Dahlia tubers

(Question)

Last winter I put my dahlia “bulbs” in my cool room and they dried up.  What am I doing wrong?  Do I moisten them or put them in soil? Please let me know as I don’t want to loose them.

(Answer)

Dahlia tubers can quite successfully be stored over winter inside your house if the conditions are right. You need a cool, but not freezing spot with a little humidity. Ideally, the temperature should not rise above 10C.  In order for them not to dry out the best method is to place them in a cardboard box and cover them with something like vermiculite, which can easily be purchased in stores that have garden centres.

Procedure:

1) Dahlia tubers should be lifted from the garden after the first fall frost has darkened the foliage and the leaves look wilted

2) Trim stems to about 6ins, wash off as much soil as possible and store them upside down for a week  or two, on newspaper,  to drain excess moisture. Leave in shed or garage – somewhere that’s frost free

3) Then store tubers right side up in cardboard boxes, lined with newspaper and cover with vermiculite, perlite, peat or similar medium. No need to cover the stems

4) Label plants if you have several different varieties

5) Inspect tubers once in a while and if they look as if they are shrivelling up then mist the vermiculite. (If the opposite happens and mildew or rot appears, cut out or throw tubers away)

6) Try placing any shrivelled tubers in a bucket of water overnight to plump them up. Allow them to dry thoroughly before returning to storage

7) Tubers will remain dormant until March/April when “eyes” or little shoots should appear. Plant outside when there is no danger of frost