Posts Tagged ‘dahlias’

Growing New Plants from Individual Dahlia Tubers

Single dahlia tuber planted in grow mix.

Single dahlia tuber planted in grow mix. The eye is the tiny dark spot in the protruding part at the top.

At the Peterborough Garden Show recently I was surprised to see samples of new dahlias growing in pots looking like fingers stuck in the ground. In my dahlia growing experience I’ve always planted an entire cut-off stalk surrounded by several tubers in a mass, usually purchased in a bag with tubers and sawdust. However this was something new I’d never seen. A dahlia specialist at a garden show gives you the opportunity to see a wider variety of species, as many specialists will have myriad varieties. The tubers they provide are individual dry tubers, harvested last spring, cleaned and trimmed so they are stored singly. And they do look a little bit like fat fingers.

The important thing about each dahlia tuber ‘finger’ is that it must have a little piece of original stem attached which contains the growing “eye”. Dahlia tuber eyes are similar to the eye that you see growing on a potato tuber, except they tend to be small and harder to notice. The grower pointed it out to me on the tuber I bought. Very small, but unmistakeable once you see it: a small round swelling on the tuber around the place where it joins the stem. Any other tubers that fall off a purchased dahlia stem without this eye are useless. The tuber provides the food source for the plant, but nothing will happen without an eye, as it is the growing tip.

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Using Dahlias As A Hedge

 

red dahlias along a fence

A row of dahlias makes a striking blooming hedge.

Here’s a great use of dahlias, which effectively creates a flowering hedge. Seven identical plants have been  planted here, along a decorative metal fence. These dahlias grow in partial shade for part of the day, and the flowers pop out of the shadows like glowing red stars. It’s a terrific effect and one that could be used year to year. Dahlias are a tender perennial, and the tubers should be dug up every fall, after frost, and brought in for the winter to be replanted next season.

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