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How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead: Simple Ways To Recognize Dead Tubers

How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead: Simple Ways To Recognize Dead Tubers

In today’s article, we will discuss how to tell if dahlia tubers are dead. In case you have dahlia tubers plants and you’re starting to notice this problem, this article might save your plant before it’s too late, and you’ll finally be able to relax. Don’t worry now.

After reading this article, you’ll be more than sure to tell if your dahlia tubers survived this awful issue that most often comes because you’re doing something wrong (oopsie).

I’m willing to help you today to save your plant but as soon as you read this article, you’ll have to react and do as we said.

Along with this, you’ll also be able to learn how to take care of dahlia tubers in case you’re planning to get them as we speak. Dahlia tuber’s care guide is very simple and you’ll learn every step of the way of its care with us.

About Dahlia Tuber Plant And How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead

Dahlias are late bloomers. It blooms from mid-summer until the first frost and comes in a variety of colors, patterns, sizes, and flower shapes.

Plant sizes range from small edging varieties to varieties with plate-shaped flowers over 6-foot plants. Despite this variety, many dahlias grow on tall, straight stems that allow the flowers to show.

Originally from Mexico and Central America, the dahlia is a favorite of plant growers and florists, with over 20,000 varieties. Dahlia is the national flower of Mexico.

A perennial that lives only in tropical climates, this plant is considered an annual in Zone 8 and below. Because of this, dahlias can be capricious and picky about growing conditions, but many new varieties are more stable and easier to grow.

Dahlias grow on tubers and can be planted outdoors when the soil warms after the last frost. However, in many areas, it is too soft to stay on the ground all winter. If you’re growing annuals, dig up the bulbs, keep the tubers indoors for the winter, and replant them in the spring.

How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead? 5 Ways To Recognize It

Unfortunately, when you don’t provide them with good care, they die very soon. Unlike other plants you’re used to, dahlia tubers might react faster.

How to tell if dahlia tubers are dead? You’ll be able to tell though that your dahlia is dead or is close to its death. Below, we bring you signs of recognizing its late death or at least its indicators so you can stop it.

So what are you waiting for? Forget about this plant’s bad shape and plants that are dead ones, let’s learn how to save it! Let’s find out more!

1. Dead Dahlia Tubers Texture Isn’t Flattering

Texture can tell a lot about whether a plant is alive or not. Take it in hand and assess the condition. Healthy dahlia tubers should be firm and plump, like fresh mashed potatoes. If the tubers have a soft, mushy, or squishy texture, they are dead or dying.

There is too much moisture in these sticky tubers. They are very susceptible to fungal rot, and these soft tubers also show symptoms of comorbidities.

This plant is often compared to a potato. So just remember a fresh potato look and a potato that’s not tasty nor can be cooked.

2. Dead Dahlia Tuber Is Rotten Dahlia Tuber

Thing number one that causes rotten dahlia tubers like many other plants is too much water. To be fair, too much water is a big problem that causes other problems as well.

If your plants look unlive, or droopy, your dahlia tubers have a rotten rot. You’ll probably be able to just pull it out of its soil because the rot is just very poor at that time.

Storing dahlia tubers can also affect this. Bad storage conditions are usually the cause number two of rotten tubers. Well-stored dahlia tubers won’t have any issues for sure.

3. Fungal Diseases And Fungal Spores Are Indicators As Well

This can appear when you’re using too much water on your dahlia tuber plant. Most people when they notice that their soil is dry, use too much water after. That is way too wrong.

That would be like drinking 4 pills instead one after you skipped (forgot) to do it for one day. That surely wouldn’t affect your organism very well. The same goes for this and any other plants.

It’s very tricky to overdo watering so be careful. Too much-excessive water causes fungus, which leads to spots on your plant, which leads to droopy plants, and much more.

4. White And Brown Mold Can Be Seen On The Dead Dahlia Tubers

A fungal infection is not a good sign for all plants. This is especially true for the more sensitive dahlia plants. One of the most common causes of death for dahlia tubers is infection with fungal pathogens.

Overwatering is a major cause of tuber fungal infections. This is because this plant needs to be watered only when the soil is dry. Dahlia fungus can also develop if the soil is poorly drained and tends to retain moisture for long periods.

You may see brown or white mold covering part or most of the surface of these tubers. In severe cases, the entire tuber rots and turns black.

When cutting healthy tubers, the knife should go straight through the body. You will also find that it retains moisture while being durable. In contrast, dead dahlias are brown and look dry.

Even after cutting and shredding, the moisture does not escape. Similarly, brown spots or browning of entire tubers is also a sign that the tubers are dead.

5. Smell Of A Dead Dahlia Plant Won’t Lie Either

You should occasionally smell these tubers to see if they will grow new roots in the spring.

