Discussion of Colors, Forms or Varieties forum: Short giants

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scrumpy
Nov 30, 2016 5:58 AM CST
teddahlia wrote:As a florist says "you cannot make a stem longer but you can always cut one to make it shorter." I like tall plants because they are more vigorous and stand up(pun intended) to all kinds of negative growing conditions. One of my biggest pet peeves is giant dahlias on dwarf plants. Giant dahlias belong on large plants and when you grow them on 3 foot tall plants they look like a joke to me. Huge flowers and 3 foot plants do not go together. There is such a thing as too tall and HH Zarina has exceeded that height if left to her own growth habits. But removal of plant material is much easier than trying to encourage a plant to grow taller. If you shade a plant using shade cloth, the plant does grow tall and probably about 30% taller. However, the stems grow 30% longer too and with that extra length becomes a bit weaker. Really long stems are a negative here in the USA where entries must have a set of leaves. In the Midwest and East of the USA, they show flowers with at least two sets of leaves and often with three. The larger entries in these Eastern states had become so tall that the judges could not see the flowers on the show table and were moving the entries to the floor to examine the flowers. At least one show finally declared that they would not allow entries beyond a specified height as this was getting ridiculous. On the West coast, there are only a few entries at a show with two sets of leaves and they are usually done for aesthetic reasons because the first set of leaves are too small. I have seen three sets of leaves only once or twice at a West coast show and the entries did not fare well in the judging.


These 3 foot plants are a joke. I think the laugh is on you :)

Thumb of 2016-11-30/scrumpy/c91f66

As to showing "leaves", we leave one pair of leaves on, those with bigger leaves trimmed up a bit. What's the point of having 2 or 3 pairs of leaves. You judge the flower, not the leaf. And you need a good distance...at least 15 inches.... between the bloom and the pair of leaves.


Imageteddahlia
Nov 30, 2016 10:11 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Years ago, one very successful exhibitor grew his giants in pots. He harvested only one bloom from each plant, the "terminal" bloom. I believe he was doing it the way they grow exhibition flowers in India where they bring the pots of blooming flowers to the show. He was very successful.

When you grow taller plants, you generally get many more flushes of blooms. I like giant dahlias that grow about 6 feet tall, that have a successive flushes of giant blooms that retain their size. Some giants like Zorro, have a nice flush of first blooms(11-12 inches in diameter) and the successive flushes are very small(8 inches would be typical) . A good giant will have flowers all season that have good size. Maybe not 12 inches but at least 9 -10 inches.
We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.
Imagesylviap
Nov 30, 2016 10:16 AM CST
Name: Sylvia
West Sacramento, CA Zone 9b
I guess Kenora Wildfire fits in this group. Nice blooms, short plant. My preference is for LOTS of blooms as I only grow for my own pleasure. I like to see a riot of color and form and size; but I like to see it at eye level. I usually plant the shorties along the sides or the first and last in the rows. Otherwise they get lost in the riot. Pinching buds to get one larger flower is a crime against nature! [except if you are an exhibitor Hilarious! ]

Yeah... I should probably get to work.
ImageDahliaGardener
Nov 30, 2016 6:12 PM CST
Name: Cynthia
BG, KY USDA Zone 6b
Sanity = Dirt under your nails...
sylviap wrote:... Pinching buds to get one larger flower is a crime against nature! [except if you are an exhibitor Hilarious! ]
...


I agree

It's the age old battle between BIGGER is better and MORE is better... Hilarious!

C DG
All gardening is landscape painting.
- William Kent

scrumpy
Dec 1, 2016 3:00 AM CST
The number of flushes is determined by how you grow them, ie, the amount of disbudding. Nothing to do with the height of the plant.
I could grow Sir Alf Ramsey 8 up, 2 flushes of 4, but get smaller blooms throughout. It would get to 5-6 foot in height. Bonaventure could also be grown like Sir Alf but would get taller. Bryn Terfel and Fairway Spur, shown, from experience,don't do very well on 2nd flushes. But at the end of the day with giants, we don't want a 2nd flush. Leave that to the mediums downwards.

