How to lift and store dahlias

Find out how to lift dahlia tubers in autumn, then storing them over winter.

Do it:

Nov

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Jul, Aug, Sep

Dahlias are beautiful tender perennials that flower all summer long. They are grown from tubers, which look like a cluster of brown, carrot-like roots joined by the previous year's dried stem.

You can buy fresh tubers every spring from garden centres or by mail order, or use your own tubers that have been overwintered. Dahlia tubers can survive mild winters outside with a thick mulch, but to guarantee that they'll get through the colder weather it's well worth lifting and storing the tubers in autumn, planting them out the following May.

Related content:

Discover how you can ensure a fabulous display of dahlia flowers for next summer, whatever the weather, in three easy steps.

You will need

  • Secateurs
  • Garden fork
  • Dry compost
  • Storage box or container

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Dig all around the dahlia clump and lift the tubers with a fork, taking great care not to damage them with the spikes. Shake off as much soil as you can. Then, using secateurs, cut down the dahlia stems and compost the leaves.

Rinse off the soil thoroughly, then stand the tubers upside down to dry.

Pack the tubers in a box or pot and cover them with dry compost. Store them in a frost-free place, such as under the greenhouse staging or a dry shed.

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If your dahlias are in a warm, sheltered spot in the border and you don't want to lift them, add a thick layer of mulch for extra insulation in winter.

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