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Perennials/Dinnerplate Dahlias


Hi! I recently purchase a large plant that was labeled as a dinnerplate dahlia. I planted it in my backyards flower garden since the flowers were beautiful. The tag of the plant says that they do not withstand cold weather otherwise they will die. Well, I live in southern Massachuetts(zone 6). Would my winters be too cold for it? Is there anything I can do so it won't die?

Hi Victor,
Thanx for your question.  Dahlias are native to Mexico and will not overwinter reliably in most parts of the Continental U.S.  In zone 6, you will have to lift the tubers in the fall and store them in a cool, dry, dark area like a basement.  I have successfully lifted and stored gladioli, dahlia, canna and other tropicals, stored them in the basement for the winter and then replanted them as the spring warmed up with good results.  I let the first frost kill the top, green and growing part of the plant.  Then I lift the bulb/corm/tuber/rhizome and allow it to dry a bit.  Shake off excess soil.  Do not wash or expose to water.  For added safety, dust it with a fungicidal powder.  You can find that at a nursery or garden center.  Store in netted bags or in shredded paper.  Do not allow to freeze or get wet.  I hope this helps.


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Tom Alonzo


I have been a gardener for 20 years with perennials both growing from seed and from nurseries. I went through the Master Gardener Program from Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service and I answered questions on the Hotline a few years ago for the Wyandotte County Kansas Extension Service. I have also lived in the Florida, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Kansas and Missouri and am experienced with a variety of climates, soils and weather conditions.


I have been growing perennials for over 20 years now. I am self-taught mostly except for a master gardener class. I have experimented with all kinds of perennials including many that are not common to my area. I have read hundreds of books and grown hundreds of varieties of plants and hope to make it a business some day. I have become versed in botanical names and growing conditions and what I don't know off of the top of my head I can usually easily find in my vast array of research material and botanical and horticultural contacts. I especially enjoy experimenting with growing plants out of zone.

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