splitting dahlia tubers - photos

jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))April 3, 2005

I have been splitting dahlia tubers tody. Gosh, this dahlia collecting can get out of hand. Maybe I'll have to have a dahlia sale. LOL Now to find a sunny place to put them ....

I saw some shoots coming from this collection of tubers this morning, and noticed that some were on opposing sides of the old stem, and on different tubers. Aha! more plants, thought I.

I took my sharp utility knife, and split it down the stem, between the shoots, making certain that there was a tuber to feed the separated shoots.

I now have two shoots, with tubers attached.

I dust on some fungicide to the cut, and some rooting hormone, and prepare to pot.

I line a pot with newspaper. (This keeps the dirt from coming out, takes less soil mixture, and makes it easier to transplant in the spring to the garden, thus not disturbing the roots so much.) I then add scoop of the soil mixture.

The dahlias are then placed into the mixture and covered.

After covering the tubers, they are labelled, given a short drink, and set in a warm place to give them a boost.

Some of the ones I potted last week, I have taken to the garage, and on warm days, I take them outside to get some sunshine, which they truly love and reward me with nice foliage.

I can hardly wait until planting time. Unfortunately, we got dumped on last night with a snowfall, which means of course that the dahlias can't go out and bask in the sun.

....maybe tomorrow.

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jamlover(z4 Iowa)

Great photos, Jroot; I'm not into dividing yet, but sure would have a clear idea of how-to from your photos. Oh, this is the year for a digital camera. Got to have one. What do you look for when your main use would probably be flowers and grandchildren?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 7:59PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Hey Jamlover, your bio says "retired school teacher". Me too. I retired in the year 2000 but that only lasted a few months until I found myself working in a jewellery store. ( excuse the Canadian spelling). When did you retire?

Thanks for the compliment about the "lesson on division". It's a question about making the most of one's assets, and having fun at the same time. LOL. I'm like Poochella. I still have a lot that still need to sprout. But I will wait, and wait. I don't think I will ever have as much as she does though.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 9:42PM
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david1978jp

Do you have to divide it? How many eyes can grow together, not getting too crowded? Especially for potted dahlia.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 12:08AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

David, they don't HAVE to be separated, but if it gets too crowded, then the growth is not as substantial. Also, there will be less air circulation around the base, and mildew/mold can set in.

I did have some with a couple of stems coming out, and they looked good. I picked off the lower leaves to help with the air flow.

However, some bundles of tubers will put out a 6 or more shoots. I would think that would be too many. Of course, you could pinch off the ones you don't want, but if you see a lot of shoots coming up, why not separate and make more.

More plant,...more room in the pot,....better growth,....better flowers.

Thats' as I see it anyway.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 10:20AM
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Helen_vancouver(z8 BC)

Thanks for the newspaper tip! I never even thought about that!

Is there a reason to use rooting hormone? I didn't know I was supposed to do that. All the other stuff I've read thus far only used sulphur dust.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 10:49AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

No, Helen. No real reason for the hormone. I had it handy and so, put it on. I figure it won't hurt, but not necessary.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 5:21PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Jroot, great photos and teaching. I meant to post much earlier but got deterred.

I tried your newspaper liner trick today and ended up stuffing into the pot the biggest, messiest, mass of untidy newspaper I've ever seen! LOL Looked like kindling for a bonfire! I am totally artless, devoid of engineering skills, and non-crafty, so can you somehow easily explain how you fold that paper to make it looks so neat?

My other thought was to use the old trick: 'used Bounce dryer sheet' in the bottom of the pot if the idea is just to prevent soil from dripping out the holes. Do you think a used dryer sheet would harm dahlia roots? I could tackle on of those, but the Seattle Times is giving me a headache!

Thanks so much,
Pooch

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 6:13PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Okay, Poochella, I was doing some more tonight after work. Hence I took a few shots.

Take a newspaper (double sheet), and fold it as shown. It is just long enough to fold UNDER the soil in the pot to be lined.

