Tissue Culture Dahlia Rooted Cuttings: Virus Testing

Tell me more about the virus testing!

We have cleaned, tested, and re-tested (via two third parties) our tissue cultured material, and all the varieties we will offer are testing negative for a wide spectrum of potential viruses including Arabis mosaic virus, Cucumber mosaic virus, Chrysanthemum stunt viroid, Dahlia mosaic virus and Dahlia common mosaic virus, Impatiens necrotic spot virus, Potyvirus Group, Potato virus Y, Tomato mosaic virus, Tobacco streak virus, and Tomato spotted wilt virus.

So how does the propagation work?

We are propagating from our virus-tested meristem tissue culture stock with best practices for clean tools and work environment, using a sterile soilless medium, all in a clean screen-house environment. We are continuing virus testing on our propagated rooted cuttings as well, all so that we can say with our best certainty that when dahlia cuttings leave our farm, they will have tested negative for the 12 viruses listed above. One major benefit of purchasing rooted cuttings is that you can evaluate their foliage health immediately upon receipt, as well as continue monitoring your plants as they grow.

Are these dahlias guaranteed to grow virus-free?

We feel it is important for our customers to know that most of the viruses we are testing for can be transferred by chewing and particularly sucking pests like thrips, aphids, and spider mites. These viruses can also be spread by cutting infected material with a mechanical tool (like flower snips) and then cutting other plants with the same tool. Even beneficial insects and pollinators can spread virus from plant to plant. This means that even though we will ship rooted cuttings that have tested negative for the viruses listed above, insects from your from nearby landscaping or lawns can visit your dahlias and transfer viruses. These viruses are not new, and many of them are endemic in the U.S. in both landscaped and naturalized areas in our neighborhoods and parks. Because of this, even though we are extending ourselves in every way possible through the expensive process of cleaning and carefully propagating our rooted dahlia cuttings, once they leave our farm, it is possible that your dahlia may contract another disease or even one of the viruses we have tested for.

The best defenses a home gardener has to prevent diseases in their garden are:

  1. to purchase their plant material from licensed and inspected nurseries that care about cultivating clean stock, and who test their plant material. 
  2. to grow with good garden hygiene practices (keeping weeds that can harbor pests eliminated from your garden, regularly cleaning tools, keeping your garden as pest free as possible, and discarding plants that you suspect have a transmissible disease).

What’s your long term-goal?

At Triple Wren, we plan to continually invest our time and finances, and work diligently over the next few years to clean and offer more and more tissue-culture propagated, virus-tested dahlia plants from our farm. We want to provide a large body of virus-tested dahlias for home gardeners in the U.S. (and potentially beyond!). 

In October, 2023, we will offer a limited number of tissue culture rooted-cuttings for pre-sale, for shipping in spring 2024. (We’re announcing which varieties on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. You can subscribe to our email newsletter to get all the information + the opportunity to shop our Tissue Culture Rooted Cuttings Pre-Sale early!)

S0 what’s the immediate plan?

We’ll create the rooted cuttings to order from our tissue culture source material late this winter, and time them to root and be ready to ship in the spring here within the U.S. We’re focusing on the most stunning varieties that we can’t currently meet customer tuber-demand for, so that we can share even more beauty into more gardens and more lives.  Rooted Cuttings customers will need to watch the email account used to place orders for specific shipping info/notifications, as spring 2024 ship dates will be weather dependent for each U.S. growing zone. 

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