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Trying to get cuttings before Dahlia dies

Sazz101Sazz101 Posts: 221
I managed to save 4 dahlia tubers  from last year which seemed to sprout nicely this spring. As all four have reached the point of almost flowering, they wilt and when I check they have rotten tubers. I had to chuck the first one but I’m loathed to chuck this one as it was my very favourite Labyrinth, which is hard to get in 2019 because of crop failure. So I have a wilting 3 ft plant with no healthy young tuber growth to take cutting of. Rooting powder arriving tomorrow but that will probably be too late. I’m done ‘surgery’ by cuttings away as many of the rotten tubers as I can get to without completely destabilising the plant.. I counted 5, the whole one side of the plant. 

My questions are these:
Do cuttings from Dahlia stem tips on established plants work? Do they need rooting powder? If I cut off the buds, is a cutting from the tip of the plant likely to be successful without rooting powder? 

Thanks in advance for any help! :)


  • LynLyn Posts: 21,894
    I’ve done them from shoots, never used rooting power, that’s your choice.  Just poke them in a small pot of compost, around the edge, cut off all the buds, and a few leaves, cover with a tent of plastic bag for a day or two. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,678
    Dahlia cuttings need to be from near the tuber. If they are hollow , from higher up they will not root. Why has it rotted? Did the pot have holes in the bottom?
     I also have labyrinth, they seem slow to get going, but beautiful when finally in flower.
  • Sazz101Sazz101 Posts: 221
    Thank you Fidgetbones and Lyn. I will try one, nothing to loose at this point! With try to cut nearer the tip in the hope it’s not hollow up there. 

    Fidgetbones, good question. I used the same growing solution as last year (when I didn’t have this problem) which is a large single drainage hole in the bottom of a 60litre pot filled with fresh compost on a patio with feet to aid drainage. The first one that died was in a bed of fresh compost to about 3 ft (raised bed) and then chalk. 

    Saying that, I do tend to over-love my plants and every time I saw them droop I watered (about every two days) without checking the soil. I only noticed tuber rot because there was a 5cm hole in a large visible tuber. On inspection they were all completely liquified and so sign of worms / borers.

    So to summarise, I probably over watered 😖

    thank you both again!! 
  • Sazz101Sazz101 Posts: 221
    And Fidgetbones I hope your Labyrinth plants do wonderfully! 
  • oooftoooft Posts: 191
    I use a scalpel and take a small section of the tuber with the cutting. I use hormone powder. I took over a hundred cuttings earlier this year and planted the first 40 out at the weekend. This method works for me. I gave them bottom heat too but don't know if that's needed at this time. Mine all rooted within 2 or 3 weeks. Good luck saving your strain
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