Comparing Dahlia Tubers and Rooted Cuttings

Tomorrow is the first day of summer! Have you had your first dahlia bloom yet? We’ve been enjoying blooms from the rooted cuttings we planted for a few weeks already, and it won’t be long until all of the dahlias are blooming!

Steve and I are working hard behind the scenes right now to offer even more dahlia varieties this fall as tissue culture rooted cuttings. We can’t wait to share with you the new varieties we’ll have available… but in the meantime, we wanted to talk about the differences between dahlia tubers and rooted cuttings and why you might choose one or the other.

There are many similarities and a few key differences between dahlia tubers and rooted dahlia cuttings. 

  • Both are clones of their mother (unlike dahlia seeds). 
  • Both have roots. However a tuber is a fully formed storage root, while cuttings have younger, fibrous feeder roots. 
  • Both tubers and cuttings will bloom the first year, and often the rooted cuttings will bloom first!
  • Both produce a tuber clump the first year you plant them. A tuber-planted dahlia will produce a bigger clump of tubers that can be divided. The rooted cutting will produce a much smaller clump of tubers that usually can’t be divided the first year.
  • Tubers are shipped dormant. Cuttings are shipped with living foliage
  • Tubers can be planted immediately, but the cuttings will need a few days to harden off before they can be planted.
  • Tubers shouldn’t be watered until you see green growth. Rooted cuttings need regular watering from the outset.
  • Both will need staking.
  • Both benefit from pinching.
  • Both require 8+ hours of full sun.
  • Neither can tolerate frost or freezing temperatures.
  • Both are fantastic ways to grow dahlias!💐