Started Indoors - Transplanted Outside - Not Looking Good

nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)July 18, 2007

Hello. I have some questions on transplanting established dahlias. I can't find much info re how to do this. This is the first year I've tried this. I started my dahlias indoors in April and they were just fantastic. I hardened them off and transplanted them outside in late May (after frost in my area). They are still languishing. One died - the others look spindly, not lush as when I start the tubers directly in the ground. The questions I have are: (1) Is it possible to plant the tubers too deeply? I'm pretty sure I went well past 6 inches because I forgot about the size of the pots I was using. And (2) Should I not have mulched them? Are the tubers languishing because they are planted too deeply? Thank you.

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I would think the depth of the tuber is the primary reason. If they are to deep the soil won't be warm enough up where you live and to have mulch on top of the soil keeps the warmth of the sun on top of the ground.
I would dig the root balls up and move the tuber to about 3"-4" inches below the surface, remove the mulch until they are growing well and give them some nitrogen to get them growing. Dahlias like the soil to be at least 70 degrees in order to make roots. You can mound dirt around the stem that has been below the ground until it hardens off to the sun.
Another issue with the tubers so deep is drainage when it rains or when you water as they don't like wet feet and that will retard their growth or make them rot.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 9:12PM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

Thank you. I sort of came to the same conclusions, so it's good to hear them confirmed by someone else. The one dahlia that died had a mushy tuber, so that was a sign I did something wrong.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 8:54AM
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We also transplanted dahlias that were about 3 feet high to another bed and they all are very wilted! Is there a "right" way to transplant healthy plants and keep them healthy?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 5:12PM
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How long ago did you transplant your dahlias? 3 feet high is a little large, but I've done it before and they nearly always come out of it and within a few weeks look the same as the ones I didn't transplant. Because I grow so many, I have a row of ones I can transplant in case something doesn't grow right in the main garden. My sister transplanted blooming dahlias a few years ago in the heat of summer because of her daughter's wedding.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 8:40AM
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