Hello! Dahlia By Martyn Phillips

With the new Hello! Dahlia, you can say goodbye to pastproblems associated with seed dahlia, including double-sowing to avoid low andinconsistent germination rates. Hello! offers exceptional germination rates,excellent seed uniformity and is easy to produce as a bedding plant or as apremium, potted product.


Sow Hello! in 288-count or larger plug trays; it is notnecessary to provide light for germination. Cover seeds lightly with coarsevermiculite to maintain moisture levels. Media should barely be moist to thetouch or one on a scale of one to five, with one being nearly dry and fivebeing saturated. Media EC should be 0.5-0.75, pH should be 5.5-5.8 andtemperature should be 68-73¼ F.

Once the first true leaves begin to emerge, the media shouldbe allowed to dry to the touch between waterings. At this point, thetemperature can be lowered slightly to 65-70¼ F, and fertilization canbegin at 50-75 ppm nitrogen using a calcium-based fertilizer. Fertilization canbe increased to 100-150 ppm nitrogen when the roots are penetrating the plugcell and the second set of true leaves is present. If necessary, B-Nine can beapplied at 750-1,500 ppm in the plug tray. When the roots hold the plug masstogether easily and there are at least 2-3 sets of true leaves, Hello! is readyto transplant.

Growing On

Hello! shows best in 4- to 5-inch pots. Select a porous,well-drained media and plant plugs somewhat deep to produce a more stableplant. Media pH should be 5.8-6.2. Maintain moderate moisture levels whilecontinuing to allow media to dry to the touch between waterings. Do not let theplants wilt; too little water will produce small plants. Using a completefertilizer with micronutrients, constant liquid feed at 150 ppm nitrogenmaintaining a media EC of 0.8-1.0. After transplant, temperature can be raisedslightly to 68-72¼ F for 10 days to stimulate root development. Afterthese 10 days, the temperature can be lowered slightly to 65-70¼ F.Temperatures below 62¼ F will slow plant growth and produce more compactplants, while temperatures above 80¼ F will inhibit flower initiation.

Other Must-Knows

Light. It isextremely important to note that dahlias want to form tubers under short days.This makes it necessary to provide night interruption lighting or extend daysto 12-14 hours in order to suppress tuber formation.

PGRs. Hello! has excellent natural branching, and nopinching is necessary. If necessary, Hello! responds to B-Nine at 750-1,500ppm.

Pests/Diseases.Thrips, red spider mites, whitefly, aphids and leafminers are sometimes foundon dahlia. Botrytis, mildew and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus are also occasionallyfound with dahlia.

Scheduling. A cropof Hello! in 4- to 5-inch pots can be produced in 9-12 weeks. Plug crop time is3-4 weeks, and a 4- to 5-inch crop can be finished in 6-8 weeks fromtransplant.

Hello! comes in six separate colors and a mix. Colorsinclude White, Yellow Shades, Bronze Shades, Scarlet Shades, Rose Shades andPink Shades.

Martyn Phillips

Martyn Phillips is the trials coordinator for Goldsmith Seeds in Gilroy, Calif. He can be reached at (866) 224-3877 or E-mail at martyn@goldsmithseeds.com.

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