Dahlias: Overwintering

Katy, TX(Zone 9a)

Hi folks -

I'm in Zone 9a/8b (depending on the winter!) and decided to overwinter my set of dahlias. I'm in Houston and thought it could work. However, it's now into April and nothings coming up! I put them under a 4" layer of mulch and it has settled but I haven't pulled it off just yet. I also notice slug trails occasionally - should I dig them up and check them out? I have a set of new tubers to put out in their place since I don't see any action.

What are your best success stories with overwintering?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Most of us dig them up a week or two after frost, drain them a few days, then package them up for the winter in a spot that will not go below 40. In April we take them out to check them and get them growing.

If they're left in the earth they can freeze, which kills them. They still would have to be dug to separate them or the huge clump can grow itself to death. It just can't get the nutrition it needs to survive.

Atlanta, GA


Now that summer is ending, I'm curious whether your overwintered dahlias came back. Ours don't usually make an appearance until sometime in May, as I recall.

We always leave ours in the ground here in Atlanta (zone 7b). They're much safer there than they are when manhandled by us. Once in a while we lose one over the winter, but even that probably wouldn't happen if we were more conscientious about mulching them early enough. This year we will dig them--both to divide them and to move them farther apart. We plan to stick them right back in the ground the next day.

Fort Worth, TX

My newest 2 came up after not being lifted last fall, and the bugs nailed them again, saw a couple of buds but never a single bloom. They went dormant or died (bulbs look good) a couple of weeks ago.

So how did they do in houston where it rains more?

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