How To: Dig Up Dahlias

This year I grew around 175 dahlia tubers in my cut flower garden. I think I underestimated how much work it was going to be to dig all of them! However, it really only took about 2-3 days total for stalk cutting, digging and packing. I suppose that makes it worth it!

How I prepped my dahlia tubers for winter in Iowa.

1. Cut stems to 6″ in height After leaves have turned black and at least a week has passed, you will need to cut back all dahlia stems to around six inches tall. You must allow them time to send their energy down to the tubers for next year. By giving them an additional week after cutting the stalks back it allows them to set eyes for next year. 

2. Lift tubers
Dig up the tubers while being careful not to cut too many of them. Shake as much dirt off initially as you can. If knowing their variety is important, make sure to keep the label with the clump.

3. Remove Excess Dirt
Try to remove as much dirt as possible. You will be surprised at how many worms you will find when removing dirt from your clumps and you want to remove them before storage. This is also a good time to do your dividing if you wish to do this in the fall.

4. Dry
You need to let these new wounds heal and dry out for a few days. Keep them in an area above freezing while you do this (probably inside if it’s late in the season).

5. Storing
This year I am going to store my tubers in peat moss wrapped in newspaper inside of cardboard boxes.

I just keep layering them until I fill the box. Crossing my fingers this has more success than last year! Have you dug your tubers this year?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Kalamain says:

    I was supposed to be going and helping my mum dig up her Dahlias today but bad weather and traffic put me off. This is her first year with them and I have never had a Dahlia.
    Thanks to your post I now have a much better idea of what we need to do. B-)
    So thank you!

  2. Emily Norris says:

    I finished storing all of my tubers back in November for the very first time and I did it very similar to how you did. This post gave me a little boost of confidence so thank you!

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