Dahlias: Looking forward to spring - Part II

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Figured we were about to round the corner to 2015 so a new thread was in order.

We came from here:

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1381046/#new

This message was edited Dec 31, 2014 9:36 AM

Well, I tested the links, so hopefully I got it right this year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

This message was edited Dec 31, 2014 9:37 AM

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

It works :)

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

I hope you get snowed in with a right person. Love you all. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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Mentor, OH

This morning I gave some of the tubers a light spray of water. Not on the tubers, just inside the bag itself. Most of the others are looking good so far and I prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. Don't want to overdo it. I'll let the tubers "tell" me when they need moisture. I also added a handful of peat/potting soil to some of the bags of "shrivelers." Just a guess on my part, but it seems like the mixture would hold a tiny bit more moisture than the vermiculite, which seems so dry. And when I say moisture, I mean hardly enough to be perceptible. Just a spray on a handful of the mixture.

I haven't kept any notes, but it seems the ones that are shriveling earliest are also the varieties that shriveled earliest last year and the year before. I shouldn't trust my memory on things like that. I do remember thinking that at least they were easy types to find if I needed new ones. It's just weird that two bags of tubers side by side in the same box can look so different.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and may you be abundantly blessed with good health and great blooms throughout the new year!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Just a tiny spray will increase the humidity, Dan, so I'm hoping it works for you. We're due for rain on Sunday but temperatures in the mid-50's so I'll sit on the garage floor with my many bags of dahlias (now on the indoor steps to the attic) and hope all is well.

Thanks for all the good wishes, Etelka and Dan. Not much more I can add except my own wishes for good health, happiness and no shriveled or rotted tubers!

Franklin, OH(Zone 6a)

Happy New Year my dahlia friends!!

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Happy New Year indeed! I hope 2015 is a great year for you all. Hard to believe I'll have been out of college 10 years this coming May. Craziness...

Franklin, OH(Zone 6a)

LOL! Hard to believe I'll be getting Medicare in April!!

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Haha! Nice :)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I received my first social security check in December. I waited from from 62 to 68 to pump up the amount. When I developed cancer I decided I better stop dawdling. lol. Things are looking very good though so now I have an income (and can pay my husband back for all the fun I have had over the last several years on his nickle.) LOL

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

I will be getting Madicare in July, it will be a relief because I have been without insurance for 3 years, just me and lots of praying. When my husband died 10 years ago, the SS office called me and said that I was a lucky girl because I been married to James 10 1/2 years, that 6 months made me able to collect his SS , so I took it at 60 and kept on working with 3 moths off in the Summer. The money is good to be able to buy more flowers, perennials, so when I stop working, I will have my garden full of flowers. Etelka

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

And you know that your friends here just love to share. :)

Franklin, OH(Zone 6a)

That's what gardeners do!!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I guess I have finally gone around the bend. I wanted to figure out a more logical way to choose new dahlias. I was looking at the ADS classification list and decided to add another field to my database. The class code. Then I noticed which ones had received awards and decided to note which of the ones I have did receive awards. I thought that way I could note how many of a particular kind, form, color etc I have and try to focus on new forms etc. It is a fun project for me and keeps me busy looking at flowers but also keeping up my database skills. What there are left of them. I don't know how I ever built some of the stuff I developed while working. Just hit and miss I guess. But some are still being used so they must have been useful. Or they are seriously behind the times technologically (the company as well as my 'creations') lol

Mentor, OH

Mary, has your mailbox been stuffed with garden catalogs lately like mine? I average about a dozen a week. Some places I've never heard of. Some places I wish I'd never heard of. Got one from Swan Island last week and I want one of everything in there. I also got one from Zimmerman and McClure with no color photos. Just black and white drawings. I can't imagine them competing with other sellers when putting out a catalog like that. Anyway, hope you are well and your weather isn't too bad. We've had a lot of cold and a good amount of snow. My snow shovel already has a lot of miles on it this winter. I'm praying for a warm up.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yup. Catalogs galore. Some I pitch immediately (mostly seed catalogs as I have all the seed I need). Some like dahlias, lilies, peonies I drool over and try to resist. I just sent an order to Old House Gardens for two that I had before and a new one. I have decided to try to repeat some prior purchases now that I have a better idea about storing, potting etc.

