March 28, 2011

Love of Blooms
Decorative Dahlia

The yellow dahlias I am growing in my garden are the decorative informal dahlias. They like full sun and well-draining moist soil. Dahlias are annuals, so you will have to save the tubers or using cuttings or seeds to propagate the plants.

The blooms are huge!! They are about 15 to 25 cm in diameter and may need to be held up with stakes to prevent stem snapping.

Elle’s first cutting – Four weeks old

The Process – Cuttings
1. Gather your supplies – a glass of warm water, rooting powder, vermiculite, potting soil, pot, sharp knife/scissors, spoon, healthy Dahlia plant.
2. Select a side shoot with at least three leaf nodes. Cut below the third node. Remove flowers, flower buds, and any leaves that are within 2-3 cm of the bottom.
3. Place in water.
4. When finished collecting cuttings, fill your pots with potting mix. I use a mix of 50% vermiculite and 50% potting soil. Tap the pot to make sure the soil fills in any holes inside the pot.
5. Using the  back end of a spoon, make a hole in the center of the pot about 3 cm deep.
6. Dip the end of each cutting into the rooting powder and tap off any excess. (Note: Be very careful not to get any powder on yourself!)
7. Place the cutting into the hole and using the back end of the spoon, gather soil around the stem. Firmly pat the soil around the stem until the stem can stand straight without any fear of falling over.
8. Place in a warm and bright area out of direct sunlight.
9. Water pot until it is moist, not soggy.

The Journal

Three Week old growth

Jan 14, 2011 – Last autumn, I spent the whole day cleaning and dividing the Dahlia tubers for winter storage. There were lots, LOTS of tubers, but I only kept around ten. Over the last month, I planted one of the tubers and it did not survive >< Stupid fungus gnats…

At the beginning of this month, I planted another one and voila – a beautiful and healthy Dahlia! The growth on the tuber was pretty long already when I plotted it in soil. After a few weeks the yellow growth turned green and now leaves have appeared!! After the stem has developed a healthy green color all over and the leaves are more established, I’m going to cut off the stem and grow it as a cutting in new soil. Yay! More Dahlias for spring!

Sept 09 – The cutting that I have placed outside is doing great, despite the colder weather. The cutting that I still have inside, however, had not grown any roots. On closer inspection, I noticed that the leaves were starting to brown and the stem was hardening and yellowing from the bottom up. Also, the soil has been moist for over a week now, without additional watering. This means the cutting hasn’t even started taking root.

It is a good thing that I took such a long cutting from the parent (5 nodes). I sniped off the bottom of the stem to a node that was still green. **Remember you must have at least two nodes to start a new plant. ** The cutting now has three nodes (two above soil). Hopefully, the cutting will start root growth within a couple of weeks.

Sept 2 – With such a beautiful display of roots, the over four week old cutting is now ready to be hardened outside. It will be kept in direct sunlight for the morning and shade during the afternoon. If the temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius, it will have to be kept indoors for the night.

Aug 31 – I bought these dahlias as tubers from Canadian Tire and they sat inside for two months before I was able to plant them outside. By that time, they had some serious mold on them, so I used Garden Sulphur on them and added it to the potting soil as well before I potted the tubers.

Three of the tubers had well established sprouts and the fourth was just a tuber. I planted all four into planters and moved them into the sunniest part of the yard. I also watered all the tubers, which was a very very big mistake for the tuber that did not have any sprouts. Three of the tubers bloomed into gorgeous dahlias, but the last one took an additional three months before it started growing. ><

Root system of a 4 week old cutting

The first flowers of each plant were about six inches in diameter! The flower size is dependent on how many blooms you let grow on the plant. The more blooms you let grow, the smaller they will be. The blooms I get now are about 3 inches in diameter.

I took one cutting about a month ago from one of the fuller plants. The picture of it is shown above. It’s growing very well. I carefully dug it out of its pot today to take a look at its roots. It has an amazing amount of roots! I was very pleased. When these roots start poking out the bottom of this 2.5 inch pot, I can plant it out in the yard!

The coloring of the plant is a bit yellow, so I let it sit out in the sun outside today. Hopefully, it can soak in some green ^^

About two weeks ago, I made another cutting from one of the fuller dahlias. It hasn’t grown any roots yet ><, but the plant seems very healthy.

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