cats39(z5 Upstate NY)February 16, 2007

Hi All!

I normally don't start my Dahlia Tubers until sometime in March but a friend ask me to start the a tuber for a project.

I placed it in a medium on 12/29 and had to take 2 of 3 cuttings on 1/22. My question has to do with the image below. I've always placed my cuttings in water and have had a great amount of success. The loss rate is negligible.

Some will show root structure right away and then others will take on a for a lack of a word a pustual type of formation. Can someone tell me what this is called? And why it happens?

Thanks in advance.


This is the plant with the cuttings.

You probably are well aware of the heavy snow in Upstate NY. I live just outside and East of Syracuse. We were very fortunate as the snowfall was nothing compared to 20 to 40 miles just North of here (141" of snow in Redfield NY during a Lake Effect Snow onslaught of last week. I'm not sure how much more they got out of this storm as we had 28". So I just thought I'd throw in a couple of winter shots. I can't wait for Spring either!

Will my Compost piles ever thaw?

I wish I loved the outdoors in Winter as much as our pet dog.

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Poochella(7 WA)

Hi Cats,
Now that is snowfall. Your dog is beautiful and looks right at home protecting his/her drifts. Sure hope you have a snowblower.....

Do you use rooting hormone on your cuttings? The photo looks like clumped up rooting hormone, or else like a colonized mold or bacteria. Are the stems rotten or mushy under that white stuff?

I think you're the first one I've heard to use just water for rooting and with good results too. The PVC (?) tubules are a good idea to keep them upright- very clever.

Despite the snowy photos, I've got spring fever from seeing your dahlia growth. The first mini irises and crocus are blooming out here so it won't be long to unpacking time for the tubers.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 7:52PM
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Hi Jim, Love your pictures of the snow... wish we had some of it down here in Atlanta. We had about 7" about 50 miles north of here a week ago but none here.
Your cuttings look great also and a great way to get them started. I have never tried them in just water but a lot of other plants seem to root like that so why not dahlias.
The white calluses on the stem are a prelude to the roots starting. They will show up in about 7-10 days and then the roots a few days later. In using Oasis Wedges I usually see some roots around 20 days for most cuttings but some take longer than that and Oasis says 28 days at least. Have you tried the wedges?
I hope the snow melts soon.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 8:46PM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi Pochella and Huey and ALL!

First Huey! Thank you for identifying this callusing growth. Im really more of a novice at these things than anything I can write and digital imaging can certainly be helpful. Taking cuttings (of more common plant growth) and placing them in water comes from my Mother who propagated this way, although she never saved Dahlias tubers.
As kids growing up we had a root cellar. It was a common thing and boy would I like to have one now. When I started saving the tubers and bought them out in the Spring I said, "Why not put them in water?", and thanks to Mom it seemed to work okay. But IÂve also realized a great deal of information from this Forum.

I would guess if there is a disadvantage to this way of rooting it would probably be space consumption as I do a lot of cuttings. I might point out rather than tap water I presently use "sump pump" ground water and when I lived in the "City of Syracuse", I used rainwater or snow-melt.

I have an image of a cutting that rooted rather quickly this way (this year) that I will paste below, and again the novice in me doesnÂt know or has ever heard of an Oasis Wedge. IÂll take the time to look up and if I canÂt find the answer IÂll get back to you. But in the meantime it sounds like some sort of growing medium?

Poochella and Huey! About the snow images and melting. Despite what others may think "Ground Hog Day" doesnÂt happen here in Central (Upstate) New York until March 2nd rather than Feb 2nd that most others celebrate. At least thatÂs when I celebrate it. This recent snow will melt soon in a few weeks and I always look forward to seeing the ground again. Once that happens I look forward to the last snowfall and another "wiveÂs tale". ItÂs a saying from my Grandmother, about this event. "Not to worry, itÂs a "Poor-manÂs Fertilizer" and things will start growing now!" - - - that commonly happens in early April.

Huey! Thanks again!

Now Poochella! Saving the best for last by saying,

"THANK YOU!" for complimenting our pet. It would be a long story but would you believe somebody abandoned this beautiful animal (her) in Feb of 2001? She loves the outdoors and I think it may be one of the reasons. Fortunately for her I like being out there too!
My DW insisted I get a snow-blower a few years. But I still sneak in the shoveling on occasion.

If you don't mind my pointing out my youngest Grandson named her "Nova" as in the 1962 Chevy Nova my son owned. It didn't seem appropriate for a girl but I also thought it was suitable as in a "New" beginning for her.