Black and white pictures!! That is just plain weird. Who would buy something when you can't see the color?

My new report is coming along fine except I have become obsessed. I have added yes/no boxes for "is still in my garden", "is in ADS Handbook", Bloom sequence as in Early, Mid, Late. I have gotten caught with late blooming dahlias that just don't work here. They survive but no flowers. Or buds but they don't open. I will pay more attention to noting those that are lost over winter versus those that simply don't perform well.

In an effort to get more variety in form that field will show where I seem to order more often. I have only recently become rather enamored with cactus forms. Was pretty nutty about waterlily forms in past few years.

Also noting the ones with weak stems. My fault? need more fertilizer, need to clip more buds. I do try to keep the number down, especially on particularly floppy plants like Rebecca's World. But what is the point If you want a lush bush of flowers? I have been using osmocote around the plants, and then I have a 3 gallon bucket of fertilizer all mixes up (liquid) with a siphon so that when I water they also get fertilizer. Maybe too much??

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Mary - would you consider using some duplicate tubers in just one area with no fertilizer at all? It may be worth it.

My latest to bloom dahlias for 2014 were Zoey Rey and Penhill Dark Monarch so you may want to get the opinions of others or just not order them. I do respect suppliers who do warn "late to bloom".

My original dahlia orders from Dan's Dahlias were selected by their own description (all very accurate) in black and white catalogs. The big exception to black and white was Dutch Gardens (not Dutch Bulbs, not the same company at all), which had full color photos of all plants. No wonder they got such good orders from me!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

That's a good idea. I have two rather different beds out front. Both get the same amount of sun but one is in an arc more or less 'single file' only 2' across. The other is a kidney so the plants are 'cheek to jowl' across the back planted maybe 12-14" apart. The ones in the arc seem rather inconsistent in plant health and bloom volume and size. I am still not sure if it is due to wimpy tubers from winter hold overs or variance in the soil itself. I have tried to distribute compost etc uniformly, and put fertilizer in the holes mixed with the soil for each plant. OH. The ones in the arc are interplanted with iris, lilies, a peony at each end. I wanted something blooming in there as much of the spring summer as I could get. Worked pretty well. I think I will be more discriminating in which tubers I salvage from winter storage. I will have plenty of new ones and so I won't take a chance on iffy tubers from last year.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Didn't you try bat guano last year? How did that work? I bought some but didn't keep track of who got what. Kind of a waste if you aren't going to track the results of an experiment.

Mentor, OH

I think the term "late bloomer" often times is relative to the zone it's planted in and the amount of sunlight and nutrients. I feel certain that what Mary said a year or so ago is true about the health of an individual tuber having as much to do in determining our success or failures as anything else. I have no idea why a Snow Country plant I had two years ago grew to 5' while another from the same bag grew to only 15" tall and was planted only a short distance away. Last year I had a Bonaventure in the back garden with a couple of blooms at least 11" in diameter. Another planted along the driveway in better soil and more sun bloomed later and the blooms were never bigger than 6". These were both from tubers I had stored. Probably the best way to determine "late" or "non" bloomers is to order the same variety from at least two different sellers and plant in as near identical conditions as possible. That might be a good experiment. My experiments are pretty much worthless since I don't keep any notes and assume I can remember things. lol I do remember that Earl bloomed at the end of October or not at all. And in three years my Elma Elizabeths from different sellers never had a bloom. After growing them for eight years or so, I find dahlias to be a delightful enigma.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

My two late bloomers only bloomed the week before frost hit. They got the most sun so I'm puzzled. This year I'll try some of the many tubers (IF they survive my storage) in all gardens, but that still wouldn't prove anything. It must have to do with the genetics of each tuber.

