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How to Winterize Dahlias

By Christina Wheeler ; Updated September 21, 2017
A dahlia bloom.
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The dahlia flower is a needy but beautiful blooming plant. These delicate plants cannot survive even a single frost. It is vital that they be winterized before the first frost or dip in temperatures. To avoid this procedure, many dahlia owners in colder climates choose to plant in pots so they can be easily moved indoors during cold temperatures.

Use sharp pruning shears.
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Winterize before the first frost in the region. Cut the dahlia using pruning shears at the base. Dahlias respond well to pruning. Check to be certain that all upper parts of the plant have been removed.

Remove the bulb with a hand shovel.
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Dig the bulb from the ground using either a hand shovel or a spade shovel. Remove the entire bulb without scraping the bulb sides. Such damage can cause an entrance spot for disease. Brush the extra soil from the flower bulb.

Wash all dirt debris from the bulb.
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Wash the dahlia bulb in water to remove all dirt debris. Dirt and soil left on the bulb will invite disease into the bulb during storage. Dry the bulb completely with paper towels or an ordinary kitchen towel.

Store in a cold, dry, dark location.
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Place the bulb in a dark and dry location. Usually a basement works best to accomplish the colder temperature desirable for bulb storage. Just a few degrees above freezing is ideal for optimal hibernation.

Replant in the spring.
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Replant the bulb in the spring. Water generously and wait for your blooms to grow.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel or hand shovel
  • Paper towels
  • Paper bag


  • Before replanting, prepare the soil with proper fertilizer.