How to Propagate Dahlia Through Cuttings Properly

How to Propagate Dahlia Through Cuttings Properly
by Bob Patrick

The cuttings should be removed from the tuber once they are long enough to be taken. If a great number of cuttings are taken at one time, it is an advantage to trim these at once and to stand them in water-small paste-pots make excellent receptacles- putting each variety in a separate pot to await.

Cuttings which have been allowed to flag will take longest of all, even if they escape complete destruction through damping off. As the days lengthen the time taken to form roots normally lessens. A cutting taken in March will often take twice as long to root as one taken in May; always be sterilised by adding Cheshunt Compound or a few crystals of permanganate of potash as a standard precautionary measure.

The most important factor is evenness of temperature; wide variations between day and night temperature will slow rooting and encourage damping off, so that everything that can be done to minimise this should be done, including damping down thoroughly on warm days, and gentle, light spraying over the cuttings occasionally, plus careful ventilation.

Home Improvement Help

The John Innes base fertiliser in any case makes an ideal addition to any compost as it is nicely balanced for plant growth. The soil used for potting up should be only moderately damp, never saturated. It should hold together when squeezed but If only a comparatively small number of plants is required, or if only a cold frame is available for propagation, undoubtedly the best method of increasing stock is by division of the ground roots.

A very fine rose should be used on the watering-can and a little permanganate of potash added to the water. In fact, all water used at this time should be sterilised in some way, and should have the chill taken off.

The tubers which are to be divided should be put into a cool greenhouse or cold frame in early to mid-March, pressing them gently into the soil in the bed, in such a fashion that only the tubers are covered, not the crown. They can be put into deep boxes if this is preferred, which makes handling so much easier. In any case the soil used should be fairly rich, well drained and yet moisture retentive-again John Jones potting compost is ideal for the purpose. The soil in frames should be lightened with peat and sand with a few handfuls of hoof and horn meal or general fertiliser.

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