It’s such a treat to gather your own home grown flowers and carry them back to inside safely in a garden trug. If the weather is kind, dahlia plants will continue to flower well into November, to give us a vase that will last at least seven days for the breakfast table. However, this year we decided to start lifting our tubers earlier and as the ground was relatively dry, this made the task so much easier.
There are two ways to care for your tubers:
- Leave them in the ground and cover with a very thick layer of mulch. This is fine for free draining soils and sheltered gardens.
Less time consuming and easy maintenance
Tubers may begin growing in early spring and so more established for the flowering season
A severe winter may destroy all of your tubers
Costly to replace a large collection
After the first frost, simply cut the blackened growth away, leaving approximately 10 cm stem and then cover with a thick layer of compost or mulch to act as a protective blanket.
Label variety for next year.
2. Lift and store to protect from frost and severe winters.
Best way to check the health of the tubers and remove any damaged or diseased parts
Opportunity to split tubers and create more plants
Labour intensive and costly to invest in additional pots and compost to encourage new season growth
Requires additional storage space and equipment
As soon as the leaves are blackened by the first frost, cut the stem back to approximately 10 cm tall and gently lift the tuber using a garden fork and easing the soil free from around the clump. Take care not to damage the delicate tubers. Ease the soil away from the tuber and store in a labelled crate to allow the tuber to dry out. After three or four weeks pack the tubers away in a box wrapped in newspaper or covered in compost. Label and store in a dry, frost free shed or garage.