Have a pot that will easily slip into the pot that you are going to be lining.

Wrap the newspaper around the pot that slips into the one you want to line. Some people use tape to hold it, I use my fingers.

Fold the newspaper over the bottom of the pot that you have lined ( the one that slips inside the other one that you want to line)

Put the lined pot into the one you want to line, and press down to ensure a good fit, and a snug bottom. This may take some practise, but I am sure you'll catch on quickly.

Remove the inner pot, leaving the lined pot.

"Practise makes perfect".

When it comes time to plant, I carefully tear away any of the paper that is above the soil level in the pot, and then plant the remaining paper pot and all into the ground. This decomposes quickly, and the roots and water readily get through. A lot less effort and a lot less stress for the plant.

I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 8:02PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

wonderful! Thank you so much,Jroot. I will give it a try. I wouldn't have thought of that in a million years.
Later on, I'll post a photo of my pathetic efforts for a good laugh..
Poochella

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 9:42PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Well, well, well: My computer can't seem to locate my camera. I want to send it an email and tell it : HEY! The camera is right there on the desk connected to you by a spunky little cable as in the past.... but no go.

I will try the troubleshooting software etc etc and try to post in a couple days.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 11:47PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

I had that happen recently. Computers are great when they work, but when they don't, they are very frustrating. I had to shut it down, and start up again, and all was okay. It was just having a hissy-fit. Maybe it's entering middle-age. LOL

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 1:40AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Here we go: a couple things to look at:
First, my pathetic pot stuffed with newspaper LOL a bit of soil and two tubers upright! Because I swear I read to plant them vertically for cuttings.
Note the fluffy fat erratic edges of the untamed newspaper LOL.

I told you I wasn't crafty!

Next, Jroot kindly showed us the easy "split it with a sharp knife tuber cutting." Following are photos showing exactly why you should consider digging and dividing at least every two years, if not annually.
This is a 3 year old clump of a particularly good grower and tuber producer: nothing short of a machete needed here unless you know Bob from Michigan's trick: the chisel or screwdriver to separate the clump!!!!

And some notes on the above mess. Don't let this happen to you. If you dig and divide regularly you will have a much easier time of it, have better plants, better flowers, have tubers to trade or share and won't have these huge things growing in your earth threatening your pots or building foundations...

And finally, a nice little collection of tubers from only one year's growth in the ground: so easy. Label good tubers before you cut! If they fall into a pile of tubers, they all look alike! Label first, cut later. See the eyes, cut around them to separate each tuber and you're done.

These were just dug up, so the eyes are sprouting and easier to see. But once you know what to look for, Fall clump division is just as easy.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 2:09AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Thanks, Poochella. The teacher in you is coming out. Photos really help us understand the process. With my poor old eyes, detecting where the "eye" is in the fall is quite difficult to see, hence the spring division. However, with your teaching, we all may be able to make life a lot simpler for us. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 2:28AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Those freshly planted cuttings are doing quite well, after a few days in the sun.

Some of them, I will contemplate doing some stem cuttings. On a few of them I missed some of the eyes, and there are multiple stems coming up. The weaker ones will definitely become leaf cuttings, especially for some of the newer dahlias.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 8:27PM
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jamlover(z4 Iowa)

Well, I'm back to look more after dragging out last summer's roots and trying to decide where the eyes are. When you have a mass of 12 to 16 mini baseballs hooked tightly to several little stems all joined together____ I'm feeling defeated. However my one order of 29 new additions came today and they are all one or two tuber divisions. They wrote on each tuber. What's the best pen for the job? They obviously know something that I don't. (Best I learn by fall) Guess I'll just have to chop into a couple of my old clumps and hope to have a good eye on each half. With a total of 40 new babies coming hope I didn't make a big mistake.
Jroot, I retired early from teaching___junior high, while it was still fun. I then went to work in a greenhouse. Been ten years already.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 6:40PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Jamlover, I had one with those tight little globular tuber clumps- very challenging to cut apart. You might very well be right to just hack the mass in halves or quarters and see what you find or are able to separate thereafter.

