Tag Archives: National Dahlia Collection

UPDATE -NDC Dahlia Cuttings 62.5% success rate

You may remember back in June how excited I was when my 24 new Dahlia Cuttings arrived from the National Dahlia Collection (NDC) in Penzance, UK:


I was reluctant ast first to buy more Dahlia cuttings from NDC as back in 2015 I had problems with a number of cuttings from NDC (see previous blog post). I was hesitant to buy from them again, but last year I gave in and placed another order, as I struggled to find other alternative suppliers in the UK with as much variety.

So this year, I was really vigilant and made sure I gave the Dahlias the best possible start and regularly fertilised and watered throughout the growing season. However I only had a 62.5% success rate with 15/24 growing correctly. The problems I had are as follows:

Wrong dahlia cutting sent (x4):  Picture on the left is what it should look like, picture on the right is what I was actually sent.

  • Tartan – no white stripes, this actually looks more like a ‘Thomas Eddison Dahlia’


  • Karma Fusciana – single dahlia instead


  • Oakwood Naranga – right colour, completely different shape

Oakwood-naranga X comparison 2016.jpg

  • Dr John Grainger – right colour, completely different shape

Dr John Grainger.jpg

Diseased Dahlia’s x2 – i.e. didn’t flower and Crown/Leaf Gall found when tuber dug up: 

  • Black Narcissus
  • Clara May

Crown Gall is a bacterial disease that causes large abnormal growths at the base of the infected plant or the top of one or more tubers as shown in the picture below. The plants are stunted and the shoots spindly. Since there is no effective treatment, infected plants and tubers should be destroyed. I think the source of the bacteria is unlikely to reside in my garden as the area the dahlias are being grown is was turfed up until 18 months ago ago when we moved in. Turfing is one of the recommended ways of getting rid of the bacteria if its a problem where you live, so I am doubtful it was already in my garden. It is also VERY common in Dahlias, so I can only suspect the Mother stock was infected and passed to the cuttings. Though you can never be sure with bacteria and virus diseases.


Dahlia’s which didn’t grow x3  – i.e. cutting wilted and died, no tuber: 

  • Wooton Phoebe
  • Pearsons Ben
  • Lupin Dixie


15x Dahlias that grew well

The remaining 15 Dahlias grew well as you can see from the catalogue photo (top) versus the photo I took (Bottom). The red dahlias in particular did very well.



I’m not convinced the Dahlia ‘Promise’ has the same leaf shape, but at least it grew well and was the same colour. Tohsuikyou, flowered well, however the flower heads were too heavy for the stems and consequently the flowers were often drooped over.


Nuit de ete didn’t grow well, it only flowered once briefly, so I’m hoping it comes back next year and performs better. Je-Maintendrai was a huge dinner plate dahlia, gorgeous but difficult to stake. Zurichlooked nothing like i expected and never did develop the deep orange colour shown on the NDC website. Rossendale Luke and Barbarry dominion were both stunning.

In summary I had a 62.5% success rate. I have read that its normal to lose some dahlias each year, but it’s difficult to know what percentage is normal. I had similar problems in previous years with both Taylors Bulbs and the National Dahlia collection (NDC) sending different coloured dahlias to the ones intended. I have contacted the NDC and they have agreed to investigate and replace the 4 dahlias which were the wrong colour.

In the meantime I have placed a new Dahlia order with ‘Eurodahlia’ and I will report back next year 🙂

Dahlias are worth growing though – when they are in full bloom – like my garden here – they look magnificent:






24 New Dahlia cuttings (NDC) – planting on

Yay! my 24 New dahlia Cuttings arrived!

You may remember I got a tad excited on a wet grey miserable gloomy November day last year and ordered 24 new Dahlias from the National Dahlia Collection…when I wasn’t even sure I had room for them in the new garden!:


Well they arrived and I unpacked them with eager anticipation! I’m not sure why as I knew they would look like 24 identical green cuttings and there would be no inkling of their future colour….but for some reason I still got excited at the prospect of new Dahlia flowers!

They arrived in small flat cardboard boxes each individually labelled with a number on a white label.

The cuttings are all different sizes so I identified the smallest 10 cuttings and placed these in smaller pots in prime position on the kitchen window sill where I could monitor these and the other 14 I placed near my patio doors in trays.

