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Overwintering Dahlias in Zone 5

November 30th, 2016

Dahlias are lovely, but they are higher maintenance than other things in our cold climate here in Maine. The tubers need to be dug in the fall and overwintered in cold storage. Fortunately they’re fairly forgiving, and with any luck, you’ll increase the number of tubers you have each year. Most dahlias are only hardy to zone 8, so you can overwinter then in the ground if you live in zone 8 or higher.
digging-up-dahlia-tubers-1
In the fall, after your first killing frost, cut the foliage to between 2-4 inches above the ground. Shake soil off tubers gently, I like to let them dry for a week or so in the basement before doing this. Inspect tubers removing any soft or rotten sections.
digging-up-dahlia-tubers-2
digging-up-dahlia-tubers-3
digging-up-dahlia-tubers-4
Once the tubers have dried sufficiently, pack them in a loose material.  I was thinking about using peat, then I remembered that I have an endless supply of white cedar shavings. The material just needs to be loose and dry, you don’t want moisture in this instance.
storing-dahlia-tubers
Move the tubers to a well-ventilated, frost-free spot, you’re looking for something 40-45 degrees. If you don’t have a spot that remains at this temperature, you can use a spot that gets between 35-50. In the spring, pull out your tubers and inspect them, separate into tubers to plant and replant.

Do you dig dahlias or any other plant in the spring?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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