Can I bring potted Dahlia into the house over winter?

daffodil33September 6, 2013

It is soo pretty, I don't wait it to die. It is in a pot, can I bring it indoors for the winter to save it. I read on Google the process to save tubers, its too much work. Would the plant survive indoors?

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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

You can bring it in, but I don't think you should expect it to flourish and bloom indoors - dry air and short days. But after a frost kills the top, let it sit for a day or two to allow the moisture to drain into the tubers. Then cut off the dead stuff, but leave a bit of stem attached. You can bring the entire pot indoors, in a cool, dark area, and only water occasionally during winter to keep it from becoming bone dry. But best to just unpot it and shake off the soil and let it dry. Then put it in a paper bag in a cool, dark place. The idea is to keep it dormant until it can go outdoors next spring. I check mine about once a month in winter, and if they seem too dry, I soak them in a pail of water for a few minutes and then let them dry again. Usually only have to do this ONCE in winter. Don't want them to rot or sprout. My grandfather raised hundreds of dahlias for local florists and he stored many, many tubers in baskets in his unheated shed, for years. He dug them out of the ground of course, and lay them out in the sun for a few days to dry out. In spring he sometimes divided, but there MUST be a part of the old stem on each division, or it won't sprout. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Thanks Bill!!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 10:38AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Bill, interesting method. I've done the digging, and storing in peat moss in plastic bags, which I've then layered in a big cardboard box, with newspaper between the layers. Some years I have great success, some years I don't.

Last year, I tried a slight variation on that method, recommended by a friend. Instead of peat moss, I put leaves in the bag, moistened slightly, then put them in the box. Again, good results, but I was worried about how "moist" to make the leaves.

Your method sounds the easiest so far! Just stick them in a bag and put them in the basement! Although, I can easily see myself forgetting about them and not checking if they dry out or not, lol. What's the humidity level like where you store them, and/or do you find it makes a difference?


    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 10:46PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Dee, it's not a damp basement at all, but I have never checked the humidity level with any instrument. I'd say it's average I suppose. I do the same with cannas. I check about once a month but have found it only necessary to dampen them once during winter.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:09AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Thanks BIll. I think I'll give your method a try.

Although honestly, I was just thinking yesterday as I walked past some dahlias in my garden that I may not bother with them. Here it is the second week of September and they are just starting to bud up. I've never paid much attention (usually just selecting my dahlias by oohing and ahhing over a catalog) but perhaps I need to pay more attention to bloom times, if they do indeed vary with different dahlias.

Even my old reliable Park Princess has not yet bloomed.

By the way, daffodil33, dahlias are quite easy to start from seed, so you can get them inexpensively that was as well. Probably not as much selection, but I've had some seed-grown ones that were real beauties!


    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:37PM
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I dig up bulbs, let dry, than wrap in cling wrap and put in the potatoe drawer in the frig (do this with glad bulbs as well). Seems to work well.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Thanks all. I can't wait until Spring!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 8:48PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I can't comment on gladiolus bulbs because I leave mine in the ground. I hope you have success with your dahlias and whatever else you have!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:40PM
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I have a Dahlia in a pot that I bring in and put in a cold sheltered spot, either the porch, the attic of the ell, or the cold cellar, all of which are unheated but don't get as cold as outside. The hardest part for me is that they start sprouting before it's warm enough for them to be outside full time.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 9:17PM
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sedum37(Z5 MA)

I do what nhbabs does for a few dahlias in pots. Bring the whole pot in cool basement after the frost gets the foliage. Cut the foliage back, keep in dark, cool basement. I don't water at all. In late spring lightly water and when growth starts, water more frequently.

I also store other dahilas using the saran wrap method with light sulpher dusting. 90-95% produce 'eyes' that grow into plants.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 3:14PM
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