Many gardeners with the onset of autumn wonder how to save dahlias in winter at home. Tender tubers of these plants will not survive frost in the ground, and therefore they will need to be moved to the room before the cold. Keeping dahlias in the winter is a responsible and important matter for those who are used to enjoying chic flowers every year on the plot and want to help them stay as decorative as possible.
You need to start preparing for wintering before the onset of autumn frosts, which are extremely dangerous for dahlias. Both the ground part and the roots of dahlias in frosts are affected, therefore, such spoiled material for planting does not survive until spring. In order for dahlias to calmly winter the first frosts, you need to warm them in advance by hilling the bushes like potatoes.
In this case, you need to focus on the weather. As soon as the first frosts touch the ground part of the dahlias, the foliage will turn black and dry. For the gardener, this is a signal: it's time to start digging tubers. First, use a sharp tool to carefully cut the stems, leaving no more than 5-10 cm to the tuber. To these "stumps" you can attach labels with the name of the variety, so that in the future it would be more convenient to arrange storage. After trimming the stems, if there is no precipitation and is not expected in the near future, the tubers may stay in the ground for another week..
To store dahlias in the winter in the basement or in the apartment, after trimming the stems, you will need to properly prepare them for future vacations. Dahlia tubers will need to be dug up, cleaned of soil, dried and stored.
It will be most convenient to dig out according to the following scheme:
After all the manipulations, it remains to dry the tubers. For this, dry living rooms in which delicate planting material dries instantly are not suitable. Ideal conditions for this are on the balcony, porch or in the greenhouse. In 3-5 days, the tubers will dry and they can be removed for final winter storage in the basement, having checked their readiness on a dry surface.
Harvesting and winter storage of dahlias in the cellar will not be possible if the tubers are not treated with fungicide or sulfur. This will prevent the spread of various pathogenic bacteria that can ruin plants. This procedure can be done in different ways: either powder the tubers in dry form, or prepare a solution of the drug, where all the roots are completely lowered one after another.
The probability of the spread of diseases between tubers with such a sequential treatment is negligible. The main thing is to withstand each variety in liquid for about 15 minutes. After this, the tubers need to be dried by laying on a board, cardboard or a newspaper folded in several layers. It is more convenient to do this by stacking the tubers by varieties so as not to confuse them in the future.
A number of gardeners increase the processing time of dahlias to 30 minutes, and someone does not use fungicides at all. Decisive in the end is the opinion of each particular gardener. You can be guided by the fact that for a humid climate, processing will be uniquely useful, since the atmosphere itself has the potential for the emergence and development of various fungi before spring.
The final stage of preparation is the labeling of dahlia varieties. You should write the maximum amount of information necessary so that after one year you do not confuse the varieties. It is best to write the names in full or make a code plate if you can vouch for the fact that it will not be lost. It will also be useful to mark with a tick or a star the tubers of the strongest plants, especially if many belong to the same variety. In the spring, this will help to find the highest quality planting material and use it for cuttings.
The inscriptions can be made with an ordinary chemical pencil, it will cope with work even on dahlias that are not completely dry. If the pencil does not write well, it will need to be moistened in a jar of water, but in no case should you do it with saliva, taking the writing instrument in your mouth. Its composition contains extremely harmful and toxic elements. You can use a thin marker, ideally take a new, good writing on any surface.
The easiest way to store tubers is on shelves. It will be necessary to pour sand onto the shelves in an even layer and place boxes of dahlias on it. The roots of the tubers will need to be tied with bags filled with vermiculite. More experienced gardeners can use moss. Tubers are wrapped in it and covered with polyethylene so that the moisture does not evaporate.
The main difficulty is a sufficient degree of moisture in the moss, as it will dry out and begin to feed on moisture from the plant, and if it is too wet, it will rot the tubers.
If the boxes are supposed to be stored in a basement or cellar, they should be prepared as follows:
Alternative storage methods:
How to keep the tubers in the apartment, it will be more difficult to understand because there is no way to maintain the ideal conditions for them, and there are usually not so many places in the living quarters.
However, gardeners came up with several reliable options:
Trying to keep dahlias in the apartment should only be if there is no way to put them in the basement or other unheated room for the winter, where the microclimate is more suitable for plants. Having understood how to store dahlia tubers in winter, amateur gardeners will be provided with flower beds of stunning beauty with bright large flowers every season.