As so many of you have purchased our Dahlia Tubers I thought it would be fun to follow on from ‘Dahlia Planting Instructions‘ with ‘How to take Dahlia Cuttings’
It’s a really great way to multiply your stock when you’re first starting out and only have a few plants and want to increase your stock rapidly and make identical plants.
You’ll need pots 9cm are ideal, bottom trays, potting compost, vermiculite or horticultural grit, clear plastic sandwich bags and a wooden skewer or a propagation until with a domed lid, and plant labels.
- Moisten compost mix until it is thoroughly damp, but not dripping wet.
- Fill the pots to the top with soil, tapping firmly against the table as you go, so the soil settles and there are no trapped pockets of air.
- Get your label ready, you forget very quickly so write them first!
- Only take cuttings from healthy plants with no pest or disease damage.
- Any cutting must be solid, Dahlia stems are hollow and these will not root. If you cut with a very sharp knife, I use a scalpel and try and get a tiny part of the tuber, I find this really helps to make a successful cutting strike. The area below the leaves has the highest concentration of hormones which will assist strong rooting. It is important to keep the cutting hydrated, many people use a plastic sandwich bag to seal in the moisture, however I find a bucket of water is much easier. If you do take a cutting from a friends garden and use the sandwich bag technique then as soon as you return home drop your cuttings into water for a good soak for a couple of hours.
- Reduce the cutting to 5-6cm (2in) tall and remove all but the top pair of leaves.
- Always use a dibber or a pencil to make a hole in the compost for your cutting. The cutting must come into contact with the compost for it to root so don’t make it deeper than a couple of centimetres.
- Hormone rooting powder can help with successful rooting, dust a small amount on the cutting, for hygiene reasons never dunk cuttings in the container.
- Place your cuttings in the pot keeping the leaves above the soil surface.
- Water the cutting and place the pot of in a propagator or cover with a clear polythene bag secured with a rubber band. Use a skewer to stop your bag collapsing onto your cuttings
- Place cuttings in a constantly warm (not hot) environment, about 65 degrees. The house is ideal and in the spring a heat mat or heated propagator really helps! Watch out you don’t cook your cuttings in a hot greenhouse!
- Check cuttings daily and water from underneath when the soil appears dry. The pot will feel light.
- Leave your cuttings for 3-4 weeks.
- When you see white roots to emerge from the base of the pot, the cutting has taken, don’t be tempted to disturb the cuttings until you see this, I’ve killed off many a cutting by impatience!
- As plants grow, they need to be fed and liquid seaweed is ideal for young plants. Do follow the instructions on the product label, always double checking as strength does differ between manufacturers. See my previous post on Feeding and Plant Teas