Kenora Wildfire over here is dual classified meaning it can be shown as a giant or large. I suppose if you don't disbud at all it would make a " large medium", giving you loads of blooms but at the end of the day, if you want loads of blooms you don't choose giants as the variety is designed to be just that, a giant.
Imageteddahlia
Dec 1, 2016 9:32 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Here in the USA there is a definite cut flower market for giant blooms. I know that a box of giant flowers is shipped weekly during the season by overnight mail to a florist who does the lobby display for a large hotel. Christy Parks sells giant and large flowers by the stem at her weekly farmers market. Many other cut flower sellers sell them by the stem to florists and at farmers markets. In that case, it is important that the second and third flushes of flowers are large. And customers are happy with blooms at about 10 inches in diameter. When you get larger blooms the logistics of bringing them to the market become much more difficult. There will always be dahlia shows and here in the PNW you can attend about 10 per year if you include a county fair or two. Exhibiting flowers is lots of fun for many people. But in the world of dahlias the expanding area is cut flower sales. It is an expanding market and sales of cut flower varieties has increased with the demand for cut flowers.
We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.
[Last edited Dec 2, 2016 10:48 AM CST]
Quote | Post #1226753 (6)
ImageIslander
Dec 2, 2016 10:43 AM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Warren, Oregon
retired flower farmer
As a cut flower grower and seller I am cutting back on the larger ones this year. There ae always a few who want to buy them, but giant dahlias at an outdoor market in summer tend to wilt and customers have trouble keeping them once they go home. I will always have a few just because I like them, or for calling attention to my market offerings, But I am finding A sized ones will do just fine. I tried a half a dozen of AA sized ones last year that will not be included this year.

I did find that the very large dahlias do better at market if I cut them a day earlier and leave them in my cool room to hydrate longer. I have started cutting my biggest dahlias on Thursday night for Saturday Market. I've had customers come up to me and ask for my "Freshest ones". Now that makes me mad and makes me giggle at the same time...they are always so pompous about it...like I have two different classes of dahlias and am going to try to get rid of the older ones first? Sorry, folks, that is the ones you buy at the grocery store, not at a farmers market!!!!
Salish Dahlias
scrumpy
Dec 3, 2016 4:37 AM CST
teddahlia wrote:Here in the USA there is a definite cut flower market for giant blooms. I know that a box of giant flowers is shipped weekly during the season by overnight mail to a florist who does the lobby display for a large hotel. Christy Parks sells giant and large flowers by the stem at her weekly farmers market. Many other cut flower sellers sell them by the stem to florists and at farmers markets. In that case, it is important that the second and third flushes of flowers are large. And customers are happy with blooms at about 10 inches in diameter. When you get larger blooms the logistics of bringing them to the market become much more difficult. There will always be dahlia shows and here in the PNW you can attend about 10 per year if you include a county fair or two. Exhibiting flowers is lots of fun for many people. But in the world of dahlias the expanding area is cut flower sales. It is an expanding market and sales of cut flower varieties has increased with the demand for cut flowers.


I sell a few at my local corner shop, probably 20 bunches of 5 a week. They come and cut what they want and it's always miniatures and smalls. They did try selling the larger ones but didn't go as well. Except for Vals candy, which if you can get hold of it is one that would fit your cut flower bill.....good size for a medium and ree flowering.

