Forum home Plants

Dahlia advice please

Hi all,
it’s my first year growing dahlias, So zero experience. I have chosen 4 different varieties all to be grown this year straight from the dried tuber into the pots I want them to stay in.

Potted up about 100mm deep Feb/March time in the greenhouse, kept in there frost free until they were shooting and the frosts had finished. 3 of the 4 pots had shoots and I thought the final one was a lost cause as it did not shoot.

Curiosity got the better of me and so I dug down to the top of the tuber to see if it looked rotten, which it didn’t. I didn’t dig it out as the pot was dry , so I just left it in the pot with the old flower stalk exposed. I thought maybe there were no eyes on this one and so wrote it off as being a complete goner. This was a couple of weeks back and it has just sat in a very warm greenhouse. I went to retrieve the pot yesterday and I noticed what appears to be very small shoots on the old flower stalk from last year. I have no idea why it has appeared so much later than the others? Any ideas, the tubers did look in a terrible state on arrival in the post. Small, broken pieces, missing eyes etc. 

This first picture is of the first three that started shooting weeks back they have had a few weeks outside now.

This second picture shows how far down I dug away the compost to have a look at the tuber

The third, fourth and fifth shots show the tiny shoots on the old flower stalk.

Does anyone think this one might come good? Its a variety called Happy Halloween!

My question is should I now cover it back up with compost as the compost level in the pot is now 100mm below where it was originally ?

Any advice on what I should do to hopefully save it?


  • FireFire Posts: 18,044
    The tubers need to be more or less level with the top of the earth. You don't want to bury them deep. This is maybe why some tubers didn't sprout. So, no, I wouldn't cover them back over. I would let them carry on sprouting and when there is good leafage, water well. I imagine that once they get going, they might rocket away and catch up.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,066
    That's about the right level now. Hopefully it'll flower for you before Halloween :).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • msqingxiaomsqingxiao Posts: 482
    I had a similar experience with my two Begonia tubers planted in the same pot. One sprouted two months ago, and the other is just sprouting now. Good that I didn't chuck the second one away. Just kept it in the pot and kept watering it. The 10+ starflower and freesia tubers I planted directly into the ground in late Apr didn't sprout well though... Don't know why.
  • dappledshadedappledshade Posts: 1,011
    Due to building works, I wasn’t able to put my dahlia back into the ground until late April. I’ve heard it can take 5 weeks for them to shoot and mine only started a week ago. I thought it was a goner, but I’m glad I let it be now!
  • Thank you all, @Fire @JennyJ @msqingxiao @dappledshade for all advice and encouragement.

    it looks like I might be back on track then. Happy Halloween! 🎃
  • Considering it has been the first year I have grown dahlias I have been pleased with the results. Three of the four varieties I have grown have done better than I expected considering the modest size of the tubers that were potted up in the spring. Happy Halloween didn’t make it, it couldn’t manage a strong enough stem to get past the numerous slugs and snails.

    just realised that I barely took any photographs of them whilst blooming, too busy enjoying them!
  • The frosts have arrived and the three survivors in pots are looking very disheveled. If I plan to regrow them again next year in the same pots can I leave them potted and move the pots into an unheated greenhouse for the winter?
    Will they overwinter like this or do they need lifting and storing, any suggestions?
    many thanks for any advice anyone could offer.

  • David Howard this morning.
  • The wonderfully named “Pooh” this morning.
  • And finally “The bishop of Auckland”. Sorry about the numerous posts today,  my technology is causing me no end of difficulties this morning. Or it might just be me!
Sign In or Register to comment.