How to Store Dahlia Tubers Efficiently

We dig and store our acres of dahlias every fall, but it doesn’t take a huge warehouse or complicated systems for us to do it efficiently. Here’s a look at how one variety breaks down into efficient tuber storage for us here at the farm.

Three Most Important Tuber Storage Needs

In any tuber storage method, you have to accomplish 3 basic things:
1. Your tubers can’t freeze
2. You tubers can’t be wet
3. The air around your tubers has to be humid (80+% humidity)

How We Store Tubers Efficiently

This summer we grew 60 tubers of Bloomquist Wild. Those 60 tubers translated to 8 bulb crates of dirty, dug tuber clumps.

We washed the tubers and spread them out on 4 (tilted for drainage) nursery cart shelves.

Once they were dry, we snuggled them together with dry wood shavings into just two bulb crates. These sturdy plastic crates are washable, reusable, and are usually easily sourced in fall from local mom & pop nurseries who receive wholesale shipments of spring tulips, daffodils, crocuses, etc., in black bulb crates.

With this method, we can efficiently store about 15,000 tuber clumps in a 40-foot insulated shipping container. The containers hold humidity well, so that they tubers don’t dry out, and we can control the temperature with space heaters as needed in super cold spells.

We label each crate in 3 ways (surveyor’s tape with the variety name, an extreme sticky note {with SKU, variety, and estimated number of grade-A tubers), and a wooden variety-name paddle inside). We also keep a detailed spreadsheet of what is stored where so that we can stay organized all winter long as we divide.

Having the tubers clean and ready to divide before the real winter cold sets in lets us and our crew work in a cleaner, more climate-controlled environment, and allows for efficient planning for both our main (January) tuber sale and even for field planting planning before the spring frenzy hits.