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Tubers & tuberous roots

True tubers and tuberous roots are enlarged structures that develop on modified underground stems. They contain dormant buds, usually referred to as ‘eyes’ and when propagating when dormant, it is important that each section has at least one - or preferably two or three - eyes.

Although tuberous roots can be propagated by division, it is usually better to start them into growth in spring in pots or trays with warmth and then take stem cuttings from the resulting growth. Plants grown from cuttings usually have more vigour and perform better than those produced from division.

Step by step

Tubers & tuberous roots | Copyright GreenPlantSwap Ltd
  • Tubers can be propagated by cutting the tuber into pieces with a sharp knife. Do this before growth starts in spring or just as the eyes are breaking into growth. Ensure each piece has at least one bud or eye, preferably two or three.
  • Leave the pieces on a wire rack in a warm, dry place (18-21C/65-70F) for 24 to 48 hours to allow the cut surfaces to seal.
  • Once the pieces have developed a corky layer over the cut surfaces, plant them out or preferably pot them up individually.
Tubers & tuberous roots | Copyright GreenPlantSwap Ltd
  • Tuberous roots are propagated by dividing them into sections, ensuring that each section contains at least one healthy growth bud.
  • At the beginning of the growing season, divide the tuberous root equally so that each section has one or more growth buds, from which the new stems will grow. 
  • Place the divisions in a warm 18-21C (65-70F), airy, dry place for a couple of days so that the cut surfaces seal themselves and produce a corky protective layer.
  • Pot up the divisions in pots of a good, moist potting compost and place in a cool, but frost-free place until new shoots begin to develop. There is no need to water them at this early stage.
  • Then ensure they are kept warm and receive plenty of good light so that strong, stocky shoots are produced. You can now start to water the plants carefully, ensuring the compost is kept moist but not overly wet.
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