Lifting dahlias

I'm fairly new to gardening but last year I planted a dahlia garden with 14 different types & it was really beautiful. (I hadn't expected any success) 
But I made the mistake of not planting them far enough apart so cutting them was not easy.
My problem is that I haven't had the time to lift them. 
Is it too late to lift them now?  If not then when should I replant? Should I just leave them & cross my fingers? 
Or would I be better to just start again with new tubers?
I really hope someone can help, 
Thank you in advance. 


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 1,498
    I would think it's OK to lift and replant them now, or any time before they get too much growth on them.  I have moved dahlias in spring with up to maybe a foot or so of growth on them but it's better when there's less foliage to support.  Take up a good ball of soil around them so as not to break the roots or tubers, replant at the same depth, water in to settle the soil, and they'll barely know they've been moved.
    Bear in mind that if you have wet poorly-drained soil or have had a cold winter where you live, they might not all have survived (I get away with it here because the soil is sandy and drains like a sieve).
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 14,105

    If you want them further apart you will have to lift them. You may find that not all have survived the winter. Mine usually do though if well mulched. Do you have anywhere frost free to store them in the meantime? If you have a conservatory or Greenhouse you could plant them in compost in large pots to give them an early start, but then you must not plant them out in the garden until the frosts are over. If you just store them in boxes wrapped in newspaper or in compost or wood shavings then plant them out in May.

    If any are soft or mouldy or wet and squidgy then throw them away. They must be firm and each piece of tuber must have had a stem growing from it. If they've got big they can be divided.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Jennyj and busy-lizzy thank you so much for your advice.
    I do have an unheated pollytunnel so I will lift them today & plant into pots in the tunnel (assuming some have survived OK ☺.) 

  • I lifted the dahlias and luckily most have survived. I am planning to replant in the same area of garden as they did so well last year (but further apart). Do I need to rake up last year's bark or can I just fork it into the soil? Apologies if this is a silly question but I still have an awful lot to learn ☺
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 15,015
    Fork it in, no problem, did they grow well with bark around them? 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thank you Lyn, oh my goodness 
    i was amazed how well they grew, I had vases filled all the way into November with beautiful flowers, most of which you don’t see in florist shops. There is no better feeling than making beautiful hand tied bouquets of home grown flowers for family & friends.
    thankyou for your advice.
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