This blog post is about my favorite (and perhaps weird) way of storing dahlia tubers. Below, I provide and overview of how most people store their tubers in the winter, how I dig up my dahlias, and how this weird technique works.
Dahlia’s Winter Hardiness
Dahlias are amazing. You plant them in the spring, and you get blooms for most of the summer (usually beginning in July or August), through to the first frosty weather.
The only problem with dahlias is that they usually require special care in the winter to get them to bloom again the next year. Of course, some people do not care about this, and treat their dahlias as annuals (buying and planting every year). But if you want to get your money’s worth, this article will share with you an easy (and perhaps unusual) way to store your dahlias in the winter.
Dahlias are technically perennials and considered hardy to USDA Zone 8 (which sets the hardiness limit at 10 to 15°F, or -12 to -9 °C).They are also very prone to rotting. Anecdotally, wet winter soil and poor drainage kills the dahlias more often than the cold (so be sure to plant them in a well-drained area).
The weather can do crazy things sometimes. Mulching and planting in a well-drained area can help protect your dahlias in the winter, but that is still no gurantee. The only way to be completely sure that your dahlias will survive the winter is to dig them up and store them.
How Most People Store Dahlias in Winter
There are many different ways to store dahlias. For instance, some prefer to wash them off immediately after digging the plants up. Many people divide them immediately, while others store the whole plant. Tubers can optionally be dipped in a diluted bleach solution, or dusted with sulphur powder to prevent rotting. Typically, the tubers are then stored in a damp, clean material (like peat moss, shredded paper, or cedar shavings). Some individually wrap the tubers in plastic saran wrap. These are great methods and are preferred by many experts in the dahlia world.
The dry storage technique is what I have started calling a technique I stumbled upon by accident. It works, and is perhaps the easiest method of storing dahlia tubers.