Hello and welcome…
I have a feeling this might have been due a couple of weeks ago but the season has moved from pottering and contemplating to racing around the garden at full throttle. With a fully booked season ahead I have a lot of sowing and planting to do. Fortunately my team is back with some new additions too so we are certainly getting things done at present. After a few months off, my floristry skills have been cranked into motion again with eight weddings so far and plenty more in the coming months. I have done more talking in the past few weeks than I did all winter with our courses and gardening club talks.
Anyway, back to the DAHLIAS…, I took the first basal cuttings off my tubers this week. So here is how to turn that one favourite, special dahlia into an entire row of them.
I took my tubers out of storage back in February and potted them up so the crown was sitting above the compost level.
They are then placed in a warm, bright position to bring them into growth early. I want cuttings as soon as possible and so I use a heat mat or a heated sand bed. A greenhouse is ideal where the bright light conditions will produce stocky little shoots. This usually takes a good three weeks.
Now arm yourself with a sharp, clean knife, a plastic bag and some rooting hormone.
Cut the shoot right at the base, as close to the tuber as possible (preferably with a sliver of the tuber), being careful not to damage surrounding shoots.
Check that your cutting has a solid centre, if hollow like a straw discard it as it will never root properly, only rot.
Remove any lower leaves and dip the end in the rooting powder. If there is still a lot of leaf cut the remaining ones in half.
I like to take a lot of cuttings so mine go into plug trays but around the edge of a pot works just as well.
Label and date your cuttings for reference later.
The cuttings must be kept out of direct light in a warm, moist environment until they have rooted which will take about 2-3 weeks. A clear plastic bag over your pot of cuttings will keep them from transpiring and expiring. Be patient and no fiddling…!
The next Dahlia Grow Along post will be about growing them on and planting them out. I am going to get a head start with some of the giant varieties in the polytunnel.