The time to take Dahlia cuttings is in Springtime when the tubers have been taken out of storage, cleaned up, repotted and new shoots are growing.

When the shoots have three to four sets of leaves, 3 – 4 inches / 8 – 10cm they will be ideal to take cuttings as they will have firmed up. The shoots shouldn’t be too soft.

Find the point where the shoot comes from the parent tuber. Using a very sharp & clean knife, try and slice the shoot from the tuber with a small piece attached still. You get a better result this way as the growth hormone is concentrated in the tuber.

Place the cutting on a hard surface and remove the lower pair of leaves. If the end is not a clean cut you can trim neatly to avoid rotting.

It may seem brutal but cut off the top leaves by half. This helps to reduce the surface area when moisture can be lost.
Using a round plant pot (4inch/ 9 cm) fill with a gritty compost and using a pencil or small dibber, make a hole at the edge of the pot. Insert your cutting. Repeat this process placing 3 – 4 cuttings around the edge of the pot.
Water well and leave in a warm place on a windowsill, heated pad or in a heated greenhouse. Rooting should take place within 2 – 4 weeks. When you see new leaves appearing you know the cuttings have rooted.

When taking cuttings from the parent tuber you will get an identical plant from your cutting. This is a good way to propagate your favourite dahlias.

You can take shoot cuttings that are not attached to the tuber. They may not be identical to the parent plant but can still give interesting results as I found when taking cuttings from one of my dahlias.

These pictures show the parent plant and also the plants I got from cuttings. The results gave much smaller flowers and a different flower shape to the parent plant.

Parent Daliah
Parent Daliah Plant
Plant from cutting

To take a shoot cutting, again take a shoot with 3 – 4 sets of leaves but this time make your cut below a leaf node. Remove the lower set of leaves and follow instructions as above.

You can also use the shoots if you need to pinch out the growing tips from your dahlia if they get too large.
Don’t forget to label your cuttings with the name of the dahlia if known.
Good luck and enjoy taking cuttings and increasing your dahlia stock.

Posted by Celia Wood

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