Dan, weren't you speaking about the low height of Alpen Pauline and how odd they looked for the shortness of the plants? You sent me a tuber and it had to be 5' or more and so loaded with blooms that tying them up four or five times still couldn't keep it upright due to the huge size. Same story with Mingus Toni. They did give me many blooms for the house.

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Mentor, OH

Yes, the AP's I've had for a few years was never more than 3' tall with 8"-10" or bigger blooms. Last spring I only had one iffy, slightly shriveled tuber. I shipped it to my uncle and forgot to ask if it grew. The one I had this year and the one I sent to you came from (I think) Dahlia Dandies. Mine was similar to yours, between 4' and 5' tall. The blooms were a fluffy white color with red streaks rather than the normal pink with red. I meant to search the seller's web site to see if I can figure out what the true identity of this one is. I've also wondered if it might be a sport of AP. I actually liked it as much as the real one.

Do you remember if the seller mentioned whether those two late ones were considered late bloomers? I have a hard time understanding why a plant might bloom in mid-August when another of the exact variety doesn't bloom until October. We may have to delve into this a little deeper and do a study on individual tuber DNA. lol

Mentor, OH

Arlene, after going over Dahlia Dandies' tuber list and looking at a dozen or more photos, I'm almost certain that what we have is AC Paint rather than Alpen Pauline. Still just as pretty. Tod has one on his picture thread, too.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks for being the detective. Like you, I love it. I'll relabel the photos while I'm thinking of it.

Mingus Toni was a tuber I debated ordering from Lynch Creek but did it and I'm forever grateful. It was so terrific. From now on I will pinch fewer times and try to tie to stakes every week from August forward.

I'll check and see what the sellers say about the two late bloomers.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Zoey Rey is not on the PlantFiles here but I found it on ATP and everyone showed much earlier bloom dates (even in Minnesota). https://allthingsplants.com/plants/view/542363/Dahlia-Dahlia-Zoey-Rey/

Swan Island didn't mention that it was late to bloom but maybe it was just my experience.

As for Penhill Dark Monarch:

I'm the only one to have posted any photos on the ATP database so I can't see if it was late for other growers.

Accent simply says "monster blooms" but they weren't monsters for me and I don't disbud so that could be the reason.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Well, my new report is coming along. Not sure what I will do with it but has been interesting gathering the data and building the report. I have run out of room for fields in the report, but have tailored a form for just dahlias, similar to the one I built for all the flowers in the garden, past and present. This has fields the other doesn't like form, date of intro, is it in the ADS book, etc. I have learned a lot about how the blooms are classified. The pompons and the balls (small ones) are the most frustrating as the alpha code with B, BA, P, PA really confuses me. I am looking at submitting some pictures to ADS for blooms in their database that don't have pictures. Depending on what they are and if they are currently available, I might even buy some just to take good pictures. Damien is interested in that too. He is a far better photographer than I and has a niftier camera.

Ah well. Anything to burn up the winter days. I added four or five to my OHG order. Shame on me. Mostly replacing ones I had and have lost.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Have you ever seen this. Gorgeous dahlias set to waltz music

