Category Archives: Planting Dahlia Tubers

UPDATE -NDC Dahlia Cuttings 62.5% success rate

You may remember back in June how excited I was when my 24 new Dahlia Cuttings arrived from the National Dahlia Collection (NDC) in Penzance, UK:

https://wordpress.com/post/stunningdahlias.wordpress.com/1061

I was reluctant ast first to buy more Dahlia cuttings from NDC as back in 2015 I had problems with a number of cuttings from NDC (see previous blog post). I was hesitant to buy from them again, but last year I gave in and placed another order, as I struggled to find other alternative suppliers in the UK with as much variety.

So this year, I was really vigilant and made sure I gave the Dahlias the best possible start and regularly fertilised and watered throughout the growing season. However I only had a 62.5% success rate with 15/24 growing correctly. The problems I had are as follows:

Wrong dahlia cutting sent (x4):  Picture on the left is what it should look like, picture on the right is what I was actually sent.

  • Tartan – no white stripes, this actually looks more like a ‘Thomas Eddison Dahlia’

tartan-comparison-2016

  • Karma Fusciana – single dahlia instead

karma_fuchsiana-comparison-2016

  • Oakwood Naranga – right colour, completely different shape

Oakwood-naranga X comparison 2016.jpg

  • Dr John Grainger – right colour, completely different shape

Dr John Grainger.jpg

Diseased Dahlia’s x2 – i.e. didn’t flower and Crown/Leaf Gall found when tuber dug up: 

  • Black Narcissus
  • Clara May

Crown Gall is a bacterial disease that causes large abnormal growths at the base of the infected plant or the top of one or more tubers as shown in the picture below. The plants are stunted and the shoots spindly. Since there is no effective treatment, infected plants and tubers should be destroyed. I think the source of the bacteria is unlikely to reside in my garden as the area the dahlias are being grown is was turfed up until 18 months ago ago when we moved in. Turfing is one of the recommended ways of getting rid of the bacteria if its a problem where you live, so I am doubtful it was already in my garden. It is also VERY common in Dahlias, so I can only suspect the Mother stock was infected and passed to the cuttings. Though you can never be sure with bacteria and virus diseases.

crown-leafy-gall-2016

Dahlia’s which didn’t grow x3  – i.e. cutting wilted and died, no tuber: 

  • Wooton Phoebe
  • Pearsons Ben
  • Lupin Dixie

didnt-grow-2016

15x Dahlias that grew well

The remaining 15 Dahlias grew well as you can see from the catalogue photo (top) versus the photo I took (Bottom). The red dahlias in particular did very well.

dahlia-progress-2016c

dahlia-progress-2016b

I’m not convinced the Dahlia ‘Promise’ has the same leaf shape, but at least it grew well and was the same colour. Tohsuikyou, flowered well, however the flower heads were too heavy for the stems and consequently the flowers were often drooped over.

dahlia-progress-2016a

Nuit de ete didn’t grow well, it only flowered once briefly, so I’m hoping it comes back next year and performs better. Je-Maintendrai was a huge dinner plate dahlia, gorgeous but difficult to stake. Zurichlooked nothing like i expected and never did develop the deep orange colour shown on the NDC website. Rossendale Luke and Barbarry dominion were both stunning.

In summary I had a 62.5% success rate. I have read that its normal to lose some dahlias each year, but it’s difficult to know what percentage is normal. I had similar problems in previous years with both Taylors Bulbs and the National Dahlia collection (NDC) sending different coloured dahlias to the ones intended. I have contacted the NDC and they have agreed to investigate and replace the 4 dahlias which were the wrong colour.

In the meantime I have placed a new Dahlia order with ‘Eurodahlia’ and I will report back next year 🙂

Dahlias are worth growing though – when they are in full bloom – like my garden here – they look magnificent:

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Starting dahlia tubers in Northern UK

I’ve just purchased 4 new dahlia tubers and wanted to start them off early (Bergers Record, Friquloet, Bora-Bora and Labyrinth). The general guidance is that dahlias shouldn’t be grown outdoors until all risk of frost has passed and/or the nighttime temperature doesn’t drop below 10’C. In the North of the UK, that’s usually towards the end of May or beginning of June.

In previous years I have started tubers off in doors in pots. However last year I moved to a new house and don’t really have anywhere to put them indoors, especially as my tuber collection has grown too large to start them all off in the house. So I bought a very small Lean-to greenhouse/ coldframe W76 x D46 x H110cm.

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So I have decided to experiment this year by planting the tubers in small pots with potting compost and perlite lightly watered and I have placed these in the greenhouse in early April….fingers crossed they will do ok outdoors as I have no idea what temperature the Greenhouse is during the day and night. I should probably insulate it with bubble wrap. let me know if you have any tips or advice.

I plan to leave the tubers in these small pots for as long as possible just to give the tubers enough time to sprout and produce shoots..then I will plant these out into a patch of garden I have already prepared for them.

 

Looking forward to Dahlia season!

