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Winter borders

I have only the past year started growing my own plants the problem I have is I don’t know when to change my summer borders to the winter ones. I have some lovely Dahlias which are still in flower so should I leave them in the borders and plant my winter pansies and bulbs around them. thanks in advance for any advice. 


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,252
    It all depends where you live and what your soil is like. 
    If you have light , free draining soil and live in a mild area, you could leave them in the ground, if your soil is heavy/ you get lots of winter rain or/VERY hard frosts, I'd lift the dahlias.
  • I live in the north west not really harsh winters but my soil is quite clay. So if I lift them when is the best time to do it
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,252
    once the frost blackens them , lift them and stick them in a garage/shed, cellar, attic , anywhere frost free
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,543
    Dahlias can safely be left until the first frosts blacken their foliage.  At that point, depending on your soil and climate as Hosta says, you can lift them, remove the stems, leave them to drain a few days and then wrap them up and store in a frost free place for winter or else cover them with a good mulch of well-rotted garden compost to protect them.

    If there is little room between the dahlias to plant winter bulbs around them you could start them off in pots and then transfer them to the border once it's cleared.   Winter pansies can also be grown on in pots till you're ready.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you for your help. I will transfer some of my pansy seedlings into pots and wait my problem is I’m impatient once seeds start to grow I think I need to put them out usually too soon. One more question if I grew the dahlias from seed this spring would they be a tuber now. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,543
    They may have made small tubers which probably won't store well in the usual way.  Most people would treat dahlias grown from seed as annuals and start again next spring.  However, if you can identify the ones that have been particularly interesting or beautiful, you could try potting them up and keeping them frost free over winter.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Mary370Mary370 Limerick, Ireland Posts: 2,003
    I too grow dahlia from seed, I keep the plants I like the colours of and remove the others.  Im6lucky as my dahlias can be left  in the ground
  • Thanks I’m going to try and keep them in the borders may not survive but worth a try it was the first time I’ve grown them from seed and they’ve done really well I’ll still grow some from seed incase they don’t survive. I’ve only started growing plants the past year so still learning but I’m hooked now 
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    The main thing to watch out for when leaving them in the borders year round is slugs and snails when they begin to sprout next year.  I found one tuber I thought I'd lost but the callousing showed it had sent up new shoots many times but they had been grazed off by molluscs.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • I know slugs are a nuisance need to find a good natural repellent I’ve heard egg shells and copper are quite good 
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