I am shocked at the prices of some dahlias. Have run into some at $24.95 a tuber! Guess I don't have to have those.
That is a lot- but that price is probably for a brand new introduction & the people who show dahlias want the newest & best. Those dahlias will have been grown by the hybridizer for at least 4-5 years, been evaluated every year at least 2-5 times, gone through the trial gardens &/or the ADS bench trials, & have the best scores, form, color, etc that a really good dahlia should have. After a year or two they usually go down in price- but you have to remember-- you're not talking about your big box store everyday stuff that has been around since the year one!
Now- put it in perspective-- I have a rose garden & shrub & perennial beds as well as the dahlia gardens. The last time I bought a J & P rose I paid $25.00 for it-- & you don't get as many roses off a rose bush as you get dahlias off a dahlia plant in a summer, nor can you dig it up, divide it & have more plants the next year....and as for perennials- what ones can you name that bloom prolifically all summer & fall?
If you check the web pages of the dahlia growers you'll find more dahlias at $2-5.00 than you'll find at $24.95-- & if you're going through a dahlia expert you're still going to get a good quality dahlia even at the lower price-- it just means that the cultivar that was introduced 3 or 4 years ago now has been out there long enough that a lot of people have it. Most of us also guarantee that the tuber will green up & grow-- try getting any kind of a guarantee from a big box store for the stuff they sell!!
Plantlady , I love how you defend the dahlias. But we are poor people the black sheep of some very weathy families. My neighbor paid $1.00 for a complet garden. This year she saved the seeds from last year and planted a bigger garden than me. I had a 100 dahlia garden. But being a poor country boy Dahlias are still a good value for me. I have over 400 dahlias stored for next year. And I like to say some people grow Ford Escort flowers. And some people grow Humvee flowers. One of my blooms is as big as 30 of my neighbors blooms. My tubers are free from now on after the first purchase.
Well said vikingcraftsman. There are many types of gardeners in this world. I have bought some plants (not to show just because I wanted them) but the majority I grow from seed because I can't afford to have as many as I would want. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
plantlady- you are right. The tubers were just being introduced. I wish I could remember where I saw them. There is one at Swan that used to be high in price but is about $5.00 now and no one else has it? I wonder why not? It is the best dahlia in my garden. Peaches and Dreams. I have saved about 15 of it's tubers if they don't rot.
The new introductions prices are often outrageous: like "designer" dahlias. Wait for a couple years and they'll be more reasonable. Dahlia prices are so variable and they grow so differently in various locations. Proudgm hit the nail on the head: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some of my alltime favorites were $3-4 tubers and, after reproducing for a few years, are now dirt cheap for the number of blooms they kick out. Just depends on what your goal for the plant is: garden beauty, cutflower machine, tubermaker, show flower etc.
I do have a funny story: a couple years ago a colleague at work forked out $20 plus hefty shipping to ME for a single new intro. It rotted and I couldn't stand the thought of failing her trust, so I sprung for another tuber at $20 plus shipping. It grew. Slowly. Saw maybe 3 late October blooms off it. Got 9 tubers off that plant and killed all but one over winter. That poor surviving tuber was hovered over like the most precious child in history and still she rotted. I don't care if I ever see that variety again or not. There are plenty of great dahlias out there you don't have to spend an arm and leg to obtain.
Don't forget to check out local dahlia society sales for general bargains. You get a few stinkers or mislabels, but you can get those from dahlia vendors as well. You can also snag great dahlias at a low price.
www.dahlias.net will have a list of dahlia society sales state-by-state in late winter, early spring. Bookmark it!
Here is a link that might be useful: It doesn't only apply to dahlias
Poochella- that tuber should have been replaced by the supplier-- I wouldn't deal with a supplier that won't replace a bad tuber. That being said- there are a lot of dahlias that have gone by the wayside around here, too because they just weren't good keepers. I bought Formby Kaitlyn at the spring workshop this year (WOW hot color & wonderful FD form!)- mainly because it was the only AA or A in the auction that we didn't bring. Now I'm told by people who have grown it that it's a bad keeper! YIKES- I paid $25.00 for it-- a first for me! & I was hoping to use it in the breeding program- but won't if it's not a good keeper. Bummer!
Yikes is right! I love the look of Formby Kaitlin too and got some in a trade last spring, but they never eyed up.
I couldn't hold the first tuber failure against the seller, Cory. I blamed it on our usual cold, wet Spring which always claims a few. Even though I had it in a pot, it still failed.
I haven't paid $24.95 for a dahlia for some time, and won't this year either, because I haven't found any that I absolutely have to have to pay that price. However, I have in the past, once I learned how to take cuttings. Once I found I could get 5, 6 or more plants from one tuber, it became much easier to justify that price.
Point well made, crdahlia. :)