Overwhelm dahlias - this is how you store dahlia tubers correctly

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Overwhelm dahlias - this is how you store dahlia tubers correctly: store

Throughout the summer, the flowers of dahlia give pleasure to many hobby gardeners in their own garden. Dahlias are subtropical flowers that are native to Mexico and other Central American countries. The secret to successfully cultivating the plants with the showy flowers is underground: in the dahlia tubers. When the first frosts arrive, it's time to relocate. What you have to pay attention to, you will learn in this article.


Dahlias, botanically Dahlia, are perennial, herbaceous plants that form tubers in the soil to survive. During the growing season, especially at the end of the flowering period, the dahlia stores various nutrients in these tubers in order to be able to drive out again in the spring. Since dahlias are used to warm temperatures, they are not sufficiently hardy for us. If you want a rich abundance of flowers again the following year, you should hibernate your plants properly.

winter possibilities

Since the dahlia is not hardy, the underground tubers must be protected from frost. There are different possibilities for this:
  • Excavate tubers and store in the basement
  • Leave tubers in the pot
  • Protect tubers from frost
The fewest losses are recorded when you remove the dahlia tubers from the garden bed or the plant container in autumn and store them in a dry place. All other methods do not reliably protect the tubers.

Hibernation in the pot

If you want to overwinter your dahlias in the plant pot, cut all shoots down to about 10 cm above ground level after the first frosts and dispose of the cut in the organic waste or on the compost. The pots are then placed in a cool, frost-free place where it should be dark. If the temperatures rise above 10 degrees, the Dahlia begins to drive out again. Keep the soil dry during the winter break to prevent mold and rot. So do not pour or spray.
Tip: Supply the tubers in the spring with fresh soil and a little fertilizer, then they can be made from the Eisheiligen back to the fresh air.

Hibernation in the field

Some gardeners overwinter their plants in the field. However, there is a great danger that the tubers will not survive the cold temperatures.
  • cut off dried shoots
  • at 5 to 10 cm above ground level
  • Thick layer of leaves or straw
  • additionally cover with foil tunnel or bubble wrap
  • the tubers should not get wet
  • Complain slide with a few stones
  • Remove the winter cover again in the spring
  • from temperatures of 10 degrees
Tip: The best way to survive the winter in open fields in wine-growing areas or when the dahlias are planted close to the house.


Ball Dahlia - Dahlia hortensis

The time when dahlias are to be taken out of the garden floor may be a bit tricky for beginners. Because the tubers must not be taken too early from the ground. At the end of the growing season, the plant stores nutrients for the following year in these tubers. If the stems are still green, the saving process is not yet completed. If the dahlia dug up too early, it may happen that it is too weak to expel again next spring. But the cultured flowering plant should not stay out too long, because it dies when it comes to severe ground frosts. As soon as the first frosts begin in autumn, the dahlias must be taken out of the garden floor. The ideal time has come when the shoots are frozen to the plants above the ground level and only hang down brown and unsightly. A few light frosts will not hurt the plant.


To prepare for hibernation, the perennials are only sparsely watered from the end of August. The reduction in moisture causes the dahlia to step up its efforts to store the reserves in the underground tubers. As the first night frosts set in, the foliage begins to wither and the aboveground plant parts die off.

Dig out

If you dug up the dahlias, the soil of the garden should be as dry as possible, because in this case the soil dissolves more easily from the roots and tubers. The best way to dig up the dahlias with a digger fork. So there is little danger of excessively injuring the tubers and roots. Before digging, the shoots are cut back about five to ten centimeters above the roots. At each of the storage organs must remain at least five inches long stem remnant, because from this so-called root neck drives the dahlia in the spring again from again. Carefully tap off adherent soil from the tuber.


An important detail that is often forgotten is to label the dahlia with a label of what variety and flower color it is.This step should be done immediately after digging up, because next spring you probably will not know which tuber belongs to which strain. This makes the flowerbed a colorful mess, because you can no longer distinguish the individual varieties.


Wash adhering debris from your dahlia tubers by panning them in a bowl or tub of room-warm water. Be very careful with this procedure, as even minor skin injuries can lead to the ingress of germs, causing the tubers to rot in their winter quarters.

Prevent infections

Before the dahlia tubers are stored, they should be subjected to a thorough inspection. Defective areas start to rot easily and ensure that the rot and mold pathogens spread further. Often damaged tubers can still be saved.
  • Cut out foul spots generously with a sterile knife
  • Remove dead parts
  • Separate mother tuber
  • This first-year tuber tends to rot
  • Disinfect interfaces with charcoal powder
  • alternatively use sulfur powder
  • Sort out all damaged tubers and compost
  • Only store healthy, strong dahlia tubers

Pompom Dahlia - Dahlia hortensis

Charcoal is found in almost every household. Anyone who uses charcoal for grilling can simply collect the carbon powder, which always deposits on the bottom of the packaging. Usually the coal powder ends up in the garbage can, but it can also be used to care for the plants. Always store damaged or infected tubers separately so that the pathogens do not spread to the healthy storage organs. Highly infected tubers should be sorted out immediately and disposed of on the compost.


