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How to Pre-Sprout Dahlia Tubers: Learn with 12 Amazing Instructions

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Dahlia is a species of tuberous perennial flowers that come in many gorgeous colors. The native land of dahlia is Mexico and Central America; however, it is cultivated worldwide for the mesmerizing flowers. Dahlia has thick starchy roots called tubes that sprout to grow new dahlia plants. Learn how to pre-sprout dahlia tubers to encourage their growth.

Dahlia is one of the most famous garden flowers, with over 42 different species. Dahlia tubers are different than bulbs. They are very bulbous roots that form a large network. These tubes store starch to provide food to the plant.

The clump of tubers is present underground. The cluster of tubers is divided into individual tubers to start a new plant. Keep reading the article to learn everything from how to pre-sprout dahlia tubers to taking care of them.

What are Dahlia Tubers?

Dahlias are very different from other flowers as they do not grow from bulbs, nor do they fall under the category of annuals or perennials. They grow from thick clusters of roots called tubes. To better understand how to pre-sprout dahlia tubers, you first need to learn about the tubers themselves.

Linda's Baby Dahlia - 5 Gallon Size Bare Root Tuber
  • Linda's Baby Dahlia - 5 Gallon Size Bare Root Tuber
  • Plant 1 tuber per pot, the crown must be just above the soil. Or plant in ground.
  • 80 days from planting until bloom.
  • Non GMO
  • Marde Ross & Company has been a Licensed California Nursery since 1985.

In the early spring, when the growing season starts, dahlia grows a bunch of tubers just beneath the soil’s surface. Plants grow these tubers as a way to store energy to sustain their growth and provide sufficient energy through the growing season. Some other plants that grow tubers are potatoes, caladiums, cannas, etc.

When the spring season starts, the tubers start emerging with new sprouts. These sprouts grow from certain locations on the tubers, known as growth points or ‘eyes.’ In the case of dahlia tubers, these new sprouts emerge right above the tubers, just at the base of the stem.

How to Pre Sprout Dahlia Tubers 1
Tuber has rotted, can I save the sprout? – via Reddit

What Does it Mean to Pre-Sprout Dahlia Tubers?

The term pre-sprouting refers to the process of allowing the tubers of a plant to grow sprouts before planting them in soil. It is a common problem to encounter while growing a plant that not all seeds, bulbs, or tubes sprout. Some tubers are bound to fail, or they are not viable.

Pre-sprouting acts as a viability test for the tubers and gives them a kick-start to boost and encourage their growth. You can pre-sprout your tubers to learn whether they have eyes (growing points) or not. You can easily tell which tubers are viable by observing their eyes. Observing the eyes will give you a definitive indication of whether the tuber will grow or not.

Important Note: Once you have started the process of pre-sprouting, you have initiated the growth of your tubers. This process is irreversible, so be careful. The tubers must be planted and taken care of after they have sprouted. That is why you should never make haste in beginning the process of pre-sprouting.

How to Pre Sprout Dahlia Tubers 2
via Reddit

Step-by-Step Process of How to Pre-Sprout Dahlia Tubers

Now that you have learned all the basics, let’s dive into how to pre-sprout dahlia tubers.

  1. The First step is to obtain your tubers. Nurseries and sellers keep their tubers often in cold storage. You can either buy them or dig them up from your old plants.
  2. Examine your tubers carefully. If they are in a cluster, then split them into individual tubers. Check the tubers for any signs of damage. If a tuber is dried, rotten, too wrinkled and floppy, or looks sick, discard it. Choose healthy tubers for pre-sprouting.
  3. Take a plastic container that is large enough to hold 6-inches of soil and the number of tubers you are willing to pre-sprout.
  4. Place the tray in a warm spot around your house and keep them at a 25 to 30 degrees temperature. Do not let the temperature drop below 16 degrees under any circumstances.
  5. Use a healthy blend of soil and sand to place your tubers in and slightly dampen them. Use a water sprayer to spritz some water on the soil. The important thing to remember here is that you only need to moisten the soil and not make it wet lightly. If the soil is too wet, it will make the tubers rot.
  6. Now that the soil is ready and the healthy tubers have been chosen, it is time to line them up on the soil. Place all of your tubers horizontally on the surface of the soil. The important takeaway is to place the tubers on the surface and not bury them.
  7. Since you will replant the tubers later in the soil, space is not an issue while placing the tubers for pre-sprouting. You can put as many tubers as you want.
  8. Once the tubers are placed in the soil, cover them lightly with the remaining soil. Do not bury them. Just put about a 1-inch layer of soil on top. If you start with moist soil, you do not need to water; however, spray some water if the soil is dry.
  9. Dahlia tubers are easily prone to rotting, so avoid overwatering at all costs. In this particular phase, it is much more suitable to keep the soil a little dry rather than keeping it wet.
  10. Dahlia tubers will start sprouting pretty quickly. You can see the new sprouts as soon as one week. Please take out the tubers that have sprouted, and plant them in the soil. Give another week to the tubers which haven’t yet sprouted. If the tubers haven’t sprouted in 3 weeks, they are not viable and will not grow. You can discard such tubers.
  11. The new sprouts will emerge from the eyes in pink, white, or purple color.
  12. Plant the pre-sprouted tubers into larger pots and cover them with soil about 5 inches deep. Provide them with sufficient room to grow; otherwise, their growth might get retarded. Keep the soil moist, and the new leaves will start emerging from the soil within one or two weeks. Once the plant emerges, water it regularly and take care of it as you normally would.

Taking Care of Dahlias

  • Fertilize your dahlias with a good blooming fertilizer during the growing season to assist the plant’s growth and get good blooms.
  • Dahlias are prone to rotting, so tread very carefully when watering them. Keep the soil moist, but don’t let the water stand. Use well drainage soil with a higher ratio of sand or perlite.
  • You will need to support the taller varieties of dahlias with the help of stakes.
  • Dig up the tubers of your dahlias during late autumn and store them in cold storage for the winters. Take them out in the early spring, pre-sprout them, and they will be ready to grow again.

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Dahlias are very pretty flowers, and a large amount of variation in their colors makes them perfect for livening up your garden for the spring. If you are not so sure how to grow dahlias or whether your tubers will sprout or not, then we have got just the solution. In this article, we have covered how to pre-sprout dahlia tubers and how to take care of them.

Now go and plant your dahlias and share how they turned out in the comments below!