Storing Dahlias: WHERE to keep them?

threeorangeboysSeptember 24, 2007

Hello everyone,

so I am going to try, again, to store my dahlias with the saran wrap method. But, I have a bigger problem. Where do I keep them?? I have no cellar or cold basement. I don't have a garage. I am wondering if I should just keep them in the ground right next to the house which is brick with full sun, and put tons of leaf mulch on them? Brent and Beckys say their dahlias overwinter in the ground, but they are a couple hours further south than I am. What temperature do they need to be? I don't have TONS of tubers, but I'll probably have 20 or so. I really want to be able to store them, as it is getting too expensive to replace them every year. Any thoughts?

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covella

if your ground freezes they will be lost - that is the basic rule of thumb. They would like to be stored above 40 degrees - ideal is 45-55. Any hotter and they may break dormancy too early and rot. Can you bury them, or shield them with a few bales of straw or some other insulation?

I have no idea if this is a good idea or not but maybe you could dig a hole 12" deep which ought to be well below the frost line, and put them in there. I thought about using the paper bags that potatoes come in here - have a netting window in the front for air to pass thru. If you pile dirt on top, that ought to be good insulation for it. But maybe you should call your local dahlia society or Brent & Becky's. I love testing stuff so I would be inclined to try a couple different things. Good luck

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 8:13PM
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threeorangeboys

That is interesting! 12 inches is below the frost line? Hmmmm. Okay, well that is a thought. I think I'll try to stick a few in the fridge, but I definitely don't have room for all of them. Ugh. How frustrating! Well, I'll just have to experiment until I find something that works.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 9:13AM
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covella

I have no idea where your frost line is - not sure in zone 7 but your County Extension Service would know. I may have spoken too soon with my guess of 12 inches. For us the plumbing regulations require 4 feet below soil surface to be below the frost line in extreme weather situations. Thats why burying doesn't work for us :)

I got sort of interested in this question and found a website with some research. A school in Arkansas (zone 7?) had measured soil temps at 10 cm. If you go to page 16 there is a graph of soil temps vs air temps. Air temp is the right axis and soil temp is on the left axis. You can see the soil remains warmer till the air temp has been cold for a while. At 10 cm the soil is frozen for a short time in January.

My garage freezes solid, but I successfully keep dahlias and other potted plants there. The dahlias are saran wrapped, put in a cardboard box with bubble wrap lining, and crumpled newspaper on top, box is put in a wheelbarrow off the floor and have tarps piled on them

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 12:37PM
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threeorangeboys

Oh that is good to know. so, perhaps I could store them in my Mom's garage if I wrap them in tarps, etc. do you check on them regularly throughout the winter?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 2:40PM
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covella

I check maybe once or twice to make sure they aren't rotting. But I think you should look up your local dahlia society and ask somebody down the road. I don't know how many below freezing days you have and how far down it goes. I think I was at a meeting once in ATL when it snowed about 4 inches and the city and I-75 shut down for days.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 11:26PM
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