American Dahlia Society

News from ADS!

Autumn in the dahlia patch

The dahlias are approaching the end of their 2017 life cycle, if frost has not already done them in. During October the blooms turn to sex.
They lift up their petal skirts and present open centers to the pollinators. With the shorter days the stems get longer making the blooms more visible. 
Some gard eners grow dahlias as annuals. They do not worry about digging, division, and storage. Oth ers cut the stalks down to solid tissue and pile mulch around each hill. This works if there is good drainage and the frost doesn't reach the clu mp.
If you are more serious you dig the clumps carefully so as not to break the tubers. From there on there are any number of alternatives.
Some wash the clumps, let them dry for a day or two and pack the clumps in boxes with paper, sawdust or some other medium. Others dip the clumps in fungicide before storing. These folks will divide the clumps in the spring, to get divisions made up of a tuber and an eye.
A larger group divide the clumps in the autumn and store them in everything from vermiculite to plastic wrap.
The object is not to let the tuber rot or dry out. To the extent you can simulate the underground conditions (temperature, humidity and moisture) in which they grew, you will be successful.
If you have a good method, forget what you just read!
Here are some You Tube videos to help with your autumn dahlia garden activities:

Dividing Tubers:  
From the dahlia patch,
Harry Rissetto

American Dahlia Society |