Dahlias forum: Dahlias in the rain in Gig Harbor, Wa.

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Name: Pam Janovich
Gig Harbor, WA (Zone 8b)
Oct 28, 2018 2:07 AM CST
This is my first year growing Dahlias. I am totally in love with these flowers and I can't wait until next year so i can do this all over again. I messed up getting them in the ground a little to late and they didnt really start taking off until late August and September. The Pacific Northwest is usually safe from first frost until November, even as late as the 15th. They have slowed down quite a but but still producing blooms, I just hate for it to end!. And here comes the rain, it has been raining for 2 days straight. I have them planted in a great spot under some very tall pines and they are protected from the rain a little, but today the ones with the smaller trunks started to fall over, not yet opened completely, they just cant take the rain. So i have cut some of the blooms way before their time. Its depressing! I am sure it will help to get the ones in pots undercover, maybe i can get a few more flowers out of them. But what should i do about the tubers? all i hear is to let them die back and then pull them up and store them , but if i leave them in the ground to die back they will become water logged and rot. So i dont know how to proceed. I dont want to damage them. Most my tubers came from Swan Island and they are very healthy , but i did loose a couple in the beginning due to the rain and i dont want to loose another. Any advice? Thank You!
Name: Melissa
Omaha, NE (Zone 5b)
Dahlias Cat Lover Region: Nebraska Annuals Cut Flowers Butterflies
Daylilies Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Oct 28, 2018 11:38 AM CST
Hi Pamela,
Welcome to the wondrous world of dahlias! If you look at the thread below this (titled "What do I do now"), there is a link from Frank that details digging, dividing, and storing dahlias.

I think many people in the PNW dig in the fall, as the rain tends to rot the tubers. Swan Island varieties tend to make lots of easy to overwinter tubers.

Whatever you decide to do, please don't beat yourself up too much! I wish someone had told me that when I was brand new to dahlias. My first year of overwintering, I left the clumps intact, but also made the mistake of leaving them sitting on my concrete basement floor too long. Then I chose to store them in cardboard boxes with wood shavings, and that proceeded to further dry them out. The good news from that learning year was that the Swan Island ones still survived and grew the following Summer. I now dig, wash, and divide in the Fall, then store most of mine in Saran Wrap, and the ones that make easy storing tubers go in vermiculite filled plastic shoeboxes. It is a trial and error process, and what works in one climate may not work well in another.

I also like to spend my Winter downtime shopping online for next season, and reading dahlia threads on forums like this one.

PS: I can't wait for next year, either! :)

[Last edited by Melissamaeday - Oct 28, 2018 12:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Pam Janovich
Gig Harbor, WA (Zone 8b)
Oct 30, 2018 4:16 AM CST
Thank You for that!

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