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Learn how to winterize dahlia tubers by learning how to lift them in the autumn.
Dahlias are lovely, delicate perennials that bloom from the summer into the autumn, giving you a lengthy season of color and interest. They are raised from tubers, which resemble a collection of brown, carrot-like roots connected by dried stems from the previous year.
Dahlias begin to rot back into the soil after flowering, returning plant nutrients to the tubers, which remain underground over the winter and begin to grow anew in the spring. Dahlias are delicate, so they don’t often make it through British winters. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the south, you may simply spread a thick layer of mulch at the plant’s base to shield the tubers from frost after cutting down the stems. Your dahlia tubers could decay and need to be replaced if you reside in the north or if you had a very harsh winter.
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Thus, while you could take the chance and replace them if they decay, digging up and preserving your dahlias will ensure that they survive the winter. Just plant them again in May, when all danger of frost has passed.
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Dahlia storage tips
Dig up your dahlias in step 1
Dig all around the dahlia clump once the leaves have begun to wither, then lift the tubers with a fork while being extremely careful not to injure them with the fork spikes.
As much soil as you can, shake off. After that, trim the dahlia stems with secateurs and compost the leaves.
Step two: Rinse the tubers
The dahlia tubers should be thoroughly rinsed of soil using a hose or pail of water before being placed upside down to dry.
Step three: Pack the tubers
When the dahlia tubers are dry, place them in a box or pot and cover them with dry compost. It’s critical that the compost is dry, since wet compost could cause the tubers to rot in storage.
Dahlia tubers can also be wrapped in dry newspaper or stored in vermiculite. After you’ve placed your tubers in their pots, keep them somewhere that won’t freeze, like under the greenhouse staging or in a dry garage or shed.
Add a thick layer of mulch for additional insulation in the winter if your dahlias are in a warm, protected area of the border and you don’t want to lift them.