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In the Garden: Preserve your dahlias

Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 10:19 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2020 at 1:58 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - With the colder temperatures on the horizon, some plants are shriveling in fear. But not to worry, Sharon Meyer and gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi are here to help you get your flowers all “dolled" up for the winter.

Sharon: Charlie I’m so glad we’re talking about dahlias! I tried to grow them this summer and for the most part, it worked pretty well.

Charlie: oh nice good!

Sharon: Yeah

Charlie: And you still have them?

Sharon: yeah I still have them so now I need to know what to do. Charlie: Oh you’re one of the lucky ones that survive the frost.

Sharon: Right! (laughter).

Charlie: So if your dahlias are still blooming these are one of my favorite fall flowers because they bloom in such prolific numbers and they’re so colorful. There’s a couple things to do to make sure you get a lot of flowers and you can actually enjoy them a little bit longer. So first of all they like to flop, especially when you get tall ones like these.

Sharon that I noticed.

Charlie: You notice that?

Sharon: Yeah I got to do something for next year.

Charlie: So you can wrap some chicken wire around them and some people put a stake in and actually tie them to the stake. But that kind of restricts them. I like doing the chicken wire thing because that keeps them looking like a bush. So you can wrap that around them or a little earlier in the season would be ideal but now is OK. The other thing you can do is, we know frost is coming again!

Sharon: Yes, yes.

Charlie: So you can see that there’s a lot of really small little buds here and just like we talked a couple weeks ago about tomatoes and melons pinching them off?

Sharon: Sure.

Charlie: You can do the same thing with these just pinch off the little buds they probably will never form a flower.

Sharon: OK, yeah it is getting late. Charlie: it is getting late but what that will do is that some of these big bear bigger buds they’ll actually have more energy then to form that flower so you can enjoy it. Now another thing you can do of course is to cut them and enjoy them indoors.

Sharon: Yes!

Charlie: So you can cut them right underneath the flower itself and float them in a bowl of water or you can cut the whole stem then re-cut it in hot water indoors and put it in it’ll last about a week in a vase which is really nice. So if you’re one of those unfortunate people who’s garden got zapped by a frost

Sharon: That’s a lot of people Charlie: exactly you’re probably looking at a lot of blackened dahlias right now. So now is the time to cut them all back, dig 'em up, knock off that soil, cure them in a warm dry airy place, then put them in a cool basement around 30, 40, 50° in a bucket with some moistened peat moss and just leave them there through the winter. And then by the spring, you can pull them up divide them and you’ll have even more dahlias in your garden.”

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