I'm a huge fan of dahlias. Big blossoms and small, cactus petals and pom poms, white, yellow, red, pink and orange.
But every year there's the question of where to store all those tubers?
Last year was my first time in our new home storing tubers and it was a struggle deciding where to keep them. I initially put them in the basement but that was a failure. Our basement doubles as Jody's workshop and is kept relatively warm in winter. Halfway through the winter the tubers were beginning to dry out.
This year I had to try something different. I need a spot that is cool and dark but not damp. Light, warmth and moisture will cause the tubers to start growing and we want them to become dormant. Too much moisture and they may rot. Too dry and they may wither and die.
This is my bay window in the dining room. The bench holds my houseplants on top but underneath there is a secret hiding spot.
Pull back the cover and lift the lid.
The seat has a compartment below which is not insulated. It's quite cool down there and quite dark with the lid on. A perfect spot to hide dahlia tubers! And it keeps them out of the way for the winter season. I put the tubers down there in the fall and I checked them for the first time this week.
My yellow dahlia has grown to epic proportions and wouldn't fit in a box so I put it in this extra large brown garden bag with some peat. A look inside revealed the tubers are still nice and firm. No signs of rot or withering. Absolutely perfect.
A cardboard box filled with tubers didn't fare as well.
Sprouts were peaking out the top. Either too much warmth or light is causing these tubers to begin to grow. My guess is too much light as the peat in the box was barely enough to cover the roots. They should have been completely covered with plenty to spare. Apparently I was in too much of a hurry when I put them away.
The good news is the tubers are very healthy. As you can see above the bulb is plump, no signs of drying up and they feel solid to the touch. So what does one do when their dahlias decide to start growing a bit early?
Well in my case I've had this happen before and I let them grow. I take a cardboard box and mix up some potting soil and plant my dahlia in it. I water it, put it in a bright window and watch it take off. The sudden change in conditions is all the plant needs to start growing. By the time the weather has warmed sufficiently outside my plants are quite large and more than ready to be planted out in the garden. I harden them off for a few days first and then outside they go. The result - extra early blooms in the garden - and that makes me very happy.