How to overwinter your beautiful Dahlias.

How to overwinter your beautiful Dahlias.

Dahlias are not frost hardy and so need to be lifted for the winter months.

Dahlias produce a swollen root system and it is these roots that need to be protected.

Your first job will be to cut back the aerial part of the plant right down to the base of the plant.

Use a garden fork to dig up the whole root system of your Dahlia, here you will find several swollen roots all connected to the base of the plant. You need to keep it all together but you can brush off the old compost from around the roots. If any of the swollen roots come away from the roots system you can discard these as they will not come to anything on their own. However, in the spring when they begin to show signs of new shoots and roots of their own then they can be divided.

 

For now, your root system needs to be placed in a box or a large enough pot and covered with compost, this compost will prevent the swollen roots from drying out over winter. They now need a place that is frost free for the winter months to survive.

 

Remember, having got them through the winter, don’t be too keen to plant them out in the spring. Wait until the last of the frosts have passed.

Here is one of our Dahlia root systems we have dug up .  That is all from 1 cutting that was planted up in April! It was a beautiful big plant and now we can see why with this  great root system supporting it.

tubers

Website shop up and running at Cramden Nursery

Had a productive morning sitting in the warm resetting our website shop. It is now ready to begin taking orders for rooted cuttings of:

Scented Pelargoniums, Unusual Pelargoniums, Ivy Leaf Pelargoniums and Zonal Pelargoniums.

Plud plant size

They will be ready for dispatch in March 2016.

Check it out on : http://cramdennursery.co.uk/

Gosh so that is 2015 with only a month left in it!

Agapanthus Winter Care

With only a couple of cold spells here on the nursery so far this winter we have just got around to putting our deciduous Agapanthus (planted out in the border) to bed for the winter.

There are 2 types of Agapanthus, deciduous (lose their leaves and die down for the winter) and evergreen (keep their foliage all year round).

The evergreen types require more winter protection than the deciduous varieties. Ideally they want to be moved inside a green house/conservatory or summer house to keep the worst of the cold off them, or at least moved to a more sheltered area of the garden if they are in pots. Maybe against the house.

If they are planted in the ground, and so can not be moved to help them through the winter, you can create a wind break around them to create a little micro climate.  This should protect them from the worst of the elements, you can also add straw to the top of them when the temperatures really drop.  However, you have to remember to remove this once the warmer weather comes or else it may rot the foliage.

Watch our Youtube video to see how this is done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPgfayLfBy4

Deciduous types are much more easy going.  Cut them back removing all the foliage, and then a mulch with straw will help to protect the crowns.  To keep the straw in place we have used a weed suppressant material ( this is a permeable & breathable membrane, it cuts out the light but this is not a problem as the straw is already doing that) to prevent the straw from blowing away and in our case here on the nursery to stop the foxes playing in it. Or you could use green garden netting to keep the straw in place.

This can all be removed in the spring as the weather and the ground begins to warm up again.

Brilliant Blue

Time to put your Pelargoniums to bed!

I hope you have had a wonderful display from all your Pelargoniums this summer?

As the days begin to draw in it is time to begin to think about putting the garden to bed for the winter and that includes your Pelargoniums.  They are not frost hardy so will not survive our winters.  Ideally they would like you to pack them up and send them off to the Med for the winter months.

However if Mediterranean residency is not a possibility then I can give you some good advice on how to overwinter your Pelargoniums here in England.

So, the most important point is that wherever you choose to keep your plants for the winter is that it is frost free and dry.  So a cold greenhouse will not do, nor will a shed if we get a cold winter.  Neither will stay frost free for long.

If you have a heated greenhouse or a conservatory that will be heated through the winter, these are ideal places for your Pelargoniums to be overwintered as green plants. Many will continue to flower well into the winter for you if they get enough winter sunshine and food.

If neither of these are an option for you then a garage attached to the house (to benefit from some of your residual central heating warmth) or a spare room will do nicely.

For this option you must prepare your plants for the winter.  They need to be allowed to dry out in their pots and then with clean sharp secateurs cut them back hard.

Now, this is where you will need to be mentally strong, you will feel awful, after all summer feeding and watering your plants, I am now asking you to cut them right back.

Cut them back to about 3inches and then take off any leaves that are left, you should be left with just stumps.

They will look dreadful but by removing the aerial part of the plant you are removing the need to water them and all that material that would offer perfect conditions for botrytis (grey mould) to grow during the winter months.

These ‘stumps’ now need to be kept frost free and dry for the winter, so no watering, not even a little bit!  You are putting them into hibernation for the winter. They do not need light so a garage will work or a spare room.  The most important point is to keep them dry and frost free from here on.

Do not cover them in plastic to give them extra frost protection they will just sweat in there and the dampness will encourage grey mould which will just kill them off.

Fleece can be used to offer a little extra protection but it would be good to make sure it is removed occasionally to allow fresh air round your plants to ward off any possibilities of grey mould.

Now here is the tricky part:

You have to leave them alone till the end of the winter, no well meaning watering after New Year when we all get that ‘January itch’ to start doing things in/for our gardens.  A well meaning watering at this point will just lead to a soggy mess of grey mould for you to find at the end of winter, leave well alone!

Now this is not a failsafe system, sometimes for reasons unknown plants do not survive but if you can get say 50% through the winter then it is well worth a go.

For a video with step by step instructions showing you how hard to cut your plants back find the You Tube channel “GeraniumTv” and look for the video “How to cut back Pelargoniums (Geraniums)”.