Continue to celebrate the Year of the Dahlia with our tips on how to dig up and store your dahlias for winter.
Dahlias are native to Mexico so they won’t survive the freezing temperatures that many North American gardens experience. Digging up and storing dahlias is simple if you follow a few simple tips.
When to dig up Dahlias:
If you live in an area where the ground freezes, you’ll want to dig up your dahlias tubers before there is a hard frost. A good indication of when to dig your tubers up is when the plant starts to turn brown and die back.
If you live in an area where your ground doesn’t freeze – such as parts of California and Florida – you’re lucky! Your dahlias can be grown as perennials and you don’t need to worry about digging and storing them for winter.
Digging up Dahlias and preparing them:
- Cut foliage back so that only a couple of inches remain above the ground.
- Dig around the tubers, being careful not to sever the roots. Many gardeners use a pitchfork to prevent this from happening.
- Once you’ve dug the tuber up, shake the dirt off of it and set it aside.
- Repeat until you’ve tug all your tubers up!
- After you’ve dug all of your dahlias up gently wash off the dirt in a bucket of water or with a hose. Make sure not to puncture the skin of your tubers as this could cause them to rot over the winter months in storage.
- Examine your tubers to make sure there are no rotten parts. If there are, cut those parts off.
- If the tubers have several eyes you can divide them now. Use a sharp knife to divide tubers and make sure each piece has at least one eye.
If possible try to dry your dahlias for several weeks before putting them away in storage. This helps to prevent rot during storage. Choose a location that won’t dip below freezing, has good air circulation, and indirect sunlight. After your tubers have dried cut back the rest of the dahlia stem with pruners.
Storing your Dahlia Tubers:
The key to successfully storing dahlia tubers for the winter is making sure they stay dry, have good air circulation, and are in a cool, dark spot. You can store your dahlias in a variety of containers including milk crates, plastic bins, papers bags, and cardboard boxes all work well. Just make sure there is space left between each tuber and there is some air circulation.
Place the tubers in a cool, dark space that won’t freeze. This could be an unheated basement, attic, closet, or utility room.
Replanting your Dahlias in Spring:
Once spring arrives and ground temperatures have warmed it’s time to replant your beloved dahlias! Make sure there is no more chance of frost in your area. Then you can bring your tubers out of storage to replant in your garden.
By following these easy tips you can replant your dahlias spring after spring to have a bold, beautiful garden every season!