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Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings

Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings, a great way to get more for free.  Fill in a large bed with Dahlias and keep to your budget or give away to friends.

I love Dahlias, and in this post I show you how to propagate dahlias from cuttings! It is quick and easy.

Propagating your favorite plants is an easy and budget friendly way to get more. You can take cuttings to root from lavender, lilacs, roses and so much more.

But for today we will focus on Dahlias. What makes them so fun is they root so easily. There is nothing like success to make us enjoy a project more!

Dahlias are a new favorite in my garden.  I had avoided them in the past because I felt they were too much work.  I did not relish the idea of having to dig them up each Fall and pack them away for the winter.

Pink dahlia, Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com

But that has changed completely and now that I am a dahlia convert I want MORE.  More colors, varieties and sizes.   They perform so well in the late summer garden and the more you cut for bouquets the more they pump out new blooms.

So how do you get more of what you love?

Propagate Dahlias from cuttings!

A step by step video of me taking dahlia cuttings is available at the end of this post. Be sure and watch it!

It is well known that you can divide dahlias in the Fall and store the tubers (bulbs) for next season but you can also propagate your Dahlias in Spring.

Plant Dahlia tubers in containers

Start with plump, healthy tubers. In my example I used a planting box I built and I shared how I built it in a previous post.

And lower down you will see I also used a plant tray.  The soil need not be deep but you will need to have it in a bright and protected area where it is warm.

Dahlia tubers planted in wooden box of soil, Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings, Dahlia cuttings are a quick way to get more of what you love.

Where I live March is a good time to get Dahlias started like this so your cutting starts are a good size when it is time to plant your dahlias out in the garden.

Many growers don’t ship until April, so you can do this once you receive your shipment.

Dahlia tubers can be awkward as they remind of me of an octopus but you can simply place them on top of the soil and sprinkle more on top.  You want the upper part of the tuber to be above the soil line.  You will see why later.

Below is the planting tray.  You may note that some of the tubers were already sprouting, this is the way they came out of the bag.  Good thing I got them planted when I did, they were anxious to get growing.

Dahlia tubers planted in plant tray of potting soil, visible sprouts, Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings, Dahlia cuttings are a quick way to get more of what you love.

I gave them a few weeks to grow sprouts and some leaves.

How to Take the Dahlia Cuttings

These two are perfect for cuttings. In fact anything about 3 inches or so are good.

Dahlia sprouting in planting tray, Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings, Dahlia cuttings are a quick way to get more of what you love.


I take a sharp knife and I cut into the tuber, just below where the sprout is erupting from it.  I take a small part of the tuber, just a touch along with the sprout.

Cutting off the Dahlia sprout from mother tuber, Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings, Dahlia cuttings are a quick way to get more of what you love.

Some claim you get better results if you have a tiny bit of the mother tuber along with the cutting but I have yet to test that theory.  

Next I lay the cutting onto my surface and cut away the lower leaves.  My knife if pointing to where the leaves were.

Dahlia start with leaves removed before dipping in rooting hormone, Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings, Dahlia cuttings are a quick way to get more of what you love.

I dip the end into my rooting medium, I put some in this little glass.  I make sure that the stem is coated up past where the leaves were removed.

I have since switched to a powder rooting hormone, it has just been easier for me. This is one of the many I have used for tender cuttings.

Pot Up your Dahlia cuttings

Fill 4 inch pots with potting soil.  Water it in or set in a pan of water and let it absorb into the soil.

Use a pencil or dowel to poke a hole down into the potting soil along the edges of the pot. Create a hole wide enough and deep enough that the rooting hormone won’t get rubbed off while slipping it into the soil.

Planting the cuttings along the sides of the pot supposedly helps the roots to break, or run more horizontally instead of straight down.

Put about 3 to 4 cuttings to a pot and firm them in.  They should root in a 2 to 3 weeks. Keep them watered but not soggy. 

Some put them in an environment to create humidity but I did not bother.  See this post for ways I do that..Propagating Geraniums

Pot your Dahlia cuttings up to larger Pots

Once they are growing well, move them to their own pots. Plant them the same depth as they were growing in the little starter pot.

