Tuber plants - species and their care

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decorative dahlia - Dahlia hortensis

Here we have listed a compact overview of the care of gladioli, dahlias and begonias.


These expressive tubers unfold their full splendor from the middle of summer until well into autumn.
With their elegant, trumpet-shaped flowers, they also look very different in the vase.


If you buy gladiolus tubers, look for bulky tubers with long stem and small root disc, you will be rewarded with extremely lush bloomfloor!
The long-stemmed hybrids are planted in the background of flowerbeds, the low ones on the front of a flower bed. Between other plants, gladioli bloom a few weeks earlier than in a pure gladiolus bed or in an unprotected area. If provided exclusively as cut flowers, insert them where space is available.

Plant tubers

At the beginning of spring, plant the tubers about 10 cm deep in heavy and 15 cm deep in light soils. For heavy soils that tend to waterlogging, pour a little sand into the planting hole. Press the tubers well, then cover with soil. The best planting time is early to mid spring. If the tubers are used too flat, the plants will tip over at flowering time.

care measures

Before the young shoots appear, they must neither be raked nor fertilized. Later, repeatedly ridge the gladiolus to repel unwanted wild herbs and aerate the soil. Spread a little guano around the young shoots. This phosphorus and nitrogen rich bird droppings contain an ideal combination of the required nutrients.

Supporting and connecting

When gladioli are supported, for example with a bamboo stick, they usually thrive splendidly. Once the growth direction of the flowers is visible, the Satb at the back, a few inches from the plant base, stuck in the ground, secure with string.

Wintering of the gladioli tubers

Lift the tubers out of the ground as soon as the leaves turn yellow-brown. Strip off the adhering soil and cut the stalk 1 cm above the base. Lay the tubers in a flat box, preferably on packing or newsprint paper, and leave them in a dry place. Dry airy place thoroughly. When the tubers have completely dried, pluck off any loose pieces and the shriveled old tubers. Also always remove the small side tubers. Overwinter the tubers in a cool, but frost-free place. An air-permeable container, such as a sieve, prevents rot. Mark the species.


With the beacon of their flower heads, the lush growth and the rich colors of their foliage, dahlias give each garden a nearly exotic flair in late summer.


Put the tubers into a 15 cm deep hole at spring midday. Then bring the base of the stem close to the support rod.
Cover the tuber with peat that has been mixed with fertilizer. Finally, fill in enough earth and press down with your fingers.

care measures

Bind the plant to the supports after about 3 weeks. In midsummer, mulch with peat, grass clippings or rotted manure and sprinkle the mulch layer.
Tie with progressive growth in several places, keep the side shoots in shape with rods and straps stretched between them. Remove unwanted wild herbs.


About 3 weeks after planting, remove the tip of the main shoot, dew off dahlias at the end of spring or start to seed. Container plants 2 weeks earlier.
After 2 weeks new shoot buds appear in the leaf axils (they show a lighter green than the leaves). To encourage the lower side shoots to grow stronger, the top pair is pinched off.
The lateral shoots each drive a terminal flower bud, which is accompanied by two Nebenknospen. In order to achieve large flowers, the Nebenknospen be broken, as soon as this is safely possible.


When the first frost has touched the earth, cut back all the stems to a length of 15 cm. The tubers can remain in the soil for 2 weeks, but must be dug up immediately after heavy frost. Carefully lift the tubers out with a digger fork. Clean the whole rhizome from adhering soil without damaging the stalk remnants. Mark the tubers.
Allow the uncovered tubers to dry in an airy place for 14 days. Then place the tubers in a box on top of a 15 cm layer of peat and dust with sulfur flowers.
None of the tubers may touch the edge of the box. Cover the tubers with a layer of peat and spread a sackcloth over it to absorb all moisture. Put the box in a cool cold frame.

Outdoor begonias

Both tuber begonias and seedlings are easy to grow, but highly susceptible to frost.Both species adorn the summer garden with lavish flowers.

Culture of tuber begonias

At the beginning of spring, place the tubers in a box filled with a moist mixture of peat and sand. Make sure they are level with the substrate surface, with their hollow side facing up.
As soon as strong leaf shoots develop, plant the plants individually in pots about 12 cm in size with potting soil. Keep the soil moist throughout, marking the different varieties. Greenhouse plants once more in pots with a diameter of up to 20 cm implement. If you want to get very large flowers, leave only one main and two to three lateral shoots on the plants.
Harden free-range plants in late spring, then place them in a well-drained, humus-rich soil at a distance of 30-40 cm in a sunny or better shaded, sheltered location.

Support for tuber begonias

Most tuber begonias need no support in a sheltered place. Large-flowered, filled varieties are prone to top-heaviness, so they should be tethered. Since their stems and flower stalks break off easily, you must be careful. At the back of the plant, insert a short, strong rod at a sufficient distance from the base of the stem to avoid damaging the tuber. Tilt the stick towards the stalk, and then attach it with raffia.


Before the first strong autumn frosts begin, the tubers must be dug up and brought to a sheltered place. If the leaves are still green, the tubers are planted in boxes of moist compost, where they can continue to grow unimpeded, until the decay announces.
As soon as the leaves turn yellow, the plants are watered more and more sparingly. Then the stems are cut off, the tubers are removed from the soil, all dead stalk remains are removed and the dried roots brushed off. Each tuber is examined for rotting points, which may be cut out with a sharp knife and sprinkled with sulfur powder.
Immerse the tubers in a deep tub or box of dry sand. For winter storage, place in a frost-free place where the temperature must not drop below 7 degrees Celsius.

Video Board: What Is A Root Tuber?.

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