Dahlia tuber flowers are generally odorless. However, if the leaves and stems of this plant are healthy, they will smell fresh and bitter.

On the other hand, dead tubers do not smell fresh. Many dead dahlias are susceptible to fungal rot. For example, you may notice a putrid, pungent odor that indicates mold spores.

How To Store Dahlia Tubers And How Storage Affects Your Plant?

One of the most commonly recommended methods is to simply wash and dry the tubers, then leave them in the box after rooting. However, the disadvantage of this method is that its success largely depends on the storage conditions.

In environments with low humidity, tubers lose moisture too quickly and may dry out completely. The method I use is to store the tubers in a medium such as peat moss, slightly moist sand, or sawdust.

This makes it much easier to control the environment. However, it is important to remember that the environment in which the plants are kept should be slightly moist. This is because if the environment is too wet, there is a risk of tuber rot.

To reduce the chances of this happening, some gardeners recommend spraying the tubers with a fungicide before packing, although this is not necessary, it certainly reduces the chances of bacterial and fungal infections.

After the tubers are separated, it is best to pack the gallery tubers in a plastic container or Styrofoam icebox. Start by placing a 2-inch layer of peat moss or sand in the bottom of the container. Place the individual tubers in the sand so that they are not touching.

Prevent Its Death When Planting Dahlia Tubers – Care Guide Of Dahlia Flower

Growing from tubers, not bulbs, dahlias can be started indoors in early spring and planted outdoors after the risk of frost has passed. Alternatively, you can wait until the soil warms in the spring before planting the tubers outside. Depending on the variety, plant the tubers 2-6 inches deep.

Plants need good air circulation to grow well, so keep a distance of about 15 inches for small varieties and up to 1 foot for large varieties. Regardless of where it is grown it should be planted in a sunny spot, watered regularly, and fertilized as soon as new growth appears.

Let’s learn more about their care guide then.

How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead – Watering Needs For Plant Dahlia Tubers

Plant dahlia tubers in the spring and leave them in nature until germination occurs. Do not water dahlia tubers until green growth appears on the surface. It does not need water before the root system develops. After germination, water dahlias once or twice a week.

Large tubers can be planted 6 inches deep, so water deeply. If the summer days are particularly hot and dry, water more often and prevent the soil from drying out.

How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead – Light Conditions For Dahlia Flowers

For abundant flowering, dahlias need plenty of sunlight for 8 hours a day (in the blooming season). In a climate similar to the growing area, this plant can benefit from afternoon shade when the sun is very hot.

However, exposing this plant to too much direct sun can be harmful to it. Direct morning sunlight and afternoon shade are the best possible light combination for this plant.

How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead- Soil Type For Dahlia Plant

Dahlias prefer fertile, loamy soils rich in organic matter with good drainage. If you’re unsure if the soil is rich enough, mix in some compost. If the soil in your yard is dense clay, add sand, peat moss, or compost to loosen the soil structure to improve drainage. Dahlias grow well in neutral soils with a pH of 6.5.

How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead – Fertilizer Type For Dahlia Flower

Dahlias are predators. The more it feeds, the bigger the plant and the bigger the flower. Use high phosphorus fertilizers (10-30-20 ratio) to speed up flowering. Do not use those with a high nitrogen ratio. Too much nitrogen produces leaves but few flowers.

Stop fertilizing at the end of August if you plan to dig and store the tubers for the winter. When preparing tubers for dormancy, you don’t want to encourage more growth later in the season. Next summer, your plants will be fully grown and blooming early.

How To Propagate These Flowering Plants?


Dahlia tubers – How to propagate dahlia from tubers:

  • Gather overwintered dahlia tubers, trowel, garden shears or moccasins, vermiculite, peat moss, growing container, and potting soil into a 5-gallon bucket.
  • Mix the soil and peat in a bucket and mix with water until the water is barely damp. Transfer the soil to several growing containers.
  • Look for tubers and identify eyes (if you can’t find them, leave them in a warm, moist place)
  • Cut the tubers below the neck. Depending on the size of the tuber, you can get several tubers from each tuber.
  • Dig a hole in the soil in each container (3 inches deep for small tubers, 7 inches deep for large tubers).
  • Place a few tubers horizontally in the planting hole, eyes up, or plant the tubers vertically, with at least an inch of soil covering last year’s stems.
  • Grow tubers in a sunny window so that the soil does not dry out completely. When 3 sets of branches sprout, pinch the tips.
  • When the soil warms in late spring, plant dahlias in your garden 4 feet apart, leaving 3 feet between rows.

How To Do Divide Dahlia Plant?


First, the entire root system of the dahlia is very carefully dug out of the ground. It is very easy to damage a plant when digging to prevent new roots from growing. Start digging at least 1 foot from the center of the plant.

