Are you unsure of what or where the eye is on a dahlia tuber? Do you have a tuber with small eyes that are hard to spot?
Identifying eyes on a dahlia tuber proves that it is able to grow. Ideally, dahlia tubers should also be planted with their eyes facing up. However, sometimes these eyes are pretty hard to spot. Learn how to identify dahlia tuber eyes below.
What is a Dahlia Tuber Eye?
Dahlias are similar to potatoes. Both dahlias and potatoes have tubers. They also both get little “eyes” that sprout into the next year’s plants.
A dahlia eye is small, and usually just looks like a little bump. Once an eye becomes more developed, it becomes easier to see. At that point, it will be green, red or purple, depending on the variety. Interestingly, the color of the eye will not accurately reflect the bloom color. Some varieties simply have different colored eyes.
Where to Find a Dahlia Eye
The first thing to note is that dahlia tuber eyes will always appear in the area that connects to the stem (this is unlike a potato, which gets eyes all over the tuber). This is called the “collar.”
Dahlia tuber eyes will never develop farther down the neck of the tuber than the collar.
Unfortunately, this means that if your tuber has broken off from this active growth area, it will not develop into a plant. This is why tubers need to be carefully divided.
Sometimes, eyes will also appear on the stem, itself (it tends to depend on the variety whether or not this happens).
How to Spot an Easy Eye
Sometimes, a dahlia tuber eye is pretty obvious. Take a look at this example where the eye is beginning to swell:
The growth of this eye has already been activated by ideal growing conditions (the right temperature and the right amount of moisture).
What About a Dahlia Tuber Eye that is Less Obvious?
This is where people have a harder time identifying eyes. Before an eye has sprouted out, it tends to just look like a tiny bump, or wart.
I call this a “pre-eye” because it the eye has not yet begun to sprout. It is so small because it has not been activated by the right amount of moisture and proper temperature. It will begin to sprout as soon as it is planted (or exposed to the right conditions). Again, this will be located in the active growth area. Here are a few pictures:
At first, dahlia tuber eyes can be hard to spot. I recommend using a magnifying glass if you are having trouble. With practice, you will be able to glance at a dahlia tuber and know that it is viable and how many eyes it has.
Still Not Sure?
If you are still unsure which tubers are viable,consider doing a pre-sprout test. Remember that once you start sprouting a dahlia tuber by planting it, you will not be able to return it to winter storage.
I hope this helps! Sign up for my newsletter for additional dahlia and gardening information.