Dividing Dahlia Clumps in Spring

Last year I dug up my 175+ dahlias and stored them over the winter. Read about how I did that here. This spring I went to get them out of my cellar and found a lot of mold so I was very worried that I lost them… however, all are OK! I think the cellar I used was too wet as the cardboard that the tubers in was very moist.

Getting Dahlias out of Winter Storage
This is what they look like now in April. I saw somewhere that you can rubber band your plant labels right to the stalk and it worked perfectly. I got them out of their newspaper and boxes to let them dry out a bit. I then started slowly moving them into a warm room in my house which has caused them to start popping eyes.

image8Looking for worms in the dirt! She did manage to find one that I missed last fall. image9Potting Up Dahlias in the Spring
Some tubers I potted up right away. This is my current group of potted up dahlias. They don’t need water until they start growing, however, we’ve been getting plenty of rain so these are probably too wet. image12Dahlia Cuttings
Initially I was potting up my dahlia tubers to get a jump start on their growing season and to try to take cuttings. I have been unsuccessful so far keeping my cuttings alive. They have been turning black at the base and flopping over. I initially blogged about doing this last fall here but have had NO luck so far. I’ll keep trying and let you know what works! image11Looking for Eyes
The tuber below is one that has been warming up in my house. This is what dahlia eyes look like when they first pop. image6This is a tuber that I potted up. You can see one large shoot and several smaller buds coming soon after. image2This is another tuber that I had in a pot. Letting them sprout like this makes them so much easier to divide. image1Dividing Dahlias in Spring
I was able to get four separate tubers from the above clump. You can see all of the eyes again below. I discard any unnecessary pieces like the old stalk, tubers with no eyes, small tubers, etc. This makes it easier to plant because you can make a smaller hole. image5Here are the four separate tubers after dividing. image4A Few Notes
– Event though I have these outside right now… I will need to protect them from frost. Our frost-free date here in southwest Iowa is not until early May. I will move them in and out of either my house or garage.
– These dahlias are in pots right now but they will go in the ground after our frost-free date.
– Too many sprouts per tuber cluster is probably not helpful as they get crowded. So really you are both increasing your dahlia supply and helping your plant be successful at the same time.
– This fall I will store these in a cellar that is more protected and dryer at our new house.

Have you been busy with your dahlias this year? Do you have any tips for me?

What my dahlias looked like last year. I can’t wait!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Admin says:

    Thank you so much for the detailed post on splitting Dahlias after they have sprouted in Spring. This is exactly what I needed!! 🙂


  2. Carlinne says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I am new to planting Dahlias and found it very informative.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for drawing a circle around the eyes. The photos were very helpful. Happy gardening!


  4. Rosemary says:

    I have had dahlia tubers in the same 3 pots for about 5 years. I trim them and tote them into the cellar after they have been frost killed, ignore them till spring, then tote them back out again. I’ve gotten beautiful plants each year, but I’m sure this year the pots are too full and need to be divided. Alas, they have begun growing before I got to it, but your post gives me the confidence to get it done today. Thank you.


    1. Melissa Peterson says:

      Awesome. Yes, go for it!


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