Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dahlia suppliers

Gillian asked me about reliable suppliers of dahlia tubers as she had bought a tuber from e-bay which was meant to be dark red but it had bloomed yellow.
It is always frustrating when that happens and it is NEVER something nicer than you had been expecting, always something in salmony orange or chrome yellow.
The problem is that all suppliers tend to buy at auction - they are bidding on lots which look more or less the same in their dormant state - so they are only as good as the word of the auctioneer and the growers .
As soon as a variety becomes oversubscribed there is a temptation to pass off other varieties as it - after all the customer won't know until it flowers and by then they may have forgotten where they bought it.
I buy in quantity direct from Holland and the firm that I deal with have so far been superb both in quality and in reliability. They don't speak English that well & I don't speak Dutch so I rely on a Dutch friend if I need to find out any fine details. They only sell wholesale though which is no use if you just want a couple of tubers.
In the past I have bought dahlias from Sarah Raven's Cutting Garden - her prices are high but so is the quality (I suspect we share a supplier!). I believe that her dahlia list will be out soon.
I do sell dahlias here at the van - but at the moment don't officially mail order them, though I would be quite happy to post them out. The varieties I am getting are 3 dark flowered ones - Rip City;Black Cat; and Choc and some fabulous Karma dahlias -bred as cut flowers with long vase life, good strong stems and vibrant colours - in pink and red. They will be available from March.


gillian said...

Jane, thank you for her help and advise. I am hoping to grow quite a few dahlias this year as I have been very inspired by what you do and am planning to do something similar in Sussex. Could you let me know how much you would charge for 20+ tubers. I have bought from Sarah Raven in the past and have been very impressed by the quality but the price is a bit too prohibitive for anything other but a few tubers. Many thanks. Gillian.

Primrose Hill said...

Hi Jane,
What should I do with the Dahlias I bought from you last year, they are still in the pots in the greenhouse, having died of course. Will I just need to take them out and replant them or have they had it?
L x

Jane said...

Gillian I shall try to e-mail you tomorrow with details.

Lisa - feel about in the pots and check that the tubers are firm and not rotten. They should be fine if you have them in the greenhouse.

If they are fine, leave them where they are - perhaps put a sack or something over them for added protection against frost. Then about 6 weeks before the last frost repot them and water. They should start getting shoots just at the point where the tuber meets the stem. A heated mat will speed this up a bit but if you don't have one don't worry.
Once it is frost free either put them outside or plant them in the garden.

If there is rot when you check the tubers, tip them out of the pot and see how extensive it is. If it is only one or two of the sausagey bits cut them off and chuck them on the compost heap. For a viable plant you need 2 intact tubers which are attached to the stem (does that make sense?). Dry out your tubers on the greenhouse bench - don't let them get frosted - then pack them into dry potting compost for the rest of the winter.

gillian said...

Jane, thanks for offering to send me the details. My e-mail is