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A. Schuyler
A. Schuyler, Research Analyst
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Experience:  30 years in research
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Gardening Question: Which direction to plant Dahlia tubers

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Gardening Question: Which direction to plant Dahlia tubers / root system? These Dahlias have been packaged and stored in peat moss in a plastic bag by the commercial grower for sale and distribution to nursuries around the country. In storage, there has been growth of the stalk emerging from the eye and growing in the direction of the tubers. This would suggest planting in the direction of that growth with the tubers pointing up and the connection point of the tubers down so that the stalk continues to grow "up" in the direction of the tubers. But from online research, I see one account instructing that the eye of the root is to be planted on top with the tubers extending downward. If that is so, then the growth of the stalk that started while in storage will be pointing downward, at least initially. Is that OK? Will the growth of the stalk reverse direction and head upwards towards the sunlight and air once planted in soil and watered? Or will I be planting this root system upside down if I point the current stalk upwards and in the direction of the tubers with the connection point or the "eye" as I understand it, at the bottom of the root planting?


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You frequently see this when buying bulbs packaged this way. At some point they have become warm enough to sprout. Since an eye has already developed a stalk, it is best to plant it with the stalk upward. The spot where the stalk meets the bulb should be a good 3 inches below ground levelr ground to provide some support to keep the stalk from drooping over in a rain or a stiff breeze. The stalk will continue to grow upward. Other eyes may develop as well and will find their own way above ground. They are very forgiving.


Hope your dahlias turn out to be a beautiful addition to your garden. They are one of my favorites Smile


Best regards,




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