http://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A86.J5F0qLZUyQ0AAcUPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBsOXB2YTRjBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw--?p=blue+danube+dahlia&tnr=21&vid=6F820BC3325C92F024296F820BC3325C92F02429&l=347&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DUN.608005548049040222%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DcOLFE4VC4iM&sigr=11be0j6qn&tt=b&tit=Extravaganza+of+Dahlia&sigt=10mj5ro9n&back=http%3A%2F%2Fus.yhs4.search.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3Dblue%2Bdanube%2Bdahlia%26type%3Dir_14_12_ch%26param1%3D1%26param2%3Dcd%253D2XzuyEtN2Y1L1Qzu0F0CyE0D0DyEtA0A0FyC0CtAyE0B0DtDtN0D0Tzu0SzztDzztN1L2XzutBtFtCzztFtBtFtDtN1L1CzutCyEtDtAtDyD1V1TtN1L1G1B1V1N2Y1L1Qzu2SyCtDtAtAyDyByE0EtGtCzz0F0AtGzyzy0A0DtGzzyD0CyCtGtCtAzzyDzzyEtB0CzzyCyDyD2QtN1M1F1B2Z1V1N2Y1L1Qzu2StAtByByCtAtByCyBtGzztAtCzztG0Dzz0E0EtG0Fzz0FyDtGyDyB0D0B0B0CtAyDtB0CtD0C2Q%2526cr%253D837804437%2526ir%253D140305_a%2526elng%253Den%2526elcl%253Dus%2526a%253Dir_14_12_ch%2526f%253D4%2526cat%253Dweb%2526ulng%253Den-US%25252Cen%25253Bq%25253D0.8%2526sid%253Dee1d21196405b9722db28ad3e1debd0c%2526stype%253Dir_14_12_ch%2526sesid%253D68f5a2bd5c204bf4ab1f60b4c721cca6%2526csr%253D0%2526ipblock%253D0%2526b%253DChrome%2526bv%253D39.0.2171.95%2526os%253DWindows%252B7%2526cc%253Dus%2526ip%253D66.58.207.234%2526pa%253Dmysearchdial%26hsimp%3Dyhs-fullyhosted_003%26hspart%3Dironsource%26ei%3DUTF-8&sigb=1ppmapi86&hspart=ironsource&hsimp=yhs-fullyhosted_003

Mentor, OH

Thanks for that link, Mary. I had to grab a notepad and write down a few names. I was surprised at how many I've grown that were shown.

I checked the tubers today and was a little disappointed at the shriveling. Not that many but some of my favorites. I gave some a drink and will go back to checking weekly. I guess I shouldn't be surprised but some that looked the best were clumps I stored unwashed in plastic bags. This is the method Arlene mentioned and one I may utilize more in the future.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

'tis a crapshoot, Dan. I swear. I will check mine today also. I can't decide if I should being he peony bucket upstairs and just let them (four in a 3 gallon bucket) grow. They were just sticks with a bit of bud last fall and I couldn't let them die. I have forgotten what they are even. Also a bucket of lilies that persist in growing. Long leaves 14" a lovely spooky pale green. euww.

I must admit to not feeling up for the project of getting the garage ready for planting. Hopefully in a month or so......

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Well I am getting ready to sow iris seed. Never did that before. I suspect they need a cold snap to germinate to I want to get them in flats or pots or something and outside. I have some other seeds I bought last fall that required warm-cold-warm-cold to germinate. That should be interesting. They are ready to be planted and put in the cold again.

Wyoming, MN

Mary, Blomma who is frequently on the daylily and iris forums does very well with iris seeds. You may want to check out some of her threads,She does a good job of explaining how to do them.

Gary

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Thanks Gary. I was meaning to take a look there for advice on planting as well going to some of the iris (Schreiners) and daylily (Oakes) nurseries online for more ideas.

Mary

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Well, did my dahlia check. On some all tubers have eyes, others "nada". I pitched a few small shriveled ones and one or two with a touch of fungus, but still have at least a few of all that I saved. Now, if some of the many not showing eyes don't come through -- well, there are about 25 new ones coming in April.

I checked my pots in the garage and two with lilies, crocus and daffy's have aphids. They are now on the back porch. No way am I going through the infestation I had last year. I am hoping since they are pretty hardy tubers a day or so won't hurt them but will kill the aphids. Unless the aphids are living in the soil. Then I will just write those pots off. Now off to water the other pots of geraniums and iris.

Oh, begonias are growing like mad so I am going to pot them up and put them in the dining room until I can clean up some of the mess on the lighting shelves to make room for them.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

My dahlia check went well on Sunday. I've definitely lost both Akita but they're so cheap to buy at any big box store here. Lost Preference but it's not as though I lost Mingus Toni, AC Paint/Dan's Alpen Pauline, which I adore, or Bodacious.

