October 19, 2009

Dahlia Debacle and Redemption


This year I really enjoyed these no-name dahlias from Lowes, despite the fact that they're kind of (gasp) orange.


I was planning to store the tubers and replant them next spring, hopefully with a few extras from tuber division.


Swan Island Dahlias says that you should dig dahlia tubers two weeks after the first frost, which gives them time to harden off for storage.


It frosted on October 5 around here. I marked my calendar to dig on October 19 (today).


Unfortunately, we had some unusually low temperatures soon after that first frost. On October 11, less than a week after first frost, it hit 16 degrees. Brrr.


Several other days were nearly as cold.I thought my dahlias were goners for sure. Good thing I had snapped all these pictures in late September.


In the middle of writing this post, I figured that I should probably exhume the corpses and post a picture of frost-killed dahlia tubers.


I quickly walked outside, yanked up the plants, pulled away the dirt and found . . .


healthy-looking tubers! Now that's a beautiful sight - see the picture below. I guess the cold temps didn't stick around long enough to do in the tubers.


Now I'll follow the directions from Swan Island to see if they make it through storage. Click here to see their dahlia growing and storing instructions.

18 comments:

  1. Yeah! I am glad the tubers were okay. The Dahlias are so beautiful (when in flower). Please be sure to post in the spring to let us know if they made it through.

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  2. Wonderful~~ glad your instructions didn't steer you wrong. I know some Dahlias are hardy in ground over the winter here...not sure if all are.

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  3. VW .. this was a fun read girl ! I have done that as well. Tubers that I have over wintered I dusted with some garden sulpher and placed them in peat moss in a box on a window ledge in the basement level .. no direct light but cool temps by the window ledge and they did fine .. I was surprised ? haha
    These are very pretty indeed ! Good Luck : )

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  4. I love dahlias but just can't do things on time in order to overwinter them. These are a beautiful mix of colors - reds to peaches. I hope the storage works and you can enjoy these again next year.

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  5. I'm glad that the tubers survived. They do look healthy. I hope you get double the amount of flowers and tubers next summer.

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  6. I think they are just so beautiful and I am not an orange color person. We will all enjoy seeing them return next summer.

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  7. I'm so glad your tubers survived the frost & cold days. That's an unusual color but the blooms are gorgeous. :)

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  8. Oh what a cheering group of photos, VW, thanks! And hooray for the tubers, they do look great and very healthy. Sixteen degrees sounds awful, I have to admit that a shiver ran down my spine while reading that. Thank goodness the warm color of the dahlias worked its magic. And thank goodness our heater was fixed yesterday. :-)
    Frances

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  9. Lovely dahlias! Glad the tubers are ok, and I hope you'll be successful keeping them in safe storage through the winter!

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  10. VW, Embrace your inner orange -- these are beautiful. Good luck with the over-wintering.

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  11. Burr...I couldn't believe how cold it got in Spokane, so early! You are a brave woman to be growing Dahlias there, and I wish you all the best!

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  12. Hi VW~~ Whew. That was a close one. These dahlias are a nice peachy orange which I love. They look good enough to eat. I hope the storing is successful. I'm spoiled. The ground doesn't get frozen enough to kill the tubers, knock on wood. Now watch. This will be the year. :)

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  13. It takes a bit to turn these guys to mush. I did mine and store them in peat moss that is barely barely moistened in a cardboard box under my house. They always come out happy in the spring. Though I can say I've really not divided them often, only about once every three years will I cut the tubers apart. I leave about 2 eyes per tuber. Our dahlias haven't had enough freeze here yet for me to dig. 16 is mighty mighty chilly!

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  14. I'm glad your dahlia tubers survived.

    16 degrees is cold for so early.

    I hope your tubers overwinter well.

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  15. Yay! I'm glad they survived the cold temps. They are beautiful.

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  16. VW, Your tubers are certainly big and healthy! Next year they will be bigger and better; and still that charming orange tint! I think they would look spectacular with lavenders and purple asters next fall. I am going to chance it this year and see if my cheapies from Lowes will make it through the winter! gail

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  17. In general, I think dahlias are tougher than they are given credit for. Wonderful colors! I'm often surprised by how many folks disdain orange in the garden. I planted some orange dahlias on a whim early summer and they've been blooming ever since. Very dramatic with Rozanne geraniums.

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  18. I like the colors and shapes of your dahlias. I'm glad you were able to rescue the tubers. I am in the middle of some cleaning, and found the name of the dahlia I grew in the yard. I left one clump and dug 2. I just happened to dig about 2 weeks after the plants died, so that was good. I did read somewhere I was supposed to get them in something within a couple days of digging, which I failed to do. Hopefully, I will get to it and be able to rescue them. I also saved the tubers from a smaller kind I had in a tub.

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