A quick 5 minutes on what you should be doing with your dahlias

By Karen Atwood @flowersandlifestylebymargot

The darling dahlia, such a wonderful summer flower for borders and cut flower gardens. They provide so much colour and interest and with so many different varieties, I challenge anyone not to find one that they love. My favourite is cafe au lait but as my collection continues to grow, there are quite a few coming a close second.

To lift or not to lift – that is the question
I’ve talked about how easy I find dahlias to grow in previous blogs but it’s important to remember that they do need winter protection, so now is the perfect time to think about whether you are going to leave them in the ground or lift them and bring them indoors. The temperatures are starting to drop so I’ve now starting to harvest my last few dahlia blooms, to get the most out of them before lifting. I tend to wait until the first frost has hit before lifting them and if you have any signs of black on the leaves then I would definitely act straight away.

I always lift my dahlia tubers as I grow them in specific cut flower borders and hence need to make way for Spring bulb planting. However, if I wasn’t doing this then I would be tempted to just cut down the foliage and cover them with a thick layer of mulch. This should protect them from the frosts, until warmer weather comes round again.

If you are lifting, then the first step is to cut down the foliage and carefully lift the tubers out of the soil. Once out of the soil I carefully dry and clear away any soil clinging onto them. I also trim the stems to 15-20 cm and hang the tuber upside down, storing them in a cool place to dry off naturally for a few weeks. If you have dahlias in pots, trim away the foliage to about 15-20 cm, cover with some mulch and pop the pot in a green house for protection.

Once the tubers have dried, I pop them in some wooden crates, usually with some straw, ensuring I leave the crown of the tuber exposed. This is where they will stay until I’m ready to plant them up again in February/March – where we start the process all over again.

With love and stay safe, Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot – www.instagram.com/flowersandlifestylebymargot/


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