Dahlias in Virginia - leave in ground?

coatfetish(z6 VA.)March 9, 2013

Is it possible to leave dahlias in the ground in z6 (Appalachian Mountains) if planted deeply and heavily mulched with dry leaves contained in a wire cage?

I know it sounds lazy, but I am getting older and have health issues that make it harder & harder to dig plants. I am about to get my first dahlia this year - however I am also going to buy a cheapo at Walmart to experiment with, but will dig my first plant (Wyoming Wedding, which I am extremely excited to get!) like I should.

Any thoughts for a first timer on this? Thanks!

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steve22802(7a VA)

There are two keys to getting dahlias to overwinter in the ground in a temperate climate regardless of where you live.

1.) You cannot allow the frost to penetrate to the depth of the tubers. Unlike frost hardy bulbs, daffodils for example, which can actually freeze solid without harm dahlia tubers cannot be allowed to freeze or they will turn to mush and die when they thaw.

2.) The dormant tubers should not be allowed to sit in wet soil. This causes them to rot.

So you should be able to get dahlias to overwinter in your climate if you can meet those two conditions. A heavy mulch of leaves is a good idea and I would also recommend covering the leaves with sheet plastic or a cold frame to keep the soil dry throughout the winter.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:30AM
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coatfetish(z6 VA.)

Thank you for the tips - I will try them out on a Walmart plant to see how I do. I am fortunate to be getting 2 Wyoming Weddings, and I'm going to plant one in the garden and one in a large pot (18" diameter) to see how they compare - then I'll lift them both in the traditional manner. After I see how the experimental "in ground" plant does next year, I may try it with others.
Thanks again for helping a newbie!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:00AM
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