Do Dahlias Come Back Every Year

Do Dahlias Come Back Every Year?

If you have just enjoyed a wonderful Dahlia display from a plant you picked up at the garden centre then you no doubt want to know if you can expect the same again next year. Do Dahlias come back every year? Or are they a one-and-done flower?

Do Dahlias Come Back Every Year
Do Dahlias Come Back Every Year

Do Dahlias Come Back Every Year?

So while the plant is perfectly capable of surviving over winter and coming back next year our cold winters do not agree with it.

If left alone it is very unlikely your Dahlias would survive a winter left outdoors unless we happen to have a very mild winter or you live in a unique spot like Cornwall.

The plant is a perennial and wants to come back every year but it needs help to survive freezing temperatures. So what can you do to help? Read on to find out.

Lift or Leave?

There are essentially two main schools of thought when it comes to protecting Dahlias over winter, lift and store or leave in place and protect.

Lifting and storing is the ultimate way if you want to save as many of your Dahlias as possible, but it is a lot, lot more work than leaving them in place and protecting them.

Lifting and Storing Dahlias

If you are going to dig your Dahlia tubers up and store them over winter then follow my quick guide below to ensure you give them the best chance possible.

To begin with, you will want to cut the foliage back almost to the base of the plant.

Once this is done gently lift them using a garden fork. You want to dig well away from the plant, to begin with, to make sure you don’t accidentally stick your fork through the tuber.

Dahlia Rhizomes
Dahlia Rhizomes

Remove any soil from the tuber by giving it a good shake and also a quick brush with your hands. I then like to leave the tubers in the sun for a few hours to dry out.

If the weather is poor then move them into a greenhouse or put them on a windowsill for a while to dry.

You then want to hang them upside down for a couple of weeks to make sure they are really dried out. Now, this obviously needs to be done in a frost-free place as the tubers are really vulnerable at this point.

If an early frost is forecast then you may want to consider bringing them inside.

After a couple of weeks of hanging, they will be ready for their winter hibernation. Wrap them in one or two sheets of newspaper before storing them over winter. You want a frost-free spot but one that also has decent ventilation.

A garage shed or greenhouse is usually a good idea. (depending on the weather greenhouses can get a little chilly so this really depends on your location and the weather that winter)

Leaving Dahlias In The Ground

If you have a smaller garden and no greenhouse or garage in which to store your Dahlias then it may be better for you to leave them in the ground.

This is also true for gardeners who want to enjoy Dahlias but just don’t have the time to dedicate to digging them all up and planting them all over again next year.

To start with you want to remove all vegetation from the plant right back to the base. Use some good secateurs for this as Dahlias can have tough almost woody stems.

You then want to apply a really thick mulch on top of your Dahlias, this is the secret to protecting them over winter.

You can use compost, leaf mould, bark, anything really as a mulch just make sure it is really thick. This should help prevent the ground underneath from freezing which will, in turn, protect your dahlias.

More on Dahlias

Dahlias are simply stunning summer flowers, the pop pop head produces amazing displays. The plant is a member of the Asteraceae family along with daisies, asters and marigolds.

Usually grown from a tuber but they can also be grown from seed. The tubers require special care over winter here in the UK and many growers end up with an almost fanatical devotion to their dahlias.

Despite not being able to survive winter outdoors in most of the UK they actually thrive in our summer conditions. The moderate but wet climate we have is absolutely perfect for them.

Dahlia

Dahlias make the perfect container flower and are commonly grown this way. Growing them in containers also makes preserving the tuber over winter a lot easier.