By Amanda Shepard, Flower Farmer & Garden Writer
If you’ve ever grown Dahlias, you know they can quickly become a gardener’s prize flower. They steal the summer show with huge, colorful blooms, whether you grow dahlias to cut for endless bouquets, or to add a burst of color to the summer garden.
If you live anywhere but the warmest regions of the USA, you’ll need to learn about digging and storing dahlias at the end of the season! Native to Mexico and South America, Dahlias do not survive freezing winter temperatures. Digging and storing dahlias for the winter is extremely easy and simple. When done properly, you can replant your Dahlias each spring, for year after year of fantastic flowers.
Follow our guide below to learn how to dig and store Dahlias for the winter! We'll cover when to dig, how to dig, and how to properly prepare and store your Dahlia tubers in a few smiple steps.
When To Dig Up Dahlias
If you live in an area where the ground freezes, you’ll want to dig your dahlia tubers up before there’s a hard frost. In our area (Northern Vermont) that’s usually late October, but it could be later depending on where you live. A good indication of when to dig your tubers up is when the plant starts to turn brown and die back.
If you live in an area where your ground does not freeze, such as parts of the far southeast and southwest, lucky you! Your dahlias can be grown as perennials and you don’t need to worry about digging and storing them for the winter.
Find your average first frost date with our helpful chart!
How To Carefully Dig Up Dahlia Tubers
Digging tubers up is extremely easy:
- Cut foliage back, so that only a few inches remain above ground.
- Take your preferred digging shovel and dig around the tubers, being careful not to accidentally sever the roots. Many gardeners use a pitchfork to prevent this from happening.
- Once you’ve dug the tuber up, gently shake excess dirt off, and set aside.
- Repeat until you’ve dug all of your tubers up.
How To Prepare Dahlia Tubers For Storage
Examine & Trim Dahlia Tubers
After you’ve rinsed the tubers off, it’s time to examine each clump to make sure that there are no rotten parts. If there are, cut these bits off. If the tubers have several eyes, you can divide them at this step in the process as well. Use a sharp knife to divide tubers, making sure each piece has at least one eye.