Dahlia Season: Plant, Support, Irrigate & Groom forum: Planting Pots

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Imageteddahlia
Nov 13, 2014 3:03 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
I attended our Dahlia Club meeting on Tuesday evening. Teresa Bergman of Cowlitz River Dahlias did a presentation on the show garden she plants for the City of Castle Rock. She plants the dahlias and other flower vendors plant other things, for example there is Lavender planted there from a Lavender farm. Teresa plants rooted cuttings that have been transplanted to to four inch pots(yes, the really cheap ones that you get at the nursery). The key to her success here is that she does not remove the plants from the pots and buries them so that they are covered with soil. She does supplement some of the soil in the "pot hole" with some good organic mix(because the soil there is really bad clay) and some 14-14-14 time release fertilizer. The city adds irrigation(T-tape) and waters and weeds the garden. The pots are planted about 24 inches apart and as they grow, they are staked one to a post.

The plants grow to a fully normal size and do produce tubers. To prove her point, Teresa brought in one of the recently dug plants complete with pot attached. It was indeed full sized and still had flowers and the pot was crammed with a tuber clump. She also brought in one of the larger clumps(still in the pot) to show how big the clumps can get. I suppose you all want to know how big too and I would say that it was about 60% as big as a typical tuber clump but was tightly packed in the pot that had been stretched considerably.

Now what is the significance of growing them in the small pots? There are several advantages and the biggest one was ease of harvest. She harvested the entire garden of 30 plants in about 30 minutes. This would be especially useful for disabled growers who cannot dig large tuber clumps. And the clumps are stored in the pots and if one wants to divide them they are divided in the Spring. So there is a big advantage over full sized clumps that must be divided before storage. Certainly, one doe not get as many tubers, but a gardener who grows casually, does not need a lot of tubers.

We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.
ImageDarcyD
Nov 13, 2014 3:17 PM CST
Name: Darcy D
Green Oaks, Illinois
Wow, what an interesting concept! Thanks for sharing, Ted!
ImageIslander
Nov 13, 2014 3:27 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Warren, Oregon
retired flower farmer
I am listening and learning, here Ted!

I should maybe visit this garden next summer and see just how it goes or talk more to Teresa about it...

So, when I dug my dahlias I found that I had planted some out in pots...but they were so crazy looking..One big tuber down in the pot lifting the others above it and huge clumps growing outside the pot... in the case of Clearview Erin. I couldn't see where the advantage was...only one tuber ended up in the pot and it was about 9" long sticking out the top...pot stretched sideways as far as it could around the errant tubers..All 3 Clearview Erins made many beautiful tubers this year. I also planted HH Joy and HH Purely Purple in Pots with similar results...But all made excellent tubers whether in the pot or out of it. The pots just made everything more awkward to wash and harvest. What step am I missing? I think I started out with small tubers or cuttings in these pots...certainly they were fitting nicely when I put them in the ground.
Salish Dahlias
ImageCCvacation
Nov 13, 2014 4:59 PM CST
Name: CC
PA
I planted about eight four inch pots this year, but was disappointed in the results. Only a couple flowered, none surpassed the pot. The only one that resembled a full sized plant was the cutting of HH Monet, which I would have preferred to have allowed to tuber up bigger.

Perhaps they need heavier amounts of fertilizer then the just in-ground plants. Perhaps the water amount was lacking.
CC
Imageteddahlia
Nov 13, 2014 6:01 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
To add to this, Roland Verrone plants his pot tubers in the rows with the tuber dahlias. He challenges people to tell which are pot tubers. Did CC bury the entire pot? Did Noni, plant early in the year, as Teresa planted on June 9th? There is a cut flower dahlia nursery in California that plants all dahlias in gallon sized pots. They grow normally. I have not tried this myself although I have grown pot tubers on top of the ground and some did really well and had some show flowers. Part of this may be that you all did not plant them 24 inches apart as Teresa did. And as I said there is no washing or dividing in this method as the pots are stored whole and the only thing cut off is the stalk.
We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.
Imageteddahlia
Nov 13, 2014 7:18 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
I grew my pot tubers on a bench rather than on the ground this year. I have done it both ways and the harvesting is much easier using the bench method. The roots go out of the pots on the ground and it can be very difficult to pull them up even if they are still in a flat. The bench grown pot tubers needed more water and had to have a little bit of soluble fertilizer. They had good sized tuber lumps from the 6 inch pots and the tubers from the four inch pots were certainly OK but not large. I no longer try to make pot tubers in 2.5 inch pots although for many varieties they worked fine. I started to take the tuber clumps out of the pots to store but decided that since it was cold and windy, to just store them in the pots. I have about 400 of them. They are stored in the flats that are stacked on each other in the garage. They do store a bit better if one takes them out of the pots but it sure is easier just to stack them up. Many of them are seedlings. I will use them to take cuttings in the Spring. Many of them were seedlings that I am tossing out, so I tossed the pot tubers too. I noticed that AC Dahlias had his pot tubers on a bench too. When I was at Corralitos Dahlias , years ago, they grew them on the ground in rows planted rim to rim. B & D Dahlias used to plant their pot tubers in the ground, not quite rim to rim and they were in front of fences and in garden spaces in front of the house. I think he liked to see them bloom a bit.
We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.
ImageCCvacation
Nov 13, 2014 10:11 PM CST
Name: CC
PA
"Did CC bury the entire pot?"

