Dahlia Care > Digging, Dividing and Storage of Dahlias
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Digging, Dividing and Storage of Dahlias
Prior to digging, your Dahlias will need about a week to produce new eyes on the tuber. The production of these new eyes can be stimulated by cutting the stem back to a 6" stub, or will occur naturally when the majority of the plant has died back due to frost. The tubers will be easier to divide if they are processed after the one- week period. Using a garden fork to prevent damage, dig a circle about 12 inches around the plant stub, and lift the clump carefully out of the ground. Be careful not to damage the tender new eyes, Use a gentle spray from your hose to clean and remove the remaining soil from the clump. We then dip the tuber clump in a diluted bleach solution to kill any diseases. Allow the clump to dry for a day or two in a cool dry place.
You are now ready to divide the clump then store the individual tubers, or store the clump and do your dividing in the spring.
To produce a new plant, each tuber must have an eye (the new growth bud) which appears at the point where the tuber connects to the main stalk. Some tubers will not have an eye. See the example:
Using a sharp clean knife, or garden snips, and carefully separate tubers. Discard any damaged tubers or thin necked tubers as they will shrivel during storage. Some tubers will not have an eye. If your not sure if the tuber has an eye, store with the others, and see what happens. We dust the tubers with sulfur, and place the tubers in a bed of pine pet bedding shavings, or vermiculite inside a brown paper bag. We store the bags of tubers in plastic crates or cardboard boxes.
Dahlia tubers need to be stored in a dry area where the temperature will remain at about 40-50 degrees F.
Check your tubers periodically during the winter for signs of shriveling, and moisten the tubers to plump them up. If the tubers show mildew, treat with a dry fungicide or spray with Lysol, let dry and return to storage.