised beds.
I would have 2 foot raised beds.(my choice)
They love loom. Rich, well composted soil (top soil and manure) just not too much manure, more top soil.
Buy 3-4 foot planting sticks B4 you plant the tubers.
(bamboo sticks work well)
When you plant the tubers eye up, put a small amount of bone meal in with the tuber.
Then cover with soil mixed with composted manure and lightly mulch.
Place the stick right in back of the tuber at this point.
That way when they grow up and start to get heavy, you can gently tie them with string or knee highs to keep them upright.
I bought a soaker hose for my Dahlias because they develop rot real easy when watered from above.
Most Dahlias can take hot temps, just not alot of rain, or they start to rot.
In the middle of the summer, clean them out, you will see their bottom leaves and some leaves on the inside of them rot, just pinch them off and remove this, which will allow air to move around them more.
Then they will bloom yet again.
Good luck to you with your new dahlias, they are addicting.
Please post a pic after your dalias start to bloom.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:46PM
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jitterbug4756(zone 8)

Thanks so much for the advice.We have to bring in soil for each new bed, so I'll be sure to make it rich.Also to get bone meal to be ready when I plant. I've already got stakes and some small cages.
The tip on the soaker hose and tubers rotting easy may be what happened to my two I got last year. Hunny loves to water and sprayed down the whole area they were in almost every day.Had to put soakers around my roses,angel trumpets & hybiscus to save them from his "help"
Soon as I get some blooms, I'll be sure to post some pics of them. Lots of good info in this forum...glad my keyboards working better today... crumbs & kids....

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 7:06PM
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If honey wants to help have him build some fancy flower boxs. I make a few every year.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 9:59PM
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jitterbug4756(zone 8)

Good idea Viking !...I've been reading more of the older posts here...so no planting in ground til 60 ground temp? I have some smaller plastic pots saved cos I usualy start my caladiums to get a jump. Should I start my tubers now and when ground warms up transplant? After viewing pic gallery and reading what you guys post, I'm getting really excited about dahlias. In fact I think I'm going to the Jackson & Perkins outlet here this weekend and see what else they have dahlia wize..they sell alot of bulbs there $1 pack, ususaly one per pack, but I think thats a good price cos they seem to have alot of "legs" on them. I got a bunch of different Lilliums there last year same price and they grew beautifully.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 5:26PM
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I'm a newbie to dahlias too...I've been reading about all the basics of dahlia care. I've got an Omega, Tahita Sunrise, and Sights of Summer that I am going to plant sort of in a triangle at the end of a flower bed that gets the most sun. I hear about people starting them early but if they are anything like caladiums, is it really worth it. I've started caladiums indoors but had the ones that I started outside catch up in no time to the ones I started indoors weeks earlier.

What would be some good companian plants with them? I'm thinking about some melanpodium and zinnia but will be careful to make sure everything is not to close to restrict airflow.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 2:35PM
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