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Winter Garden Prep - Dahlias

If I had to choose my favorite flower, it would be Dahlias. I fell in love with this plant when I moved to Western Washington. Their range of color, form, and size, combined with how well they thrive in this area made it an obvious choice for our perennial flower garden.

 Dahlia blooms 2018

 

My dahlia collection started with a big box store six-pack of tubers a few years ago. In my first few seasons, I didn't tend to them and they sadly didn't thrive. But I've learned from my mistakes and now, three seasons later, I have 18 different varieties of dahlias growing in my garden.

Now that I feel like I'm getting the hang of growing these beautiful plants, I decided to try my hand at digging, dividing, and storing the tubers for winter. My hope is that by doing this, I can quickly expand my dahlia collection and possibly use this as an income stream in the future. As beginning homesteaders, we are constantly searching for ways to build an income portfolio to support our family.

Up until this year, I've always left my dahlias in the ground and without fail they come back each year. We have a unique microclimate on our homestead because of the number of old trees and proximity to the water. Dahlias are rated to be reliably hardy in USDA Zones 8-11, and our home sits at Zone 8. It is Nov 12th and this is what my solar flair collarette dahlia looks like today. Moral of the story: know your microclimate.

 

Dahlia 5 - Solar Flair Collarette

 

 

Guide to overwintering Dahlia tubers

 Step 1: Draw a simple sketch of the garden and number each dahlia location.

Dahlia sketch

Step 2: Add descriptions and photos of each variety to the numbered list.

Step 3: Label each plant stalk with the corresponding map number.

Step 4: Cut the stalks to six inches above the ground.

Step 5: Carefully dig up the tuber cluster.

tagged dahlia tuber

Step 6: Clean the tubers with a hose and let air dry.

whole tubers in bin

Step 7: Divide the tubers ensuring the tubers are undamaged, have s solid neck, and a clear, visible eye.

Step 8: Wrap in plastic and label each variety.

Dahlia tubers ready for storage

Step 9: Store in the garage until spring.

Step 10: Dream of next year's beauty.

 

 

While I am a novice at this process, here are a few of the people that have inspired me to give this a try.

Floret Flower Farms: https://www.floretflowers.com/
Kitsap Dahlia Society: http://www.kitsapdahlias.org/
Boomerang Blooms: https://www.facebook.com/boomerangblooms/
Willow and Mable Garden Co: https://www.willowandmabelgardenco.com/