Best Way To Stake Or Cage Dahlias?

dianega(7 - ATL)June 8, 2005

I have about a dozen plants that are currently 2' or so tall. Every year they flop over as the season progresses. Is there an easy & attractive (& inexpensive) way to support these without having to stake each individual stalk?


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DapperDahlia(z6 Pa)

well there are several ways to stake dahlias, i just ordered 250 5 foot bamboo stakes from A M Lenord....i'll use those. Some people modify tomato cages to hold up thier dahlias. You could use a wooden stake and paint it if you dont like the color. If you have a row of dahlias (which i dont think you do) people use stakes and kite string to hold them up. I dont know of any other ways... :o) sorry it has to be done and there arent many attactive ways to do it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 1:13PM
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I found some marvelous instructions (with photos) on this site. It involves using upside down tomato cages. It is working beautifuly for me. This is my first time planting dahlias and I bought cages that are a bit short. Get the tallest available.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 10:57PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Here's one with guy wires ( I always thought it was 'guide' wires.?)

In order to keep them upright and flourishing you will have to decide on some staking or support method: stake and tie each plant, tomato cage, stake and guy wire, whatever suits your fancy. If only my camera were working I would regale you with a really, really ugly gardenful of bare stakes and labels. Perhaps if it would get above 60 and the sun came out, some of the stakes would disappear behind dahlia growth before August.

Here is a link that might be useful: Another dahlia support method

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 12:54AM
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I used the upside down tomato cages, modified with a strip of window screen wrapped around the bottom, to keep the slugs off of it.

Unfortunately, I lost my 5 dahlias this year :(

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 2:33PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Tracy, do the screens really keep slugs off? We have thousands of voracious big and little slimers out here and I can picture them slithering up and over very easily unless they don't like the feel of screen on their low little bellies. Last night there was one 3 ft up on my sliding glass door- I can't imagine the lure, perhaps it was near sighted?

Sorry you lost 5 dahlias, each one lost is such a disappointment.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 10:22PM
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I was taught to grow dahlias by a man who has dozens...all beautiful. He just puts a stake in before planting the tuber--at the back of the intended hole, places the tuber with the eye pointing toward the stake, and covers them.....everyone has their own method of doing this. I discovered that twine, etc...cut into my stalks so I began using the legs of panty hose---kept the ones with runs in them and cut off the ends. They stretch, and the light-colored ones don't show. (They also work for columbine and other tender stalks...) I have friends keeping them for exchange for being one of the stops on my daily trips about the neighborhood and convalescent homes with starbucks' "jars" full of flowers.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 2:23PM
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Hello Heehoo-

Just have to have time to re-adjust the ties, I guess. Alot of fuss in my book. But when we love dahlias--we do and curse and then beam when they bloom.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 8:08PM
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Greta Decourcy

could someone give me instructions for supporting dahlias with a netting system

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 10:50AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Welcome garbo, I see that you just signed up today. Someone will surely come along and answer your netting support question. Not common for the usual grower, I must say.

I'm just curious, how many dahlias do you grow that you're interested in net support?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:32AM
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Greta Decourcy

poochella, i am still learning. this will be my fifth season growing dahlias. i grow between 50 to 75 a season plus dwarf dahlias (low growing). i have seen the netting sytem and it seems like to would be so much easier than staking.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 3:36PM
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I am also interested in the slugs climbing over the screens. It would be great if it worked. Please let us know.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 9:17AM
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The screen thing seems reasonable to me because the way slugs move is to put down a slimy trail. With the screen interrupting that slime, I think it would be next to impossible for them to climb (unlike on a solid glass surface). Plus the sharpness of the wire would likely cut them up (kind of like diatomacious earth, which would also probably work if sprinkled around the base of your dahlias, although it might be pricey to use that.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 10:06PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

I think you're right on the screen interrupting the slime trail rose_nutty. On a few plants the screen surround would probably work well, but when you get up into hundreds or thousands of plants it's much more efficient to turn to a slug bait, or hand-pick as you do gardening chores, or both. The copper tape around raised beds was a joke: didn't stay in place, didn't work at all for our clever slugs.

I know my preference is to be able to have access to the whole dahlia plant, so a wide swath of netting would likely hinder me. Cages are great; stakes and ties are cheapest. I didn't care for long rows with levels of plastic twine strung in rows at all and ended up cutting it down when the plants reached ~3 ft. so I could tend them better.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 2:10PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

pooch, have you ever tried diatomaceous earth to deter slugs? I use this alot for slugs, along with crushed egg shells works well for me.
the only place I did have slugs was in the melon patch, was so foilage full I didn't know I had slug damage till it was too late, for the floral beds no problem with slugs using the above.
BTW, I use the pool DE sand for flowers, so much cheaper than food grade your suppose to use around veggies for deterant.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 9:47PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Yes, busylizzy. I did use the pool grade DE when we had a home with a pool. It worked fairly well around hostas, better than egg shells or beer traps ever did, I would say. My best and easiest anti-slug/snail recommendation now is Sluggo or another non-toxic slug bait. Easy to use and apply, and effective.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 12:46AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

There are some good ideas here, thanks.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 7:52PM
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The inverted cage system is something that I started using about 20yrs ago in an effort to make my dahlia patch more pleasing to the eye. Like NO UGLY STAKES and NO NEED TO TIE UP the dahlias. I later published a photo article on that explains how I fashion and use inverted cages. Since I did the photo article my sister has advised my that she is using three ring cages for her 200 or so dahlias on a windy hillside outside Syracuse, NY. I now think three rings may be the better cage, but I own over 300 four ring cages and am not going to switch.

Here is a link that might be useful: Supporting Dahlias- A NO Stake NO Tie System

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 10:43PM
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Just found this site. Wonderful!
UpWithDahlias, I am going to use the inverted cage system. I need to chose between the 3 ring and 4 ring system and am wondering why you think that the 3 rings may be a better cage?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 1:31PM
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The 3-ring cages cost less and require one less 'J' hook to to insert in the spring and to pull in the fall.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 12:55AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Don mc, first I want to thank you for all the information you've disseminated over the years. Very much appreciated by countless many, I'm sure.

The inverted tomato cages work great, but I find they just take up excessive room to store vs single stakes, posts, rebar etc.

Is there an efficient way to stack them? I'm not much for messing with wiry things. Maybe that's the problem. A few hundred posts I can deal with, but don't have space for that many tomato cages.

Is there a particular brand or type you use that stack well for storing? I was the biggest doubter of using this type of support system, but I've seen they work, and work well with my own two eyes.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 12:29AM
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One of the things we might consider when using inverted tomato cages. Rather than bending the surplus legs to make tie down why no pick up a few plastic tent pegs and use them. At seasons end simply place them in a plastic grocery bag and store till next year, If you attach the metal ends permanently they will get in your way when nesting the cages for storage.. Another great idea from OSCARS LAB. Steve S.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 10:25AM
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I bend the surplus legs like J's not g's, so they come off and can be stored in the same way that Steve S describes. I have found that home depot or Lowe's tomato cages stack well. We stack them and store them in the woods. If they stay outside all spring, summer, and fall, why not have them stay outside all winter too.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 12:07PM
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