can I root broken dahlia stems?

linnea56(z5 IL)July 18, 2006

A wind and rain storm last night knocked my potted dahlias off the deck, some right upside down.

I have raised the plants as gently as possible and staked them up. What can I do with the plants and branches that are broken right off?

Can I root them? Should I do this in plain water or just trying stuffing the stem into the damp soil in the pot they came from?

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So sorry :(
I have a similar problem - storm last night broke one of two stalks at the "Y" split down the stalk but not off the stalk. I've taped the stalk back up and hope the plant can heal itself. I have to try something and this was all I could think of last night in the dark. I have had no buds yet and it would really be disappointing if I didn't get any flowers because of this.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 7:39PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Can anyone answer this? All of us with storm beaten dahlias want to know!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 3:29PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Knocked off potted dahlias! How strong were the winds? So sorry. That's a tough one. You can certainly try to take a cutting of a growth tip branch that has broken off. The largest I've ever stuck in the ground and kept watered was about 4 inches tall. It didn't go on to bloom but it did grow and produce a tuber for the following season.

Pepcan, I don't know about taping up a split stalk, but it's worth a try. My guess, and it's only a guess, would be that that branch will die since the vascular flow has been disturbed and you'll end up cutting it off anyway. More branches will likely follow so don't give up.

Wind and rain can be as lethal as the worst pest or disease to a dahlia.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 9:20PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

It was a massive storm. Huge trees came down. All the pots on my deck are heavy clay ones, too: up until this storm those have been just fine. The dahlias were just getting buds, too! I almost cried. This was my first year starting dahlias indoors in March and I felt much more emotionally invested as a result.

The pieces I have are about 8 inches long. I did not cut off the buds but I will do so. Plus shorten them.

So you think sticking them in the dirt is better than trying to root them in water? If so, I think I'll put them in the same pot. At least I'll know where to look for the tubers later: if they live.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 9:36PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Yes root in soil or even wet sand which I had luck with this year thanks to Plantlady's advice. Thanks plantlady! See the 'cuttings'/propagation section at and follow the advice there. A rooting hormone might help. I've broken off several little low branches and just stuck them in the garden dirt for fun. So far they seem to be holding their own.

Out of curiosity, what is left in the pot? You might get regrowth there too. Good luck- it's so disheartening to lose something you've worked hard to nurture.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 10:12AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks! I do have rooting hormone.

I had pinched these plants heavily because I wanted them to be very short and bushy for containers. They are "windowbox" dahlias. I have 4 inches of "trunk" left in the pot, fortunately branched near the base. The storm was Monday night but the victim is still looking very bruised and battered, with limp leaves. Soil is soggy too from that rain plus another drencher 2 days ago. So now I'm anticipating rot too!

I already have one of these, a different one, limp with what I assume is rot, from before this wind storm. The pot has drainage but somehow the holes have become plugged. It is ceramic and has a permanenetly attached saucer, so I can't get anything in there to ream out the holes. I have the pot on its side to drain out, hopefully.

All the potted dahlias on the deck were damaged, but with the others I was able to stake them up and trim off small broken parts. Only one was flung totally upside down to the ground.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 12:32PM
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plantlady2(NW Washington)

If the roots & tubers are still in the pot they'll come back & grow. When we evaluate seedlings & chop off the undesirables they send out more leaves & shoots like crazy (of course, if it were to be a really nice seedling that got broken off accidentally, it would probably croak immediately!) >:)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 11:40PM
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reddscarlette(3a BC Can)

My friend accidentally fell into my flower bed 3 weeks or so back, and pretty much desimated my Inland Dynasty. Sooo....the branch was broke (tiiiicked me off REALLY bad cause I started it in a pot this year) and after the branch was gone, it started new branches from where it broke off, it's looking quite good now! I think I even have a bud on it.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 8:26PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Redd, I've been waiting to see/hear how your new treasures are doing! Didn't you get a whole truckload of new dahlias for this year? Hope your friend is okay and that Inland Dynasty rallies back to health.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 11:10PM
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reddscarlette(3a BC Can)

LOL My friend survived the wrath of the Dahlia lover, and Inland Dynasty has one little bud. I'm hoping it'll produce at least ONE good bloom.

I posted in the gallery of what has bloomed. So far it's been all my dwarfs (accept one Ellen Houston)

FOR SURE I'll be posting pics of the beauts that come. So far this has been an awsome summer and I figure I'm about 2-3 weeks ahead of prior years.

*Jumps with Glee*


    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:45PM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

I should have searched before I posted a new message. I have the same problem. Just as one of my dinnerplates was about to bloom, we got a huge storm yesterday and even though the dahlias are all against the house, one of them (and some balsam) got absolutely beaten down and the trunk broke from the root.
The plus is, if I do get this portion to root, I will have two of this multi-colored one (it's pale pink, white, yellow, and purple...all in one.)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 10:25PM
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