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How to lift and store dahlias

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

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

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.

To guarantee that they'll get through the colder weather it's well worth lifting and storing the tubers in autumn.

You will need

  • Secateurs
  • Garden fork
  • Dry compost
  • Storage box or container
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Total time:

Step 1

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.

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Step 2

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

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Step 3

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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