The Q&A Archives: Dahlias

Question: I've planted annual Dahlias by seed and noticed they form a cluster of tubers as they mature. Can this tuber be saved for next year with proper storage? Or is there a difference between seed dahlias and store bought tubers?

Answer: Dahlias can be grown from seed or tubers, as you've discovered. It's natural for the roots of Dahlias to thicken and enlarge, and yes, these tuberous roots can be dug and stored over the winter for replanting in the spring. Although Dahlia tubers can survive if left in the ground all winter, it's chancy, and you may lose them to rot. Here's how to preserve the tubers that develop: after frost has nipped the foliage and stems of your Dahlias, cut the foliage down to the ground. Then carefully dig the tubers and lay them in the sun for a few hours to dry. Then shake off excess soil. You can store them in sawdust, dry sand, peat moss or vermiculite in a cool (40F - 45F), dark place. In the spring the tubers can be divided before they are planted. Each swollen tuber that has a bud forming at the stem end can be cut away from the others and planted. Cut with a sharp knife, taking part of the original stem with each division. Hope this information helps you increase your inventory of Dahlias!

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