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OK, this is one for all the Dahlia experts. I have asked this before in a general post, but I'm still not a hundred percent sure what to do - so I'll ask again...

I bought these dahlias when they were fully grown and in flower from a local garden centre, in other words, I did not grow them from a tuber. They are now coming to the end of flowering, and I am not sure what to do with them. Will there be tubers in those pots - and should I root around until I find them. Or should I just cut off the foliage, and leave the soil (and whatever is in it) in the greenhouse over winter? If these plants are from seed - will they survive this way - or is it a waste of time?? Hope this makes sense! Thanks.




Hi Muddywellie, I have a lot of dahlias to put to bed this winter. What you do is either cut right back close to the pot level or leave until first frost turns them black. And then cut back. Then wash all of the soil off them.Then you must do one of two things. First if you have no time to prepare them streight away leave them on the stageing up side down. This is to let any water that is in their hollow stem drain away, they will rot if youdon't. If you can prepare them streight away then you needn't do that. To prepare, the best way I can describe them is they look like an oversized chickens foot. Each ,I'll call it toe will be attatched to the main stem with a narrow bit of root. If you cut above the root with abit of stem each toe, these will be your new dahlias for next year. One root can supply a few new dahlias.Then put each new bit of dahlia when completely dry in a sealed poly. bag covered with alittle saw dust. so long as they are kept frost free, and they have a little I'm going to call this an eye (similar to a potatoe but different) they will grow next year. I think that should cover it without any photos Frank

16 Oct, 2009


Brilliant Frank, well described.

I grew my Dhalias from seed Muddywellie and i recently had to dig up the tubers too. Was quite exciting. Mine were in the ground there were quite a few so they are now all washed dried and wrapped in newspaper in a fleece to protect from frost in my shed.

x x x

16 Oct, 2009


I wait until the frosts turn the leaves black. Then I either dig up the tubers, let them dry out indoors, clean them up a bit and then wrap them in newspaper in a box in the garage. But sometimes I leave them where they are, cover the cut-down stumps with a small mound of peat or compost and thats it. Both methods seem to work well for me.

16 Oct, 2009


I do the same as Inverglen...I dont wash the tubers, that only wets them more than necessary and makes the job a bigger one... getting them to dry out is the main task....I use newspaper too and store them frost-free....:>)

16 Oct, 2009


Thanks all of you for replying...but please bear with me while I am dense! Basically, even if these were grown from seed, there will be some tubers in the pot which I should try to protect if I want them next year.

So I therefore need too cut back all the foliage (when is goes black from the first frost) and then cut off all the foliage, locate the tuber and hang it upside down to get rid of the moisture.

So far so good I think - but I am really confused about the chicken's feet thing though! Is it the tuber that should be cut to resemble a chicken's foot - or do you trim the roots which are on the tuber?? So sorry - please remember I am a gardening moron and be as patient as possible. Sorry!

16 Oct, 2009


Hi Motinot, But if you wash them you get all the soil off them and they dry faster, soil will remain damp on the inside and it looks dry on the outside. This will cause the tubers to rot. The trouble with wrapping them with paper is that paper will absorbe moisture from the atmosphere and could start the rotting process. Frank

16 Oct, 2009


Hi Muddywelly When you clean them and can see one , you will know what I mean. It looks like a very very swollen chickens foot, and each toe can be made into a new plant if cut correctly. Don't forget to leave abit of the stem on 'or if you like toe and ankle' I know my desciption is a little silly. But hopefully you know what I mean when you see one. If you are stuck ask again. If I can i will try to take some photos on sunday, stage by stage. Theres no hurry to do them yet. The weather isn't all that bad yet. I know it means another job piling up. see you Frank

16 Oct, 2009


Thanks Frank - you have been very patient with me! I will leave this job for a while, as they are still flowering well. I might come back to you though at that point! If you do do a stage by stage description - I would be very interested to see! M

17 Oct, 2009


Hi M Iam going to try to put some photo's up now on my blog. It will take a while. I am very slow at doing this. Frank

18 Oct, 2009


This is all very helpful as I'm going to buy some dahlias next year and I am as knowlegeable as Muddy;-) It's interesting hearing about the different storage methods used, I suppose it's whatever works for you:-) Can we eat the main part of the chicken Frank once we've cut it's toes off? Only joking... I can visualise exactly what you mean as I've seen dried tubers in packets, but i didn't know you could make more plants from them. Does this mean if I bought a dried tuber in a packet that I could cut its 'toes' and make more dahlias? I've only had the Bishop of Llandaff before and I left that in the ground for a few years but it eventually died, rotted I suppose.

20 Oct, 2009


Check out Franks blog on Dahlias - its amazing! Chicken's feet illustrated!
FYI - having looked at that blog - I am significantly more knowledgeable than you :-P!!!!

20 Oct, 2009


Well Mw FYI I've seen it too now... so nyer: -ppp. I do agree about his blog, my dahliaphobia is cured! :-)

21 Oct, 2009


That's means we're as clueless as each other then!! Glad your dahliaphobia is cured - I think they're fantastic plants, and I'm going to plant loads next year.

21 Oct, 2009


Bet mine will be better than yours, I'm having cactus ones Ha!

21 Oct, 2009


Aaah, a bit competitive are we BA?? Well - I'm up for a challenge if you are....Let's see who grows the best dahlia's next year....(makes scowly threatening Clint Eastwood type face)....!! I don't know what I'm getting yet - but I'll be keeping a close eye on your blogs...

21 Oct, 2009


Muddy, have a look at page 4 second row Janettes pics. You'll see the most amazing dahlia its peachy orange and whirlish and I'm going to have it ...when I find out what it is... when I find out where to get it. Maybe janette has the only one as i've looked on Dahlia National Collection website and can't find it. She'll have to do the chicken foot thing and maybe make a fortune:-)

21 Oct, 2009

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