Finding Dahlia Tuber Eyes

If you've heard reference to dahlia "eyes" but aren't sure what those are, here's all you need to know. 

- A dahlia eye is the tiny nub or growing point that develops into a sprout. The sprout is what grows into your big, beautiful plant.

- The eyes grow around the collar of the root, where the tubers connect with last year's stem. Feel free to cut the old stem off before planting, just be careful not to cut into the area where the eyes develop.

- Early in the season, before the roots have broken dormancy, the eyes can be so small even experts have trouble finding them. Look for little bumps that are ivory, tan, pale green or pink. Some dahlia cultivars have eyes that aren't visible.

- To grow a new plant, a root or root clump only needs a single eye. Some dahlia cultivars produce just one or two eyes, while others produce 3 or more.

NOTE: that the dahlia eyes shown here are more developed than those on most dahlia roots that have just come from cool storage, where temperatures and humidity are controlled to avoid encouraging premature eye development. These dahlias were in a warm potting room for 10 days; the eyes have swollen and started to develop into sprouts. 

The eyes on many/most ready-to-plant dahlia clumps won't be visible. This is NOT grounds for concern. The eyes will appear with the addition of warmth and a little (not much!) moisture.