A flower garden without terry dahlias will not look so saturated. These flowers adorn the gardens and flower beds from mid-summer until the first frost. Thanks to the diligence of breeders, every dahlia lover has the opportunity to plant on the site a variety of varieties of these flowers.
However, for these flowering plants to delight you year after year, it is important to know how to keep dahlias at home. This is what this article will be about.
When and how to dig up dahlia tubers
In order for your favorite flowers to survive the winter cold and bloom magnificently in the next season, it is important to properly and timely dig them up. Digging the roots should be carried out with the onset of the first frost. During this period, the leaves of the ground part of the flowers acquire a characteristic black color.
A warning! Do not delay with digging, because due to cold weather shoots can rot, and from them the rot spreads to the root system.
Before this time, digging up the roots is not necessary, otherwise flowers in the next season will bloom less intensively, and tubers will be more susceptible to disease and rotting. If the leaves on the plant are green, then it is still early to dig up the roots, because at this time the buds are being prepared for re-flowering, and the process of feeding the root system is in the active phase.
If the digging period has already arrived, it is necessary to prune the stems. So, you can avoid involuntary damage to the kidneys and tubers. When digging, do not put the shovel close to the stalks and do not pull the plant with your hands on the stem.
To safely dig up the roots, dig the plant on all sides at a distance of 30 cm from the stem. Then scoop the soil with your hands and carefully remove the root system. Another key to successful storage of dahlia tubers is careful preparation of planting material for wintering.
Preparing for the winter
If you have already dug up the tubers, they need to be prepared for winter. For starters, they are washed in running water and disinfected. A weak solution of potassium permanganate or a fungicide can be used as a disinfectant. The roots are placed in it for half an hour.
Some growers add a systemic insecticide to the disinfectant solution. This approach will keep the maximum amount of planting material until spring. If enough time is given to disinfecting, then the probability of the spread of pathogenic bacteria and, as a result, the decay of dahlia roots will be minimal.
In order to avoid damage to the skin of the hands to work with chemicals better in gloves. Tubers that float are unsuitable for storage, they need to be collected and discarded.
After that, the tubers should be dried. It is best to do this in the sun or in a dry, bright and well-ventilated area. Then the tubers are divided into delenki. It is best to dry the roots on a wooden surface, covered with cardboard or paper.
For what and how to label the roots
If you grow different varieties of dahlias, then in order not to get lost in them, you should label the tubers. You can write the names of the varieties in full or make a table with the codes on a separate sheet of paper, and the tubers themselves can be simply numbered. Mark with a special icon, for example, an asterisk, a plus sign or a tick, the strongest tubers of the same variety. So, with the arrival of spring, you can use the best planting material.
The numbering of the roots can be carried out with a chemical pencil, which is well written, even on wet dry tubers. If the pencil is writing poorly, moisten it with a tip in a jar of water. Pencil can be replaced with a marker, which is well written on any surface.
Dahlia storage at room temperature
There are a number of rules that help keep dahlia tubers even at room temperatures:
- Place the roots in perforated plastic bags, pre-filled with brown dry peat. Packages should be tightly tied. You can store planting material in the closet, storage room or on the threshold of the loggia. At the same time you need to regularly check the general condition of the tubers.
- You can powder the tubers with ash, and then put them in polyethylene bags. Fill the bags with air and tie them up, and then carry them to the place of permanent storage.
- If you have a little planting material, then you can store it in the refrigerator. It is necessary to stack each tuber in a separate bag.
If there is an unheated room in your house, then it is best to store the tubers in it. At high temperatures, the roots can germinate and die from lack / excess moisture, soil and nutrients.
Home Storage Methods
Storage of dahlias at home can be done in different ways. For example, in boxes with sand or sawdust. Some growers process planting material with paraffin or vermiculite. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with each method of storing dahlias in the winter.
The best place to store dahlias at home is boxes. At the bottom of the box you can put a layer of peat, then put the roots on it and back them up with peat. Sand or sawdust can be an excellent substitute for peat, but this will be discussed later.
Under these conditions, dahlia tubers will last until spring. Then you can perform their landing in open ground.
If you decide not to use peat, but sand as a backfill for the box, then you should take into account that the latter should be well dried. At the bottom of the box is poured a layer of sand. After it is placed on the tubers in 1 or 2 layers and cover with sacking. The technique has received good reviews. Conveniently, at any time you can easily check the status of tubers.
If it seems to you that the roots dry out because of the dry sand, then do not rush to conclusions. Excessive moisture to the tubers sent for winter storage is not needed, because of it they can rot or prematurely sprout. Therefore, it is better to let the roots dry up than to let them rot.
To ensure that the tubers are well preserved, they need to be filled with large sawdust or even wood shavings. The fact is that small sawdust strongly absorbs moisture, which can lead to rotting or germination of planting material.
A warning! Roots with sawdust can not be canned in bags, because they collect condensate, because of which the planting material will become unusable.
Do not store the roots of dahlia with potatoes or other vegetable crops. A moist environment is formed near the vegetables, and this can trigger the spread of fungi, which will lead to the death of planting material.
Skillful gardeners resort to waxing of dahlia tubers. The bottom line is that the prepared planting material is dipped into molten paraffin. This method allows you to save the dahlia roots in the most natural form until spring. So, in the roots there is enough moisture and they do not dry out. Under the influence of high temperatures, harmful bacteria are dying, which may remain on the tubers after disinfection. Paraffin layer protects the tubers from the negative influence of the external environment.
Waxing is suitable for processing early dahlia varieties. How to save dahlias in the winter by waxing? You need to do the following:
- Crush candles or paraffin and place in a saucepan. Make a water bath.
- Paraffin melt on low heat. The thickness of the melted paraffin should be about 2-3 cm.
- To put the roots in the pot, they need to be divided. Tie up the pre-washed and dried tubers by string, put in paraffin for 1 second and remove. Under the influence of oxygen, paraffin hardens instantly.
Use of vermiculite
Another way to store dahlias in the winter at home is to use a large fraction of vermiculite as a backfill. This tool retains moisture well, so you should not be afraid of drying the roots.
The bottom of the box or other container in which the planting material will be stored is covered with vermiculite. Then on this layer stack dahlia tubers. The roots are again sprinkled with vermiculite and so you can put several layers in the box. The last layer should be covered with polyethylene. In the storage place of tubers should be a temperature in the range of 3-6.
So, from this article you learned how to store dahlia tubers in the winter. If you follow the recommendations outlined, then next season you will be delighted with beautiful flower beds covered in lush color of delicious dahlias. In addition, you can view a video that discusses the secrets of storing dahlia tubers: