How to Winterize Tuber Plants

Use these three easy steps to preserve tuber plants through the winter and plant them in time for new spring.

Colorful Dahlias Take Center Stage in Summer Yard

Colorful Dahlias Take Center Stage in Summer Yard

Dahlias are a popular addition to the landscape because they come in a variety of flower shapes and sizes. Color range includes orange, pink, purple, red, scarlet, yellow, and white. They begin blooming in early summer and continue to frost.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Related To:

Materials Needed

  • gardening shears
  • fork
  • labels
  • gardening boxes
  • vermiculite
  • compost
  • wooden stakes (optional)
  • fungicide powder (optional)
  • sharp knife (optional)

Step 1: Watch for First Fall Frost to Blacken Foliage

Lift Out Tubers from Ground and Allow Them to Dry

Lift Out Tubers from Ground and Allow Them to Dry

Dig dahlia tubers, label them, and store them in a cool, dry place for the winter.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Trim stems back to 6 inches (15 cm) with pruners. Use a fork to lift the tubers, label them, and store upside down for two weeks.

Step 2: Watch for Tubers to Dry Out

Store Dried Dahlia Tubers Right Side Up in Soil

Store Dried Dahlia Tubers Right Side Up in Soil

Place the tubers in a bed of sawdust or vermiculite, inside a cardboard or wooden box. Store them right side up in a dry area where the temperature will remain at about 40 degrees.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Once they have, place them right side up in boxes of dry vermiculite, and keep them in a cool, dry, frost-free place over the winter. Check the stored tubers regularly; if any mildew or rot has developed, cut it out with a clean, sharp knife, and dust with fungicide powder.

Step 3: Plant Tubers in Pots of Fresh Compost Once Spring Arrives

Plant Tubers in Compost Once Frosts Have Passed

Plant Tubers in Compost Once Frosts Have Passed

Dahlia tubers should not be planted until all danger of frost has passed. Dig a deep planting hole. Mix in a shovel full of compost and fill with the soil mixture. Place tuber horizontally in the bottom of the hole with eye pointing upward.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Grow the tubers inside, then plant outside when the frosts are over. For tall dahlias, add a stake when planting.