I can’t wait for Dahlia season! It’s snowed pretty heavily today in Manchester covering my garden and I’ve been looking out of the window for weeks now wishing for some warm weather so I can get out in the garden. I probably won’t be able to plant Dahlias here in the North of the UK until the end of June, so will probably start last years tubers off in doors towards the end of April.

I moved house last year and went from having a tiny yard, where I had to grow my Dahlias in pots to a huge garden with lots of space. We got the keys in June 2015 and I managed to get my dahlias in the new garden (you can see 2 pics below of the new garden, versus the one pic of the old house yard).

Now I have a big garden to play with, I’ve got a bit excited and ordered 25 Dahlia cuttings from the National Dahlia Collection in the UK. I’m not a massive fan of cuttings and prefer tubers as I’ve found cutting weaker and more slower growing. However the National Dahlia Collection has a huge selection and cuttings are cheaper so I’ve decided to buy from them again. If some of the 25 cuttings don’t grow that well, it won’t matter as I already quite a lot of dahlia tubers from last year.

These are the pictures of the 25 new dahlias I’ve ordered and I can’t wait for them to arrive:

Dahlia Inspiration – dreaming in colour

With the Dahlia growing season coming up, I am looking forward to getting out my old tubers which have been safety stored away in the shed all winter. I also have some new cuttings on order which should arrive soon. I will need to split my tubers before planting them, and will write an article soon on that. I did start splitting them in October, but ended up slicing through my finger and severing a nerve and was referred for an operation, so I had to quickly pack them away for the winter. This time I will be more careful when cutting them.

So in the meantime, before I pull my dahlia tubers out for the winter, here are some dahlia inspiration pictures from the internet (unfortunately not my garden), but an inspiration for the future 😀

Strawberry Ice Dinner Plate Dahlia

Strawberry Ice is a huge dinner plate dahlia and probably the prettiest dahlia I grew this year. I bought it for half price in a sale in May and didn’t realise it was a dinner plate dahlia and would grow so large, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have chosen it as I have a small garden. However I’m glad I did, as it’s simply stunning, so definitely a good purchase 🙂

 

Part 3 Progress UPDATE “GARDEN4LESS” Dahlia Tubers (NATALIE G, LINDA’S BABY, CHOCOLATE & CANDY)

In April I ordered 3 dahlia tubers from garden4less. (http://www.garden4less.co.uk) and reviewed them:

  1. Natalie G (Ball)
  2. Linda’s baby (Ball)
  3. Chocolate & Candy (Decorative)

See original post Part 1 here:

https://stunningdahlias.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/product-review-garden4less-3-dahlia-tubers-natalie-g-lindas-baby-chocolate-candy/

The tubers were poor quality, but once they started growing I thought the foilage looked healthy and assumed the dahlias would do well.

However 2/3 produced the wrong type and colour of Dahlia!
I wrote to Taylors and their customer service is non-existent. Even though Taylors have the Queens Warrant, their quality control is poor and they have done nothing to rectify the fact I have been sent the wrong type of dahlia – probably against trading standards.

  1. Natalie G (Ball)

This is the only tuber from the 3 that produced the correct dahlia.

Natalie G 0

2. Linda’s baby (Ball)

I was really looking forward to growing baby pink ball flowers, and was somewhat disappointed when some minuscule tiny purple flowers appeared for both tubers. I think it might be Dahlia Rocco?

Linda's Baby Wrong Tuber

3. Chocolate & Candy (Decorative)

Only 1 out the 2 chocolate & Candy tubers grew, and the one that did grow produced only 1 flower in late September which was the wrong colour and variety. It produced a stunning flower, though I don’t know what variety it is? So if you know please leave a comment. Taylor’s bulb didn’t respond to my email about this.

Choc & Candy wrong tuber

Overall, I did eventually get some flowers from these Taylor’s dahlia tubers, however I think its shocking that 2/3 were labelled with the wrong colour and variety and Taylor’s QA/QC and customer service is non existent.

PART 3 – PROGRESS OF PURPLE GEM (CACTUS) & NATAL RED (POMPOM) – 5 MONTHS ON

5 months ago I purchased the following 2 dahlia tubers:

  1. Purple gem (Cactus) Dahlia from ebay.co.uk
  2. Natal Red (Pompom) Dahlia from Wilkinsons online.

Both tubers have grown great!

For Part 1:
https://stunningdahlias.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/17-apr-new-tubers-purple-gem-cactus-natal-red-pompom/

For Part 2: https://stunningdahlias.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/part-2-progress-of-purple-gem-cactus-natal-red-pompom-3-months-on/

 

1. Purple gem (Cactus) Dahlia

I love Purple Gem, possibly my best growing Dahlia this year and in my top 3 for visual impact. This will definitely feature in my garden next year and I would buy again from the ebay farm-shop I purchased this from. The only negative is it isn’t purple like the packet, but more of a pinky purple.

Here is Purple Gem growing in my garden.

This is what Purple Gem should look like according to the packet.

Dahlia_Purple gem (cactus)

 

2. Natal Red (Pompom) Dahlia

Natal Red Grew really well and produced tonnes of flowers. This will definitely feature in my garden next year and I will definitely buy Dahlia tubers from Wilkinson’s again.