Unless you garden in a very warm climate without frost, you will have to rescue your Dahlia tubers from the cold of winter. Dahlia tubers cannot withstand frost so must be lifted from the soil before the cold weather sets in. If dug and stored properly they can be replanted next spring for another display of gorgeous flowers.
HOW TO DIG DAHLIA TUBERS
As soon as your Dahlias have been blackened by the first few nights of light frost, dig up the tubers and let them dry off in a dry, shady place for a few days. Be sure to plant your shovel far enough away from the center of the plant to reduce the risk of cutting into the tubers. Knock off most of the soil and hang them upside down if you can. DO NOT wash them off with the hose. You do not want them to get wet as this will encourage fungus growth and rot over the storage period.
HOW TO STORE DAHLIA TUBERS
To help prevent rotting dust the tubers with sulphur dust, then lay then in a shallow cardboard box and cover with slightly moistened peat or vermiculite. Store them in a cold but frost free place to prevent the tubers from sprouting. An unheated garage often works well.
A couple of times through the winter check to see how your tubers are doing. If they look very dry and shriveled mist them lightly with a spray bottle. If you see any soft or rotten roots remove them and discard. If you leave them they will infect the other tubers.
If it looks like the tubers are too moist, or if they are starting to root, this is probably because they are not cold enough. Try to find a better storage place. Leave your tubers until your frost free spring date. Spread your tubers out indoors and cover them with 1 inch of damp peat. This will help to encourage budding at the stem end.
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