See the link for marking options: 'No Blot ink pencils' are great for Fall marking freshly dug/washed tubers to avoid mis-identifying. 'Veritas' pencil was too pointed and not as free-writing; a pain in the neck. After drying and rolling in sulphur, I find a med. point Sharpie works great. Then in Spring, you hopefully have a couple letters you can read to determine what you wrote before!

Here is a link that might be useful: Marking Tubers

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 7:42PM
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GreatbluebabyCT(z6CT)

Hi Jroot,
I was wondering what size pots those are? The width and depth.
Thanks,
Laura

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 8:03PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

The size of the pot is dependent upon the size of the tuber. One of my tubers is in a 2 gallon pot as it was a HUGE single tuber. Most are in pots that are 5" x 5" x 5".

There are some that need to be divided more, or I'll be having a dahlia bush. LOL

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 9:18PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Sorry about that. Here are the photos in 5x5x5 pots. Also one with too many shoots for its own good.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 9:22PM
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GreatbluebabyCT(z6CT)

Should I split my tubers in the fall or wait til' Spring?
Thanks and Happy Gardening,
Laura

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 2:54PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

The choice is yours Great Blue. Depending on how many clumps/plants you have, Fall division might make for less bulky storage needs. I used to store whole clumps in big Rubbermaid tubs with fair to good success most years.

With lots of dahlias that would be prohibited by space and expense of storage bins now. So I have converted to the Saran Wrap or Vermiculite-in-a-tub method after Fall digging, and dividing. Many, many tubers can be stored successfully in a relatively small amount of space with Saran wrapping.

The benefit of Spring division is that the plants are waking up and one can generally see the eyes more easily as they bud out to greet Spring's warmer temperatures and light.
Maybe you could try half of each method and see what works for you.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 4:07PM
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anna_lisa(Quebec)

HI very nice pictures. if you have too many dahlia I'am willing to trade with you I live in Montreal and i have over 45 and growing. Lots of different colors if interested please e mail me at vlorna49@videotron.ca
anna lisa

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 10:15AM
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wynative(z5 WY)

I am growing dahlia's for the first time this year - 3 yellow w/red stripes and 3 dark red ones. What is the best time to store them and VERY detailed on how to do it & @ what temp.? With all the great info above I know how to separate them :) and get them ready to plant in the spring. One more question : should I let them sprout before planting in the ground?

Marie

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 1:34PM
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bernie__pa(z6 Pa.)

I plant about 450 dahlias every year and store between 1200 t0 1500 tubers. I've tried just about every way of storing my tubers from storing the whole clump in a variety of media including peat moss, sawdust, wood shavings, vermiculite etc. with mixed results. I then begun digging, dividing, washing and storing them in the same media in the fall with somewhat better results. Over the last 7 years, I divide them in the fall and wrap them exclusively and directly in plastic wrap with just about 100% success. Following are some photos to illustrate the method after the have been hosed off and the hairy roots trimmed away.

This is a clump of Kenora Wildfire with the visible eyes or latent eyes encircled.


and this the clump divided and ready for wrapping.

This is a clump of Just Peachy.

and Just Peachy divided and ready for wrapping

As you can see tubers come in a wide variety of shapes from pencil thin to a potato shape and can vary in length from the size of your thumb to a foot long.
You will notice the there is a collar where the tuber joins the stalk. The eyes usually appear here or on the adjacent stalk if there is no collar.

Below shows the wrapping procedure.


Be sure to make a complete wrap to insure that there is a layer of plastic separating tubers.

This bundled tubers.

Bundled and boxed and ready for storage.

This method by far is the most efficient, cleanest and reliable of any I have used. The tubers emerge in the spring as firm as they were when they were put away in the fall. As I mentioned earlier, the success rate is almost 100%.

