First Time Growing Dahlias
Hi all, I have been a gardener for too many years to remember, but this is the first time I have attempted to grow dahlias. I have raised wood-sided bins for my vegetables and this year I planted two bins with dahlias (got them at Costco) - experts please don't cringe - it was a spur of the moment purchase. I got two packs of the tall variety and one of the shorter versions. My bins have ground cover cloth and bark over that to help retain moisture - very hot and drying winds here most of the time.
All of the bulbs came up but two - unfortunately I was going to label each plant with markers but the plastic labels faded in the sun and now I can't read them - so much for good intensions.
I have a few questions. I just read somewhere that dahlias need some shade from the hottest of climates and our summers get over 100 routinely and being in raised beds I am sure the soil will dry out more rapidly. I was thinking of putting up solar fabric on the west side of the bin to shade them in the afternoon? What do you think?
Some of the dahlias have deformed new growth (actually hardly any leaf just the stem portion of the leaf) and I can't tell if this is from our late frost on 4/21, grasshopper damage, a virus or some thrips. We did have quite a few grasshoppers, but the damage seems too regular to be from grasshoppers.
Oh I forgot at the beginning of their growth there was a black aphid invasion and I sprayed them with a garden bug spray because I just couldn't get rid of the darn aphids by spraying with insecticidal soap or spraying with a vigorous spray of water. could the garden bug spray have been too strong for the leaves?
I will take a photo of the leaves tomorrow morning and post it. I can't see any other insects and other plants in the bin (bee balm) don't have any damage except an occasional hole or two probably from the grasshoppers.
What about fertilizer? I have some 10, 15, 20 and gave them a half dose about a week ago? Should I continue with that?
The dahlias which are doing well are now putting on buds - can't wait to see what the blossoms look like.
I have them staked up with some extra tomatoe baskets I had. We get quite a bit of wind here too so I didn't want them to fall over. I think they are going to get larger than the baskets though. So I will probably have to come up with another staking method soon.
Any advice is appreciated. I'll post a photo of the damaged leaves early am tomorrow.