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Dahlia query

Hilary_15Hilary_15 Posts: 58
Hi everyone, I want to dig my dahlias up to overwinter as I have very soggy soil here in winter.  Can I dig them up now for storage rather than waiting for them to turn black with first frost?  I need the space to plant bulbs.  
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  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 9,928
    Yes you can, although the longer you leave them, the bigger the tubers are likely to get.
    Southern trees bear a strange fruit
    Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
  • BiljeBilje Posts: 628
    I overwinter about 50 tubers. I’m just about to start on the saddest ones…ie leafless stems as slugs/ snails have ravaged them grrrr. Otherwise I usually start in November on the wettest borders.Mine rarely get frosted until January too late for me. 
     They’re lifted and stems cut back, don’t forget a label! Then  as much soil picked out of them as possible then I hose them clean. They dry off in the air or in the back of the garage if the weathers wet. Then wrapped in newspaper when dry and packed into those heavy supermarket bags for life left open, not in fastened up plastic bags, then hung up in the garage rafters. I’ve done it this way for 20 plus years and I’d say it’s 90% plus effective. 
  • Janie BJanie B LincolnshirePosts: 809
    I lifted all mine before the first frosts last autumn, as I had some building work planned... they were all fine... in fact I'm beginning to wonder where the advice to leave them till after the first frost came from!
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,626
    Janie B said:
    ... in fact I'm beginning to wonder where the advice to leave them till after the first frost came from!
    Probably because they carry on flowering until they get frosted, if you keep on deadheading them (they do here anyway).
  • Hilary_15Hilary_15 Posts: 58
    Ok, that's great everyone.  I'll go ahead & dig them up!
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 11,185
    Some people say to mist the tubers over the winter so they don't completely dry out - does anyone do that?
  • GearóidGearóid EnglandPosts: 56
    I wrap mine in sheets of newspaper. I read that tip years ago and I find that it does store them well, not too dry, not too moist. Just right. 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 11,185
    I have lost tubers indoors over the winter before now. Begonias too. I will go with a mixed model this year - most in fleeced and covered pots outside and some of the newer tubers inside in a cool place wrapped in newspaper.
  • Janie BJanie B LincolnshirePosts: 809
    I too wrap mine in newspaper, and keep them in the shed. Have always been fine. 
  • msqingxiaomsqingxiao North LondonPosts: 192
    I'm wondering about the same here, and I think I'll follow the approach of @Fire to diversify the storing methods on my 10+ Dahlias. Have a few questions regarding the different methods though:

     - Left in the ground (guess a layer of compost mulch should do?)
     - Dug up and wrapped in newspapers (Question: Are they supposed to be kept dry all the time throughout the winter?)
     - Left in pots (Question: Should the compost in the pots be dry or moist?)

    Thanks!
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