Thursday, July 28, 2016

Saving Dahlia Tubers in Pots

Step 1: Wrap the pot in bubble wrap.
A year ago I dug up my dahlia tubers and kept them all winter long in town in my spare condo bathtub. The tubers were hard to dig up, and needed added moisture in their protective sacks ever few weeks. Most of them did survive for replanting.



Step 2: In fall cut back to a few inches.
Last summer the dahlias gave me beautiful flowers, but I wanted an easier way to save them.

So last year I tried keeping the the tubers in their pots. We don't get extreme cold, but we do have freezing nights, and several stretches of freezing weather.

Step 3: Crumple newspaper over the soil.
I started by wrapping the pots in bubble wrap I purchased at the Dollar Store. Each pot got $2 worth of bubble wrap held in place by duct tape. My thinking is that the air pockets will help keep the freezing air away from the sides of the pot, much like an insulated water pipe.

Step 4: Place cardboard over the newspaper.
When the weather started turning cold, I cut the dahlia plants back. I crumpled newspaper over the soil to give the tubers an insulation barrier. Over the top of the newspaper I put a layer of cardboard, and topped it off with soil to keep everything in place on windy days.


Step 5: Cover with a thin layer of soil.
I don't have any place to bring the pots indoors at the cabin where temperatures won't get below freezing sometime during the winter.

Have you ever kept dahlias outdoors through the winter? Do you get freezing nights? Was it successful for you?

Dahlia tubers in pots ready for winter.

My overwintering experiment was a huge success. Here are the results for my two pots.

Pot #1

Pot #2

The bubble wrap is still on the pots and ready to go for next winter. All I have to do is cover the tops again for next winter. This was so much easier than digging up all the tubers and storing them in my bathtub. -- Margy

16 comments:

  1. I kept other fragile plants outside in freezing weather by putting the pots in a double layer of those biodegradable paper bags for lawn and garden clippings. I added a few handfuls of leaves inside, on and around the pots.
    It worked quite well, and there was no plastic to dispose of in the spring.

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    1. The bag and leaf idea is a good one. I don't have many leaves except for a few from the salal plants, but maybe a mix of leaves and moss would do the trick. I'll try that next year. - Margy

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  2. The bubble wrap is a good idea, and it should survive and be usable for several winters.

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    1. I actually doesn't look too bad so I will leave it in place until the plastic starts to disintegrate. With the duct tape it probably will be too hard to get off and save. - Margy

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  3. Hope your dahlias survivethe winter with your storage solution. I store my tender perennials in the well cupboard.

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    1. It's supposed to be a mild winter again so I thought it would be a good time to test it out. - Margy

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  4. Replies
    1. Not really, just a project a day makes it fun. I did the bubble wrap one day, and the mulching on another. - Margy

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  5. Beautiful!
    I keep some of my tubers in their pots in the greenhouse. It is kept (mostly) frost-free, and most of them survive! here it may be down to minus 20 degrees Celsius during winter...

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    1. At least we only have to contend with minus 2 or so. Last winter was so mild we had hardly any freezing weather. - Margy

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks - I was amazed at how beautiful the blooms were this year. - Margy

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  7. Good idea Margy. We are lucky enough to have plenty of land so we just keep the tubers in the ground. We had better luck that way then digging them every winter and storing them in the garage.
    MB

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    1. It was so hard to get them out of the pot at the end of the season too. - Margy

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  8. They are so pretty, I'm glad they did so well for you! Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

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    1. I don't remember them getting as big and colourful last year, but they are the same tubers. - Margy

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