Two views of another of my favorites.
Pinelands Pam - BLC: 7" diameter flower on a 60" bush.
Really nice one Russ. It is fun to look at your posts. My wife dose the buying and I like her taste. But I also like to see others. Good thing my up bringing taught me to be very tight with a dollar or I would go crazy and buy all of the dahlias out there. I still have an indian head pressed into my thumb. LOL
Beautiful. I have been lurking on this forum for some time now, partaking of all the eye candy. I recently had a conversation with someone in my area who stated that dahlias are one of the hardest plants to grow. He further stated that it took him at least five years before he could grow a healthy plant.You posters on this forum seem to refute this statement. Truth please (VBG) At my age I don't have five years to give away in order to achieve what some of you have achieved.
submitted with envy
Quite frankly, thegeez, my first year with Dahlias completely sold me on becoming a gardener. I had, for years, believed that any plant I touched died. Dahlias completely changed that for me.
That isn't to say there aren't failures, of the 181 Dahlias I planted this spring, 40 have died. There's lots of reasons for such a high failure rate, not the least of which has been spider mites this season. Last year, I only had 2 of 28 that didn't bloom.
I don't know your region very well, but Dahlias do require significant water, especially once they've started blooming. I read that 2" per week is a good amount. This might be one reason your friend had problems. The other is predators...insects, mammals, virii. They're an extremely succulent plant. People often compare them to tomatoes. If you can have success with tomatoes, you shouldn't have any problems with Dahlias.
As for how long they take, they go from tuber to bloom in ~130-150 days. They'll then bloom until frost, or dormancy due to less sun (they're native to Mexico.) A single sprout can produce 100 blooms or more, depending on the variety. Each will produce a full bushy plant.
Since you likely don't have to lift them in the fall where you are, the bush could be even bigger next year. For myself, I'd rather have individual plants. Some of my larger varieties have 5 or more main stems, each producing sets of blooms. I wouldn't want them any bushier.
If you started tubers today outside in pots, and put them under grow-lights inside when it was too cool or too rainy, you'd likely have blooms in January (perhaps even by Christmas!)
Thanks Russ, that is what I was hoping to hear. Maybe next year I can drool over some of my own instead of going to your website to drool. I will have to plant them in the backyard instead of showing them off in front due to deer, which for some reason haven't bothered the roses this year.