I haven't ordered anything since I didn't have my computer for two days and was lost without it.

The begonias are blooming well in sunny windows here and today I took coleus cuttings but will be taking many more in February and March. They match the dahlias so well.

Good luck with the aphids, Mary. I've heard a good layer of sand covering every bit of the surface of the soil will cover their eggs.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I can do that and then treat the ones exposed with either garlic water or just buy some commercial organic killer.

I just dumped a bucket of daffys and have a bazillion. No clue what to do with them. I had dug them up last fall as they hadn't bloomed in a year. They were tightly jammed together in the ground. I replanted the larger ones and now don't know what to do with the rest. I have sent a note to the botanical garden to see if they can use them. Also have a bucket of 'red' lillies that just were dumped helter-skelter with soil. Also growing now. Arghhhh.

My begonias have very pale sprouts up to 3" long but no roots. I have them in 4" x 3" pots with slightly dampened soil. Then into the dining room on my smaller rolling rack (not lighted) but at least they will be warm and get some sunlight. Guess I will do the same with the lilies until they get so big I need to put them in larger pots. Really didn't want to start this so soon. Maybe we will luck out and have an early spring. Sure haven't had much of a winter - though no complaints here.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

There is another control (trying to think of the name) that's an insecticidal dip or that's how I use it when I bring plants indoors, provided I remember to use it!

We dug one area of daff's to put them in a spot where others had been. Glad that's done and I'll see them in April. Extras are almost like summer zucchini - rough to find enough homes for them all.

You're probably raising the tuberous begonias. Mine are still sleeping. The ones growing are just the annual type but they've been growing for years in the same pots.

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yup. Tuberous. Are yours what are called wax begonias.

I spoke too soon of a mild winter. The wind kicked up and temps are down to 18, which with the wind is darned cold. And with all the snow kicking around not at all hospitable. I potted the lilies, some in 4" pots and some 3", putting two or three in some pots. Those are the tiny tiny bulbs that have grown from scapes (is that what they are called)? I figure they will eventually be big kids. I can put them all in one bed this summer. I think I dug them up because I was putting down cardboard and wood chips in one bed to tidy it up from all the weeds and they were growing in the middle. Good thing took as I planted a tree peony fairly close by a month later. I really need some more short bushy perennials to fill in around the feet and knees of the taller guys like lilies and phlox (paniculata). Seems like there are phlox that are between the sublata and the tall ones. That would work. I have planted some lamium and veronica that are nice. Oh, and some salvia that should fill in also.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Yes.

I love the salvias and deer hate them so they work well for me.

Mentor, OH

I did a tuber check Wednesday and tossed a few more that were too shriveled to save. Still not at the panic point ... yet. It's still a long time till spring. There are a few varieties that I always assume will not survive storage. One of them being Akita, as Arlene mentioned. That one is usually cheap and very easy to find. Another one I normally have trouble with is Vancouver. But for whatever reason the tubers look great so far, knock on wood.

I have two "want" lists started. The big decision is whether to order now and get some I may end up not needing or waiting until closer to spring only to find they are sold out. I think I'll wait and order all at one time. I hate paying more shipping charges than necessary. With that said, I'm sure I'll end up buying from at least a half dozen different sellers instead of the two I plan on now. As the song says, 'The girls all get prettier at closing time." Well, so do the dahlias! lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Creating want lists is so easy but figuring out spacing, room available and colors to match is another story.

So is sorting photos that appeared magically (and unwanted since they're duplicates) on Picasa. It's a good winter hobby and with two snow storms due I won't have a lack of things to do.

I just wish a few dahlias that weren't my favorites would quietly disappear or shrivel, so I could ditch them.

My Vancouvers are fine and yet I'm sure they're related to Akita. Maybe Akita got the nasty end of the genetics that makes storage more difficult.

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