Dahlia Tubers

I have just received some tubers in the post today and was wondering what everyone's opinions are on starting them off.

I would like to start them off ideally in pots, to plant out later in the year but I'm not sure what size would be best?

Also has anyone tried the 'chitting' technique as I have heard some people like to lay them on trays of compost in a dry bright place for a few days before planting, similar to chitting potatoes. I wondered whether anyone thought this was worth doing?

Any suggestions or helpful tips are of course very welcome image




  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    Hello, never tried chatting. Prepared tubers as verdun advises a trip, tested  and no fuss method. Success every time.

  • Thank you to the both of you, I shall try this tomorrow.

  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    imageimage Dear me, excuse my odd spellings  (not auditioning for 'allo allo') touch screens take some getting used to.

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Don't worry BizzieB, I chat to my plants all the time!

  • Haha I chat to them all the time too! lol

  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885




  • LynLyn Posts: 8,107

    I expect verdun to chat to his plants, maybe while he is on a trip image

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885





  • I planted most of my Dahlia tubers in pots last year in moist compost and kept them inside at first in a warm place. They then were moved outside when the weather warmed up. The majority of tubers shooted and produced a beautiful and continuous summer-autumn display. This method is the best. I also planted some tubers directly into the soil later in May with successful results. I will be doing the same again this year.

    Also, when the shoots are about 3 inches long (before hollow stems develop) you can take stem or basal cuttings and root them in small pots of compost to grow on. These will grow to flower during this summer season and of course come true to type (vegetative propagation).


  • Thanks Malcom I will definitely try taking cuttings once they grow.

    I planted them yesterdays into pots of Multi Purpose compost as suggested above and placed them on a sunny shelf in my GH. I haven't watered them in yet as I am waiting a week as suggested also above image

  • BluebaronBluebaron Posts: 200

    whats the difference between tubers and seeds? I am growing mine from seeds why buy tubers?

  • When a dahlia plant grows to maturity it forms swollen roots called tubers which act as its storage organs for supplying food and water. The tubers can be dug up at the end of the flowering season (Oct/Nov) after the first frosts and stored over winter and planted out again the next Spring - hence you don't need to buy tubers unless you want a variety of dahlia which you might not already have.  

    Dahlia seeds are formed in the pod after the flower has bloomed and then lost its petals. You can collect your own seeds from pods when they are mature/ripe as only ripe seed will germinate on sowing the following spring after a winter of dormancy/ 'shut down'.

    The choice is up to you - you can grow them either way. However if you don't want to be bothered digging them up and storing the tubers overwinter then just grow from seed and leave the tubers in the ground at the end of the season.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 14,246

    I only pot my dahlia up as they start to shoot( we've all seen bone dry tubers sprouting in garden centres). They sit on the garage floor over the winter. On mild days I open the doors to let in more light and , as they start to shoot I pot them up. This way I don't have to spend an age potting up 200 dahlias and then finding room to store them, in pots , until it's mild enough to plant out. Sure, they all end up in pots eventually, but that'll be a good few weeks off yet.

  • BiljeBilje Posts: 375

    Hi Edd, when you take the cuttings off the tuber the tuber re grows more shoots and when finally planted out the shoots flower the same year as do the cuttings. My tip is try not to keep the cuttings compost too wet as they rot easily. 

    I find it best to lift the tubers, I lost nearly all my stock one cold wet winter, I also find slugs feasted on the emerging shoots.

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,736

    I've just bought my first dahlia tubers. From the advice above i think i need to leave them be until i see some sprouting then in May plant directly  in the garden (I'd prefer them not in pots).

    Where should I store them until then please? At the moment they are in the house, still in the bags they are bought in.

    After flowering I will try (if I remember) to dig some up and grow some from  seed, what great fun!

  • BiljeBilje Posts: 375

    As they are bought tubers they will be quite small and prone to dry out. If possible pot them into damp compost. If I have had to delay planting I'd take them out of the plastic wrapping , label them and wrap in newspaper and store as cool as possible. They will need to be checked regularly, you can soak them if they start looking wrinkled. I don't leave mine to sprout whether pre potting or planting direct, mind you they have a mind of their own and may sprout regardless. People who grow dahlias develop their own way of growing and storing, there isn't a right way.

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,736

    Thanks, they are having 'a bit of a soak' then will plant in a tub in compost.keep somewhere frost free, garage(?), water a little every so often and remove to garden when see signs of life. fingers crossed.

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