Firstly I printed off colour labels for each plant and geekily laminated these labels for the garden. I bought  some white label holders from B&Q and these come in packs of 10 for around £2.50 I think? These are OK, but the labels do fall out….I think they are good whilst the plants are in pots, but once they have been moved outside its better to tie the laminated labels onto the actual plant supports to stop them going missing! So  hole-punched the labels as well so these could be tied onto the plant supports.

I also purchased 2 new trays and 1 pack of capillary matting sheets from B&Q which contained 5 sheets. I used 2.5 sheets per tray which fitted perfectly and used these to place the individual pots into whilst they are growing indoors. I wanted to maintain some moisture and stop the cuttings drying out, whilst preventing the pots leaking all over my floor!

I think this system worked quite well on a small scale, but its certainly not perfect as the pots do move around when you pick up or move the trays, so there is room to experiment again next year!

I have been growing dahlias for a few years now, but this is only the second summer of having a proper garden as before I was constrained to a concrete yard with pots. Now I have 2 fairly large flowers beds that I have created especially for Dahlia heaven! So every year my techniques evolve and change as I experiment with different methodologies. So my way of doing things isn’t necessarily right, its just me trying to improve my success with growing dahlias. In previous years I’ve been guilty of starting dahlias off inside too soon and they become tall and spindly and leggy, so this year I didn’t start my dahlias until late April and it seems to have worked much better.

After a month or more inside, I planted the cuttings outside at the end of May, beginning of June, when all risk of frost in the Northwest of England, UK had passed. These have all been outside for 2 weeks now, so I will write you an update of their progress very soon!


If you have any hints or tips for growing dahlias please let me know 🙂


Looking forward to Dahlia season!

I can’t wait for Dahlia season! It’s snowed pretty heavily today in Manchester covering my garden and I’ve been looking out of the window for weeks now wishing for some warm weather so I can get out in the garden. I probably won’t be able to plant Dahlias here in the North of the UK until the end of June, so will probably start last years tubers off in doors towards the end of April.

I moved house last year and went from having a tiny yard, where I had to grow my Dahlias in pots to a huge garden with lots of space. We got the keys in June 2015 and I managed to get my dahlias in the new garden (you can see 2 pics below of the new garden, versus the one pic of the old house yard).

Now I have a big garden to play with, I’ve got a bit excited and ordered 25 Dahlia cuttings from the National Dahlia Collection in the UK. I’m not a massive fan of cuttings and prefer tubers as I’ve found cutting weaker and more slower growing. However the National Dahlia Collection has a huge selection and cuttings are cheaper so I’ve decided to buy from them again. If some of the 25 cuttings don’t grow that well, it won’t matter as I already quite a lot of dahlia tubers from last year.

These are the pictures of the 25 new dahlias I’ve ordered and I can’t wait for them to arrive:

New Dahlia cuttings ordered – Feb 2015

OK so I’m bored, away from home and I’ve run out of things to Google. I’m not a big TV fan and wishing winter would pass and spring would come. So what else is there to do other than be a complete and utter garden nerd/geek and Google pretty dahlias to buy. I promised myself (and possibly my husband) that I wouldn’t buy any more as our tiny garden yard doesn’t have the capacity for any additional plants. But then I was bored plus we might be moving house this year to a property with a big garden and thought why not, so chose another 7! My thinking was that lasts years cuttings grew really slowly so they shouldn’t take up much room and hopefully we will have moved into our dream home by summer 🙂

I also said I wouldn’t buy any more cuttings as I was so disappointed with them last year. However after searching the Internet for dahlia tubers I concluded no one stocked a good range here in the UK so I gave in and bought from The National  Dahlia Collection again as they have over 1500 varieties in stock. Fingers crossed they do better this year 😉

PART 4: Final Verdict on Dahlia Cuttings 6 months later – ‘National Dahlia Collection’

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)

Dahlia Alvas Doris (Small Cactus) 2603

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)

Dahlia Amberley Joan (Small Decorative) 1016

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.

Amberley Joan 22 Aug 14c Amberley Joan 22 Aug 14e

3. Amorangi Joy (Small Cactus)

Dahlia Amorangi Joy (Small Cactus) 2725

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)

Dahlia bergers-record (Medium Semi-Cactus) 3069

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)

Dahlia Clair Obscur (Small cactus) 2578

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!