I donÂt use a rooting hormone (although I do have it). I cut cleanly and place in the water. Although IÂve never paid attention IÂm sure my loss ratio is less than 5%. I would assume those who show and prize theirs would frown on this rooting method.
YouÂve already got "Spring Fever"! Good for you. Right now I canÂt really think about it with the snow on the ground. It might cause "depression" :>) although I do have harbingerÂs of "Spring". One is the "Daytona 500" and the other that rates right up there is the first sightings of the "RedwingÂs" that usually always happen on or about March 15th.more important.

Spring will be here before we know it!

Thanks again!

About this cutting:
I checked my Dahlias on 12/5 and found some unknowns badly wilted. I normally would throw out but the experimenting in me placed them in a plastic shopping bag and sprayed with "sump-pump" water and tied the bag losely.

On 12/13 eyes developed.

On 1/3 signs of root growth.

On 1/11 I placed in soil medium after imaging.

I took off the first set of leaf growth and the plant on the right is that rooted growth. The plant on the left is
from tuber growth.

The one on the right is the rooted cutting.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 8:49AM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

I wanted to paste this image with my last reply by saying I know that many hate the thoughts of winter and cold. Syracuse is known as the "Snowiest of the Largest Cities in the USA and possibly the World". But when you live in this sort of clime you have to somehow live with it. I think the below image is one say's that:

Like many we had very mild weather up until 1/15 and this was the first heavy snowfall of the year and taken shortly after the sunset at 05:13 PM.

If I had to put a title it would be "Look at the Brighter Side"! I hope you agree.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 9:14AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

A good thing about the snow Jim, is how insulating and quiet it is, let alone beautiful! That sunset photo is wonderful.

I think Nova is a great name for a dog on her new adventure with you as owner. I bet she's a great garden companion and happy that she found a decent owner.

Below is a link to oasis products for rooting. Oasis is the light green foam block product used by florists to stabalize stems in arrangements. It comes in all sorts of colors now for that purpose.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 2:11PM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi Pochella!

Regarding the Oasis Wedge. Believe it or not I have some that I've never used and was going to give it away. I just never knew that's what it was called. But now comes another thought and question?

I was seriously thinking of showing a few Dahlias at our local NY State Fair this year in the novice group category whereas they devote 2 full days of the 12 day run to the Dahlia. I noticed the Dahlia's in Show had wedged blocks of wood for stabilizing purposes.

I know there are rules to be followed but I didn't notice, do they use this Oasis product as a "wedge", or can it be used? Although I can see a wood wedge might be more practical.

In your first post you mentioned the use of the PVC(?) for the cuttings. It's actually not PVC pipe. I did use that originally and you can see those in the already grown container. (I have the time and I like to water within the soil medium as there's less evaporation.)

What you see in the cutting container's are those Christmas 3' tall Candy Canes that I purchased for like 0.25 cents on an after Christmas Sale a couple of years ago. Much easier to cut :>) than PVC pipe.

So for me they hold a two fold purpose, for cuttings and later watering when the cutting is surrounded by soil.

You also mentioned the benifit of snow as an insulator. I'm sure we've had over 80" to 90" of snow since about the 20th of Jan. (And believe me, I'm thanking the Good Lord we don't live 30 or more miles further North where some areas have had 150" to 200" during the same period of time. And believe it or not I was fishing on Jan. 15th which is more rare than the amount of snow. We had 60 degree temps after Jan 1st.

The other day I had to snowblow the large amounts of snow away from the deck as I could no longer add to the pile and the ground underneath is not frozen. So I hope it can stay in this condidtion for a few more day's into March as the Sun is getting higher and what we have now on the ground (well over 30" in my backyard) will melt sooner than later with this situation.

Again thanks for your replies.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 8:11AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

You'll have plenty of moisture when the snow melts Jim, be glad. Be busy with the snowblower, but be glad!

I can't tell you anything about showing dahlias; others can. Maybe email a NY dahlia society for tips? You should show your dahlias! They're beautiful. I read the first two paragraphs of about 6 pages of instructions for dahlia requirements for local county and state fairs and had to bail out. Not my cup of tea. It started looking to me like the comic you see about dogs, if you've seen that one: "What you say to your dog. What your dog hears: "blah blah blah blah...." LOL

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 10:33PM
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plantlady2(NW Washington)

A lot of fairs have garden club rules for showing & have garden club judges & some have dahlia judges in the dahlia section & go by ADS rules. At the NW WA Fair dahlias are displayed in bottles & you can use just about anything you want to hold them up as long as it doesn't go above the rim of the container. You can use oasis if you want but I wouldn't use the wedges-- they're far too pricey to waste like that. You can cut up the cheaper stuff from the local craft store, though. I usually use Sahara-- that's the dried/silk flower equivalent of oasis because it's firmer & you don't need it to soak up water since the blooms are in water already-- and it doesn't bruise the stems like wooden wedges can.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 7:15PM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi Plantlady! As always thank you for the info that is always so helpful.

