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plumbplumb Posts: 56
Do you have to wait for a frost to kill off the foliage or can they be lifted anytime.


  • As a child I helped my father every year lift the tubers and store them in a cool place. When we had our own garden I was delighted to find dahlias and so did exactly what my father and I had done for years.
    Disaster. They all rotted. I couldn't explain why.
    So in recent years I have planted tubers and left them in the ground and this year was the best display.
    However if we get a very cold winter like in 2010 I will probably not have any tubers left.
    The frost here has already killed off the foliage.
  • plumbplumb Posts: 56
    Thank you but wanted to know, do you have to wait for foliage to die, or can you lift while some foliage still green, or does it not matter.

  • You would wait for the foliage to die back because if they are still green then they are stilll producing food and sending it down to the tuber.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 8,665
    No, you don't have to wait for the frost to kill the foliage, although as bertrand-mabel says, the longer you leave them, the more growth the tubers will make.
    I have always lifted mine in late October, early November.
    Walk out to winter, swear I'll be there.
    Chill will wake you, high and dry
    You'll wonder why.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,344
    If you're in a very wet area, it would be better to lift them too, even if you haven't had frosts.
    In a milder area, you may not get too many frosts by this point, but leaving them until much later than this means a risk of them rotting instead, so the timing is important.
    A combination of cold and wet is fatal. You can really only leave them in the ground if you have the right conditions for them.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • plumbplumb Posts: 56
    Great thanks
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 7,148
    I would advise lifting them and turning them upside down to dry off in a shed or greenhouse if you can, before storing them.
  • plumbplumb Posts: 56
    Yep done that thanks, only taken up the ones where foliage has died, left the others.Thank you all, fortunately not much rain in Essex last month or so
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,344
    Ah - I think a lot of people in Essex leave them in the ground, as it's such a dry area. 
    It might be worth experimenting - leave some and lift some. Even a mulch of compost or a cloche with fleece can be more than enough to guard against cold. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • plumbplumb Posts: 56
    Well the ones lifted today have loads of tuba, so going to plant in infill areas next year and leave them in ground ,as you say to experiment.
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