Small tubers and barely visible eyes

Missy, Traverse City, Mi Z5August 20, 2008

The majority of the tubers I bought this year were very small and most did not have a visible eye. The supplier replaced them, and I planted all of them just to see if the ones that I considered bad were actually good. (The replacements were not much better) Only about 50% of the dahlias are blooming, and some of the ones that I thought did not have an eye are growing, but they are still very small and it is doubtful they will grow enough to produce blooms for this season. So, my question is, just how much of an eye has to be visible for the tuber to be considered good? I used a magnifying glass to look at the tubers when I got them and still could not see an eye. The supplier insisted that they did have eyes, and said that she checked them herself.

I have been growing dahlias for several years, and I have found the biggest "eyes" and best performing dahlias to be from the "Big Box" stores. Please enlighten me for my future dahlia plantings. I LOVE them.

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A commercial grower should always ship dahlia tubers with visible eyes and you were correct in requesting replacements. Size of the eye or the tuber (unless the tuber is too big) should not be a factor. Any tuber with a visible eye should grow when planted but that is not always the case.

Quality of the tuber is not always known due to virus, growing conditions from the previous season(s) and many other reasons that are unknown. Some of them just rot or won't grow even though we do every thing correctly. I plan on needing replacements in my garden based on a number of reasons and always have some plants growing in pots to use and I always need some of them each growing season.

Selection of a commercial grower to purchase dahlias from is important and can only be learned through trial & error and that is not always foolproof. I purchased a new release this season from a very reliable commercial grower and it ended up having virus (it didn't look right from the start) and I pulled it up and threw it away.

I have found, in the few I have purchased, that tubers from big box stores don't always match the name or picture on the package and there is no recourse. I always purchase named dahlias that I know will do well in our heat here in the South.

There are a number of commercial growers that provide excellent tubers/cuttings that I would be glad to recommend to you in a separate email.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 6:07AM
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Missy, Traverse City, Mi Z5

Thank you huey ga. I would appreciate your recommendations on commercial growers. My email address is I think that the rest of the people on this forum would like to see the list too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:27AM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

FWIW, all of mine were planted from cuttings this year. They are planted in basically the same soil conditions, get equal water and sun, yet some grow faster than others. I have several that were listed as early bloomers which have not yet bloomed, while others not listed as such are in full bloom.

IOWs, its not necessarily the tuber. It may be the variety, conditions, etc...

When I started my tubers this year to take cuttings, some sprouted, others didn't. Any that did if you've got growth, planted them at roughly the right time of the year (for you that'd be late May early June), and have given them sufficient water and sun...they'll likely bloom.

FWIW, I have noticed that most of mine are not as tall as I expected them to be (and not as tall as they were last year) but are blooming never-the-less. I attribute this to the excess rainfall we've had this summer (and the equal lack of sunshine.)

Next year you might want to try putting your tubers in a flat under a grow-light for a week or two to get the eyes to pop and start sprouting. It could be that you planted some tubers upside-down, which would have made them slower than others with visible eyes.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:05AM
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