Help with Winter Storage Location

bradk(5)November 21, 2008

I seem to have a problem with where to store my Dahlias. This is my first year having them and I've learned through this forum, that the temp needs to be around 40 degrees.

Our basement is too warm and my attatched garage (which I thought would be the ideal place) has been 60 dgrees for the last few days when it's been 35-40 outside.

What will I do when I can't keep moving them outside during the day????


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Are you sure it has to be 40 degrees? The plants I have just finished blooming and now its 20+ degrees. Can these Dahlia's stay out there? What do I do? Cut the plant away and dig up the bulbs? another issue, I planted 7 bulbs and 4 came up as plants. I'm not sure where to dig up the 3 that didn't come up. It's my first year and I get so confused. Long Island usually has mild winters. Can't they survive out there?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 8:59AM
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Anybody got any ideas??

Now the stinking temp. outside today is going to get to 57!!!!!

No telling what it will be in the garage!!
Are they going down the tubes???? Or should I say Tubers???

Here is a link that might be useful: My Container Gardening Website

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 10:29AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))


I think that the OPTIMUM temperature or preferred temperature is around 40 degreesF. That being said, there is no rule that says that has to be the case.

If I were you, I would try to find the coolest spot in your basement, near the floor, away from heat regiters. I would put a piece of salvage wood on the floor, put the tubers into a carboard box, as I have said before, put the box on the wood, and cover with remnant old sheet or something ( NOT plastic ), that would minimize the temperature fluctuations of the house affecting their temperature. The coolness of the floor will help keep the temperature down.

Does that help?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 10:43AM
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jroot--dahlia growing for dummies is the book i need--thanks for the help. a cardboard box and a blanket for the dahlias

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 11:17AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Make sure you read some of the other discussions here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dahlias are in for the winter.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 11:48AM
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Loswan, yes we on Long Island must bring our dahlias in for the winter. Jroot is giving you great advice. You will not need dahlias for dummies if you read all the post here. Dahlias do very well on Long Island. And ypou can extend growing season easly.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 12:38PM
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Okay, I'll check out the basement tomorrow. And see if I can go that route.
Jroot, that makes me feel a lot better. I sure hope everything works out!
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 9:51PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

I just want to add that people have had great luck storing tubers in a reliable refrigerator in a humidity-controlled (veggie) drawer. If you have just a few tubers or use the saran-wrap method, they generally take up no more room than a few lbs of carrots.

Loswan, if you are in the Long Island area you have access to one great dahlia website linked below. Check out their Learning Center link for all sorts of advice and take advantage of their local knowledge for your best dahlia success.

The 3 tubers that didn't produce plants probably rotted or possibly didn't have eyes to produce a plant in the first place. I wouldn't bother digging them up at all, unless for curiosity's sake.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mid Island Dahlia Society Site

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 10:01PM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

FWIW, there is no compelling reason to get tubers down to any temperature. The issue is not so much temperature as it is humidity and light. If there is too much of either, they will begin to sprout and just keep going...creating long spindly possibly white shoots and leaves. IOWs, they will simply try and grow the best they can if they think there's any possibility.

Keeping them cold, without light, or without humidity should keep them dormant...which is your goal. I kept my in a beer fridge last year, wrapped using the saran method, in a black recycled grocery bag with newspaper above (but not in the crisper.) They did just fine.

This year I put them straight into soil under lights and many have 6" sprouts which I will take as cuttings today to start new plants for next year. IOWs, they don't need to be dormant at all to create new plants.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 9:54AM
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Thanks for the up date Russ. I thought from your last post you had nothing but Moose food.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 11:13AM
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Actually, Russ, there is reason to keep tubers cool in storage. If they are too warm they will wither & turn to wooden little shrivelled up things that won't put out an eye no matter what you do to them in spring.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 12:25AM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)


Do they wither because of temperature, or humidity?

I mean, mine are now at room temperature and sprouting up, so clearly temperature doesn't make them shrivel. A lack of humidity, combined with higher temperatures (e.g. room temperature) certainly would cause the moisture to come out of the tuber.

The cooler the temperature the easier it is to prevent moisture from transferring from the tuber to the air. But I would suspect that if you put them in a dark humidor at room temperature they'd do just fine??


    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 6:33AM
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Russ- I did say "in storage" - you have yours planted in potting soil that's damp, don't you? I do know that if our cold room gets too warm in winter--- we have a wood burning furnace in the other part of the basement & have to seal the cold room off but sometimes it can get as warm as 50* in there if we're not careful--- the tubers that are on the top of the bins even though covered with vermiculite, will be quite wooden. The ones closer to floor (cooler) & buried deeper in the vermiculite will be fine. We have about 10 buckets of water sitting all over in the cold room to keep the humidity up but still the warmth dries out the tubers & I'm not about to mist thousands of tubers a couple of times a week to keep them from drying out!
Also - it's not always dark in our cold room all winter- the shuffelboard & ping-pong table are in there- brrrr- & the kids & grandkids like to play once in awhile. The light doesn't seem to bother the tubers- but then it's not on more than a few days a month in winter & they are buried fairly well in the vermiculite so perhaps they don't get much light. When we open the bins in spring & let the light in they start to pop eyes. This is also the time we let the cold room heat up a bit.
I know a lot of people who have stored their tubers in closed boxes in warm garages & they had nothing but dry rot &/or desicated tubers come spring. Our friend Bob Simon- the originator of Bonaventuer & other AA's stored his tubers one year in sealed heavy cardboard boxes in his semi-heated garage (it stayed around 60* in there) & lost over 100 AA seedlings-- ouch! So-- I really believe that if you're going to safely store tubers inside over the winter you need to have them in a cool place.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 9:01PM
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sturgeonguy(5a ON)

Thanks Cory, what I said was all speculation so I'm happy to admit I'm wrong...;-] Nothing beats experience!


    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 7:51AM
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I harvested my (few) dahlias just before freezing here in Maryland. The Husband was working on the basement stairs and I couldn't get down there. So I put my dahlias in the veg drawer in the refrigerator - CLEARLY LABELED! Well, you guessed it - The Husband asked me how to "fix" dahlias. He was ready to eat them. I should add that this is the man I have to take by the hand to show him the 20 foot lilac bush right in the front yard!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 9:13AM
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florrie2, tell your husband that your Dahlias need 10 days in Hawaii so they will do good next year.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 11:02AM
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