If you want more detailed instructions, Email me privately and I'll send you the article published in the American Dahlia Society bulletin.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 8:50PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

These are great photos, Bernie. That is what I do as well, except that I used recycled grocery store plastic bags with good success. Your way, however, allows one to see the condition in the winter. I am thinking that I will use your method this year. Once again, thanks for the very clear instructions.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 10:47PM
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tcgreene7(Spokane)

How do you get the tubers SO CLEAN?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 11:38AM
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bernie__pa(z6 Pa.)

After digging, wash away all loose soil with a fine spray hosing and trim away all stringy and hairy roots....then hose them off again.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 3:11PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Great photos Bernie.

TC you can also soak them after the initial soil wash off in about 10% bleach solution- that gets them clean and offers some antibacterial, antifungal function before drying for storage.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 8:23PM
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kmickleson(z9 CA)

I just want to thank Jroot, Bernie & Pooch for the excellent, clear lessons offered here. I've filed them all in my Sticky Brain, and will be greatly helped by them.

Karen

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 10:31AM
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kmickleson(z9 CA)

I just want to thank Jroot, Bernie & Pooch for the excellent, clear lessons offered here. I've filed them all in my Sticky Brain, and will be greatly helped by them.

Karen

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 10:32AM
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calpat(zone9ab No.Ca.)

Aha! now I can see what I did wrong! I'm printing this whole thread for future reference. Thanks to all of you Dahlia lovers for sharing with us novices! Pat

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 11:31AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

No problem.... Glad to help.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 4:57PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Bumping it up for this season's reference.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 8:42AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Thank you, Jroot.
BTW, how do you bump the thread up?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 8:46AM
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carol57078(5 S. Dak.)

I lost some tubers last winter, didn't use saran wrap,will this year, thanks for the tip. Can the tuber get to warm and rot?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 9:08AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Yes, Carol it can get too warm. Ideally I think you want a range between 35 and 45, certainly above freezing and less than 50. I followed someone's advice here and spent $15 on the "Thermocube" plug-in for use in our unheated back garage room. A space heater is plugged into the Thermocube, set to low in the area of stored tubers. Electricity will only go to the space heater when temps fall below 35. It's all magic to me, there's no visible thermostat on it but it worked very well after checking it many times on frosty nights.

If you had a global warming type winter, I don't know how you'd keep them cool. Root cellar I suppose. Don't think you have to worry about that in S. Dakota!

There are other factors that cause rot: growth of micro organisms, pre-existing rot, not enough curing/drying before storing, even excess nutrients taken up by the tuber during the season which is going to be my next posted question...

Here is a link that might be useful: Thermocube link

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 9:37AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Bumping is easy. Just post a wee message, and there it it...bumped.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 10:04PM
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mitanoff(Z4b Ontario)

This is an absolutely awesome thread. This would make a great start to a FAQ. Is there one for this forum?

I grew dahlias last year from seed and didn't realize that they would sprout tubers. I thought it was a different variety or something. I'll be saving tubers this year now that I know what to do.

Thanks a bunch.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 12:19PM
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carol57078(5 S. Dak.)

Thanks for all the information, need it this time of year. getting colder.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 10:38AM
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covella

Thanks for a wonderful slide show! I was feeling queasy about wrapping plant material in plastic wrap but if you say its ok, then I'll try it. I just have to figure out an area with the right temperatures.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 11:55PM
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janellojr(ZONE 5)

DUG UP TODAY WASHED AND SPLIT ONLY GOT 3 TUBERS ON A SEED GROWN PLANT AS BIG AS 3/4 thumb no green shown . Do you need to keep the piece of collar with the tuber or will they shoot from just the tuber next spring

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 11:42PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

You'll need to keep the bit of the collar or stem with the tuber. That's usually where the eyes are. Not every tuber will have an eye, some will have several. This is where a sharp narrow bladed cutting tool comes in handy so you can make cuts between tubers to sever enough of the stem/collar to give the tuber end enough substance to hold up- maybe 1/2 inch thick behind the eyes, or less. You can trim it down once it's off the clump, along with roots and rat tails.

