Digging up Dahlias Part 2
Last year I stored dahlia tubers in the original clumps. In the spring I dug big holes and planted them (intact) back in the garden. I ended up with some huge dahlia bushes, but not tons of flowers. It is also difficult to find space to put basketball sized clumps of tubers between the spring bulbs and perennials.
This year I am trying out a different method - I'm dividing the clumps into individual tubers in the fall. I learned a lot about dividing tubers on Gardenweb (now Houzz). Here is one of my favorite dahlia dividing threads.
The key seems to be washing the clumps of tubers so that you can find the growth nodules or "eyes" and make sure each tuber gets at least one. Next year's plant will sprout from these places. I located the likely "eyes" (circled) and started trimming out tubers with a thin knife.
One clump of "pink pom pom" (my own made-up name) turned into 9 handsome tubers. Each tuber will produce a nice plant if it survives winter storage.
Washing the tubers also allows you to label directly with a permanent marker.
For storage, I am just using black plastic liqueur store bags, very loosely tied. Last year I wrapped some tubers in newspaper and plastic bags but they got moldy. Finding the right humidity balance is important and everyone's environment is a little different.
The tubers are now in a dark corner of the basement, far from the furnace and water heater so they stay cool. They look pretty creepy!