IMG_6340-2 IMG_6344-2

6. Firebrand (Small Cactus)

Dahlia firebrand (Small Cactus) 2630

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)

Dahlia_Mini Red (Miniture Cactus) 2808

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.

So overall:

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 🙂

Dahlia’s Wrong Colour & Type?

I wonder how many of you have been sent Dahlia’s the wrong colour and type? Or how many people have experienced this with other types of flowers?

I was shocked this summer, out of 13 new dahlias purchased this summer (6 tubers & 7 cuttings), at least 4 of them were the wrong colour! That is a phenomenal error. Three varieties still haven’t produced a flower yet so the result could be much worse.

I think the Quality Control (QC) and Assurance (QA) process is crazily poor, imagine buying something from a shop, getting it home and it not matching the description or colour? Yet the suppliers think this is acceptable. Taylors bulbs even holds the Royal Warrant crest, yet its QC is poor and its customer service dissapointing. See previous post where I wrote to them regarding being sent the wrong tubers:


Here are pics of dahlias I should of been sent (picture on left) versus the actual flower produced (picture on right).

Amberley Joan cutting – should have produced a pink flower – but produced a white flower

Amberley Joan Colour

Bergers Record Cutting – shows Orange flower, but it is more red (minor difference)

Bergers Record colour

Linda’s Baby Tuber – should have produced baby pink flower, instead produced minuscule purple flowers. Linda's Baby Wrong Tuber

Chocolate & Candy Tuber – Should have produce peach flowers, instead produced purple cactus style dahlias.Choc & Candy wrong tuber

Has anyone else had this problem? Is this more common than we imagined?



So in part-2, I updated you on the progress of the 7 dahlia cuttings which I ordered from the ‘National Dahlia Collection’ (http://www.national-dahlia-collection.co.uk/en/).

One month after arriving, 5 out of 7 of the dahlia cuttings were struggling, very slow growing, yellow leaves, spindly etc. Its now been 10 weeks since they arrived – so how are they doing?

OK. Not great, and quite disappointing really.
These 5 cuttings have been treated identically to the other 2 cuttings that did grow well, yet for some reason they have been plagued with problems. I’d read a lot about dahlia cuttings and many online websites and forums claim that dahlia cuttings grow better than dahlia tubers. This is simply not true! The tubers I planted at the same time are 3-4 times larger and much healthier than the cuttings.

All the cuttings seem to have Powdery Mildew which must have come from the National Dahlia Collection farm. None of my tubers have this, but Powdery Mildew spreads and the spores are already finding there way around the rest of my garden and infecting everything. I am very disappointed and would never buy dahlia cuttings again and therefore would probably not buy from the National Dahlia Collection again.

1. Alvas Doris (Small cactus)

As you can see from the leaves it has Powdery Mildrew (I keep trying to remove the affected leave to avoid the spores blowing around the garden). The plant is making slow progress, I just hope its producing tubers for next year.


Alvas Doris 05Jul14bAlvas Doris 05Jul14

2. Amberley Joan (Small Decorative)

Amberley Joan 05Jul 14b Amberley Joan 05Jul 14

3. Amorangi Joy (Small Cactus)

Amorangi Joy 05 Jul 14b Amorangi Joy 05 Jul 14

4. Bergers Record (Medium Semi-Cactus)

This is one of the 2 dahlia cuttings that has done well, and as you can see it has started to produce flower buds, even though its not very tall.

Bergers record 05 Jul 14 Bergers record 05 Jul 14b

5. Dahlia Clair Obscur (Small Cactus)

Clair Obscur 05 Jul 14 Clair Obscur 05 Jul 14b

6. Firebrand (Small Cactus)

Firebrand is 1 of 2 dahlia cuttings which has done well. It has already produced a gorgeous red/orange flower, which has now been deadheaded, and new buds have started to form 🙂

IMG_5903-7 IMG_5902-6 IMG_5904-8 IMG_5877-3

7. Mini Red (Miniature Cactus)

Mini red is like the other 5 weak dahlia cuttings, with yellow leaves and is slow growing.

Mini Red 05 Jul 14b Mini Red 05 Jul 14


Watch out for my next update and I’ll hopefully have some pictures of flowers to show you! 🙂