The Q&A Archives: dahlia

Question: I have Dahlia's planted in large pots. Last year I took the tubers out of the pots and put them in flat cardboard boxes covered with cat litter and kept them in my unheated garage. My question is would I be able to leave them in the pots and put in the unheated garage for the winter? If it would work leaving them in the pots I need direction on what to do in the spring. Can the dirt from previous year be used again? I left dirt in pots an reused it this year. If so do I need to enhance soil in any way? These are a variety of Dahlia's that are the large plants and I just experimented planting them in these large pots to bring some color to my driveway and entrance to my garage as it is alot of cement. I put tomatoe cages around them when I planted two to each pot. Next spring I would like to vary color with having 2 different type and color in each pot. Do I need to take them in before a frost? Any help would be much appreciated as this is my second year dealing with this flower and I want to do the right thing so as not to lose the tubers over the winter. Thank you

Answer: I've done the same thing with my dahlias - left them in the pots in an unheated garage over the winter months. But, the tubers do multiply so you can only do this every other year or the roots will be overcrowded and the plants won't grow and bloom well. What I would do is leave them in place until the first frost kills back the tops of the dahlias. This will signal the tubers that it is time to rest. Cut off the tops right at ground level and set the pots in the garage. The potting soil should be fine for two or three year's growth. When the time comes to dig and divide the tubers you can dump the potting soil into a wheelbarrow or other large container and mix in some new potting soil. I mix about 50/50 new and old potting soil. When you divide the tubers you can plant two in a single large container - two different colors, if you like. Aside from the above suggestions, it sounds as though you are doing everything right. Enjoy your dahlias.

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