The dahlias are one of Hever’s most loved flowers, but every winter they get put away until they’re replanted in the spring.
Here are some rather useful tips for taking care of dahlias throughout the winter:
You don’t have to wait until the first frost to lift the dahlias, as soon as you notice they’re not flowering so much you can lift them. Inner city and coastal areas should be ok to keep the tubers in the ground as the frost doesn’t tend to settle so much in these places, but the tubers will still be in danger of damage from excess water and slugs.
At Hever, to lift the dahlias, the gardeners cut the stems to about 4-6 inches in length, clean the tubers so that there’s not too much compost around them and then store them for a week of so in a greenhouse to help dry them out. At this point, you can break off large tubers into smaller ones, creating more plants that you can replant in the spring. After that they are put onto crates, and placed upside down – this allows the tubers to dry out further. Importantly, the crown of the tuber must not be covered, as otherwise it will shoot. It’s really important to keep the tubers in cool, dry conditions.
Following this process the Hever dahlias have a 95% success rate that they will re-flower the following summer. The dahlias which survive the best are the White Cactus and Orange pompom varieties, some here at Hever are believed to be over 30 years old. The larger ‘dinner plate’ size dahlias are much more difficult to keep as the tuber is not particularly substantial.
So that’s it for another year, we hope you have learnt a little more on taking care of dahlias!
We’ll keep you updated when the dahlias are brought back into the greenhouse in April to prepare them for another season of beautiful blooms.
Discover more about the gardens at Hever Castle here.