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Dahlia’s

It’s my first year growing dahlias and they’ve been pretty successful. We lost one when the wind got the best of it so what’s the best way to support them so I can get organised for next year?  Also, what’s the best way to over winter them? The soil is clay.  Thanks 

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  • Depends where you live. I'm in the mildest SE UK only 10 minutes from the sea.  I left some in,we had a wet spring,some rotted, some were eaten by slugs. They normally survive here,I mulch with thick layer of home made compost and put a hanging basket over the top. I left a lot in pots this year because of the late Spring,late frosts. Folk dig them up after the Frist has blackened the stems,dry them out upside down,store in shed, green house,wrapped in paper, bubbles wrap, sand,compost. I start mine off in march. It's very windy where I live,but they haven't got very tall this year

  • You will need some strong canes of suitable length and plenty of soft twine. How much support is needed depends on the individual dahlia  and where it is planted. My dahlias have survived so far on a windy site using several canes to surround the clump and twine both around it and for extra tall individual stems. I don't grow the dinner plate ones and I tried to use other planting and position to offer some protection. Some dahlias just seem to grow more robustly than others and weak stems with heavy flower heads are more likely to break. They may need a cane for individual flowers.
    As far as over wintering goes, the simplest option is to leave them in the ground and protect with thick mulch. That only works though, if you don't have really cold winters or excessive rain and your soil is free draining. And if you don't have slugs and snails that would eat all the new shoots as soon as they showed!
    It would be a recipe for disaster for me where I live, so I lift mine when they die down, before a damaging frost, dry them off in the greenhouse for a few days, then wrap the tubers in newspaper and put them in banana trays from the supermarket. They are tucked away in the spare room till early spring and then I move them to a position near a window and keep a lookout for shoots. When I see the first signs of growth I pot them up and keep them where they will get enough light and won't get frozen, either in the house or in the frost-free greenhouse. Harden them off towards the end of May and plant out in June.
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