starting dahlias from cuttings

lovedahliasMarch 20, 2009

I have only one Omnibus dahlia and cannot seem to find any suppliers of this variety. I would like to start Omnibus from cuttings. Would anyone have information about techniques of starting new dahlias from cuttings? What part of the stem should be cut? What type of medium should they be planted and how often should they be watered? Any help would be very much appreciated!


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I've tried a lot of different ways of doing cuttings & had them all rot or damp off until a fellow dahlia club member told me about this method. I haven't lost a cutting since- & it's soooooo easy! First- you have to pot up the tuber with it's neck sticking out of the soil- use potting soil for this part. When the shoot gets about 3" tall or has a few sets of leaves, cut off the shoot about a dime's thickness from the tuber. Take off the bottom set of leaves & only leave about 1/4" of the stem under the leaf node. So... now you've got a little dahlia stem with a set of leaf nodes about 1/4 inch from the end of the stem & 1 or 2 sets of leaves on top.
Get some of those little plastic cups that you sometimes get ketsup or tarter sauce in at a restaurant. They're about 2" wide by 2" deep - not really necessary to be picky - any size will do. Slice a few holes in the bottom & fill them with playground sand- it's sterile & cheap!
Next, get a plastic container that's at least 2" deep & bigger than the cup you're using-- I have one that holds 12 of the little cups but you can use a magarine tub or sim. container if you're just doing one or 2. Put an inch or so of water in the container & put the cups in the water. Let the sand suck up moisture from the bottom until it's all wet. Take your cutting, dip it in rooting hormone- get the leaf node covered in the rooting hormone & tap off the extra so it's not too thick on the cutting, poke a hole in the sand & pop the cutting in. Firm up the sand a bit around it so it will stand upright. Don't do anything to the cups with the cuttings in them except keep the water in the outside container about 1/2 way up the cups. Don't let it go dry! Don't cover or do any of that stuff you have to do if you're trying to root in soil. When the cutting grows roots- you can tell by when it starts to get taller & grow more leaves & if you give it a gentle tug, it won't come out of the sand- then pot it up just like you would any new plant - into a pot of good potting soil. Grow it until it's time to put outdoors in the garden. Be sure to harden it off before you leave it out in the hot sun or cold night. The place where you cut off the shoot will grow 3 or 4 or more shoots for you & you can do more cuttings from them-- bonanza!!! I'll try & do some pictures for you when I get time. This is growing hydrophonically- the sand just holds the cutting up instead of letting it flop about in a glass of water- but you CAN start cuttings in a glass of water if you want- just be sure you have at least one leaf node under the water.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 10:32PM
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I started a few cuttings for the first time recently. I first planted the tuber with the eye out of the soil. Let it grow about 3 inches tall, and cut it off as close to the tuber as I could. I very quickly dipped it into water with a mild fungicide in it so that it did not get air bubbles up the stem (this is a bad thing).

I then filled a pudding cup ( the type you give kids for school lunches) with seed starting soil, made a hole, dipped the cutting in rooting hormone and put it in the soil, firming it up around the cutting.

I placed the cup with the cutting into a large ziplock bag and sealed it shut. I put it on top of the fridge for a few days, then into a north facing window for a few more, then transfered it to the south facing window, opening up the bag a bit for ventalition.

Took it about 3 weeks to root. I now have fresh eyes growing where I took the first cutting.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:38AM
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Thank you so much, PlantLady and HomeMommy for taking the time to provide your very valuable information! I am very excited to see if I can get my cuttings to produce well!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 8:52PM
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Yes thanks to both of you for providing clear,concise and easy directions for starting cuttings. I printed this all out and will place in my dahlia file for next winter. Steve in Baltimore County

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 9:22AM
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You can also root them in water. I have one favorite dahlia that I don't know the name of, so if I lose it I can't even buy a new one because I don't know what to buy. So this winter I brought it inside instead of storing it, and I've been taking cuttings every time it gets too leggy. I just cut off the top couple of leaf nodes (about 8" because of the legginess) and stick them in a bud vase. The ones I didn't add rooting hormone took about a month to root, but the ones I added rooting hormone to took only about 10 days. Then I just potted them and they are doing wonderfully. I now have LOTS of those little plants growing - maybe more than I know what to do with. =grin= I used half-gallon milk jugs with the tops cut out and slices in the bottom to plant them because they are so tall.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 10:34AM
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