New to Bulbs

ourfamilygarden(6)May 1, 2008

Hello. I have some Tiger Lillies that grow in our garden. I don't need to dig up the bulbs.

I'd like to plant various flowering bulbs that can stay planted. I'd also like to know what ones will bloom when for my area. I hope to have different bulbs flowering throughout the season.

I've looked at various books for this info, and they seem conflicting. Can someone please assist me?

Also, is it too late to plant Dahlia bulbs?

Thanks!

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ourfamilygarden(6)

My mistake. I meant to post this on the main bulb forum area. But, I'd still like the info on Dahlias :) Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 2:04PM
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trustmissy(5MidMich)

Dahlias should not be planted until the soil is warm, so you are still probably too early. Mid-May is probably a good time for zone 6, but only if the weather has been warm.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 9:50PM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Tiger Lillies handle ground frost, but Dahlia tubers do not. I can't explain the scientific reason for the difference, but its there never-the-less. So you will have to lift your Dahlia tubers in the fall, or, consider them annuals and plant anew each year.

On the other hand, Dahlias are excellent if you're trying to have flowers throughout a season. Once they start to bloom, say July to early August in your area, they will continue to bloom until they are killed by frost. So they provide an excellent show for the money/effort.

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 7:17AM
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marni37

I purchased online a Dahlia Imperialis. It arrived as a very large tuber, and as I have never planted dahlias before, can someone please advise on correct planting procedure. My husband thinks his Dad used to soak them in water before planting, but I have found no mention of this in any of my gardening books. Help, please.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 5:43AM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Dahlias are planted on their side. Typically, one end is pointy, the other thin then bulbous. The bulbous end is where the sprouts come from. If you look carefully, you should (hopefully) see "eyes", which are the sprouts starting. You want the eye pointing up. If there is more than one, pick the one you think looks the biggest.

Dig a hole 6-8" deep and grab a small handful of bonemeal and mix it into the bottom of the hole. Then lay the tuber on its side in the hole and cover. Assuming your soil drains well, give it a good soaking.

That's it.

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 6:28PM
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pdshop(5)

Why would you pick off both eyes?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 10:03AM
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marni37

Hi Russ
There is not a single eye on the tuber. I can see where it was cut back last year before it was lifted, as it is a large stump, with lots of tubers, but not an eye to be seen. You did say "hopefully", so does that mean the whole very large tuber is dead. Thanks in advance for any advice. Marni

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 11:36AM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Firstly, I didn't say to remove any eyes, I simply said that if there's more than one eye, you should pick which one is going to be facing up when the tuber is laid in the ground.

Marni37, since you're new to Dahlias, I won't go into the detailed methods for dividing tubers. Simple cut your clump into 4 quarters through the original stalk with a sharp blade. Each should provide at least one shoot and grow into a full flower. If a tuber or two is lost in the process, no big deal.

In your region, they can be planted now (actually, earlier than now but now is fine.) If you only wanted one, you might start them in buckets to see which offers you a shoot first. Likely they all will grow however.

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 3:08PM
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marni37

Hi Russ, Thanks for your promtp reply. I will start them off tomorrow. Thanks again for help. Marni

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 3:21PM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Marni,

Let us know how it goes!!

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:26PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Marni and Russ,
Don't do any cutting just yet, Marni!

The dahlia imperialis root is a far different beast than a regular garden sized dahlia tuber or clump. It sounds like you got the roots and cut-off stump from last year's growth which is a great place to start. I have grown a d. Imperialis and would choose a site where you can give it the best sun, heat, and tallest support possible. It is a dahlia "tree" after all, and aptly named.

To encourage the eyes, if any, perhaps bury it in loose damp soil or potting mix and expose to heat and light. I like to be able to see signs of life before I got to the trouble of planting any sort of dahlia. The eyes should be well below the stump, on the structure or crown that flares outward before the real tuberous roots begin. The eyes are burgundy/reddish, at least on mine.
When planted, I put the eyes about 5 inches below soil level, similar to a regular garden dahlia. A whiskey barrel works well with adequate watering.

Sorry I don't have a photo of the root mass, but here are early shoots and the stump from 2 years ago.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 11:02PM
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marni37

Thanks poochella. The photo is amazing and most interesting. I have planted it this afternoon in a very very large container, in damp compost, but there are definitely no eyes showing - heres hoping something will appear. I have placed it against a south facing wall, and will just wait and see what happens. Thanks again everyone for all the advice for a learner. marni

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 3:54PM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Sorry for the wrong advice there Marni, I completely missed the variety name in your post. Thanks to poochella for correcting me...

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 9:17PM
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marni37

Hi Russ, Thanks for apology, Russ - not necessary, really, but thanks anyway. Now just waiting for any signs of little shoots - always so exciting when one sees that!!! marni

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:11AM
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marni37

Hi Poochella and Russ, Success!! This morning the first leaf has popped through. I have been looking every day and finally there it was. Have a good day's gardening.
marni

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 3:37AM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Great news Marni!!

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 12:38PM
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