Yes, and had at least an inch of soil over the rims. I definitely grow them tight, though, but they were planted out at the same time as the tuber plants.

I'm thinking that they were hungry...

I will plant out some cuttings in pots next year again, as it was truly simple to dig and store. Mine popped right up with no complex root system clinging in the ground.
CC
ImageIslander
Nov 13, 2014 10:31 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Warren, Oregon
retired flower farmer
Did Noni plant around June 7th? Noni planted around last week of May if I recall right.
Salish Dahlias
ImagePNWGal
Nov 14, 2014 2:12 AM CST
Name: Linda
Portland OR, zone 8b
I think Teresa said she also mixed in some organic fertilizer when she amended the soil the plants went into. She thought the wider spacing than in her garden, and the consistent watering were probably also why they grew so well.

The advantage when digging was that there were fewer roots to cut before popping the clump out of the ground, and it was in general a more compact clump. It also occurs to me that the tuber necks were all safely contained inside the pot, so it would be much easier to dig without breaking the necks.
portia
Nov 17, 2014 9:13 AM CST
Southern PA, Brandywine
Interesting concept! I planted a few that I bought already planted in 3gal pots (so brought them home from the nursery and just planted the entire pot)... they did not come out of the pot and I did not check to see how they made tubers, but I definitely like the ease of popping the entire pot out of the ground quickly and then just storing the pot for next year. Could see how if you have thousands this would not make sense but I was contemplating doing this for some next year, maybe ones that don't store as well with other methods?
ImageIslander
Nov 17, 2014 9:44 AM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Warren, Oregon
retired flower farmer
So with my pot tubers, apparently what happened was that the tuber continued to grow but instead of staying squashed down in the pot it simply grey like normal and pushed the plant sideways and upwards as the tuber grow to..oh, maybe 10". I don't see where anyone else has had that happen...Was it just that I used varieties that wanted to grow big long tubers? They looked rediculous and there was certainly no advantage to doing this way with the ones I tried...I just had one really long tuber that had a square bottom on it!, and a plant that grew way over from where I put it into the soil! It was only 3 I tried this on so it is certainly not a good sampling. They were Clearview Erin, Hollyhill Joy, and Hollyhill Purely Purple.
Salish Dahlias
ImageCCvacation
Nov 17, 2014 9:55 AM CST
Name: CC
PA
HH PP busted the confines of the pot, too??? Or just the first two?

I remember seeing a ridiculous-looking I'm a Hottie that exploded the pot it was planted in, but those are well-known big tuber producers.

I used 32 oz yogurt containers with holes punched in the bottoms...
Thumb of 2014-11-17/CCvacation/030b25

These are the varieties...
Thumb of 2014-11-17/CCvacation/0a64dc
CC
Imageteddahlia
Nov 17, 2014 10:05 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
I remember a presentation that demonstrated how to grow Hamari Accord so that you could harvest and keep the tubers. If you do not know, Hamari Accord has nice fat tubers that are somewhat round and above average in size and are fairly abundant. When you dig the clumps you lose nearly every tuber because those fat tubers have skinny necks and they break. You would hold up an entire clump and all the tubers had broken necks. He grew his in a gallon sized pot with the bottom of the pot removed. That caused the tubers to grow downward instead of horizontally and the pot would hold them intact as you pulled it out of the ground. I cannot remember how he removed the clump from the pot but I bet he cut them out. The tuber problems are the reason that Narrows Tricia became the top dog in this class. Most of us believe Hamari Accord is better.
We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.
ImageIslander
Nov 17, 2014 11:16 AM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Warren, Oregon
retired flower farmer
Yup, HH PP too! I seem to have had a year where the tubers grew fewer and bigger then normal. Not all varieties went fewer or bigger but the ones that I was keeping a loving eye on, did I think these might get gallon pots next year.

By the way, I remember we talked about Clearview Erin sometimes making lots of tubers and sometimes not making enough. This was definitely a good year for C Erin tubers. They were big, well formed and in a nice amount. That is one wonderful plant..it flowered well for me, and the color was eye catching every time I was in the garden right up to the time we cut them down...still blooming away with neon purple (By the end of October) flowers that were lasting well in the vase as well
In sunshine:
.Thumb of 2014-11-17/Islander/fb2145
Thumb of 2014-11-17/Islander/4cd34e
and in shade:
Thumb of 2014-11-17/Islander/e5d610
Salish Dahlias
Imageteddahlia
Nov 17, 2014 1:10 PM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
When Bill Mishler was alive he had an ongoing "feud" with Clearview's Dick Parshall as to whether Woodland's Merinda or Clearview Erin was a better flower. They were introduced at about the same time and both them said their flower was the best. Mishler caught Parshall on a misstatement when Parshall said that Erin was in a class with no real competition and that very year Merinda had more blue ribbons in the shows. I am a Merinda fan but do not grow either one.
We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.
ImageIslander
Nov 17, 2014 2:35 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Warren, Oregon
retired flower farmer
In my garden, Erin is certainly the stronger, more dominant plant.

I would hate to be between 2 dahlia breeders argueing about their babies.... Whistling
Salish Dahlias

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