How To Protect Dahlia Tubers In The Winter

Some plants survive winter's cold by hunkering down in the ground and they do just fine, sprouting up again when warmer spring temperatures arrive. Other plants require a little more care in some climate zones, like dahlias. Read on to learn how to properly care for your dahlia tubers when winter roars in. 

In climate zones warmer than 8 dahlias are a perennial plant, which means they can remain in the ground and will regrow year after year. In colder climates, however, dahlias are an annual plant and will bloom only once. Those cold temperatures cause dahlia tubers to die in the ground in the winter. A careful gardener can protect and overwinter dahlia tubers, saving them to replant in the spring. 

In cold climates, wait for the first frost to hit and blacken the foliage of your dahlias. Once that happens it's time to cut the foliage down to no more than 4 inches above the ground. Carefully dig around the dahlia tuber clump, testing the soil with a shovel to detect the width of the clump so you don't damage the tubers in the process. Once you've found the clump perimeter, carefully dig down until you can fit your shovel beneath the entire clump. Gently remove it from the soil. 

Once the dahlia tubers are out of the ground, put them in a dry location where they won't be hit by frost and leave them to dry for a few days. Once the dahlia tubers are dry, carefully remove the soil that clings to them and cut the stems down to about 1 inch. Put the tubers in a basket or box where they will have air circulation, and put them in a cool, dry location that maintains a temperature of about 45 degrees. A basement or an attached garage are good options. 

During the winter, check on your dahlia tubers periodically. If they look shriveled, spray them with a little water. If you notice a rotten spot, carefully cut it out so it doesn't spread to other parts of the plant. 

Don't let your spring fever rush you to put those dahlia tubers back in the ground too early. Be sure that the soil is warm before you replant them. If you want to get a jump on dahlia growth, you can put the tubers in a container for a couple of weeks before the average last frost date in your area and put the container in a sunny window. Once the ground is warm, the early growing dahlias can be transplanted.

For more information about caring for your dahlia tubers, contact companies like Summer Dreams Farm.