How to Easily Take Dahlia Cuttings for Propagation


Propagating dahlia plants through cuttings is a popular method for growers who want to make new plants from their existing ones. This allows them to expand their dahlia collection without having to purchase new sets.

Getting started with propagating dahlia cuttings is easy. First, you will need to take cuttings from a mother plant. Look for a healthy stem with at least 4 sets of leaves. Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut the stem just below a set of leaves. Remove the lower leaves, leaving just a portion of the stem.

Before placing the cutting into compost, lower the portion of the stem into a container of water. This moistens the stem and reduces the chances of air getting into the stem, which can lead to a wilting cutting. It also helps to slightly reduce transpiration, allowing the cutting to retain moisture throughout the rooting process.

Next, fill small pots with a well-draining compost. Make a hole in the center of each pot and gently insert the cutting, making sure to cover the portion of the stem that was submerged in water. Pat down the compost to ensure that the cutting is secure.

Place the pots in a warm, bright room, but avoid direct sun as this can cause the cutting to wilt. To create a greenhouse effect, you can use a clear plastic bag or a plastic lid as a cover. This will help trap moisture and create a humid environment for the cutting to root.

Aftercare is important to ensure the success of your cuttings. Keep the compost slightly moist, but be careful not to overwater. Over time, you will notice new growth and roots starting to form. Once the cutting has a well-established root system, usually after 4-6 weeks, you can remove the plastic cover.

Dahlias are woody plants, so taking cuttings from the top portion makes propagation easier. However, if you prefer to propagate from the lower portion of the stem, you can usually make these cuttings grow by providing extra care and attention.

With these steps, you’ll be able to propagate your own dahlia plants and learn the pros and cons of this kind of propagation. Taking dahlia cuttings allows you to grow new plants from the mother plant, and it gives you more options for propagating dahlias through the winter months. Download a propagation guide to learn more about this method and explore other options for expanding your dahlia collection.


Dahlia Propagation Guide

Propagating dahlias is a great way to grow new plants and expand your collection. With proper care and technique, you can easily take dahlia cuttings and produce healthy, vibrant plants. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to propagate dahlias.

Step Instructions
1 Start by selecting a healthy mother plant. Choose a dahlia that is at least a couple of years old and has shown good growth and bloom.
2 Prepare your propagating room or area. Make sure it is clean and free from pests. You can use trays or pots filled with a damp, pre-watered rooting medium.
3 Take a cutting from the mother plant. Use clean and sharp scissors or secateurs to cut a portion of the stem with a couple of nodes and leaves.
4 Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving just a few at the top. This will help reduce transpiration and allow the cutting to focus its energy on root development.
5 Dip the cut end of the dahlia cutting into a rooting hormone powder. This will help stimulate root growth.
6 Insert the cutting into the pre-watered rooting medium. Make a hole with a pencil or your finger, and then gently place the cutting inside. Firm the medium around the cutting to provide support.
7 Place a clear plastic bag or a propagating lid over the tray or pot to create a mini greenhouse. This will help retain moisture and create a humid environment that encourages root growth.
8 Put the tray or pot in a warm and bright area but away from direct sunlight. A grow light can also be used to provide the necessary light for the cuttings.
9 Keep the rooting medium slightly moist, but be careful not to overwater. Check the moisture level regularly and water as necessary.
10 After a few weeks, you’ll start to see roots forming at the bottom of the cutting. Once the roots are about an inch long, you can remove the plastic covering.
11 Once the cuttings have developed a good root system, you can transplant them into individual pots. Use a well-draining potting mix and place the rooted cuttings into the pots.
12 Continue to provide proper care and aftercare for the newly propagated dahlias. This includes regular watering, feeding, and protecting them from frosts and harsh weather conditions.

Following this propagation guide, you’ll be able to quickly and successfully propagate dahlias. Experiment with different varieties and colors to expand your dahlia collection and enjoy the beauty of these stunning flowers year after year.

Want to learn how to propagate like the pros

If you’re looking to expand your dahlia collection, propagating them through cuttings is a great way to do it. Dahlia cuttings can be easily rooted to create new plants, allowing you to have more of your favorite varieties without having to purchase them.

To get started, you’ll need to take cuttings from your existing dahlia plants. Cuttings should be taken from the leafy portion of the stem, usually just below a leaf node. Make sure to use a sharp, sterile knife or pruners to prevent any diseases from spreading.

After taking a cutting, remove the lower leaves to reduce transpiration and help the cutting retain moisture. Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone to encourage root development.

