Old House Gardens
From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs

Order NOW for delivery in APRIL 2015.

Page 5 of Heirloom Dahlia Bulbs       << Previous 1 2 3 4 5
WISCONSIN RED, 1910?        Rarest
This striking family heirloom with it’s ruby flowers on dark stems is SO easy to grow and store that it’s been a pass-along plant in Wisconsin since the early 1900s. We got our start from our friend Vytas Virkau who got it from Catherine Becker of Wausaukee who’d been growing it since the 1940s. Then we met Brenda and John Hagman whose family has been passing it down since 1910 or before — or so it seems. Learn more here, or just plant it and join the tradition! Ball, 3”, 4-5’, heat-tolerant, grown for us in Oregon. Chart to compare.
SD63Add to basket:1/$8.253/$22.505/$35.5010/$6625/$149
YORK AND LANCASTER, 1915?        Rarest
The history of this intriguing dahlia is a mystery. One British expert told us it was rediscovered in a chateau garden and dated to 1915. Another said he saw it growing in a rural hamlet near Lyon and it dated to the 1850s. We’ll keep researching its past, but one thing for certain is its garden appeal. Every flower is different. A few open deep red, a few pearly white, but most are an unpredictable mix of both colors — très intéressant! Ball, 3”, 4-5’, grown for us in Oregon. Chart to compare.
SD61Add to basket:1/$93/$24.505/$3910/$7225/$162

WHY GROW DAHLIAS? They keep getting better and better in late summer and autumn when many plants are fading. They offer opulent flowers with lush colors and astonishing forms. And the more you cut them for bouquets, the more they bloom.

DAHLIAS AS CUT FLOWERS – For tips for longer lasting dahlias in bouquets, see our Bulbs as Cut Flowers page.

DAHLIA ARCHIVES – For customer tips and raves, the stories behind the bulbs, links and books, history, news, and more, see our Dahlia Newsletter Archives.

HISTORY – Dahlias were brought into gardens by the Aztecs, arrived in Europe in 1789, and by the 1840s garden writers in America were hailing scores of new varieties every year. Exciting new cactus forms were introduced in the 1870s, and in 1927 F. F. Rockwell reported that dahlias ranked in “the leading position of all bulbs grown in America.”

TIPS FOR SUCCESS – Dahlias prefer full sun and rich soil. Blazing hot summers are hard on them, but see our tips for the Deep South, below. Yes, you’ll need to stake them, but it’s easy. No, you don’t HAVE to dig and store them – it’s not a law in any state! When they freeze dead, just add them to the compost pile. We send complete instructions with all of our bulbs.

PLANTING & CARE – DON’T plant outside too early! Wait till after all danger of frost is past – when you’d plant tomatoes or later. Or you can start them inside 4-6 weeks early and transplant them outside when it warms up, which is what we do here at Old House Gardens.

Dahlias thrive in light, fertile, well-drained soil. If your soil is heavy (clay), add organic material or plant in raised beds. Full sun is best, but eight hours will do. Dahlias do NOT like extreme heat, so avoid hot spots such as near south or west walls.

If you garden in the Deep South or other areas with long hot summers, check out our special advice at http://www.oldhousegardens.com/DahliasForHotNights.aspx .

Space your dahlias 18-24 inches apart. Dig a hole a foot deep and wide; enrich the soil and return some to the hole. Pound a sturdy stake into the ground near the center of the hole so that 4-6 feet of it remain above ground level (depending on the ultimate height of the dahlia). In front of this, lay the tuber horizontally with the eye, if visible, pointing up – or set the entire pot-root cluster with the stem facing up – about 6 inches below ground level. Cover with 2-3 inches of soil. If your soil is moist, DON’T WATER tubers until they sprout. In soggy soil, un-sprouted tubers are prone to rot. If your soil is dry or the weather is hot, you will need to water, but don’t overdo it – till sprouts emerge.

As shoots grow, gradually add soil till the hole is filled. For bushier plants, “top” them after they get three sets of leaves by pinching or cutting out the center shoot. If slugs or snails are a big problem for you, consider bait.

Water regularly during the growing season, and fertilize lightly every 3-4 weeks until early fall. Don’t over-feed! AVOID HIGH NITROGEN FERTILIZERS such as lawn fertilizer. Use rose, tomato, or general garden fertilizer instead. Hand-weed; avoid ALL herbicides. Tie stalks to the stake as they lengthen. Double strands of garden twine work well. Dead-head by cutting spent blooms to encourage more vigorous flowering – or simply pick lots of bouquets! Dahlias like cool conditions (they are native to the mountain plateaus of Mexico), so growth and flowering peak as temperatures cool in late summer and early fall.

FOR EVEN MORE INFORMATION on growing dahlias, including how to store tubers over the winter (IF you decide to do that), click here for our spring Planting and Care page.

To return to the beginning of Dahlias, click here.

Page 5 of Heirloom Dahlia Bulbs       << Previous 1 2 3 4 5
For our print catalog click here or
send $2.00 to
Old House Gardens
536 Third St., Ann Arbor, MI 48103.
phone: 734-995-1486
help@oldhousegardens.com
For our free email newsletter,
“The Friends of Old Bulbs Gazette”
with tips, news, history, &
special offers,
send us an email with
“subscribe” in the subject line to
newsletter@oldhousegardens.com.