What to do with Dahlias – Paul Smyth

Dahlias have really came to end with this weeks rotten weather. Here’s a shot of my seedlings this year through my favourite prop, an old steel potato basket.

There’s two options now, either dig up the tubers, dry them a little and store them in crates – somewhere dry and frost free or to leave them in situ, cover the tubers with dry leaves and protect them from water with a bell cloche or transparent waterproof cover.

Both methods work pretty successfully. I also occasionally just leave them in the ground, a gamble in some areas but on the relatively frost free and free draining slopes of Co Carlow I have got away with it. If you have a particularly wet garden or frost pocket I would strongly recommend at least protecting them.  As our climate changes, leaving Dahlias in the ground will likely become more commonplace. Though like any plant they do lose vigour after a few years.

I’ll try a combination of the methods above and late next spring plant out some tubers and take cuttings of the shoots on others. Dahlias are extremely versatile when it comes to how you propagate them.

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