trimming dahlias

Port Sanilac, MI

This year I am really fussing with my dahlias. Before, it was just plant, water, stake if they fell over, dig after frost. Pure and simple. This year, I have turned into a fanatic. I potted them up and, of course, transplanted them to the garden. Now comes the questions. Some are shooting up but most are mounding 6"-12" from the ground and getting buds. DH says I mixed them up with the border dahlias. Not! . I think I should trim off the bottom leaves. Yes? Also, some are sending up two or three stocks. Should I remove all but one? Any suggestions would be helpful.

Also, I planted one that had a bud coming from the stem, not the tuber. It is about 18" high (staked) but still has a very small (1/4") stock and I bet it will never amount to anything and should be replaced. Am I right?

One more question. What are the border dahlias called? The kind you buy by the flat and are considered an annual by most people. They grow approximately 12" high.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Good luck. Fantacism can be fun.

Yes, remove those lower leaves.

Yes, remove all but one stem if you have the courage to do it. You'll have a stronger plant if you can force yourself to do it.

Why not pot up Mr. Wimpy and see what happens?

The ones sold by the flat can be any variety of names such as Dahlina (just saw that one for the first time on Cape Cod), Dahlietta, etc.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I do just the opposite with my dahlias because I don't want to stake them. When they are about 8 inches or so tall I pinch the tip out and encourage the side growth. They have more flowers but not necessarily as big.

If you want exhibition type flowers you are suppose to put all the energy into one main stalk and one flower.

I'm just not into that. I figure the bushier the better.

Jeanette

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I also pinch to keep them bushy but never noticed they were any shorter. I'll try to take note of it this year but with my memory I'll forget it.

Most/many who grow dahlias for exhibition also pinch off the side buds. I don't. I also like a lot of flowers and if they are an inch smaller it wouldn't bother me..

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Same here and you don't have to stake them if they are bushy. A real plus for me.


edited to add an h in bushy.

This message was edited Jun 20, 2010 7:32 PM

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I was so tired of the staking that I just put in rebar and used a mallet to drive them deeply into the earth so they'll be there permanently. Now I just have to find a way to keep the telephone cord and scissors out by the dahlias, in some obscure fashion, so I can tie them up as needed.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I don't do holly hocks, delpiniums, or anything else tall like that that needs staking. They break off from the wind. But, I have discovered a way to use dahlias in containers because they have finally come out with short ones. I even have them in my deck railing plantings. I pinch them. LOL, we'll see. I will post pictures later when they bloom. If they bloom.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Every year I rip out self-seeded hollyhocks mainly because they get rust. I didn't catch them in time this year and now they're 5' tall...the deer did find them and believe me, they wouldn't win any photographic awards. The deer even ate the leaves leaving this ugly stalk. It's one of those jobs on my eternal "to do" list.

I've had a dahlia, staked with rebar, hit by the wind and broken off at ground level. I guess there is no way to be 100% sure of success when staking them. Delphiniums are so beautiful that it is worth the time for me but they require tying to the stakes many times. I do love how they match the Japanese iris here in this photo.

While staking isn't one of the great joys of gardening it is sometimes necessary.

I'm using quite a few lower ones this year and hope they'll be happy and full of flowers. If they could just thrill me as much as the 5' tall plants it would be grand.

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Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Very nice. I love pictures. Gives a lot of ideas.

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 10a)

Beautiful pirl!!! I was obsessed with blue for quite a while, so those just make me drool. Delphiniums are breathtaking. The Iris are, too, but something about the spiking flowers that always get me. I won't even try growing the Delph. here. I pondered getting Iris this year, but never did. That's it! Next year I'm getting some. Dumb question-do they bloom the first year from bulbs?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Bad news. Supposedly irises (tall bearded) only grow south to Orlando. Most don't bloom the first year, if that's any consolation.

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 10a)

I was looking into the Louisiana Irises, because of that reason. But, I didn't get them because I didn't feel like investigating into them just yet. So, come winter, when I do nothing but read about this flower and that, I will read up on them. They aren't (in my opinion) as beautiful as the standard cooler zone varieties, but, such is life.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I think they're more beautiful than the tall bearded irises.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Edna Grace.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Cajun Sunrise.

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Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

I've had pretty good success with getting Reblooming Bearded Iris to bloom down here in Ft Lauderdale. Only the reblooming varieties have worked for me. I have a feeling they are less dependent on the need for winter dormancy. The key is to have them in part sun only and to have them in excellent draining soil. Planting them slighly elevated on a mound also helps with drainage. Rhizome rot is the number one problem in tropical Florida, so anything you can do to get the soil to drain better is a big plus. The best performers for me have been "Pink Attraction", "Clarence" and "Immortality". Here's a photo of "Harvest Of Memories" blooming on May 25th. Haven't had any more blooms since then and most likely won't until October.

Jon

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks for letting us know about the rebloomers.

I always plant irises on a mound and because our soil tends to be more acidic I always add a chunk (or several small chunks) of concrete.

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