So the Dahlia season is at its end up here in the North of the UK, with the first frost anticipated to be mid-October. It’s been a mild summer, so I’m not actually sure of when the actual date will be. I’ve read that you should leave your dahlias in the ground and wait for the first frost to blacken the foliage before digging up, as this prompts the dahlia tubers to get ready for the following year. I haven’t seen any blackened foliage yet, so I need to wait a little longer. Most of my dahlias have stopped flowering, apart from the odd cutting which has finally produced its first flower after waiting over 6 months! So here’s my update.
I ordered 7 cuttings from the National Dahlia Collection which arrived 28th Apr 2014, and have reported on their progress over the last 6 months:
Part 1: https://stunningdahlias.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/part-1-7-dahlia-cuttings-from-national-dahlia-collection/
Overall, I’ve found growing dahlia cuttings tough and disappointing. 2/7 cuttings did well but the other 5 were small, flimsy and struggled to produce flowers. Most also seemed to have powdery mildrew or some other problem. I definitely prefer growing tubers which seem to produce more flowers and grow much stronger. So here is a run down of the 7 cuttings…
1. Alvas Doris (Small cactus)
This never did grow more than 1ft high, and after 6 months never produced a flower. I will be intrigued to dig this up and see if it produced a tuber and if it did, I will be even more intrigued to see if it grows next year?
2. Amberley Joan (Small Decorative)
Amberley Joan produced a flower very late (End August) albeit the wrong colour! It should have produced a lovely pink flower but instead produced a white flower – so very disappointing.
3. Amorangi Joy (Small Cactus)
Amorangi Joy never did grow more than 1ft high, and after 6 months never produced a flower. I will be intrigued to dig this up and see if it produced a tuber and if it did, I will be even more intrigued to see if it grows next year?
4. Bergers Record (Medium Semi-Cactus)
Bergers Record grew beautifully and produced lots of lovely vivid flowers, this was one of the 2 cuttings which did well. As more flowers grow over the summer, the flowers change from a vibrant red, to an orange colour, more in keeping with the advertised website photo above.
5. Clair Obscur (Small Cactus)
Clair Obscur produced 2 flowers in total, 1 in Septemeber and 1 in October. They are gorgeous striking flowers – I just wished it had produced more. Some of my dahlias from tubers have produced 50-100 flowers. This cutting has produced 2 flowers in 6 months!
6. Firebrand (Small Cactus)
Firebrand grew beautifully and produced lots of lovely vivid flowers, this was one of the 2 cuttings which did well. Interestingly as new flowers are produced over the time, the colour of the flowers does change from a bright red to a yellow-red colour.
7. Mini Red (Miniature Cactus)
Mini Red finally produced a flower in October! It took 6 months to produce a 1 small flower! Lets see how it does next year – providing it has produced tubers to carry it on next year.
2 dahlias didn’t produce any flowers
1 dahlia produced a flower of the wrong colour and shape
2 dahlias produced only 1 or 2 flowers
2 dahlias grew well
So overall I conclude that I don’t like dahlia cuttings – or certainly not the ones I purchased. I would rather buy dahlia tubers in future which seem to do better depending on where you purchase them from. I had a great experience with tubers bought from Wilkinsons and private nurseries, yet Taylors Bulbs dahlias were awful and very poor quality producing the wrong colour and variety of dahlias.
Can’t wait to replant my dahlias next year 🙂