Ive taken the time to paste several images from the 2006 State Fair Show that ran from the end of Aug into Sept. Theyre not the best quality photos but certainly refreshing to look at as we think of times to come.

Ive had a number of individuals who have said that I should enter some of my blossoms for this Show. Im not in a position to be critical of anyones hard-work and enjoyment and certainly wouldnt want anyone else to be either. Judging would be way out of my character.

But as my wife said as I was taking the photos, "Gosh Jim, your (actually meaning some of your) flowers look better than these!" But I quickly pointed out that the flowers had been shown for two days and some of the people who are showing are not here and back home hours away. Some needed to be tended to, as the clearly needed a drink. (For us it's only a 20 minute drive.)

We dont have a Dahlia Society here in Syracuse as they have in Rochester and in the Southern Tier and both are out of the question for traveling at this point in time, although Im toying with the idea of joining a Garden Club here as to better learn rules. I just got done copying the rules of the NDS and the "General Rules" of the Long Island Dahlias Society.

The reasons for the photos and not trying to put you on the spot can you visibly see any "dos and donts".

You mentioned: "you can use just about anything you want to hold them up as long as it doesn't go above the rim of the container." It appears that most of the wood wedges are above in the containers, is that okay?

Also when you mention: "You can use oasis if you want but I wouldn't use the wedges-- they're far too pricey to waste like that." Im assuming youre saying wood wedges? Is that correct? If it is I would be able to cut m own instead purchasing.

I also will check into the use of Sahara as you said it protects the stem better, thanks. The photos are of a few individual blossoms and a couple with group blossoms.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 11:16AM
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plantlady2(NW Washington)

The wedges I was referring to were the oasis wedges- they're quite expensive as opposed to getting the cheap stuff at a craft store & cutting it up.
Support- in an ADS show there can be no support above the rim of the container- obviously, the fair in your picts. doesn't have that rule. I think if this were the NW WA fair the judges wouldn't like the supports up there showing like that- & if you can have them that high-- how high up can they go? I'd see if I could find out-- the head of the floral dept. could probably help you out there.
Do's & don'ts-- some of the entries have way too many leaves to be attractive. In an ADS show one set of leaves is required but if it's a large bloom (AA or A) then sometimes 2 sets will look better. Too much clutter takes away from the look of the entry- as if they're trying to hide something.
Stems in proportion the the size of blooms makes a better display, too- so the smaller the bloom the less stem needed to make it look good, but a large bloom sitting with it's neck on the rim of the pot looks uncomfortable & cramped. Nice straight stems are more attractive than crooked ones & will probably net you more points in the judging. When entering triples-- have them all looking in the same direction with one taller one in back & the two shorter ones in front the same height-- or two of the same height in back & one shorter in front-- the main thing is to have them all looking at the judge.
Be sure your blooms are hardened off & in top condition -- they'll last longer & look better than the competition. Cut them the day before & put them in floralife in a dark, cool place for a few hours to drink before staging them in the containers. Cut either in the early a.m. before the sun hits them or late in the evening after they've gone to sleep. We're usually out there at 6am the day before a show, cutting & putting in buckets to harden off. Floralife in the water really helps, too. We usually don't have to replace any of our fair entries the whole week since they're in water with floralife- not foam - & can drink freely. Some people's entries have to be replaced by Tuesday- 2 days into the fair.
When we first started entering in the NW WA fair there weren't too many dedicated dahlia growers entering -- more garden clubbers-- & since we followed ADS rules, we always won everything because the blooms were displayed to their best advantage & anything that I didn't think deserved a first, didn't get to go to the fair. So if it doesn't look good at home, it's not going to look good at the fair & why bother going to all the trouble of taking something that's less than the best- it's a lot of work!
If your wife says your flowers look better than these, they probably do-- just say, "Yes, dear" & proceed to enter & knock their sox off!!
Fairs are a good place to start because they don't have as hard & fast rules as ADS shows & you can get your feet wet there & then you're ready for the big time-- there's nothing like entering an ADS show & getting your first blues against all the hard-core dahlia growers!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 8:46PM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

WOW! Plantlady!

What a wealth of information for someone like me. I'm so glad I asked and am more happy you took from your time.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 9:19AM
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plantlady2(NW Washington)

You're welcome- always glad to help- that's why we've spent all thet time at judging school!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 6:39PM
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plantlady2(NW Washington)

Cats39- I forgot to tell you to look at our "Dahlia Shows" album to see how dahlias are displayed in an ADS show. There's seven pages of entries from various shows around the Pacific NW. The pictures should give you a lot of hints as to what the judges are looking for in a show dahlia. If you click on an individual picture it will come up bigger & you can get a really close look at it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 9:10PM
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