After lifting from the ground, rinse the soil and dirt under running water. Meanwhile, find the tubers and throw them away. This is not a viable plan for the future. Also, remove any tubers you suspect are dead or diseased.

Always use clean, sterile scissors to separate tubers. The next step is to look for swollen eyes in each tubercle. Without at least one eye, the tuber will not grow back. These eyes can be seen from the top of the tuber.

Sometimes these buds are hard to see and must be placed in a moist and warm place for several days until the tubers appear. Wounds can be rubbed with sulfur to prevent bacterial contamination.

Your tubers are now ready to be planted in the ground. Water properly. After a few weeks, fresh shoots will appear.

Potting/Repotting Dahlia Plants


If you are growing dahlias in containers, the bigger the container, the better. Experience recommends were using containers that are at least 12 inches deep and wide. When planting tubers this is the best choice for sure.

With such a large container, there is no need to replant the gallery during the season. To ensure full growth and abundant flowering, move the container outside in summer and secure the stems upright.

Pests And Diseases Of Dahlia Tubers


Stem rot can occur in over-moistened dahlia beds or areas with poor drainage and heavy soil. To prevent this, always fertilize the soil before planting and keep the garden bed from compacting.

Dahlias seem to droop and wilt even in the heat of summer. This is not necessarily a problem, as this is how plants adapt to stress. If the bed is wet, the dahlia needs to climb again after sunset.

Common pests such as snails, slugs, caterpillars, and thrips love dahlias. Snails are particularly upset when their leaves are young and tender. Once the plant is mature, slugs are usually not a problem. Protect your flowers at all costs.

FAQ – How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead


As we always do, we will answer this time on the most commonly asked questions about this plant. You’ve learned its care guide, how to tell if dahlia tubers are dead, but some questions are still not answered.

To be sure that we answered all of your questions, stay with us a bit more and read this section here. After this, there won’t be a need for further research about this lovely plant.

Is Dahlia Plant Toxic?

There is a tiny toxic substance in the dahlia tubers plant that can cause skin irritation so it is best to avoid touching it with no gloves on.

If you, however, did touch this plant, avoid touching your face afterward, your eyes especially. In case you get exposed to the sun, later on, that might be a bigger problem as well.

On this topic, you can look up some indoor trees safe for cats and other pets.

Should I Soak Dahlia Tubers Before Planting?

This applies only to the plants that are dried out and sort of droopy. If you notice that your plant is dry, go for it. But generally speaking, Dahlia tubers plants shouldn’t be soaked before planting. Why is that?

Soaking your plants before planting them might make them not so good for planting. Most people don’t know how to deal with this process and they overdo it.

What needs to be a plant soaked in for an hour maximum, turns into a floating plant in a pot full of water and that isn’t good. You want it to like like a freshly dug potato, not a dead tomato stored in the basement.

How Can You Wake Dahlia Plant? How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead?

When you want to store dahlias before planting but also make sure they’ll be awake, what you need to do is to bring them into warmer rooms.

Dahlia plant won’t stand colder temperatures before planting, and if you want to see some beautiful flowers and not a dead tuber, you should move your mother tuber into a warmer room.

Of course, along with this comes fertile soil that will provide your plant with all the needed nutrients during this time. Compost pile works the best, especially when overwintering dahlias. Put them into a warmer room at least 3 weeks before planting.

How Many Dahlia Tubers Can You Plant Together?

In perfectly fertile soil, well-draining soil, everything above three tubers per hole is way too much. When it gets crowdy your plant won’t grow as well as it should in its growing season.

Even experienced gardeners don’t plant more than 3 tubers per hole. Two plants is a perfect number because as you know if you have them, they will grow into larger plants later on.

Once you do, make sure they have direct sunlight for a while, use a water-soluble fertilizer, and voila. New shoots are coming soon!

When Is The Best Time To Plant Dahlia Tubers?

Start by planting flowering tubers indoors in March or April. Plant outdoors in May or June. If you do not have space to plant in the greenhouse or indoors, the dormant branches can be planted directly outdoors in April and May.

In most areas, dahlia tubers cannot be planted until May or June. When they reach the flowering stage, they must go until frost.

Wrapping Up About How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead

We have come to the end of another article about plants. Today we learned how to tell if dahlia tubers are dead. At least I hope we have learned.

If you carefully read everything in the article, in addition to how to recognize dead dahlia tubers, you also learned everything about its care. You must have noticed that caring for this plant is not difficult at all.

Of course, we all make mistakes, especially with plants, even experienced gardeners. But you don’t have to be afraid!

That’s why we’re here. We are here to solve every gardening problem for you and help you get your plants out of trouble and save them! I hope that the article was useful and that you learned everything you wanted to know.