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Dahlia basal cuttings and shoots

Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,030
2 questions really-

1. I've just taken a dozen cuttings, potted and bagged them. If condensation starts forming on the inside of the bag should I cut a hole to relieve this as you would for other cuttings?

2. Since I've been taking cuttings, do you really want to limit each tuber to 5 shoots no matter the kind? Some of the smaller varieties such as sneezy and star wars have loads of shoots. 3 or 5 total shoots seem to be the numbers often mentioned as the maximum recommended.



  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,030
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,069
    I don’t know the answer to your questions, Harry, having never taken dahlia cuttings before, but I’m interested to know how you did it. I saw Monty just slice off a shoot at the base of a tuber with a knife, other stuff I have read says you need to slice off with a sliver of tuber attached and his didn’t seem to have that. I heard a dahlia grower on GW previously say you get a more intense flower colour from root cuttings so I am keen to try it.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,030
    I tried to get a slice of tuber. Was a bit awkward, didn't originally intend to take cuttings at all so a bit of excavation was required due to their depth in the pots but did my best.

    Would hope for success, my percentage success rate with other cuttings up to now is poor so could do with a change!

  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053
    edited April 2020
    I bought a hobby craft scalpel for this as it is quite difficult to get a basal cutting without snapping the stem. I tend to arrange a few cuttings round the edge of the pot and put them on heat without a covering. They should show signs of growth in a couple of weeks.

    When I start them off originally, I do them in a tray of compost with the tuber visible as that helps me to see where they are when I take the basal cuttings. If you want to leave more than five shoots then do so. Some growers believe you get better flowering that way, but I haven't noticed much difference as long as the tuber is not too congested. 
    SW Scotland
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,069
    Ok, great, the consensus being it’s better to try and get a bit of tuber? My new ones are in pots and ones in the ground are left there, so it might be tricky this year. There is one in a pot that has pushed a bit of tuber up, which I keep re-covering with soil, but it seems determined! I might try with that one as it has several shoots.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • my question is does each cutting become its own plant? I see monty and Sarah raven cluster their cuttings in the same pots and I wonder if they’re doing this for a reason?

    this is Dahlia Josie (from Sarah Raven) - she’s in serious need of some thinning out!

  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,030
    Yes, each cutting will become its own plant and form a tuber by the Autumn.
  • Thanks @Dirty Harry I shall bear that in mind and remember to pot them on when/if they start rooting! 

    In answer to your initial query I had a smaller variety last year (can’t remember exactly but may have been something like moonshine) - that had more than a dozen shoots and i left it. It was fine and flowered beautifully all season.

    Hope that helps! 
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,251
    edited April 2020
    my question is does each cutting become its own plant? I see monty and Sarah raven cluster their cuttings in the same pots and I wonder if they’re doing this for a reason?

    I think it's just for economy/practicality - they'll probably be potted separately once they have started forming their own roots.

    @Dirty Harry - I think you should cut the bag, or use a pop bottle with the lid removed as a mini-cloche, and I would keep them out of the sun so they don't get too 'sweaty'. 

    I was late getting my dahlias going last year, May/early June. I didn't 'need' cuttings but as an experiment I shoved some in a pot in the shade of the fence near the house with no cover. They all took. I accidentally knocked off a young shoot from the mother plant, and shoved it into the compost in the same container... and that one took too! The only thing I did to help it was reduce the leaves a bit. So it seems dahlias are keen to strike from cuttings!
  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,030
    They must have been getting a touch warm in the conservatory as I moved them to the spare room yesterday evening and any condensation has gone.

    I'll keep an eye on them and if any more forms I'll cut a hole in the bags.
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