Instruction: Bringing Your Tubers Home

Instruction: Bringing Your Tubers Home

If you're a first time dahlia grower it can be daunting to think about what to do with your long-awaited tubers once you get them. Hopefully this guide will help. 

1. Take Prompt Delivery of Your Tubers

Don't leave your tubers on the doorstep, or at the post office. 

It's important to remember that while tubers store well and can cope with transport, there's no point risking leaving them in less than optimum conditions. 

Make sure to bring them home quickly so you can check them out and look after them. 

2. Inspect Your Tubers

It's always important to open your package and take a look at what's inside.

It might sound ridiculous, but you would be surprised by how many people don't do this step!

Don't forget to check that the names on the bags match your order! This can be easy to overlook in the excitement.

What you want to find inside the bag:

  • firm plump tuber; 
  • with a visible eye; 
  • an intact neck; and
  • bigger in total size than a AA battery.

Tubers aren't the most beautiful things and there can be a lot of variance. They might be small, fat, twisty or really anything else. Size and appearance don't matter (a big beautiful tuber will provide the same plant that a small ugly tuber will) provided you can see an eye and they appear to be in one piece. 

If you have any concerns make sure you notify the seller right away - don't wait. 

Most sellers will have a time limit in their terms and conditions for when you can notify them of a problem. This is because tubers are living things, a perishable product, and so many factors go into their viability - including how well you care for them. 

Make sure you know those time limits and don't miss them if you need to report a problem (I hope you don't!)

3. Store Your Tubers

Tubers store best somewhere cool, fairly dry, and dark. 

Most of the time the tubers will be ok to be held for a few weeks in the packing medium in which they arrived. 

If the medium looks a little bit light on (remember: it's there to get the tubers to you safely, not necessarily for storage) you can add a little bit too it. Potting mix, vermiculite, sawdust are all good options and easy to find. 

Alternatively you can skip storage. Pot up the tubers and allow them to sprout by keeping them somewhere warm and safe until it is safe to put them in their last spot. 

If you are planning to grow in pots then you can use a good quality potting mix and plant the tuber right in to it's final pot.

If you are planning to grow in the ground you can use a smaller pot, any potting mix, and get a head start on the growing season. Transplant out when safe to do so. 

4. Check Your Tubers Periodically

It's important to keep tabs on your tubers and how they're travelling in storage - even if it's only a few weeks. 

If you see signs that the tubers aren't storing well it is easier to take steps to fix it if it's only in the early stages. 

If they are shrivelling they might need some moisture. 

If they are growing mould they might need to be aired out. 

5. Plant Your Tubers

After risk of frost has passed it is time to plant your tubers in the space you prepared for them. 

Plant the tubers on their side about 10-15cm below the surface of the soil. 

We use a 40 cm spacing on our farm - 2 rows, 40cm apart a 1m wide bed. We fit about 50 tubers in a 10m bed. 

Protect from slugs and snails with your preferred method. Don't water until shoots are about 10-15cm high.*

*There is a caveat here. In a normal year there will be enough spring rain to keep the ground suitably moist for the tubers. If it is particularly hot and dry the tubers may need a little spritz of water to help them along. The main thing is you don't want them to sit wet for extended periods of time.

6. Enjoy Your Flowers 

Don't forget to take a moment to enjoy your flowers during the season. 

Stroll your garden, bring them inside, share with friends - and tag your supplier in some photos! We always love to see where our babies end up. Our tag on all social media is @qcflowerfarm

Enjoy the bounty that your hard work has provided!

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