Dahlia growers - which of these approaches do you vote for?
johnnypenstemon Posts: 111
Hi all, I’ve just potted up my dahlia tubers which were kept in an unheated shed over winter. Now I have a choice:
(1) keep them indoors - they’ll get less light but consistent conditions - before hardening off once they shoot.
(2) leave them in a cold frame from the off (no greehouse). They’re the pots in the back half of the CF pictured - a removable lid goes back on the front section BTW. They’ll get more light, won’t get frost where I am, but temperatures will fluctuate more and I’m not sure if it means they’ll get too much warmth.
What do you dahlias aficionados think? No 2 is less work but I rarely hear of starting newly-potted dahlias in a cold frame.
Thanks as ever, Johnny
Smart coldframe by the way.
Not if they haven't started shooting yet though, which is what you're asking in question 1.
Or did you mean they're already in growth a good bit? I couldn't have them outside here without decent protection just now - not unless they had a decent amount of growth on them, and the weather was favourable enough, and they were inside at night for a good few weeks. They'd be shredded by the weather very quickly.
If your temps are high enough consistently, they would be ok. Some people can leave them in the ground all year round.
Sweet peas are different. They only need protection from rough weather, and severe conditions, ie heavy rain, wind and proper snow, ice and frost. They don't need warmth, the way dahlias do.
I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
It can get very warm in cold frames and greenhouses at this time of year, it's important not to let your tubers dry out. We are regularly watering ours now, not soaking the pot, but definitely moist, especially now that we can see the leaves growing.
Thanks for the responses. I’ll go for option 2 with a few brought inside until they shoot by way of insurance and for comparison’s sake.
@Fairygirl, the tubers were lifted from the ground late autumn wrapped in newspaper and kept in a cool shed over winter. They have just been potted up so they’re not shooting yet. Usually I keep them inside until they shoot, then start to harden them off.