Can cuttings be planted deeper

ginjjMay 14, 2008

I have some cuttings of dahlias from an expert grower. I thought I heard somewhere that plants from cuttings could be planted an inch or so deeper than their current soil line.

I also remember hearing that cuttings, since they aren't planted as deep as tubers, are not as strong plants.....ie tubers are placed 4-6" below the soil surface and in this case, my cutting only has 3" of soil so it seems the tuber to be will be about 1-2" below soil line.

Thanks for your ideas

Ginny

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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Ginny,

Practically all of my 68 Dahlias are from cuttings. I have no experience with this, but I've done a lot of research.

A tuber is planted lower because it is the fuel for the new plant. A cutting has no tuber, so there is nothing to protect (e.g. there is no fuel to protect from sun or rot.)

Ergo, since Dahlias are shallow root plants, a cutting is planted shallower because it is expected that the tuber will form below the base of the roots, whereas a tuber should be below the base of the sprout so the roots can grow up or down from it.

My "research" says that there is no difference in terms of the plant produced. Planting a pre-started tuber is no different than starting a cutting, IMO. If there is an existing stalk, and there are leaves on it, then you have a choice whether to bury the first set or not. It matters not whether that's a tuber or cutting. If you bury any leaf sets, they should be cut off. No need to feed something that you expect to die (i.e. the branches that are buried are going to die for lack of sun, the Dahlia is going to treat the node as a place to put out new roots if its below ground.)

If you consider the fact that you can't get a cutting to grow unless some portion of it is below ground, and that the part below ground is going to put out roots, you should soon see that its the roots, not the distance below ground, that determines whether the plant is strong or not.

IOWs, there should be no difference in the strength of a cutting versus a sprout from the tuber. The weight of the tuber isn't relavent.

I've currently got >200 cuttings that all look as good as the few I grew from tubers. I've had to stake some of the cuttings, and some of the sprouts from the tubers...

Sorry for rambling...;-]

Cheers,
Russ

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