During the winter, dried-out Dahlia tubers frequently perish and are unable to sprout new shoots. This results in a dead plant that is known for being famously difficult to distinguish from other healthy tubers.
Overall, dahlia tubers are a very delicate kind of plant. They are prone to a wide range of issues, including bacterial and fungal infections as well as pest and insect infestations.
Additionally, they cannot endure the winter frost, and, as a result, they frequently pass away during the harsher winter months. Fortunately, the physical traits and fragrance of the plant may be used to determine if the tubers are dead.
If you suspect that your Dahlia tubers have died, it’s important to inspect them closely. Dead tubers often have a mushy texture and emit a foul odor. If you notice these signs, it’s best to dispose of them and start fresh with new tubers in the spring.
Continue reading to learn more about dahlia tubers, including how to tell if dahlia tubers are dead, whether you can save rotten or dying dahlia tubers, as well as how to save these beautiful plants, and more.
What is A Dahlia Tuber?
Dahlias are produced from tubers, which are essentially subterranean “bulbs.” Similar to potatoes, dahlia tubers are planted one at a time and produce many more by the end of the growing season.
It is also important to note that there is no distinction between dahlia bulbs and what is typically referred to as dahlia tubers. The crucial distinction here is between dahlia tubers, or tuberous roots, and dahlia bulbs, which are the correct terms for the odd potato-like structures that produce our lovely dahlia flowers.
More on the Dahlia plant: Dahlia Leaves Turning Brown
What Do Healthy Dahlia Tubers Look Like?
Dahlia tubers supply the growing plant with food and energy. They, therefore, have an intriguing appearance (like a hybrid of a potato and a cassava root).
It is important to note that the dahlia bulb’s health will directly impact the condition of the overall plant. For instance, the dahlia family offers a wide range of color, height, and bloom type options to best match your landscape.
As a result, in order to grow these majestic plants in their full beauty, your dahlia tubers require a healthy start in life in order to blossom at the proper time.
Overall, Dahlias provide glitz and drama to a garden setting with their incredible variety of colors and patterns. These are also frequently the blooms that passersby stop and inquire about.
How To Tell If Dahlia Tubers Are Dead?
1.Do Your Dahlia Tubers Appear Moldy?
Attacks by fungi and other diseases are among the most frequent causes of death in Dahlia tubers. Since this plant should only be watered when the soil becomes dry, overwatering is the main reason why your tuber could become infected with mold and fungus.
For example, if you overwater your tubers, you may see that these plants have some or all of their surface covered with brown or white mold. In extreme circumstances, whole tubers can rot and appear black.
Fortunately, there is still time to salvage your plant if the fungus mold is restricted to the leaves and appears as white patches or brown spots. However, if the tubers themselves have mildew on them, your plant is probably already dead.
2. Do Your Dahlia Tubers Feel Squishy?
Your plant’s texture can also reveal a lot about its health. For example, in order to assess whether your tuber is dead, hold it in your hands. Like a newly dug potato, healthy dahlia tubers should feel solid and meaty to the touch.
If your tuber feels mushy and squishy or has a spongy touch, it is unmistakably dead or dying.
3. Do Your Dahlia Tubers Have an Unpleasant Smell?
Sometimes all it takes to determine whether your tubers will produce new roots in the ensuing spring season is to smell them. Healthy dahlia tuber blooms often lack smell, but when this plant is in good condition, the stem and leaves emit a crisp, bittersweet scent.
On the other hand, a dead tuber will almost immediately remind you of death and decay. Due to the fact that most dead Dahlias are prone to fungal decay, if your tubers are dead, you should be able to notice a rotting, unpleasant smell emanating from them that is caused by fungal spores.
Dead dahlias can also emit an extremely vile, sickly-sweet odor. This is another sign that the plant has passed away and is currently going through the process of decomposition.
Can You Save Rotten or Dying Dahlia Tubers?
Fortunately, you may well be able to save decaying tubers. For example, if shoots emerge from dahlia tubers that you’ve given up on and thrown into the compost pile, the root may still be viable! After all, dahlias are known to be resilient.
Overall, if you give the tuber extra attention by replanting it in better soil, and removing any dead or decaying matter, it could still be salvageable as long as the mold or rot hasn’t permeated the entire thing.
1. How to Save Stored Rotting Tubers?
Most of the time, a decaying dahlia tuber won’t be useful, therefore you should toss it. However, take note that a decaying tuber is not always necessarily terrible news. After all, as long as the rot has not progressed very far, and the tuber may still be salvageable.
Unfortunately, dahlia tuber rot is frequently caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Therefore, in order to cure this, you must first make sure that any equipment you use is sterilized to stop the spread of the illness.
This means that before performing any treatments, you’ll first need to disinfect the cutters or pruning knives.
Following the sterilization of your tools, lift and inspect the tubers for rot. This step will help you determine how much rot there is. By completing this step, you can remove any diseased parts if it hasn’t infected the entire tuber.
After you have removed the problematic regions, make sure you then treat the cuts with an equal mixture of hydrated lime and sulfur. This is where the magic revitalizing happens.
2. How to Save Rotting Tubers From the Ground?
On the other hand, you can also cure your tubers if you pull them out of the ground and think the illness was brought on by the soil by treating them with a simple fungicide. This should also help to stop any additional issues.
Take note, if you want to help prevent more infections once the tubers are planted, you might also dip them in fungicide.
Dahlia tubers are often a very fragile type of plant. They are vulnerable to a variety of problems, including bacterial diseases, fungal diseases, pest infestations, and more.
Additionally, because they cannot withstand the winter frost, they typically perish during the colder winter months. Fortunately, it is possible to tell whether the tubers are dead based on certain physical characteristics and the scent of the plant.
For example, if the surface of your plant is covered with brown or white mold, you most likely overwatered your tubers, and they are now dying. If your tubers are dead, you should be able to notice a decomposing, unpleasant odor emanating from them.
Fortunately, your decaying tubers may still be salvaged in some cases. For example, if the mold or rot hasn’t invaded the entire plant, the tuber may still be recoverable if you transplant it into richer soil and remove any dead or decaying parts.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below