My stems are too fat

steve22802(7a VA)June 11, 2013

I'm growing dahlias for cutting but my stems are growing too fat. A lot of them are around 3/4 inch with too much branching. Any suggestions on how to get longer thinner stems with less branching? The overwintered dahlias are especially bad. I tipped most of them after the 3rd node but maybe I need to tip the laterals a 2nd time. I cut some of them back hard this morning to see if that helps. I've heard that part shade would help too so I'm serious considering building a shade cloth structure to cover major portions of my dahlia beds. Maybe I need different varieties? Many of mine are listed by Swan Island as good for cutting. Any advice?

- Steve

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The second and third flush of blooms will have better stems. Good dahlia cutting varieties will always have nice stems. Some less useful varieties like Blackberry Ripple have nice stems only for the first and second flush and then are too floppy for bouquets, The pursuit of "early" blooming dahlias has some drawbacks like your problem.
Disbudding each flower stem so it has only one flower instead of the three that nature provides us is very useful also. Some varieties only have good flowers if you do this. Other, mostly smaller flowers do not need disbudding. Most cut flower operations do not disbud much. They pick the flowers with long stems(actually stalks as the stem is the part just above the first set of leaves). When you do this the plants sends up more laterals from below for more flowers.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:09PM
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I think your shade idea is a good one.

I have a 'dead' space behind a rose (pot) and dahlia (in a pot) in my 'purple' section and I planted a 'tall' Sean C tuber this year. Because it gets filtered light for many months (until it gets to 2 1/2 -3 feet tall when it can finally 'see' the sun) I noticed the main stalk was very spindly. I wondered if it was even going to last until it got to 3 feet but now it is and it looks like it will bloom.

However, the plant is very thin with sparse leaves which I attribute to lack of as much sun as my other dahlias get. So I suspect it is the shade that slowed it up.

Either that or Sean C is just spindly as a variety. It is supposed to get to 4 1/2 - 5' tall so maybe it is supposed to be that way but I think it was the lack of direct sun for it's first 2 months that causes it to look less healthy than the other near it.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 12:27AM
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Here's a simple shading system that sure beats using umbrellas for each plant!

Here is a link that might be useful: 60% shade cloth on cables with grommets

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 11:31PM
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steve22802(7a VA)

>> Here's a simple shading system

Yes, that's exactly what I need. I've got flowers coming out misshapen (open in the middle) already due to high heat and it would be great if the shade cloth would help stretch the stems too.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 7:54AM
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