ImageClearCreekDahlias
Dec 3, 2016 7:51 AM CST
Western New York State
Dahlias! Dahlias! Dahlias!
The florists here also only want medium and small dahlias. I am trying to get them to try the giants since they sell well in bouquets.
Imageblown_dry
Dec 3, 2016 9:51 AM CST
Name: Amanda
CA Redwood Coast - Zone 9b
DahliaAddict.com
The giants are what really get people excited in the bouquets I give away. But maybe they would feel differently if they paid for them, or maybe they would ooh and aah but not buy.
Imageteddahlia
Dec 3, 2016 10:52 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
Giants will always be rather a "specialty item" but they can sell for lots more per stem than a smaller flower. One very successful seller of high end dahlia bouquets, has a formula: he starts with one large Cafe' au Lait flower and surrounds it with smaller flowers. He said that when those bouquets were side by side with dahlias without that key flower, the people bought the one with Cafe' au Lait. He said that he uses other large flowers as the "key" flowers very successfully also. So his formula is one large(8 to 9 inch) flower surrounded by smaller flowers. It works for him.
We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.
ImageIslander
Dec 3, 2016 11:04 AM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Warren, Oregon
retired flower farmer
I had not thought about it but that is pretty much how I sell mine, also. I would add some interesting foliage and use what ever else is blooming in my garden besides dahlias, and always something for fragrance if I have it.
Salish Dahlias
ImageClearCreekDahlias
Dec 3, 2016 1:37 PM CST
Western New York State
Dahlias! Dahlias! Dahlias!
That's how I do mine. I also use the giants in threes with smaller dahlias. Biggest sellers: Elsie Huston with River's Purple Pinwheel, Cafe Au Lait with HH Black Widow, black and orange dahlias, and black and pink. And then there's the Black Dahlia bouquets: a mix of HH Black Widow, HH Black Beauty, Karma Choc, and WB MC, with black millet, Red Hedge Sunflowers, and red spike amaranth.
[Last edited Dec 4, 2016 3:52 PM CST]
Quote | Post #1227113 (13)
ImageIslander
Dec 3, 2016 2:52 PM CST
Name: Noni Morrison
Warren, Oregon
retired flower farmer
Oooh, I want to copy your Black Dahlia bouquets! My customers would go nuts for those!
Salish Dahlias
Imageblown_dry
Dec 3, 2016 4:58 PM CST
Name: Amanda
CA Redwood Coast - Zone 9b
DahliaAddict.com
It's like a classic engagement ring. The big rock surrounded by smaller gems. Smiling I don't know if I would pay what a giant should cost in a bouquet, but that's why I grow my own. The folks that buy are probably coming out way ahead in both time and money, though. I'm penny wise and pound foolish. Hilarious! But I enjoy the work, so there is that.
ImageClearCreekDahlias
Dec 3, 2016 9:12 PM CST
Western New York State
Dahlias! Dahlias! Dahlias!
Certainly folks that buy from people like us are saving a boatload of money compared to what they would pay for the same arrangement at a florist's.

Think dark, Noni. Maybe some black roses or chocolate or black glads for the Black Dahlia bouquets as well.
[Last edited Dec 3, 2016 9:14 PM CST]
Quote | Post #1227150 (16)
Imagetodgor
Dec 4, 2016 10:43 AM CST
Name: Tod Gordon
West Caldwell, NJ
I bring all my flowers to work to give to the ladies, I have been doing it for 10 years now. Lately I have some inexpensive plastic vases I got online, about 9-10 inches tall and near 5 inches wide. I have plenty of large ones and giants, and some go into the bouquets in all cases. Granted only a few are 10 inches or more, I have a hard time using those. What I do with them depends largely on their orientation on the stems. Most seem to be at a 45 degree angle, so in those cases I place them first along the outer edges of the vase, in a ring. Any top loaded blooms go to the center. Any gaps in between these I use medium or small/ball varieties until all the spaces are filled. Sometimes you can get even more large ones in by making a second row above the first, but further to the center, like hanging on the outer row. The one type of giant that is difficult is the "lollipop" orientation (vertical), even at the outer edge this kind is difficult to place nicely.
Imageteddahlia
Dec 4, 2016 11:39 AM CST
Name: Ted
Oregon
We enjoy breeding new dahlias!
This thread that is called "Short Giants" has the most unusual name of any of the the threads. Others may think it is a discussion concerning the "Game of Thrones" . I suppose one could make fun of it: "What do you get when you cross two short giants?" I will let someone else answer the question.
We like to place a sign on our porch that says: We are in the garden. Really, we are always in the garden.

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