If you're new to gardening or simply looking to add some hardy and vibrant flowers to your botanical repertoire, you might just find dahlias to be the perfect fit. With a staggering 50,000 varieties that bloom from summer to the onset of winter, there's a lot to love about these versatile plants.
Understanding Dahlias’ Frost Sensitivity
Dahlias are not fans of the cold. While they can hold up against temperatures dipping below zero degrees Celsius, a plunge to -6 to -8 degrees Celsius can be a struggle. Frosts have a tendency to turn their leaves and flowers brown, which is why it's vital to keep them protected.
How to Care for Dahlias in Winter
For dahlias, winter means a time to rest. When their leaves darken, it's a sign they should be excavated, ideally in October. Use a garden fork and spade to carefully remove the plant, ensuring the stems are taken out. Once you've removed the soil and it's dry, separate the tuber from the plant and leave it to dry for a few more days.
Once November comes around, it's time for another round of digging up the dahlia tubers. A garden fork placed 30 cm away from the plant should be used to avoid any root damage. After the tuber is out, let it dry and brush off any excess soil. The main stem can be cut down to around 15 cm from the base.
These tubers can then be covered with potting soil or sand and stored in crates or boxes. Once they're dormant, store them in a cool room with a temperature between 5 and 10°C. Keep them in a dry, dark place away from moisture, and inspect them every 2 to 3 weeks, watering them if they start to dry out.
Dahlia Planting Options
Dahlias offer versatility when it comes to planting. They can thrive in pots, be placed in beds, or planted directly in the soil. If you're using pots, you can keep them there over winter and replant them in fresh soil come spring. Remember to shield them from rodents and pests.
If you live in a region that experiences mild winters and well-drained soil, dahlias can stay in the ground over winter. It's recommended to use mulch for soil and root protection. Come springtime, replant the tubers for a new season of beautiful blooms.
Storing Dahlias Over Winter
When the weather gets cold, digging up dahlias and storing them in a cool, dark place is a good strategy. However, don't forget to trim the stems and keep them in a wooden crate for the best results. By observing these steps, dahlias can provide a beautiful boost to your garden year after year.