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I have been growing some Dahlias (I'm not sure of their type) in a pot over summer, but now winter is on it's way I'm not too sure what to do with them. I know I've got to store them somehow. Can anyone help me to keep them overwinter? Also, what do I do to propagate them, if I can?

Any help would be appreciated. 


Hi Max,

we've just had our first frost so will be cutting all the foliage off and then taking the tubers out of their pots and standing upside down somewhere cool and dry for a few weeks. Then either wrap the tubers in newspaper or lay on some dry soil somwhere cool and dry. When they start to sprout shoots next year, pot them up and when shoots get to a decent height you can cut these for propagation, Carol Klein did this in one of the earlier Gardeners World programmes. Haven't had dahlias before so will be a first for me if they survive.


Woodgreen wonderboy

Cut foliage back. Leave in pot , under cover to allow it to dry out. Store where it won't get frosted e.g.GH. Understaging

Next spring you can water, watch for growth,  move outside at start of May feed and away you go. Whip back indoors if frosty.

I did this with a variety of dahlia this last year, and also bought the same variety tuber fresh and potted that up too. Difference was there none.

I second Wonderboy's suggestion, I have much more success with leaving the Dahlias in the pot, they were cut down at the weekend just gone and put into the frost free shed to wait until spring. Come March I will scrape down the soil to tuber level and replace with fresh. Water sparingly and wait for them to come up, I Always take a spring cutting or two off all of my Dahlias. Take it as low as possible as occasionally you might be lucky and get a bit that has already started rooting.

Nowadays my Dahlia are all grown as specimens in 75 - 100L black tree pots, but when I had them in the ground they were whipped out pre-frost, potted and put in the greenhouse to wait until spring

Hope this helps




What works best for me,about 90% success rate, is to cut them back either when I need the ground or after frost generally mid November. Then lift and reunite with label, very important! Leave stems at about 2inches, leave on bench frost free for soil to dry off for a few days. Then I pick and poke to get off as much soil as possible, wrap in newspaper like fish and chips, put in carrier bags and hang up in garage. Check reasonably regularly for rot. I follow this routine for potted Dahlias too, I have left them in pots in my small greenhouse but it wasn't successful. In the spring I start them off in trays and pots splitting larger tubers. This year I took a fair number of cuttings by cutting shoots when they were about 2half inches high cutting as close to the tuber as I could. Started them in very free draining compost, covered by plastic bag. Don't let the compost get too wet as they rot easily. So here we are in nearly winter looking forward to Spring.

Woodgreen wonderboy

I wouldn't use plastic carrier bags if I were you. I have stored dahlias in cardboard boxes over winter for many years, in an outhouse to keep them dry. I cover the boxes with fleece and hessian to help keep any real cold at bay and I can honestly say that the vast majority have survived year after year. The larger tubers always survive, some of the smaller ones don't. You must expect some losses, but the fun is in going to the GC in spring and choosing some new varieties to make up the numbers. I grow about 150 dahlias overall including those I leave in tubs and never change the compost.... but that's another story.


Do not use plastic bags as that will keep condensation and that allows mould to form and that is not good as it rots the tubers. An open crate, cardwood box or even an old fashioned paper bag is best. Take off all the soil as the soil is wet and at this tume of year it takes weeks to dry out with the humidity and cold weather.


i have just taken my dahlias out of there big pots and when i tipped the compost out there were a couple of slugs in the bottom and a large amount of eggs 


If you leave dahlias in their original pots, you risk leaving them with all the resident pests such as little-ann's slugs and eggs!

Woodgreen wonderboy

Leaving plants in pots does have the drawback of pests but they are easier to control in the pot, than open ground. I have no compunction in using pellets in the confines of a pot.

I've used the carrier bag system for at least the last ten years , the tubers are well wrapped and there is very little condensation I have a very good success rate. I don't have sufficient space to store them any other way than to dangle the bags in the garage. It's all a question of finding what works for you given your circumstances. Like other posters I have left them in the ground years ago when NE winters at least were milder then the first bad winter and I lost loads, the other drawback for that method for me was they were slow to start in Spring and slugs etc beneath the soil had a feast. 


Can I ask.Is it necessary to let dahlias get frosted before lifting them.I could do with the space in the ground to plant my primulas and tulips.We haven,t had a frost yet and it doesn't look as we will have next week either.Thanks


i dont think so, i did mine today and they havnt been frosted

Woodgreen wonderboy

No need to wait. They get no actual benefit from the frosting... it's just that the foliage is slaughtered, but the tuber is still OK.



Thank you both.I'll lift them tomorrow if it's dry.

Instead of plastic carrier bags you could use hessian sacks to hang them up, allows a bit of air movement around them to keep them dry. 

Once the Dahlias get to full size they don't get repotted at all. just the top changed, mostly to get rid of weed seed, a good dose or Chicken manure come spring and a decent feeding regime keeps them happy


KFC yes KFC have large brown paper bags that will keep tubers dry add some sawdust,straw or even ripped up new paper.

I have a big vac in the garage with lots of sawdust wich I shall be using and one or two KFC bags saved in the year for drying seeds tubers in

Hang them in the garage where the mice can't eat them as I had some bulbs under the bench in the garage one year in sawdust and the mice had the lot 


I think woody has it spot on....much as I do too.

I keep many dahlias in the ground but also dig up varieties to pot up.  Been doing this for past couple of weeks.  I use 5 litre pots or smaller if I can easily pull apart.  I will label instead of guessing too this year.  If I have forgotten the variety name I write a brief description of it.

I too dont think frosting improves anything as long as tubers get a chance to dry off before any cold weather arrives.  Fatal to dig up in cold weather and hope they will dry out in the GH .....should anyone ever actually do that !

I once said dahlias aren't my favourite plants but I've come to enjoy them more this past year or so.....maybe sInce my visit to national dahlia collection not too far from me....and I have several varieties now.  The singles ....simple, subtle and charming...(bit like me ) .are now my favourite.


I shall cut back and remove from pot this coming week then and leave to dry out I only have two Dahlias so not two expensive to replace next year LOL

My red flame is now a dull yellow

 I shall take a photo before I cut it back