Colleen's Dahlia

Leo A. Martin
Sun, 25 Nov 2012 21:01:08 PST
Jonathan wrote regarding sprouting Dahlia in dishes of water indoors in
late winter:

> the number of sprouts from any one tuber
> determined by the number of growing points that
> are on the piece of attached stem, or can more
> than one sprout be produced even if there's
> only one growth point?

Multiple sprouts are produced. I don't know whether one growth point
produces multiple shoots (e unum pluribus but I bet the declension is
wrong and I feel certain I'll be corrected) or whether there are growth
points I can't see. If nobody has figured this out I sense a publication
for somebody with a microscope and some time. But I suspect the botanical
giants on whose shoulders we stand found the answer and I haven't read it.

> Do the sprouts develop roots into the water

They root in the water.

I forgot to add, use chlorinated city water if available, and change the
water frequently, the better to prevent microorganism growth. Or better,
change the water frequently, plus put into your sprouting water an
airstone on the end of an air tube from a small aquarium air pump. This
keeps the water well oxygenated, killing a lot of pathogenic

If you sprout a lot of things in water, it might be worthwhile to set up a
larger air pump with a manifold to provide multiple sources of air to
multiple sprouting jars. Such supplies are sold at aquarium shops. You
still should change the water frequently.

Dahlias are interesting plants. Their year-round habitat temperatures are
like my winters, but with (almost) no chance of frost. However, it's wet
in the Dahliaphoretic mountains of Mexico, with year-round drizzle,
frequent evening and night mists, and heavy dew almost every night. Their
companions are things like Begonia, Calceolaria, Ceratozamia, Echeveria,
ferns and fern allies, cloud forest orchids, Salvia and certain
Tillandsia. Obviously I wish I could grow them.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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