I do use a bit of bottom heat in my greenhouse when it still gets quite cold at night in there but if you do this in a sunny window of your home you should not need bottom heat.  

If you scroll back up to the photo of the black planting tray you will note it is sitting on rope lights, that is my cheapo bottom heat.  These are not the LED ones, those do not put out heat but the regular ones do put out a gentle heat which works well for me.

4 inch pot of dahlia cuttings growing, Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings, Dahlia cuttings are a quick way to get more of what you love.

The one sprout got chewed on by mice.  Who knew they liked the tender growth of Dahlias.

Enjoy your new Dahlias

Even if you take a few cuttings from each tuber it will still grow more and bloom just fine this summer.  Just plant it as you normally would once the soil in your garden is warm enough.  Dahlias like warm soil, about 60 degrees or so.

Be sure to pinch your new dahlias back to get more flowers from them and create a sturdier plant!

So this summer I plan on plenty of Dahlias blooming all around my garden.  I will be sure and share how this all comes out in a future post!

And that, my friends, is how you propagate Dahlias from Cuttings.

Happy Gardening!

I must confess that plant propagation is a passion of mine. I have shared many other posts for you like how to root Clematis by layering and How to root Boxwoods from cuttings.

Feel Free to Share!

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Monica Crandell

Thursday 4th of March 2021

Thanks for this video! How many cutting can you take off a tuber/tuber clump before it is a time to just plant that main tuber outside and stop cutting off it?

Pamela

Saturday 6th of March 2021

I was just reading about that and some take as many as 10 cuttings from a tuber. But a rule of thumb is to leave no more than 4 shoots on a tuber for the best performance of bloom for that year. So you can take as many as you like leaving at least 2 on the tuber. Some will put out tons of shoots and others will only put out a few. So it depends on the dahlia tuber.

Pamela

Monday 2nd of November 2020

I rooted a couple of cuttings from my favourite dahlia. I had to dig it up as the tuber was rotting, so I took cuttings. They rooted in a small pot and now it is winter. Can you help me figure out what to do with the potted cuttings now that winter is here. Do I water them? Keep them inside? Outside in a protected area or in the porch? I have seen lots of videos about how to take cuttings but no one says how to overwinter the plant. Thanks so much.

Pamela

Wednesday 4th of November 2020

That is such a great question but to be truthful I have had no experience with overwintering dahlia plants. The cuttings I make are taken in Spring so they make a tuber over summer that I dig and store. My opinion would be to over winter them in the post in a protected area like inside a garage or basement area. Let it dry out some but not become bone dry. It is worth a shot. Some folks live in warmer areas and can leave dahlias in the ground but I don't know your zone. So sorry I couldn't be more help.

GAYLE TAYLOR

Thursday 10th of September 2020

What is a good flower to plant AFTER my dahlias have finished blooming, and foliage is cut back to plant in the soil on top for winter or spring planting? Dahlias are currently in a troff type planter box. Thank you

Pamela

Tuesday 15th of September 2020

Good question, since I dig mine up each season then replant I am not sure. If I did this I would try Violas, they are winter hardy (here) and put on fresh growth and lots of blooms the first hint of warm weather in Spring time.

Teri

Monday 18th of March 2019

Hi, Pamela,

Thank you for your post. I live fairly near you and have left Dahlias in the ground. They came up the next year. But, when I built my pond I had to move the plant. I don't think they survived the move but I'm hoping. Perhaps, also, we didn't get much hard freeze the time they came back up the next year. But, it's worth a try to leave one for for one of yours next year. I love dahlias but I don't have the time or desire to dig up my plants every year. I do use a lot of mulch around my yard. Seeing your beautiful Dahlia picture did encourage me to give Dahlias another try. :-)

Also, with the drought we often have, I prefer and encourage the roots of my plants to go as deep as they will.

Roxy

Wednesday 14th of November 2018

I took cuttings from some Dahlia stems and they produced roots. No tubers yet. Will the cuttings bloom the same year or do they need an additional year to form larger tubers?

Pamela

Thursday 15th of November 2018

Mine bloomed this past Summer and I just dug them up for storage. By the end of the summer my cuttings developed a tuber but they did bloom. They bloomed later than the ones I grew from tubers but they did bloom.

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