Dahlias forum: please help with over wintering s potted dahlia

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Name: Colleen
Edgewood, NM (Zone 5b)
Live Long & Prosper.
Oct 25, 2016 1:39 PM CST
My wonderful new neighbor gifted me with a beautiful pink Dahlia she had growing in a 5 gal pot. I was wondering how to over winter it. Do I just leave it in the pot outside? Do I bring it inside for the winter. Do I cut it down to soil? Do I have to remove it from the pot? Our winters can get cold. We have hard freezes but average overnight temps are usually between 10 -20 degrees and sometimes get heavy snows. I know compared to the northern states its not that cold. But I do know dahlias won't come back if left in the ground here. I have tried. But the neighbor told me she had left them In the ground for past 3 years at her a LD place which was about 25 miles from current location. And temps are about the same. Any advice is much appreciate d I tip my hat to you.
Happy Gardening :-)
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Oct 25, 2016 3:29 PM CST
I would not expect the tubers to survive in a pot left outside if it gets that cold. Basically if the tubers get below freezing - they turn to mush. Planted 8" under the ground, especially with a good snow cover, they will be more insulated than in a pot.

I would just cut it back when it frosts, and if you have an area that stays cold, but not freezing (a garage?) leave it in the pot over winter. dark and cold and dry (but not dry enough to wither the tuber) Dirt is as good a storage medium as any, and better than some.

The rule is to keep them as cold as possible - without them freezing.

You can wait and divide it in the spring after it starts sprouting - and it will be easy to see where to cut it apart.

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