Dahlia Saving Part 2

Here’s the second part of my tutorial on dahlia saving!

Once your tubers are all dug, washed and dried it’s time to divide and store them until planting time.

Some folks don’t divide until spring but I prefer (at least for now) to divide before I pack for storing. This saves space and then I can inventory now so I know how many I’ll have come planting time.

Follow these easy steps to divide and save your tubers!

The first step is to grab your tuber bunch and cut it in half. This will make the whole job more manageable. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start! Once you make that first cut, it is a little easier so see each tuber individually.  I like to use a sharp knife or a pair of felco snips for cutting. You can try both to see which one works best for you.  Don’t worry if you destroy a few tubers in this process. You will still have plenty to work with.

The first step is to grab your tuber bunch and cut it in half. This will make the whole job more manageable. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start! Once you make that first cut, it is a little easier so see each tuber individually.

I like to use a sharp knife or a pair of felco snips for cutting. You can try both to see which one works best for you.

Don’t worry if you destroy a few tubers in this process. You will still have plenty to work with.

Once you’ve broken down the tuber bunch it’s time to start dividing individual tubers.  Here’s the most important part: for each intact tuber body you need to have an intact “neck” (the place between the tuber body and the place where the “eye” has formed), and and eye. If you don’t have these components, your tuber will not sprout in the spring  If you’re not sure what a dahlia eye looks like I'm pointing one out here with my pencil. Eyes are either slightly green/yellow (like above) or a purple/red color (like below).

Once you’ve broken down the tuber bunch it’s time to start dividing individual tubers.

Here’s the most important part: for each intact tuber body you need to have an intact “neck” (the place between the tuber body and the place where the “eye” has formed), and and eye. If you don’t have these components, your tuber will not sprout in the spring

If you’re not sure what a dahlia eye looks like I'm pointing one out here with my pencil. Eyes are either slightly green/yellow (like above) or a purple/red color (like below).

This picture is showing the proper cut to give you the three key components: 1) tuber body, 2) intact neck and 3) eye.  Once my tubers are cut I dip the cut end in cinnamon (an anti-fungal to ward off mold and rot) and lightly sprinkle in cinnamon.

This picture is showing the proper cut to give you the three key components: 1) tuber body, 2) intact neck and 3) eye.

Once my tubers are cut I dip the cut end in cinnamon (an anti-fungal to ward off mold and rot) and lightly sprinkle in cinnamon.

To store my tubers for the winter I take a paper bag and put a layer of wood shavings, then a layer of tubers, then a layer of shavings, etc.  Make sure to label your varieties! I leave a plastic label in the bag AND label the paper bag.  All my bags then go in plastic totes with lids and get stored in my crawlspace (which is roughly 40-50 degrees).  Be sure to check your tubers monthly until planting time to make sure they are not drying out too much or rotting!

To store my tubers for the winter I take a paper bag and put a layer of wood shavings, then a layer of tubers, then a layer of shavings, etc.

Make sure to label your varieties! I leave a plastic label in the bag AND label the paper bag.

All my bags then go in plastic totes with lids and get stored in my crawlspace (which is roughly 40-50 degrees).

Be sure to check your tubers monthly until planting time to make sure they are not drying out too much or rotting!


I hope this helps you save all your gorgeous tubers for next year! Know that for each tuber you plant in the spring you will get 5-15 new tubers for next year. Soon you will be rich in dahlias. They make great gifts or you can trade your neighbors for fun new varieties.

Please post any questions below. I’m happy to problem solve with you.

Dahlia Saving Part 1

It’s time to dig and save your dahlias!

Each dahlia plant you have will produce 5-10 more tubers underground each year. This means soon you will be RICH in tubers.

I’m here to walk you through the how-to of dahlia saving. Follow the pictures below for the first few steps in saving your dahlia tubers:

Wait until after the first hard frost to dig your tubers. You’ll know when it time when the plants look completely dead! The stems will still have some green in them but the leaves will look awful. (Quite possibly the ugliest photo I’ll post on my blog!)

Wait until after the first hard frost to dig your tubers. You’ll know when it time when the plants look completely dead! The stems will still have some green in them but the leaves will look awful. (Quite possibly the ugliest photo I’ll post on my blog!)

Cut off the stems right above soil level and then gently pry up the tubers with a shovel or a pitch fork. The tubers are rather delicate, so pry gently! Use your hand to carefully dust off the biggest clumps of soil.

Cut off the stems right above soil level and then gently pry up the tubers with a shovel or a pitch fork. The tubers are rather delicate, so pry gently! Use your hand to carefully dust off the biggest clumps of soil.

Use a hose to spray the tuber clump clean! And look how many tubers I got on this baby!!! Looks like if they all save beautifully this one plant will give me about 15 tubers for next year :)

Use a hose to spray the tuber clump clean! And look how many tubers I got on this baby!!! Looks like if they all save beautifully this one plant will give me about 15 tubers for next year :)

Make sure you label your tubers so you know what you’re getting next year. Place them somewhere to dry for a 2-3 days. Mine are in my hoophouse, gently stacked in a bulb crate (I also hang mine). If drying in an out building or outside, don’t let them freeze.

Make sure you label your tubers so you know what you’re getting next year. Place them somewhere to dry for a 2-3 days. Mine are in my hoophouse, gently stacked in a bulb crate (I also hang mine). If drying in an out building or outside, don’t let them freeze.

What’s next?!

I’ll post “Dahlia Saving Part 2” next week when I divide and store my tubers for next spring. Stay tuned!