Not Enough Blooms...Suggestions?

dahlia_newbie(9)August 4, 2008

I am getting only one or two blooms per plant. Even on the few plants that I pinched earlier in the season. It's my first year, so I am sure that I didn't quite get the pinching right. Is there anything that I can do at this point to produce more blooms? The blooms I am getting are pretty healthy and have nice color. I would like to see lots more if possible. If there isn't anything I can do this year, I'd love tips for what to do for next year.

I'm due to fertilize again this week, and I can't find "Morblooms" anywhere. What does everyone like for flower production?

I read instructions on Dahlia.org on how to pinch back, and how to disbud, but it didn't make a whole lot of sense...is pinching done with the fingernails or a set of shears?

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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

I would take a minute and really look carefully at your plant, chances are you will find more buds on their way. Most Dahlias that I've grown start out with a single bloom, and once that one is done (or you cut it) start putting out multiples. As for fertilizer, I use lake water so I feel it already has enough nutrients, IOWs, I don't amend.

Last year I had a China Doll with 50 blooms on it at one time (albeit 4" blooms.) This year, a China Doll that gave me her first bloom on 7/19, now has 21+ blooms/buds on it.

The bigger the flower, the less of them, in my experience.

Patience.

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 9:46AM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Here's a picture of the one I was referring to. Looking more closely, there are 28 blooms/buds on it.


BBWL: 4" diameter flowers on an 18" bush.

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 2:52PM
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huey_ga(z7)

I assume from your page that you live in Texas and while growing dahlias in all of that heat is tough it can be accomplished well. I started growing dahlias in San Antonio many years ago and I learned the hard way.

If you can't find Morbloom 0-0-10 locally just Google it and you can find it on line. Another blooming agent I would recommend is Maxsea 3-20-20 and Charley's Greenhouse has a new offering called Sea Grow 4-26-26 which I am going to try this season.

All three of these products should work well for increasing your blooms. The other thing I would make sure of is your Ph. You want a Ph between 6 & 7 with an optimal Ph between 6.2 & 6.8. If you are getting good growth on your plants then the Ph should not be an issue.

Some dahlias just don't like the heat and won't grow well and won't put on many buds until it starts cooling down, which for us in the South is September and then a glorious October and even into November for you depending how far South you live. The main issue in growing dahlias in the heat is to keep them alive until that cool weather arrives.

I would suggest you take a look at our Dahlia Growing Guide for Southern Gardens on the Dahlia Society of Georgia website. It is located on the DAHLIAS THAT GROW WELL IN THE SOUTH PAGE. There is also a listing of dahlias that grow well in the Southern heat.

Please email me with any questions you may have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dahlia Society of Georgia

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 6:23AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

That's a lovely sight Russ. I've never had a plant with that many blooms except possibly a short little dahlia with tiny blooms. Nice!

Good advice from Huey. And keep in mind that some varieties just don't put out many flowers no matter what you do.

I disbud with a finger nail, no time to get a shears involved. Top, break off the initial growth tip as you read at dahlia.org, with a snap of thumb and forefinger when the plant has more moisture: early a.m. or evening. That really helps the plant send out more branches early on.
Good luck, and remember there's always next year to practice something new.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 11:05AM
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dahlia_newbie(9)

Thanks, everybody.
Russ-nice plant. I appreciate the advice...it's the patience thing again. Looked today when I cut two blooms, and there were a few more, but not many.

Huey, thanks so much for the link. I'd had trouble getting in touch with any organizations here in the South, so that helps a lot. I am in the Houston area, very humid these days, and quite hot. So I look forward to a long season of flowers.

Poochella! I was beginning to wonder where you were and if you were okay. Hadn't seen you in a while. Thanks again for the disbudding advice, that's what I did, so I was hoping I hadn't done anything wrong. I'm already combing your image gallery from last year to get some ideas, and I'm going to use Huey's list too since i'm so far south. I'm going to try some bigger ones next year. Can't wait.

Here's today's bouquet, the two flowers aren't very complimentary, but they are the only two I had, except for a tiny tiny pink Rebecca Lynn, I think.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 8:13PM
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