I find that there's plenty of careful stabbing involved to get my shears positioned to get tubers off the clump without damaging their neighbors.

The red and green lines show where I'd make cuts, again going deep enough to keep supportive tissue behind the eyes. You should end up with nice trimmed tubers as shown by Bernie above.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 11:11AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Excellent photo, Poochella. Are you sure you weren't a teacher in another life? A good photo is always a great teacher aid.

Here is a link that might be useful: pulling the tubers out

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 12:07PM
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pdxjules(8, Portland, OR)

Thanx all for the great info. Wish i'd seen that potting method last Spring when I had sprouting going on - I'd have had more bloom despite having to wait till Mid-May to plant. I still have Dahlias (from Poochella's collection) that haven't bloomed yet - and so does my neighbor who planted almost half of the box. Hope I still get Tubers from them...as I am eager to Trade. Every one that has bloomed instantly becomes my new favorite.

Gotta say, I am nervous about making all those fine cuts along the eye areas. I'm already feeling mortified about possibly having some Tubers ruined. How the heck do you handle that? Wine?!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 2:00AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

pdxjules,

Wine does it for me. LOL

As a general rule, one plant will make many tubers, so if one get ruined, there are others to take the place. ...not to worry.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 10:07AM
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skaye(z7tn)

I've just discovered dahlias, and am thrilled to find this thread. Hope to be able to use it next year. Thanks for all the wonderful information.
skaye

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 10:46AM
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diane_v_44(Z6)

This has been very interesting. Could some of you show a phot of the shears or knife etc. that you use to make your cuts

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 10:23PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Diane I will have time to do this in the next day or two.

I am getting ready to begin the big cut down of still-blooming plants, but I have not been able to force myself to 'hurt' plants still kicking out blooms. It is a very funny time of year: I am sad to see the flowers go, and yet eager to see that the tubers are done and put to bed before it freezes.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 10:33PM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

I know what you mean about the funny time of year. It is Oct 26 and we should have had our first real frost at least 2 weeks ago! (zone 5b) However everything is still green, the heliotrope in my planter is still going and the ivy geraniums are loving the cool damp weather. I am waiting to mulch my peonies and other things before sprouts start poking up out of the soil. Global warming i suppose.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 1:56AM
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lanakolo(Z5 ONTARIO)

Excellent pictures! Very useful information! Big help!
Thank you everybody!
Lana

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 12:02PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Hey Lana. Good to see you here. Those Spring Trade dahlias must have worked for you. Now you'll have lots. Maybe you'll have some nice ones next spring that are different than mine.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 5:45PM
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senator

I am new to dahlias this past summer. I dug them up and let them dry. I did not rinse them off or put them in any kind of medium. I put them in a couple plastic pots and they are in my basement. Should I go throught the process of rinsing then drying and then wrapping at this point?

Help!!!!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 6:10PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Many people don't go through the process we recommend. The problem is that often they shrivel up and die. Sometimes they don't though but that depends upon where they are placed, temperature, dryness of the air, etc. If I were you, I would take a quick look at them. How do they look and feel? Are they smooth skinned, and firm? If so, you are probably in luck. If not, you may be purchasing new ones next spring. It was quite a few years that I did just that before I learned how to get the better of "mother nature", and increase the odds of survival.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 7:04PM
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linda1031

I've just purchased my first tubers (I know it's late, especially in this part of the country - South Carolina at the beach) I'm going to plant this week - your photos are above and beyond. I think I'll just plant and hope for the best. Do I need to divide in the fall?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 9:55PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

It's that time of year again for many. Checking the tubers today, and at a quick glace, found them all good and still sleeping.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 4:49PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Beverly (from NW Georgia),

You have an email responding to your questions. Best of luck.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 4:56PM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

I love this thread. I don't know how many times I've referenced it over the past couple of years. Thank you to everyone who contributed to it.
Time for me to check the status of my stored Dahlias and start splitting!
Linda

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 3:58PM
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CAstarter(Z9 OC, CA)

Ok, maybe I am blind but I just dug tubers for first time. They were in ground 3 years. I accidently cut bottoms off of a few of the tubers. Should I just cut those off?

