During those bone-chilling Winter months the colorful, tropical dahlias are such a welcome paradise to view. Our wintry escape, only if momentarily, into a warm, sun-drenched Summer. Perfectly lit photographs and elegant words move us from mere dreaming to quickly ordering dahlia tubers that help soothe our Wintery blues.
If you are a Dahlia Grower and sell tubers, you know, Winter is the best market for selling dahlias. By March and April, tulips and daffodils are already blooming, everyone is busy outside in their garden. Big box stores already have cardboard boxes of half-shriveled dahlia tubers in their aisles. The bluster and gray of Winter has passed.
Greenhouse growers know that plants that are blooming when they are moved to retail stores sell out the fastest. Some will sell as they are being unloaded from the truck because you can see the blossom’s shape, color and form. You will not be disappointed later, finding out it’s not the color labeled because you are seeing it with your own eyes at point of sale.
Buying dahlia tubers online is different, they are dormant, ready to be planted. You are buying by the company’s word and photograph. There are many pros to ordering dahlias on the internet.
- You can receive tubers and store safely until you are ready to plant directly in the garden.
- Dahlia tubers can be potted up indoors or in a heated hoop house to get a head start before soil warms enough to plant out.
- Tubers can be started early and you can take cuttings to increase your supply.
- Dahlia tubers are much cheaper than buying potted dahlias at a retail outlet.
Small dahlia farmers (myself included) to medium sized growers, up to mega companies, all sell dahlia tubers. There are middlemen, internet-only companies that just buy from growers or auction houses and then sell online for a small profit. These big online companies trade owners and along with the business sale, their policies change unknowingly to previous customers. Most likely there is not a mention of new ownership.
Knowing who your dahlia grower is, such a bonus when ordering dahlias. When purchasing online dahlias ask yourself these questions first.
- What will the seller do if they ship the wrong tubers?
- Will the seller refund you?
- Will the seller just give you a credit?
I can speak from experience here. I’ve ordered tubers from big names and just this year waited 3 months after planting, an unpleasant surprise occurred. When the buds started forming, I knew theses dahlias were not the dahlias I had ordered. Such a big let down and a little fuming was involved.
A phone call made to inform the company revealed lots of dahlia buyers were calling in and saying these were not the dahlias that they had ordered months back. The rep told me they were mislabeled (a term you hear from middlemen) and they would promise to send the correct tubers next season. How is this acceptable? Would the lot be mislabeled next year as well? Are they just buying unsold lots at auction houses?
When buying directly from smaller dahlia farmers the chances of “mislabeled” tubers are a mere 1 percent if even that. Growing dahlias is our livelihood. Much care is taken from growing, to labeling, storing and shipping.
Small growers ship plump—Plump is good in a dahlia—healthy tubers with one or two eyes. Some growers label each tuber with permanent markings so little people can help you plant the Summer jewels and know the joy of gardening. Also if Fido runs away with one, leaves it on the front steps, you are covered as to what dahlia it is.
Dahlia farmers buy not only from wholesalers but also from other dahlia farmers to increase dahlia stock. Who doesn’t want the newest introductions or hottest color trends with florists?
Dahlia lovers, dahlia buyers and dahlia farmers all went the best. The best advice I can give everyone is to know your grower. Order your dahlias with confidence.
Until tomorrow…I’ll be out in the dahlias, smiling.