We (the housing cooperative where I live) had this neighbor who loved dahlias and planted them in a vacant corner for all of us to enjoy.
Last september (2013) he moved from the area and left the dahlias behind. I dug them up in the autumn, before the frost, or they would have died. They were stored the entire winter in a dark, cool place, wrapped in newspapers in a paper box. When the weather got warmer and spring approached, I took them out to check their condition. There was life.
So it and its siblings went down into pots with earth and put in daylight inside awaiting warmer weather. And they grew. Looked very promising.
For some time they were outside in the sun daytime and inside nighttime as the nights were quite cold. Then I started to keep them outside also at nights, preparing them for their continued life outside. But one night it was really cold (-5°C) and despite them being covered by fiber-cloth, it struck the biggest one quite seriously.
Doubtful if it will recover. Since then I’ve kept them inside at nights again as the weather-report warns for a couple of cold nights now again this week.
This (below) is how the three pots with pre-grown dahlias look today.
I was actually planning to put them into the soil this coming weekend if weather will be reasonably warm. I have to get them off my porch as the painters who are re-painting the wooden parts of the walls of our house will be on my side of the house as from next week. I’m really fed up with carrying these pots out and in every day… (I do the same with my pelargonias who also are sensitive to frost).
I just hope that we in the end will get at least some of these huge, beautiful dahlias also this year. Not in the same spot as before, but at a better place where the cars don’t take shortcuts over the corner with the flowers…