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What did I do wrong? Please help.

Posted by lorainevc z5NY (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 22, 09 at 13:00

This is my first year planting dahlias. I bought them at Swans and started them indoors in late April, where they got large. I pinched the centers and before planting outside in early June, I cut them to about 6"-12" tall (the problem?). I planted them in sandy loam soil with bone meal in full sun. We had a ton of rain in June (maybe the problem?). I've added 5-10-10 fert. The plants 'were' to be 3 1/2'- 5' tall. Well, they are SHORT. The tallest might be 2 1/2' tall, and some others maybe 18" and a couple only 12". The plants look healthy and some have a couple of buds. What did I do wrong? I only pinched the center stem after 3 sets of leaves appeared, but I did cut them back once they went into the ground (the stalks were hollow then). Should I have pinched other stems also? What could be the problem? Soil, heavy June rain, too aggressive pinching/trimming, sun (gets a good 7 hours), young tubers? I'm very discouraged. What should I have done differently? Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What did I do wrong? Please help.

Your wet June and what sounded like few days of sunshine with it didn't help much, but it sounds to me like your "cutting back" was the main issue. Try to avoid leaving a hollow stem. Pinching the center growth tip off the main stalk/s will suffice. Just once is all I do. Your fertlizer, sun, soil all else sounds perfect especially since they look healthy.

I hope you'll get some nice hot summer now. One other thought: was the fertilizer slow release or more short acting? If not slow release, you might consider applying another dose to each plant and see what happens. Also adequate watering 1-2x weekly will do wonders.

Hope you have some laterals taking off so you can hope to see some blooms. Our neighbor dog snapped one off here so the stalk was just 4" tall, but the side shoots have taken off and are coming along just fine. Where there is green- there is hope! Let us know how they come along.

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