Older, well-established dahlias form thick, numerous storage organs. Before storage, it is possible to divide the tubers to rejuvenate and replicate the plant. Ideally, each section has at least one eye. If you are not sure, you can wait until spring. As a rule, these eyes grow during the rest period, so that they are better recognizable in early spring.

Cut roots

The small roots, which grow laterally from the tubers, have no other function. They usually die over the winter. Therefore, they can be cut off just before storage to avoid infection.


Before tubers are stored, it is best to dry them for a few weeks in a warm, well-ventilated place. The tubers and roots are still wet when they are stored, the risk that they begin to rot. If the temperatures outside of this freezing point are still well outside and the weather is dry, the dahlia tubers can simply be dried on a newsprint outdoors. Important is a good air circulation, so that the storage organs can dry well. However, choose a location where the storage organs are not exposed to direct sunlight. The goal is to dry the tubers, not to cook them.
Tip: If you have the opportunity to hang the tubers individually in a net, this promotes drying. Hang the tubers upside down so that the residual moisture can drain out of the stems.


Dahlia tubers should be stored dark and cool. Wooden boxes for wine or vegetables are best suited for this purpose. Dress the boxes inside with a few pages of newspaper and fill with a thin layer of dry sand, peat or sawdust. Put the dahlias in so they do not touch each other. Then fill in so much sand (peat, sawdust) that the tubers are completely covered. If the box is high enough, you can lay a second layer of dahlia tubers and cover them with substrate. An ideal place to camp is:
  • dark
  • cool
  • Temperature: around 5 degrees
  • dry
  • cool cellar
  • frost-free garage
  • unheated utility room or hallway
  • The humidity must not be too low
  • best set up a bowl of water
  • Ventilate the room regularly
It should not be much warmer than five degrees in the winter quarter, otherwise there is a danger that the dahlias will start out again in winter or you will lose all tubers. If you do not have a suitable storage location for the dahlia tubers, they prefer to treat the flowers like annuals and buy new dahlias every year.


Semicactus Dahlia - Dahlia hortensis

In damp, warm cellars, the Dahlia's storage organs tend to rot. In affected areas often forms mold. Since sometimes one overlooks damaged areas during storage, the dahlias should therefore be checked every four weeks. Sort out all tubers that do not look perfectly clean. If the storage organs appear excessively dry (the skin becomes wrinkled), they will ensure a slightly higher humidity. You can easily spray the peat moss, sand or sawdust with water or alternatively set up a bowl of water next to the boxes.However, do not spray the water directly on the tubers and make sure that no puddles form.


Despite perfect preparation and storage, it is possible for some dahlia bulbs to die or rot. This is normal and can not be prevented. With good preparation and control, the losses are limited. The stronger and healthier the tubers are, the greater the chance that they survive the winter unscathed. Weak, thin tubers arise when the following conditions are met:
  • they are from very young plants
  • The older the dahlia, the bigger the tubers become
  • they could not grow for a whole summer
If the dahlias do not have enough time to grow and store nutrients in the subterranean organs, they are only sparsely formed. In the following year, make sure to use them early enough and leave them uncut in the bed long enough. Gentle frosts tolerate the pretty summer bloomers well. They only have to be taken out of the ground when the ground threatens to freeze.


It can happen that the tubers of the Dahlia already drive out in their winter quarters again. That is no cause for concern. These shoots are simply shortened before planting in spring. If you want, you can also drive your dahlias in order to give them a head start. For those who take care of their dahlias in early spring will be rewarded with a particularly early and lush flowerage. Get the tubers from the winter quarters and make it easier for the plants to start the gardening season. All you need is a flowerpot and some substrate.
  • Time: from March
  • plant in a container filled with substrate
  • Plant only one plant per pot
  • Planting depth: 5 cm
  • Location: bright window
  • Temperature: 8 to 15 degrees (not too warm)
  • just pour sparingly
If the driven dahlias come into the bed from the middle of May, they have a good lead over the directly planted flowers and are already well developed. In this way, they also better withstand attacks of slugs.

plant out

Dahlia - Dahlia hortensis

Dahlias do not necessarily have to be driven forward. The tubers can also be planted directly in the garden floor directly after hibernation and a final check. Best time is between the end of April and mid-May. It is important that the earth is not too wet. Since the last late frosts of the beautiful flower can not harm, one does not have to wait until the icy saints with the planting out.
  • Time: from the end of April
  • do not plant during prolonged rainy seasons
  • the earth should only be slightly damp
  • Planting depth: about 5 cm soil over the tuber
Since dahlias originally come from sun-drenched Mexico, they are unfortunately not sufficiently frost hardy. But their tubers can be overwintered easily and easily in any unheated cellar or in a frost-free garage. In cool and dry conditions there is a high chance that the dahlias survive the winter months unscathed.

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