Why take cuttings from dahlias?
As dahlias are easily cross pollinated they are more labour intensive for growers to grow specific varieties as opposed to growing them from seed. The added cost is inevitably passed on to buyers. Buying dahlia tubers can become expensive when you are buying lots of individual varieties as opposed to mixed packets of tubers.
The good news is, you can get a real bang for your buck by taking dahlia stem cuttings to grow new plants. Taking cuttings from dahlias can net you five to seven plants from a single tuber, plus you get to grow the mother plant on too!
When can I take cuttings from dahlias?
When the shoots have three to four sets of leaves, they are ready to take cuttings. You can take cuttings in the autumn too but you might not have as much luck as you will in the spring. Keep taking cuttings from the mother tubers until mid to late April. You can usually take five to seven cuttings from each mother tuber. Any more than that and you risk depleting the mother tuber so much that it will not be productive when you plant it out
How do I do it?
Select strong healthy shoots. Use a sharp sterile craft knife or razor blade to slice off a shoot with a narrow sliver of the mother tuber about the width of a penny. Cut above the lowest node or joint to leave a bud on the tuber.
Doesn’t this harm the plant?
Well yes, just a little but nothing that it can’t easily recover from. It will bloom a few weeks later than it would have done but you will be rewarded with many more plants, ergo, flowers by doing this.
How long do the cuttings take to root?
As soon as they are taken, place the cutting in a small jar of water. Soaking cuttings allows them to soak up as much water as possible before they are potted into cells. They take about three weeks to form their roots, you can now plant them into a larger pot about 3in/7.5cm.
Will the cuttings flower in their first year?
Cuttings will be much more vigorous than plants formed from a tuber so yes!
Will the new plants form tubers at the end of the season?
Yes, absolutely! They will need a full growing season and plenty of food throughout their blooming period. Their tubers after all are simply a food reserve for next year.