Having made the tricky decision of which dahlias to grow (so much choice!), placed your order and received your delivery, your thoughts turn to potting up and preparing the tubers.
Whether you put the tubers into storage for a little while longer or get cracking in dividing and potting up, a good inspection of the tubers is never a bad thing.
We recommend trimming the wiry, dried roots off as they are likely to rot when potted up and aren’t really adding anything to the growth of the plant.
It may be that the tubers can be divided – two plants for the price of one anybody? As long as you use a sharp knife or secateurs and make sure that you divide the crown so that each piece has a growing point, you’ll have doubled your stock.
If you look closely you’ll start to notice ‘eyes’ not dissimilar to those you’d find on a potato, around the base of the stem, these will develop into shoots that you could even take cuttings from if you wanted to increase your plants further.
Pot each tuber into a well-drained, open compost. We find that a 1 litre pot is just about the right size for most tubers just while you’re getting them started. They’ll soon outgrow this space but for now it’s perfect.
Keep the compost just damp and put the tuber somewhere warm. A windowsill, conservatory or greenhouse will do the job. You’ll be able to watch the shoots develop and keep an eye on any sneaky slugs and snails after a late winter buffet.
If you’re not quite ready to start your tubers off, keep them cool but frost free and we find that the tubers stay nice and plump if they’re not kept too dry. You won’t need to water them as you would a growing plant, but you want to try to stop them shrivelling. A garage, shed, loft or cool cupboard will do the trick.
Remember you’re in charge as to when they start growing. Just give them what they need to get going.