Next, prepare your planting pots by filling them with a well-draining potting mix. Create a hole in the middle of the pot and place the cutting in it, ensuring that the remaining portion of the stem is covered with soil. Water the cutting lightly to settle the soil around the roots.

When it comes to aftercare, keeping the soil slightly damp is necessary to help the cutting root. This can be achieved by misting the leaves and providing bottom heat.

Within a couple of weeks, you’ll notice new growth emerging from the cutting. This is a sign that the cutting has successfully rooted and can be gradually acclimated to direct sunlight.

It’s important to protect your newly propagated plants from frosts and extreme weather conditions. Once they have reached a size of about 6 inches, they can be planted in their permanent location, leaving a little space between them to allow for growth.

By following these simple steps and providing the necessary care, you’ll soon have a larger collection of dahlias, all propagated from cuttings. Remember to label your new plants to keep track of their names and characteristics.


When it comes to taking dahlia cuttings, there are some essential items that you’ll need. This includes pots or trays for rooting the cuttings, a sharp pair of cutters or secateurs to take the cuttings, and a bright, warm room to keep the cuttings as they grow roots.

Before you start taking the cuttings, make sure you have a healthy dahlia plant to propagate from. Look for a plant that has strong stems and leaves, and a well-developed root system. It’s also important to choose a plant that has the color and size of flowers you desire.

Once you have selected your plant, you’ll need to wait until it is dormant before taking the cuttings. This usually happens in late autumn or early winter. Start by cutting the stems back to within about 15cm of the ground, leaving a portion of the woody stem attached to the tuber. This will reduce the loss of moisture and allow the tuber to recover more quickly.

The next step is to dig up the tuber and let it dry for a couple of days. Then, you can cut it into sections, making sure each section has a shoot and some roots attached. Plant these sections in pots or trays filled with a well-draining potting mix. Keep the pots or trays somewhere warm and bright, and lightly water the cuttings to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

During the following weeks, keep an eye on the cuttings to watch for new growth. Once the cuttings have rooted and new shoots start to appear, you can start to gradually expose them to more sunlight. This will help them acclimate to outdoor conditions before being planted in the ground.

Aftercare is also important when it comes to dahlia propagation. Keep the young plants well-watered, especially during dry spells, and provide them with a balanced liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks. Protect them from extreme temperatures and ensure they have enough room to grow without overcrowding.

By following this guide and providing the necessary care, you’ll soon have a stock of dahlias with your desired color and size of flowers. Propagating dahlias from cuttings is an easy and rewarding way to expand your collection of these beautiful plants.

Who is this for

This guide is for anyone who wants to propagate dahlias from cuttings. It is especially useful for beginners who are new to gardening or for professional gardeners looking for new options for growing dahlias.

If you have dahlias and want to increase your stock, taking cuttings is a quick and easy way to do so. By starting your own cuttings, you can ensure that you have the exact plants you want, and you can also reduce the risk of losing your plants in winter.

Rooting dahlias from cuttings is a relatively simple process that can be done using just a few basic supplies. All you need are some dahlia plants that you want to propagate, plastic pots or trays, compost, and water.

To begin, take cuttings from the top portion of the dahlia plant. These cuttings should be about 2 to 4 inches long, with a couple of leaves on the top. Remove any woody or hard stems, as these are less likely to root.

If the dahlia you want to propagate is already planted outside, you can take the cuttings in late summer or early autumn, before the first frost. If the dahlia is in pots, you can take the cuttings at any time.

Before you start taking the cuttings, make sure that the compost is slightly moist but not waterlogged. This will make it easier for the cuttings to root.

To root the cuttings, fill the plastic pots or trays with compost and then insert the cuttings into the compost. Make sure that at least one leaf node is below the compost, as this is where the roots will grow from.

Water the cuttings well and then place a plastic lid or bag over the pots or trays to keep them warm and retain moisture. Place the cuttings in a bright position, but out of direct sunlight.

After a couple of weeks, you should start to notice some new growth on the cuttings. This is a sign that the cuttings have rooted. At this point, you can remove the plastic lid or bag.

Once the cuttings have rooted, you can pot them up into individual pots. Fill the pots with compost and then carefully remove the rooted cuttings from the tray and plant them into the pots.

Allow the newly potted plants to grow on for a few more weeks before planting them outside or moving them to a cooler spot for winter.

If you’re not quite ready to start taking dahlia cuttings, you can download a PDF guide on how to propagate dahlias from cuttings. This guide includes step-by-step instructions and helpful tips to ensure your success.

Pros of taking dahlia cuttings
Easily propagate dahlia plants
Reduce the risk of losing plants in winter
Control the exact plants you want
Cost-effective compared to buying new plants

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.