What did I do wrong? Please help.
This is my first year planting dahlias. I bought them at Swans and started them indoors in late April, where they got large. I pinched the centers and before planting outside in early June, I cut them to about 6"-12" tall (the problem?). I planted them in sandy loam soil with bone meal in full sun. We had a ton of rain in June (maybe the problem?). I've added 5-10-10 fert. The plants 'were' to be 3 1/2'- 5' tall. Well, they are SHORT. The tallest might be 2 1/2' tall, and some others maybe 18" and a couple only 12". The plants look healthy and some have a couple of buds. What did I do wrong? I only pinched the center stem after 3 sets of leaves appeared, but I did cut them back once they went into the ground (the stalks were hollow then). Should I have pinched other stems also? What could be the problem? Soil, heavy June rain, too aggressive pinching/trimming, sun (gets a good 7 hours), young tubers? I'm very discouraged. What should I have done differently? Thanks!