Hardening Off Dahlia Seedlings

Laura GrossmannApril 21, 2009

Hi All...

First time posting on the dahlia forum. Been gardening for about 2 years now and dahlias are by far and away my favorite annual! This is my first attempt at growing them from seed.

My dahlia's have already been thinned (saving every single baby I could!) and I would like to make some space by leaving them outside until I'm ready to plant them and get them hardened off. Temps are supposed to get as cold as 36 overnight this week and as hot as 92 today. Can I start to leave them outdoors now?

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Once the seedling has been planted into it's own pot, it needs about a week of greenhouse care to grow new roots. Then they could be placed outside (still in pots), assuming the weather is not too hot or too cold. Hot =80 degrees cold =45 degrees.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 10:03PM
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Well I know folks use the wintersow (actually springsow) method to start their Dahlia and plant them directly from sowing container to ground just fine. That potting them up for a week step is skipped. We winter sowers like to transplant our seedlings (no matter what) from sowing container to ground when seedlings are just barely in the 2nd true-leaf stage or smaller. Sometimes however certain seedlings (species depending) are exceptionally yummy to certain pests (slugs, ect) and they do get potted up and planted out later as bigger robust plants); it just depends.
Since you didn't use the method above (see winter sowing forum) you will need to harden them off by giving them a little more sunlight gradually over a week to 2 week period. The first day start them off in the shade then move them into sun for a short period and them make it a little longer each day until you can leave them all day and all night outdoors. That is hardening-off :)

Good luck

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 11:27AM
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I would not leave them out yet. 36 is too close to freezing. I have a few days right around freezing that killed brand new store bought, very healthy and large tubers. Not a single scrap of tuber to be salveged!

All it took was one night to ruin my tubers!

What I would do, is watch the weather closely, put them out during the day, this will save you window space / lighting space indoors. Let them bask in the sun all day (gradually work them into the sun). But, you are going to need to bring them in during the night for nights forecasted below 45. Not fun, but important.

Better safe then sorry.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:25AM
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I am in the process of hardening off my dahlia seedlings and I appreciate all this good advice! Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 5:24PM
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