I got a package in the mail today, and of course, I couldn’t wait to open it. Dahlias! Finally! I ordered quite a few dahlias this year from several different places. The first parcel to have arrived is from Leafari – and I won’t lie, it was pretty disappointing. I’m not sure if Leafari is a new company, but I first discovered it when I was specifically on a search for “Wizard of Oz” dahlias. I couldn’t find them anywhere else, so I made an order. In normal fashion, I checked the reviews on Dave’s Garden, and all seemed to be well.
Fast forward to delivery day, I can’t help but feel like there’s a lot of be desired. Though reasonably priced, the quality is absolutely not what I had expected. Every single clump of tubers was damaged in some way, and one was disgustingly rotten. After a long week, I honestly don’t feel like reaching out to customer service. I decided to just plant them up and hope for the best. I’ve had moderate success with damaged goods in the past, so I haven’t completely lost hope, yet. Well, aside from the rotten one. I don’t think it’s going to grow. I’m honestly not sure I’ll ever order from Leafari again. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with these tubers. Now, onto the process of potting these tubers up to get them growing.
When starting growth on dahlia tubers, there are a few options. You can simply plant them into the garden after the last chance of frost and wait for them to grow, or start the growth indoors. I personally never just “plant and grow” because I have so many slugs in the yard waiting to devour the tiny dahlia shoots. Some folks pot them up into containers on a heat mat and with grow lights. However, I’ve never done that. I simply don’t have the resources. This is the part where our recycled bottles come in!
If you’re familiar with the winter sowing method, the process is basically the same. Find a milk jug or two-liter bottle. Add drainage holes to the bottom, and then cut around the center of the container leaving only a small portion that acts as a hinge to open and close the bottle.
Plant the tuber in the bottle and place outside. Ideally, your soil mix should be moist. I just usually use something simple, and readily available, like miracle grow or an organic potting mix. I place the bottles outside during the spring when the weather has already started to warm. This is especially important, as dahlias are sensitive to cold. Remember, wet and cold causes rot. We don’t want rot. If a frost is predicted, be sure to protect the containers with plastic or a frost blanket.