Also, no shoots, and I am not sure about the eyes. I am in So CAL so I think I can just cut them and put right back in ground right now. Is this right?

HELP! Tubers laying here in need of some expert help!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 5:26PM
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peachguy

Hi everyone first year growing Dahlias and going pretty good. First of all the one that is up and going is a little spindly should i put it outside when i get home from school when it is warm enough? ALso yesterday i got one of my orders in the mail and only one tuber has a visisble eye. Will the others grow eye if i plant them in a shallow dish and water so they are kind of exposed, and replant into bigger pot as soon as eye emerge? thanks

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 1:27PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Castarter,

I understand that your tubers were in ground 3 years. Here in Canada, we just cannot do that as they will freeze. However, you are indeed in a more friendly climate. Personally, I would not worry if I accidently cut bottoms off of a few of the tubers. If I were in your shoes, I would be tempted to seal the broken / cut end of the tuber with a fungicide and replant. There may indeed by viable shoots coming from the TOP/STEM end of the tuber. You might consider making a really clean cut, if there is not one already. It may be too early to see the shoots and eyes. Alas, as I said, I am not from your area. If there is not danger of frost, and the soil is warm (60+), then by all means go ahead and plant. You don't want them to dry out in your garage, or whereever you have them stored right now.

Peachguy,

If your plant's stem is spindly, it is probably because the light is not intense enough ( even through a window). When it is warm, you can put it out, but you must remember to bring it back in at night when it gets cold, or even during the day when it is cold. I know that next week here is supposed to be around the freezing point.

Sometimes it takes a while for the tuber to develop the eye. What I usually do is lay the tuber out ON some growing media, with maybe a bit on the sides. This is made MOIST, but not wet.


Put this under lights or in a sunny window. Soon you should see a shoot develop, and then you can pot it up. This process may take a week or two or three. It all depends on the tuber.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 4:54PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Peachguy, I trust that you saw that I said MOIST growing media but not wet. If it is wet, the tuber can rot.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 4:56PM
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peachguy

Yes I did what you said about lightly covering them, and I brought my one outside for a few hours. So hopfullly it gets a little better. I Dahlia fever now they are sooo amazing looking can't wait for some blooms and for real spring weather to come.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 8:22PM
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soonergrandmom

I live in the NE corner of Oklahoma and have a few dahlia plants. I forgot to dig them up and the ones on the south side of the house don't freeze and have returned for several years now. This year I bought a box of 12 from Sam's and planted them in pots. I had them a couple of weeks before I opened the box and some of them had sprouts 10 or 12 inches long. I potted them and left most of the sprout sticking out of the soil mixture. Is that OK? They are in the sun and seem to be doing OK but I will have some REALLY crooked stems. What should I have done?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 3:40PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Soonergrandom, you will definitely have to stake your plants ( as do most of us ). However, you can pinch them off to a more reasonable height. I would pinch / trim them back to above 2 rows or 3 rows of leaves. You don't want hollow stems, as that traps water, and causes problems, but I would try pinching them back a little at a time until they are about 6 -8 inches tall, or as far back as you can without getting into hollow stems. This will force new shoots out the side, and you will get more flowers as a result as well. It doesn't sound like you are growing these for show purposes anyway, but I may be wrong. I usually pinch mine back, because I like bushy plants with lots of flowers, and I don't have the time to show.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 6:01PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Bumping this for good reference

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 7:00PM
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pdshop(5)

I did the saran wrap on 3 of the dahlia tubers this year and put them in the veg compartment of the fridge. I looked yesterday and they were all moldy. I had dried dthem out and powdered them and than wrapped them? There were three tubers to each wrapping?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 11:55AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

