Back in December I wrote a blog post about starting new dahlia plants from cuttings off the growing tubers. A few weeks ago I picked up a tray and it was loaded with roots coming out the bottom. I now have 75 rooted dahlias in 52 individual cells so they have room to grow.
Hooray! It worked.
I continue to take stem cuttings from the tubers, put them in rooting hormone and stick in them soil. I spray with water and put a wet paper towel on top, keeping it on and wet for 3 -4 days. They I take off the paper towel and just spray them a few times a day. Because there are no roots, the plant is drinking through the leaves. That is why the moisture part is so important.
I am starting all these cutting in my germination chamber, which keeps everyone in a greenhouse environment: moist and warm but not too hot. As its in my house, I used LED lights.
This project was inspired by a talk given by Bob William at the ASCFG National Meeting in Delaware this fall. In his talk he mentioned taking cuttings from the already rooted cutting but I didn’t take notes about at what leaf node point. I emailed Bob, and talked to another member about the situation but we both were stumped. So I decided to just wing it. I made sure to leave at least 4 well-developed healthy leaves on each plant. It seems to be working. It’s only been a few days…but none of them have shriveled up and died so that’s a positive sign.
So if you do the math: 52 original cuttings + taking one cutting from each of those plants = 104 and you can just keep cutting from cuttings. The end result should be a huge increase in dahlia production. Plus I am experimenting with leaf cuttings a well. I am very excited that I am going to have 200 + plants of each variety I’m experimenting with: Hamilton Lillian, Cafe au Lait, Kenora Lisa and a couple other varieties from just stem cuttings.
I am also working on tuber divisions. There are many: each tuber clump divides into 4-6 which get planted too. I think you get the point…I am aiming to be the Dahlia Queen of Vermont. I can sell these coveted varieties to local florists and local wholesalers. I am going to do some experimental shipping to other states via FedEx Overnight.
The only thing that might interfere with my crowning as Dahlia Queen is running out of plantable land. I am changing my row formations this season to get more plants per square foot. I’ll extend a few fields to try to get everything in. Hopefully we will have enough space. I always have faith that I can get everyone in the ground. Last year I left 1/2 a field unused so we should be fine! Stay tuned to my March dahlia stem cutting report… I might just get lost in all these dahlia plants.