Dahlia winter treatment

organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)July 1, 2007

I planted two Dahlia plants (miniatures) earlier this summer in a tub with Cosmos and Lobelia, and they are wonderful. I've never had Dahlias before (in fact, I'm pretty new to gardening), and I love these little charmers. My original plan was to rip everything out in the Fall and plant seeds of California Poppies for Spring blooming - I did this last year, and they were great, but of course, I needed something else for Summer-to-Fall bloom. All the above plants have done very well. My question is: the Cosmos and the Lobelia are annuals, but I know that dahlias are not. Should I lift the tubers in the Fall, or just keep them in the tub? We are in Central California, and the Winters here, though nothing like the severe Winters back east, can still freeze things (this last Winter, we had a month of very cold temps, and whole citrus groves froze). If I lift the tubers, do I let them dry out, etc., as with other bulb-type plants? Sorry to ask what must seem like a terribly basic question, but our only gardening book is a VERY old Sunset Garden Book, and I get an allergy attack just opening it up (the new one is on my Christmas list for this year!).

Thanks for any advice, Laura

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jmc7104

If your ground freezes as you say then you must lift the tubers immediatly after the lightesr frost and store them for the winter. As fall approaches there will be much advice as to over-winter storage, and most of it is good. Several methoids of storage, most importand is storage temperature. No you do not let them dry out.
jim

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 10:53PM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

Thank you, jmc.
Laura

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 6:01PM
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oscarthecat(z7MD)

One of the real easy ways is to place some vermiculite in a brown paper bag. Wash the newly dug tuber and while still damp put it in the paper bag and cover with vermiculite. Leave the bag open. Sprinkle with a little water occasionally during the winter. If you have a nice cool place to store it should be raring to go come springtime. Steve in Baltimore County.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 3:38PM
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huey_ga(z7)

I would leave them in the tub and move the tub into a garage or area that stays cool but doesn't freeze. Plant your poppy seeds somewhere else and then transplant them into the tub after hard freezes are over and the tub is back outside. The dahlias should take light freezes if no top growth is showing.
This solution is easier for the novice dahlia grower than trying to keep the tubers inside after digging them.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 12:33AM
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