I have to admit, that I tried the saran wrap method and it did not work well for me. I prefer the recycled grocery bag method. Just that little bit of air helps, I think. Refrigerators are another factor, I fear. They tend to dehydrate. Just look at carrots after a while. They just don't last. I use my cold cellar. I dry them, powder them, wrap them ( there can be about 3 or 4 )in recycled grocery bags fairly tightly, but not too tight, pack them all into cardboard boxes, and take them to my cold cellar ( which does not freeze ). I rarely lose any using this method.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 4:42PM
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gladzoe(3a)

I had a mouldy one a few weeks ago so sprayed it with Lysol, let it dry for 2 days and planted it in dirt. There appears to be two purple sprouts coming out. Is purple a normal color?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 2:58AM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Just a suggestion to jroot's method above with the newspaper, perhaps coffeee filter from the $ store can serve that purpose as well?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:21AM
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dahliagardener

Gladzoe-- Purple sprouts are usual for some dahlias- most often a dark colored dahlia- dark orange, red or purple- but some pink ones have purple stems, too.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 2:47PM
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gladzoe(3a)

Thanks dahliagardner, I'm not sure what colour they are. had two stargazers from seed bloom and two that didn't. They were in the same container together with a couple of glads and I believe they were overcrowded. The tubers looked great, much better than the one that bloomed beautiful in purple and yellow but only produced rat-tail tubers.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 3:02PM
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rose_nutty(z4b)

I tried the saran method this year for the first time. Put all my special ones from Swan's (first time ordering) away that way, and put them in a spare fridge. I looked at them over the weekend, and am very disappointed. I think they are lost. Moldy, and either mushy or all dried up. The rest of my dahlias (the common ones) that I put away as usual in grocery bags in the garage are fine. I don't think I'll ever risk the saran method again. Don't know what I did wrong, but it sure didn't work for me.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 8:56AM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi jroot and All!

I'm glad to see that you prefer to use the standard method of storing Dahlias rather than Saran Wrapping. I've had excellant luck with my storing in peat moss for the past 5 years from negligable to almost no loss.

I came close to taking the chance this past fall to Saran Wrap a few but decided in the end to forgo. "If it ain't broke don't fix it.", was my analogy.

The only problem I've faced this storage season was the unusal warm weather that has forced some of the tubers to sprout when I checked them last week. But at this point I'm not worried.

Just a few more weeks to go to wake them up again.

Jim

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 3:28PM
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misslucinda

I successfully used the saran wrap method. The trick is to completely clean off the dirt and to let them cure appropriately 1 to 2 days depending on the humidity and then store as you would otherwise (no fridge).

Of course that assumes you have the time in the fall and can find the eyes to divide then. After my success I just fell back into my clump and recycled garbage bag method ala "JRoot" which is just fine if you have the storage space to wait for a spring divide.

Best regards to you JRoot and your most valuable posting!

ML

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:06AM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Well, I stored 280+ in saran in a fridge over winter. None rotted or otherwise spoiled in storage, but only 45 eyed up when I planted them. Because last year was my first time dividing, and because I didn't let them sit long enough outside before trying to divide, I had no eyes to go by. I suspect the failures were my fault for not keeping enough material on the tuber to let them eye up.

This year I'm growing all pot tubers, so dividing shouldn't be a problem.

I'll be looking for suggestions as to how to store the pot tubers in the fall. I don't have a cold room so I have to use a fridge. I'll probably store them in boxes with a bit of peat to cover the tops of the pots.

Cheers,
Russ

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 9:38AM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

Nearly time to bump this bad boy to the top of the forum again.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 12:42AM
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kylajo_08

Thankyou thankyou thankyou and thankyou... I was given a few clumps of Dahlias and had NO idea what to do with them! I am afraid I have likely ruined one clump... I dont think they have been divided in maybe 6 or so years... Easily 30 stems at the top of the clump and a LOTS of tubers... I have no idea what they look like even... It will be exciting to see what I have got! (It would have really been a drag if none of them grew!!) so thankyou again!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 6:22AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

It's that time of year again. I will be laying my dahlias out tomorrow under lights on top ( and very slightly covered) with growing medium.

