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I may have gone overboard...

Posted by fleegle96 5 (My Page) on
Fri, May 23, 14 at 13:42

I sort of found a certain Island website and might have made 3 different purchases.

And then I might have found an Old House website and bought a few more because they had a few that the Island site was sold out of.

And now... well, now I have 28 different varieties of Dahlia Tubers (including 2 that I purchase at a big-box store...)

I'm also a nerd so I drew up the heights of each plant and the diameter of each plant to see what I'm dealing with (I was able to pull the numbers up easily thanks to the spreadsheet I made.)

I obviously cannot plant these all in the front-lawn area I was originally intending to be my Dahlia garden. Thankfully I have a large area in the back yard that once was all garden when my Dad owned this house, and I only plan to use a small square for a veggie garden.

How would YOU (the experts, IMO) handle this if you suddenly were faced with a BUNCH of dahlia tubers in your hands?? I'm wondering how much space I should put between each - I thought I read on here that someone had recommended 2 plants per stake... but surely putting 2 plants that will reach 5' each wouldn't do well directly next to one another, right?

In case you can't read my list on the image, here's the damage of what I've got:

Awe Shucks
Brookside Snowball
Crossfield Ebony
Dad's Favorite
Fuzzy Wuzzy
Gay Princess
Gitts Crazy
Gonzo Grape
Gramma's Lemon Pie
Hollyhill Black Widow
Lady Darlene
Midnight Moon
Mingus Toni
Outta Da Blue
Swan's Glory
Yellow Bird
Zippity Do Da

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I may have gone overboard...

I'd just plant them all and see what happens. There are dahlia gardens at the conservatory in Golden Gate Park that are simply planted close together. There are no stakes except for the name tags. They pretty much hold each other up from being planted en masse.

RE: I may have gone overboard...

The height of Dahlias vary quite a bit. It depends a lot on the amount of sun, the soil and the fertilizer. Quite a few Dahlia sellers don't even list the height because of this.

I have actually heard of people planting 4 to a stake! but I can't quite understand how that works. I single stake each one, but mine grow extra tall due to only 6 hours of sun.

RE: I may have gone overboard...

Oh and by the way - congrats on the new purchases - You will be in dahlia heave in late summer/fall

RE: I may have gone overboard...

  • Posted by portia PA 6B, Brandywine (My Page) on
    Sat, May 24, 14 at 9:42

overboard, nah! It's my first year and I have 18 tubers started in pots waiting to be planted. I just remind myself some people have 3000 plants so 18 is no big deal. ;0

RE: I may have gone overboard...

Hi fleegle96
that`s an impressive graphic, I like that kind of stuff.

Just hope that your growing season is long enough for all the great Dahlias.
I only have Zingaro from your list, but new for me too.

what is your main aim with those Dahlias: cut flowers, great display in the garden...

(I assume that someone producing a detailed graph as you is not content with just: plant and see what happens)

-spacing: depends, taller cultivars about 3 feet apart, dinner plate varieties can get very big, so those even wider. Sounds like you have plenty of space. They grow healthier if they get more space and good air circulation.

personally I try to combine cultivars that go well together, like warm yellow and oranges, pale pink with purple, white and pastels.

definitely a matter of personal taste, but a point worth considering.

height: tall in the back row (northern side...) so they don`t cover/shade shorter varieties.

lay out of beds:
for low maintenance straight rows for easy hoe access, path ways to move between them.

for a fancy display the lines could be wavy or something.

Staking/ support
how many do you have altogether? professional growers often use some kind of net to support whole areas. Looks very technical.
Otherwise sturdy stakes/poles, IME one or two per plant. I had some plants break because I used too flimsy bamboo canes, which snapped or bent at some point.

With dinner plates it is advisable to stake each single flower head, they can snap in a rain or gust of wind.

plants get bushier if you cut off the tip when they are about knee high, over the third or fourth set of leaves, get more and smaller flowers. (so, perhaps just try it on some plants)

guess what, I ordered from a certain island as well, after discovering that they ship to overseas as well. and their shipping fee is just twice of that from a local nursery (very attractiv milage-cost-ratio IMO...)

and if you can spare the time do make notes. so later you can fine-tune or edit your collection, cull the dull or whatever-ones.

Have a great Dahlia season, bye, Lin

RE: I may have gone overboard...

Thanks for all the feedback! I think my goal is a cut garden, and now I'm up to 40 varieties (and those are just of the big-guns - there are a few smaller ones going into pots that aren't on the list! When everything went on sale yesterday I made one final purchase.

I hope to update this post with photos once they go in the ground and start blooming! :)

RE: I may have gone overboard...

Gorgeous, gorgeous graphic. How perfect. you should contract out your services, I'd use you!

this may sound cheesy, but go to and check out some of her staking videos. she makes a nice looking staking frame with string that doesn't look like it would stick out like a sore thumb in your beautiful cutting garden. I never thought I would ever recommend that, but YOLO...

BTW I "may have gone overboard" this spring, too - I think I'm up to four orders from AmericanMeadows and a couple of other sources. It's too late now, just time to plant and pray!

RE: I may have gone overboard...

Nice! I have the Cherish and the L'Ancresse too! First year growing them, put them in the ground around the second week of May and they're getting big. I have about 40 this year, ordered six from Swan Island, my oldest one will be 4 this year. Usually I space them all around my garden, I dont do just one big patch, but I'd like to in the future, but when I do plant them closer together I usually do a foot spacing, just make sure they have room to bush out because they will and make sure to steak :) sounds like an awesome list cant wait to see pics!

RE: I may have gone overboard...

I wasn't sure if I should start a new post, but I figured I'll just keep updating this one for now...

All of the tubers (ahem... a total of 56 of them) ended up in the ground a few weeks back. We are FINALLY starting to get some warmer weather here in Central Mass, so I'm sure that's helping things along. I swear when I looked in on the "babies" this morning they weren't as tall as they were tonight!

Let's see if I can do this multiple photo thing:

This is my garden in the front yard. Originally planned on 24 tubers out here... I think a few extra went in that were on the short side.

Next are the ones that have a decent amount of growth. First up is Zippity Do Da:

Gonzo Grape:

Brookside Snowball and Gitts Crazy (sorry for the blur):

Dad's Favorite:

Joy's Joy:

Awe Shucks:

and Pipsqueak:

Green is a pretty color but I can't wait til I see some real color!!! :)

RE: I may have gone overboard...

looks wonderful-about that cigarette butt-dahlias are prone to tobacco mosaic virus

RE: I may have gone overboard...

Where do you see a cigarette butt?

RE: I may have gone overboard...

Any update on your garden? I just started this Spring and one of mine is taking 4 bamboo stakes. It is a monster, but love the flowers.

RE: I may have gone overboard...

I've been posting in a different thread. Oops!! Plus, I need to go add a new one! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: State of the garden

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