Storing Dahlia Tubers: How to Keep Them Safe and Healthy
Dahlias are beautiful flowers that bloom in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Whether you’re growing them for your garden or for cut flowers, it’s important to properly store their tubers during the off-season. Dahlia tubers are a type of bulb, and just like other bulbs, they need to be stored in the right conditions to stay healthy and viable. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of storing dahlia tubers and share some tips for keeping them safe.
When to Dig Up Dahlia Tubers
Before you can store dahlia tubers, you need to dig them up. This should be done after the first frost in the fall, or when the foliage has yellowed and died back. Use a garden fork to carefully lift the clump of tubers from the soil. Cut off the stems to about 6 inches, and then gently shake off any excess soil. Don’t wash the tubers, as moisture can cause rot.
Preparing Dahlia Tubers for Storage
Once you’ve dug up your dahlia tubers, it’s important to prepare them for storage. First, inspect each tuber carefully for any signs of damage or disease. Remove any tubers that are soft or mushy, as they may be infected with a fungus or bacteria. If you notice any tubers with blackened stems, this is a sign of frost damage and these tubers may not be viable for planting next season.
After you’ve inspected the tubers, let them dry for a few days in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. A garage, basement, or shed works well for this. Once the tubers are dry, you can dust them lightly with sulfur or fungicide powder to prevent any fungal growth.
Storing Dahlia Tubers
The ideal storage conditions for dahlia tubers are cool and dry, with low humidity. The temperature should be between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 10 degrees Celsius), with humidity levels around 60 to 70 percent. The tubers should also be stored in a dark place, as exposure to light can cause them to sprout prematurely.
There are several different methods for storing dahlia tubers, but the most common is to pack them in peat moss or sawdust. Place the tubers in a cardboard box or paper bag, and then surround them with peat moss or sawdust. Make sure that the tubers are completely covered and that there’s a layer of peat moss or sawdust between each layer of tubers.
Another method for storing dahlia tubers is to wrap them individually in newspaper or wax paper and then place them in a cardboard box or plastic container with a lid. Make sure to label each tuber with the variety name and color, as well as the date of storage.
Checking Dahlia Tubers During Storage
It’s important to check your dahlia tubers periodically during storage to make sure they’re healthy and to remove any that may be rotting or diseased. Check the tubers every 4 to 6 weeks and remove any that are soft or mushy, as well as any that have sprouted.
Properly storing your dahlia tubers is essential to keeping them healthy and viable for planting next season. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your tubers will survive the winter and be ready for planting in the spring. Remember to inspect your tubers carefully, prepare them for storage, and store them in the right conditions. With a little care, your dahlia tubers will reward you with beautiful blooms!