The statement Don’t Save Dahlia Tubers Produced from Cuttings may surprise some readers and you may not even agree with our stance on this idea.
For this reason, we shall explain our reasoning why we think there is a difference with tubers produced by dahlia cuttings.
In the last post, Learn How to Grow Dahlias from Cuttings, we discussed the write-up published in the 2010 addition of Growing for Market. This article along with other writings by the Flower Farmer’s Wife is also noted on the website, A National Sustainable Agriculture Assistance Program (ATTRA). For those unfamiliar with this organization, the ATTRA receives funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service and has a goal of providing educational information.
Here is an exert from the ATTRA in reference to the subject of Specialty Cut Flower Production and Marketing.
Question of the Week
“What information can you give me on growing dahlias for cut flowers?”
Part of the Reply
Last year I purchased some dahlia tubers from Banner Flower Farm in Michigan. Co-owner Patricia Banner was present at a specialty cut flower workshop in Memphis, Tennessee, that I attended in November. She has written an article on starting dahlias from cuttings that will be in the January issue of Growing for Market, and she will be giving a presentation on dahlias in November 2010 at the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference, which will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Several of her articles are referenced below.
Banner, Jim and Patricia. No date. Growing Dinner Plate Dahlias for Market; Maximizing Vase Life of Cut Dahlias; Early Blooming Field Planted Dahlias, Cooling, We’re Just Wild About Bouquets. Banner Flower Farm. 13 p.
Banner, Jim and Patricia. 2007. Growing dahlias: ‘These are your money makers.’ Growing for Market. p. 16—18.
*Please note we in the process of updating this website, not all of the previously published articles are available on-line at this time. Nonetheless – we are working on retrieving many of these write-ups and many more to become assessable in the near future.
Now, back to today’s topic covering why it is our opinion that the tubers produced from dahlia cuttings are not of the same quality compared to tubers that are propagated from an established mother tuber planted from the following season(s).
To refresh the readers memory or to those that have not read the post, Learn How to Grow Dahlias from Cuttings. There was a question on 9 DEC 2015 wondering why we felt that it was not a good idea to save these tubers produced from dahlia cuttings,
Here is the reply
We have found tubers produced from cuttings are not the best product for storing. Also, depending on the variety, the plant doesn’t produce many viable tubers. I would also say that because we do sell dahlia tubers, we prefer to sell tubers produced from another tuber. Mostly, it is a personal preference for us; and, growers in other regions may certainly have different results.
To expand on this subject, we recently read a book written back in 1855 by the author David Lester Richardson, Flowers and Flower-Gardens – With an Appendix of Practical Instructions and Useful Information Respecting the Anglo-Indian Flower-Garden, there is an exert referring to this subject by Mr. George A. Lake, published in 1833 by the Gardeners’ Magazine which explains more of the reasoning behind why the we choose to not save nor sell the tubers produced from dahlia cuttings to the unsuspecting public.
“I speak advisedly, and from, experience, when I assert that plants raised from cuttings do not produce equally perfect flowers, in regard to size, form, and fulness, with those produced by plants grown from division of tubers;” and he more fully shews in another part of the same paper, that this appears altogether conformable to reason, as the cutting must necessarily for a long period want that store of starch, which is heaped up in the full grown tuber for the nutriment of the plant.”
So, be very careful purchasing dahlia tubers from growers that sell tubers produced from dahlia cuttings. Tubers need to produce for 3 to 5 seasons before they develop the needed nutrient of starch, but some growers (more then you could imagine) do not wait and sell deficient tubers to the unsuspecting public!
The information about regarding the dahlia flower blooms (size, shape, color, etc) is not actually a new revelation. Matter of fact there is usually a generally agreement there is a gamble regarding the production number that successfully blooms with dahlia cuttings and number of tubers produced. Of course, a grower can and is able to produce successful beautiful dahlia flowers from cuttings for cut flowers and as a means to increase stock, the bottom line is the end-result of the size, form, and color remains questionable.
This is noted in several old publications and books dating back into time, but what is not discussed as often as one would think is the reasoning behind this stance wherein lies the fact that by propagating dahlias from cuttings the produced tubers are significantly lacking the needed nutrient of starch. Even today there are few websites address that there is a noted difference in size between the tubers produced from cuttings and the significant disadvantages.
Since the we do not have readily available images to highlight this with images and because we favor other growers with fellowship and do not shy away from competition. We embrace fellow dahlia growers promoting to Buy Local Flowers and the Made in America Spirit, here is a link to Elkhorn Garden because they are one of the few who also declare there is a significant difference between these tubers and their pictures clearing demonstrate this striking occurrence.
At the same time, there are benefits for experimenting with dahlia cuttings and seeds (as explained earlier, Learn How to Grow Dahlias from Cuttings), who knows MAYBE you will be the one to discover the elusive Blue Dahlia (article forthcoming).
For inspirations, here is an exert from a 1922 Garden Magazine.
We hope this article does not persuade you from experimenting with dahlia cuttings and merely explains our stance about we don’t save dahlia tubers produced from cuttings.
Please feel free to respond in agreement or disagreement on your personal experience between the size, form and – or color of your dahlia flowers grown from dahlia cuttings.
And if you sell tubers produced from cuttings, do you sell these tubers the following season or wait a few years?
Meanwhile -WE wishes you a fantastic 2016 growing season as the countdown to spring begins.