Spring is here, the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer. I can hardly wait.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:06AM
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otnorot(z5ont)

Jroot I like your system its simple yet effective wish I had the room to do it.
Bill 77 years gardening.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 7:01PM
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v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

I'm very newbie with dahlias. What is the purpose of newspaper?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 1:18PM
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monet_g

v1rtu0s1ty, see jroot's first posting with all the pictures. He states - "I line a pot with newspaper. (This keeps the dirt from coming out, takes less soil mixture, and makes it easier to transplant in the spring to the garden, thus not disturbing the roots so much.)" There's loads of information on this discussion - I had to read it several or more times (or frequently) to capture it all.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 2:07PM
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mel-grower

Does it matter how the tubers are planted as long as the eyes are up? (meaning laying vertical or horizontal)Also are they like potatoes in which you can cut the bulb part in half and plant both halves as long as you have eyes in each?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 1:21AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

As long as the eyes are up is good, regardless of whether it is horizontal or vertical.

Yes, you can indeed split the tuber like a potatoe, as shown in the first two photos. Two for one, or often more. Now that's value. Actually, you will get stronger plants if you do separate them, as they won't be sharing the nutrition of the soil in which they are planted.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 10:49AM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

I was suprised how easy it was to split up the tubers when they eyed up, although I can sure split up 50lbs of taters faster than 50lbs of Dahlias, lol.

Should I pot up or let them be till planting time?
The tubers are all healthy and plump.
My growing season is about 105 days at best when I can get in the fields early

BTW, are Dahlia tubers edible for animals? I have some waste when splitting and pitched some plump tubers I didn't see eyes on or shoots. I was thinking the chickens or bunnies might like them if they are not poison to them.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:28PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Yes, they are easy to split aren't they. What I do, is lay them out with moist medium so they start to root, and when I am absolutely sure that they will sprout, then I pot them up. Potting them up early gives me a head start so I can enjoy them most of the summer.

Dahlia tubers are indeed edible. The early native people used to use them like a potato. As long as they don't have a fungicide on them from winter storage, they shouldn't hurt the animals at all. I can't feed the animals, because I do dust mine with fungicide and hence have little to no loss during the winter storage.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 10:12PM
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mel-grower

I don't think I communicated my previous question clearly when I asked if the dahlias could be split like a potatoe.No where in the pictures does it seem as if you can split the actual tuber itself as you can a potatoe which you can cut up in lots of pieces with eyes,Can you? And I assume they must also have part of a collar,true?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:27AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Mel-grower,

Thanks for rephrasing the question, as it is a good one. While potatoes have eyes sporadically all over the potatoe, dahlias have eyes only on the collar. I have split the tuber as you suggest with a piece of the tuber, and a bit of the collar containing an eye. The problem that often occurs is that rot sets in, hence I try to minimize the cut on the tuber. That being said, I have had some success doing it the way you describe. Sometimes, I have found the tubers to be too huge, and have cut off the bottom part. When I cut, I always add some bulb dust/fungicide to help cure the cut, and prevent rot.

I usually start them in the medium first, so that I can clearly see where the eyes are, and then make the cut.

We all learn through experimentation. Try some, and let us know how it works for you.

John

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:40AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

bump, upon request.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 8:02PM
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GardenEcstasy(5a)

For the first time this year I decided to plant two tubers about the size of an average potato and they both developed substantial tuber growth. I don't really want a bunch of the same dahlias so dividing them seems pointless except if doing so will benefit their growth next season.

1: Should I divide them now or will they store better if I keep them whole until spring.

2: Will they put on this same growth next season and become too crowded if I don't at least cut them in half?

They are both 8 inches in diameter.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:55PM
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vikingcraftsman

Boy I thought out of the dark and rainy night came JROOT. But alass no.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 8:50PM
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