shriveled dahlia tubers

marcy55April 3, 2010

Stored dahlias according to instructions in a cardboard box, each one seperated from the other with newspaper and in shavings. Stored in my garage in a cupboard. Just took them out for a look and all of them shriveled up, No odors. Help!!! I am new to this gardening thing and I am so upset that I may of ruined these.

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mariana2007(6a ON Canada)

I planted my shriveled dahlias last week. I stored mine the same way like yours. They started to grow roots already. I planted them in a big transparent plastic box and I can see the roots through the box.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 9:04PM
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I also have shriveled up dahlias this year. They were in the same place as last year so can't figure it out. Since I am not a patient person, they are in the swimming pool at the moment to see if they plump up?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 2:02PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Call the lifeguard, PD! Depending on local humidity and storage medium, you really need to check those tubers several times through the winter and add moisture or air out as needed. I have a few that are shriveled to a degree, but I don't worry about it- if they want to live, they'll grow. I never really found that soaking shriveled tubers did much good: once they lose their interior moisture it's hard to get it back unless new roots can take over and form new tubers to support the growth. That's my thinking, anyway.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:28PM
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It really depends on just how far gone they are. I have not become a pro at the art of storing tubers, I had some with minimal care make it through the winter, others not so much. It seems the ones I did the least prep too, ended up doing the best.

I have planted some pretty nasty tubers in the past however and was rewarded with very nice plants....

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 8:20AM
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I didn't leave them in the pool. There is just water in there now. I thought they might plump up. I don't have the space to pput them in the ground. I havee to know if they will work. Our weather in MA. has been so whacky . 70 degrees for over a week. Things are flowering. I know we will get another bout of cold weather so I am waiting.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 12:10PM
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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

I have misted shriveled tubers for a few weeks and they always come back for me.

......mist 2 weeks and then pot up.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 7:11PM
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Hi pdshop,

It is too early to plant the dahlias directly outside in the ground here in Massachusetts. You could try starting them in a tray with some potting mix, seed starter or peat moss. I have found all work. Then if they sprout, put them in a pot until they are about 10 inches tall, then acclimatize them to outdoors, then you can plant them.

The basic issue is that the tuber has to get fairly warm to start, and the 60 degree recommended soil does not start here in Mass until early June. However, I have found that if I start them inside and plant them outside that they are just fine as long as there is no HARD frost. If it is going to be chilly, you can just put a frost blanket over them.

Much of what I am saying here is heretical, but it seems to work. I have dahlias from late June to November.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 9:01AM
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Hi ceh, I have some under grow lights in the cellar and some out in the sun with misting. Hasn't this Spring been a teaser. Alot of my plants are flowering. I hope we don't get hit by a real cold spell.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 8:21AM
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I wish it was going to stay nice and unseasonably warm here in New England, so I could plant in the ground. No bugs yet! Planting without being swarmed by black flies would be a real treat!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:23PM
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Hi nhdahlialover. Please see the message I posted on transplanting dahlias. It has a link to the CG Dahlias tips on growing. If you start them inside, you could transplant now as long as you have a frost blanket just in case. I have some coming in the mail and plan to plant on Monday after the cold weekend.

I think that a lot of the information out there about dahlias is simply folklore.

Pdshop, however, is clearly ahead of me given that some of her dahlias are flowering. A couple of mine are 2-3' tall', but they have not flowered!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 5:59PM
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hey ceh2101, thanks for the message/link on the post for transplanting dahlias. You are right, it really does not work waiting to 60 degree soil. You are in MA, yes? When do you put your tubers in the ground?

I am always looking for ways to get earlier bloom. I haven't started anything yet to see what will sprout - not alot of room inside to keep the started tubers, although if I can put cutting outside......that could be a thought.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:32PM
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Hi Linda,

I plant the tubers inside, starting in January and will transplant them next week after it stops raining. Just in case, I bought a frost blanket that protects down to 24 degrees, or really gives you 6 degrees of protection. It takes a hard frost to really kill a dahlia, so I think they will be all right as long as temps are above 20 degrees.

They just need the higher temperature inside to break out of their dormancy and get going for a few inches.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 8:36AM
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I didn't mean my dahlias were flowering. I meant other plants outside that are early. Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 8:59AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I just received this dahlia tuber in the mail and would like to pot it up to give it a head start but how do I plant it? There is no sign of roots or a shoot and I don't know how to position it in the pot. Which way is up? It is about 5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. These aren't very good pics. but you can get an idea from them. Pics. show each side of tuber. Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 7:17AM
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the collar is on the right side in the first picture- that's the top. If you lay the tuber on it's side & just cover w/ an inch of soil, even it the shoot comes out the back of the collar, it will grow around & grow upwards anyway.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 8:41PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Thank you Plantlady. It will be potted up later today. It's a dinnerplate so I'm really looking forward to the blooms.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 3:03AM
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This is my first time posting in this forum. I'll share my shriveled dahlia story, since it might make someone laugh. This was my first experience with holding dahlias over the winter.

I have a thing for the small-flowered dahlias (Pooh, Bishop of Llandaff...) I waited too long to dig my dahlias this past fall (we had extended summer temps and then suddenly got whacked with freezing temps). I was prying these guys out of frozen ground and frozen pots (the pots had to come inside to thaw, they were frozen solid).

I figured they were goners, but I held on to the tubers, just in case. A few weeks ago I took them out and they looked AWFUL. Shriveled and felt soft to me, except for one (my beloved 'Pooh') which had a few eyes. Potted up Pooh and put the rest in the garbage and ordered more tubers, kicking myself for waiting so long to dig.

Yesterday, I was cleaning the potting area in my basement and realized I had never tossed the bag with the dead dahlias. Decided to rummage through--they didn't look quite as shriveled as before and 5 out of 7 had eyes! Dug them out of the trash bag and potted them up. Here's hoping they grow! I think I'd better find a friend to share some of these with...

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:52AM
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I planted one dahlia [Bishop of Llandoff] last year that I bought from White Flower Farm. In the fall, I dug it up and put in a paper bag with shredded newspaper and stored in a cold, dark closet on the ground level of my townhouse. When I checked the condition of the dahlia a month or so ago it was all shriveled up and looked mummified. So I pitched it and order a new dahlia from WFF which I planted a week or so ago.

Is it possible to dig up a dahlia in the fall, put in a flower pot, cover with dirt and store the potted bulb that way through the winter in a dark, cold closet? And sprinkle the pot occasionally to keep the soil from totally drying out. Would that work to winter over a dahlia?


    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 2:36PM
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I was thinking that my shriveled Dahlias were gonners too.(I'm new to Dahlias,as of last year.)I put them in the ground a couple weeks ago because I figured they probably wouldn't do anything anyway, but to my surprise,3 out of 6 are sending up some nice shoots now...some are a couple inches tall. If it frosts, I'll cover them! I've learned that shriveled Dahlias can snap out of it!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 11:36AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Hurray for the resurrection of shriveled dahlias! They are often tough little buggers. "Pooh" will be back in my garden this year too- so bright and cute.

Jerry D, my thought regarding your question is if you're going to dig a dahlia up, why not just store it in a bag or pot of vermiculite or wood shavings vs soil? Same amount of work, or less, and you'd be using a proven storage media. You can still check moisture levels through the dormant season. Perhaps an experiment of storing some in soil, some in shavings/vermiculite would be interesting to try.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 1:44PM
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I'm curious as to why many of the tubers I've had curing for a couple days are already "rubbery" and others shriveling? I only dug a couple of 'em up but have about 20 still to get to and am nervous I'm gonna kill 'em.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 5:11PM
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