How to lift and store dahlias

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

Do it:


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


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.



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.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

How to deadhead flowers in summer

How to take begonia leaf cuttings

How to pinch out fuchsias

Related offers


Save 15 per cent on seeds at Sarah Raven

Save 15% on seeds from Sarah Raven

Enjoy 15 per cent off the entire seed range at Sarah Raven. The range includes, beautifully scented sweet peas, cut flowers, vegetables, tomatoes plus many more.


Order now


Heather offer

Save on heathers

Inject some colour into your winter and spring planting schemes with this beautiful collection of hardy heathers from only £2.55 per plant. These ericaceous plants make brilliant weed-suppressing ground cover and look fantastic with spring bulbs. Order now and your plants will be despatched from February 2018.

Order now


Monty Don Ireland holiday

Meet Monty in Ireland

Explore some of Ireland's most breathtaking gardens on an exclusive four-night tour. Special guest Monty Don will join you for a garden tour and give an entertaining evening talk on his gardening life. Flights, four-star hotel, breakfast and four additional meals included in price.

Use code: GWIR

Order now