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Dahlias - leaving in!

Hi all - I left my dahlias in the ground last year (Nottingham), cut to about an inch or so above the ground with a mound of compost on top of them for insulation.  I'd like to do the same this year as a big fat 0% of tubers I've lifted have ever made it through above ground.

I can't remember what I did with the remaining bit of the stalks though.  They're hollow aren't they, so may collect water, and destroy the tubers.  Any tips?  Anyone else risking it this year? (appreciate our winter was pretty mild last year).


  • Bright starBright star Posts: 1,152

    I watched a video on Sarah Ravens website regarding this. She leaves hers in the ground over winter. She puts a full bucket of compost over each tuber leaving it in a mound so that it's got quite a depth of compost  covering the tuber rather like a large mole hill.

    Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

  • Bright starBright star Posts: 1,152

    This is the YouTube link

    Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,769

    I leave most of mine in the ground, but my soil is quite well drained. The stems go soggy and close up after a few frosts anyway. One dahlia, Bishop of Landaff, I haven't managed to keep over winter, but Bishop's Children grown from seed were OK.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Thanks all - yes I did molehills last year, and like Busy-Lizzie, the soil's very sandy so more chance of survival.  I'll see if I can somehow bend the stalks over to minimise water getting in.

    I'll sort them out today I think - last (major) garden job of the year!

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,769

    My soil isn't sandy, it's drained because the garden is terraced on a slope and the beds behind retaining walls are like huge plant pots!

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • soulboysoulboy Posts: 429

    I'm in Sheffield and I've grown Dahlias for a few years. I've never lifted mine, doing what people suggest and putting lots of compost in a heap on top to protect them. Apparently it's the wet that rots the tubers rather than frost killing them.

    We've been fortunate here the last few years in that the winters have been very mild and relatively dry. But last year we had more rain than previous years and one dahlia was affected by rot. But this was in one of the wettest areas of the garden. The others all survived to produce more flowers than ever, and I was even able to save the rotting one because it had some new growth that I replanted.

    I obviously caught it in time.

  • LoanaLoana Posts: 427

    Some good ideas for me for next winter,thank you,  i only have one dahlia, karma choc, and she is tucked up in newspaper in the shed. plan is to have several more next year and to plant them in pots ;) 

  • PageZPageZ Posts: 87

    I lifted 4 dahlias and left them upside down to drain/dry them, however yesterday I was checking them and found they are covered with fungus (partly)! Very heart broken because this is the second year I had them and the first time I decided to lift themimage

    Then I quickly removed the tubers that have most of the fungus and put the rest into pots with compost. I don't know if that will prevent them from dying?

    I have another 3 dahlias in the ground so I just mulched them. Hopefully they can make it through the winter.

    Soulboy--I am in Sheffield too. Let's hope this winter is mild haha.

  • Not all fungus is bad news. Can you show us a photo?

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • PageZPageZ Posts: 87
    Dovefromabove says:

    Not all fungus is bad news. Can you show us a photo?

    See original post

     Thanks Dove for asking. I have covered the tubers with compost therefore I do not have photos to show fungus. I am pretty much sure this is due to the dampness in the shed. I will be checking the ones in compost regularly. If I spot any bad development, I will take a photo and show you guys.

    I am a garden newbie and so glad I found this forum. So many experts!!! image

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