For those who don’t know what a dahlia is, it is a flowering plant that derives from a tuberous bulb. While gardeners tend to love to plant these items, because of the beautiful blossom they create, dahlia bulbs don’t often make it through the colder months. Thankfully, though, there are ways you can store dahlia bulbs over the winter, so that they can be replanted in the spring to produce even more flowers. All you have to do is follow the steps below:
1. Cut Back Your Dahlia Plants.
- Right before the first freeze in your area, make sure to cut back your dahlia plants to roughly 4 inches above the ground. At this point, you’ll already notice that your dahlia plants are starting to die. However, if you wait to slice your dahlia plants until after the ground freezes over, it will be too late and you won’t be able to revive the bulbs for future use.
2. Prepare the Area
- Begin by taking out any stakes or mulch that’s located around your dahlia plants. Then, start digging around these plants. Using a shovel, you will want to remove about 8 inches of dirt around the stem. Since the soil is now loosened, you’ll have an easy time lifting the plant out of its socket. Remember, though, to be super careful during this step because you do not want to end up harming the tubers in the process with your shovel. With the bulbs in your hands, shake off any of the excess dirt.
3. Allow the Bulbs to Dry
- In a faraway location, take your dahlia tubers and completely spread them out. By doing this, you’re letting them dry, which is crucial for storage. Your bulbs should be left out to dry for about 2 weeks. You’ll need to check on these tubers periodically to be certain that they’re not beginning to shrivel up. Make sure that whatever spot you leave your tubers in doesn’t receive direct sunlight because that could dry them out to much. Similar to this, the area you pick should not be exposed to any moisture or rain.
4. Write Out the Color of the Dahlia Plant
- On each tuber, write with a sharpie marker the color of the dahlia plant. In fact, you can even scribble this out on the storage container you’re using. This way when you replant your bulbs in the spring, you know exactly what colors they are, so there’s no guessing to be done here.
5. Place the Bulbs in a Storage Container
- Grab an open container and put your dahlia bulbs into them. From there, sprinkle some peat moss over it all, as this will keep the tubers dry. Then, leave your containers in a part of your house that’s cool, dry and dark. We recommend using your basement.
6. Get Rid of Any Damaged Bulbs
- Throughout the winter, keep checking on your dahlia bulbs. If you notice that any of the bulbs have become damaged or diseased over time, remove them immediately.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock