FAQs — GROWING DAHLIAS

What’s an eye?  

The eye is where the sprout begins to form.  Think potatoes here. Unlike potatoes, dahlias only form eyes at the top “neck” of the tuber (where it attaches to the plant it grew from.).   Eyes can be tiny when the plant is still dormant and tend to bulge as the sprout forms. Even then, they can be hard to spot!


When should I water my dahlias?

Wait to water dahlias until the first sprouts have emerged.  Dahlia tubers do not need water to sprout and too much water early on can rot the tubers.


My tubers sprouted in the bag before I planted them!  What should I do?

Are your tubers stored in a cool spot?  If not, move them somewhere above freezing, but ideally below 40*.  This keeps them from growing too soon. If they’re already cool, it’s likely they’re just getting close to being ready to be planted.  This is common later in spring. They’re just eager to get growing. If danger of frost has passed, go ahead and get them in the ground.  If the sprout gets really long (more than 4 or 5”, go ahead a break it off about 2” above the tuber before you plant. If you’re tubers are sprouting and you’re still a long way off from having good planting conditions (or your soil ready) you can pot them up in a flower pot to get them started.  Just use quality potting soil, keep the soil slightly damp (not wet!) and placed in a warm, sunny location. Then just transplant when soil conditions are right.


I planted my tubers two weeks ago and they still haven’t sprouted!  Should I dig them up and see if they’re growing?

You know the saying: don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.  But for real; just let them be. I promise they’re busy growing underground! It can take up to 5 WEEKS for tubers to sprout.  It can depend on the variety, the soil temperature, the depth you planted and lots more. Just keep waiting patiently!


I think I planted my dahlia upside down!  Will it still grow?

While it’s best to plant your tubers laying on their side with the eye facing up, they want to grow and that will sprout will eventually find its way to the surface, it just might take a little longer.   


Do my dahlias need fertilizer?

Dahlias are similar to tomatoes in their nutritional needs.  (Read: they like to eat!) We recommend amending your soil with compost before planting and adding a small handful of bone meal in the bottom of the hole when you plant.  No worries if you didn’t! You can also fertilize by top dressing with bone meal or spraying the foliage with diluted fish emulsion. Both products are available at a garden store and include directions for dosing on the package.


How will I know when to dig up my tubers?

It’s best to wait at least a week after a killing frost. Your last frost date (found by googling your zip code plus “last frost date”) is a helpful indicator of when this usually happens in your area.  A killing frost means a frost that is cold enough to kill the foliage of the plant. It will cause the plants foliage to darken, wither and die.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT GROWING KINDNESS


Do I have to be able to grow a garden to participate?

Definitely not!  This project is about the joy of giving and sharing kindness through flowers.  While having your own garden (even a small pot of Cosmos on your balcony) makes it easier and more accessible to share flowers, you certainly can still give flowers without growing them.  We’d highly recommend connecting with a flower farmer in your area: it’s a win, win, win! You support a farmer, you bring someone joy, and you reap joy in giving.


What if I’ve never grown flowers before?

No worries!!  We promise growing flowers is easier than you’d think AND we’re here to help you all along the way.  Team members will find all the basics and lots of tips and tricks in our free downloadable Growing Guide and tips, tricks and advice in our newsletter.  


What if I can’t commit to giving flowers regularly?

Remember, even one bloom makes a difference!  Some Growing Kindness Team members share flowers weekly, others less often.  What matters is that every act of kindness counts.


What is the difference between a Growing Kindness Ambassador and a Growing Kindness Team Member?

Both are committed to sharing flowers in their community.  Both receive downloadable guides, printables and newsletters with support and encouragement for growing, arranging and sharing flowers.  Ambassadors have a higher level of commitment to growing the project in their community and are supported with free dahlia tubers and plant starts and additional learning and support opportunities.  All together, we make up the Growing Kindness Project, each of us doing our part in our little corner of the world.


How can I become an Ambassador?

Because we want to be able to provide the Ambassadors with an extra level of support and generous supplies to start their gardens, we choose to keep the Ambassador team small.  Our 2019 team is in place, but we’ll be accepting applications for Ambassadors in January and will share all the details via our newsletter and instagram leading up to that date!  Stay tuned!


I noticed a lot of people share pictures of the flowers they shared or who they gave them to.  Do I have to share pictures to be a part of this project?

If you’re inspired to share a picture, we’d love to see it so we can cheer you on!  (Just use the hashtag #growingkindness or tag @twigandvine). We’ve found there’s such a ripple effect that occurs when we share this story; you never know who you will inspire to follow you in sharing flowers.  That said, it shouldn’t ever feel cumbersome or artificial. You’ll know if or when it feels right to share the story and when it’s not.


Can I share this project with my friends?

We would LOVE for you to share about what you’re participation in this project!  And if you’re inspired to invite your friends to join us, that would be amazing!  We just ask that the materials you receive as downloadables are used by you alone. They shouldn’t be reprinted or distributed to anyone without written permission from Twig & Vine. Everyone is welcome to the resources. We want to stay personally connected to those who want to participate in the project, so we just ask that they sign up for the materials using our form linked here & we will happily send their own copies.