Save your dahlias for next season
Those beautiful dinner-plate-sized flowers we enjoy until frost need to be rescued before cold weather is here to stay. Take an hour or so during the warm weekend ahead to save your dahlias.
Because they are not hardy to overwinter in the soil, dahlias are an annual in Colorado. They split in freezing temps and can mold if the soil becomes soggy.
Unlike most other annuals we enjoy, dahlias can be dug up, put to bed for the winter and divided before planting in the spring to create even more flowering plants. Follow these easy steps to get the job done.
- Remove top growth leaving a couple inches. Dig the tubers being careful not to damage them.
- Brush off the soil and let tubers dry for a few days. While they need to dry to avoid rotting, they still need to have some moisture inside to remain viable. When the skin is wrinkled, the tubers are ready to store.
- Keep tubers from touching one another during storage. Tubers can be packed in peat moss, sand or cedar chips. They can also be stored with packing material in heavy plastic bags or a in foam ice chest.
- Store at ideal temperature of 40 to 50 degrees. A cool place in a basement or crawl space can work well, but garages that reach freezing temps won't be suitable.
- Check tubers occasionally during the winter and remove any that have rot to keep it from spreading to other tubers
- Plant tubers in the spring with other annuals after danger of frost has passed.
When we rescue our dahlias from the winter freeze, we are good stewards and paying it forward to the gardening season ahead.