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Have your dahlias gone black? It’s time to put them away for the winter - follow our 5-step guide

PUBLISHED: 14:00 28 November 2017

Follow these steps, and hopefully your dahlias will be ready to be revived come spring for re-planting

Follow these steps, and hopefully your dahlias will be ready to be revived come spring for re-planting

Thinkstock/PA

If you want to enjoy your dahlias next year, dig them up now and store them for winter. Here’s how to do it

Dahlias aren't very adept at sustaining long periods of cold, wet or frosty weatherDahlias aren't very adept at sustaining long periods of cold, wet or frosty weather

As the first frosts arrive, it’s time to lift dahlia tubers and put them in storage over winter, ready to replant next year.

Of course, some gardeners will leave the tubers in the ground - and keep their fingers crossed that we have a mild enough winter to keep these tender perennials going for another year, helping them along by cutting the spent plants down to ground level, applying a thick layer of mulch on the soil surface, and maybe even an upturned pot to stop persistent rain soaking and rotting the tubers.

With a garden fork, dig around the perimeter of the plant to gently loosen the tubersWith a garden fork, dig around the perimeter of the plant to gently loosen the tubers

But dahlias aren’t very adept at sustaining long periods of cold, wet or frosty weather - and if you live in a really cold, wet part of the country, you may be better off lifting them.

Here’s our step-by-step guide for how to do it...

As the first frosts arrive, it's time to lift dahlia tubers and put them in storage over winter, ready to replant next yearAs the first frosts arrive, it's time to lift dahlia tubers and put them in storage over winter, ready to replant next year

1. Wait until the first frosts

Let the first frosts blacken the leaves to allow maximum time for the plant to make strong tubers. Then tidy up the plants by cutting back the stems to around 10cm (4in) high.

2. Label the plants

Let the first frosts blacken the leaves to allow maximum time for the plant to make strong tubers. Then tidy up the plants by cutting back the stems to around 10cm (4in) highLet the first frosts blacken the leaves to allow maximum time for the plant to make strong tubers. Then tidy up the plants by cutting back the stems to around 10cm (4in) high

Tie a label to the shortened stem of each variety, so you can identify the varieties you’ll be replanting next year. Do it before you lift all the tubers, or it will become confusing.

3. Dig carefully

With a garden fork, dig around the perimeter of the plant to gently loosen the tubers. You do not want to be going in hell for leather and risking your fork damaging them. Lift the tuber out of the ground in one piece if you can, as bits that break off won’t regrow without an intact piece of crown and bud.

4. Clear off the soil

Remove soil around the tubers, which will be a piece of cake if you have sandy soil but trickier if you live on clay soil, in which case you may need a brush to help remove a lot of the caked-on dirt. Take care to hold the tuber by the main stems, so you don’t damage the crown or the clumps underneath.

5. Dry them off

Leave the tubers upside down in a greenhouse or shed to dry off, and once that’s done, remove any remaining soil with your hands and cut off any bits that look damaged or diseased. You can also cut back the stem by half again.

Put each tuber on newspaper, cover them with wood chips or compost, and wrap the paper around the tubers before placing them loosely in a cardboard box to store in a garage, shed or other frost-free but cool building.

Follow these steps, and hopefully they will be ready to be revived come spring for re-planting.

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