Dahlias breaking soil! But a question....

killerv(Macon)May 9, 2009

I'm new to them, all of my dahias seem to have a few stalks. Do I keep the strongest one or do I treat each like a "different" plant, do I just let them all come up and pinch them when it when they have the right number of true leaves? thanks.

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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

To get the truest flowers (i.e. nearest to the stated size, color, form) it is best to have a single stemmed plant at the ground. It is also good to dis-bud and de-branch, but that's another story.

I was introduced to dahlias by a friend who simply yanked tubers off a very large clump and pushed them into the ground by hand. Those grew without any tending, and had many stems from the ground. They were beautiful, and had many flowers. However I had no reference...nobody knew what variety they were or how large the flowers were supposed to be. Ergo I had no idea whether the flowers suffered as a result.

Now that all my dahlias are carefully chosen and labeled, I pursue flowers as close to ideal as I can get. For me, this begins with a single stem from the ground. More than one stem means multiple full plants would try to live in the space one needs. I use the formula that a dahlia needs a clear circle area the diameter of the height of the plant to thrive. This lets air and moisture get to all parts of the plant, and allows me to move around it to take flowers and tend the plant (dis-bud/de-branch.) If two stems are left to grow from the single tuber each will suffer. But again, it doesn't mean they won't grow.

Pick the stem that seems to be the best. That might be the tallest, the thickest, the best formed...no need to choose until they are all 10" - 12" tall. I would suggest you pinch them just below the lowest set of branches that are above ground. This will, hopefully, prevent them from causing even more sprouts to occur.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 12:18AM
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thanks Russ.

I am just trying four this year, mystery day, omega, sights of summer, and tahita sunrise. I plan on using inverted 42in tomato cages. From what I read about all of these, these need to be pinched after they have 3 sets of true leaves. I just want to make sure also they feel up those tomato cages and hide it since they will be a front flower bed. I've read a good bit about the disbudding and disbranching. I think I understand the disbudding but the disbranching seems a little intimidating. As far as the disbranching, from what I gather, it is like people try to keep a certain number set of leaves on the stem under the flower.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 8:17AM
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corgicorner(Mass 6/7)

Another point you might be interested in is that USUALLY there will be 3 buds where any buds form. Take the middle one, that is USUALLY the largest, and pinch off the other two buds. This will give you the best chance of getting the largest flower.
Also, if you contact me directly I will send you a good set of directions.
Another item. If before you planted the tuber you had seen two, or more eyes, you could have taken a knife and separated the tubers so that you had two, or more, tubers each with an eye, which would have grown and blossomed, and produced more tubers to plant or give away. You can still do it, but you will be down on all fours, squinting, and hoping you are doing the right thing. Good Luck!

By the way, PLEASE put the weord "GardenWebber" in the subject line to keep your e-mail to me out of my junk pile.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 8:39PM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

I honestly can't tell you how to disbranch, I haven't done it myself. The concept is simple enough though, if you don't disbranch you will end up with many more flowers consuming the same pathway to nutrients via the roots. Pruning as new branch sets starts allows you to control the stem to, essentially, a single flower.

That sounds pretty radical to me, and since I'm not growing flowers for a major show, isn't something I want to do with my Dahlias. Chances are the show growers aren't being that dramatic either...but again, since I haven't done it I can't suggest what is the best number of stems to allow.

Hopefully others on here, who have won national AAA shows, will chime in.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 10:52AM
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I'm almost psoitive I have 5 new growths but I'm curious, do Dahlias grow as single leaves from the main stem or can they grow many leaves from the main stem? I know that I have two growing single leaf and I'm not too sure if the plants sprouting multiple leaf from main stem are Dahlias also, however the main stem and leaves look very much alike.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 6:24PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

loswan, they usually have opposing leaf pairs on either side of the stalk/s that emerge from the tuber, clump, or cutting. Leaf nodes will give rise to laterals right at the stalk junction and send out branches from which your flowers will come.

I'd let your leaves go on to develop a bit and see if they are truly dahlias or something else.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 9:09PM
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