Growing dahlias indoors does not have to be difficult. The way I will be showing you has worked extremely well for me and I use the method every year. This method is also excellent if you have a lot of tubers and little space for growing dahlias indoors.

What you will be doing is replicating the environment they come from in the higher altitudes of Mexico in order to wake them up. This will allow you to get a head start if Spring is coming a little later in your zone. Let’s get into the process!

growing dahlias indoors

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If you have the right temperature, natural light and humidity level, you can grow dahlias all year round. When living in colder climates, will be more difficult due to fireplaces and heating systems being on, decreasing the humidity in the home. It is also an issue of sunlight, having shorter days in the fall and winter.

Growing your dahlias in a pot outdoors is great, making it so much easier to store indoors through the winter.

can you grow dahlias indoors


You do not have to dig out your tubers unless you live in an extremely cold zone or you have had them in the ground for a couple of years. Once they are in the ground for a couple of years, they are ready to be divided and may not give you as many flowers as when they first were planted.

Now, if you want to overwinter your dahlias outdoors and not go through the work of bringing them in, it may be okay. Check out ‘Can You Leave Dahlias in the Ground Over Winter’ to see if you are able to keep them outdoors and the steps you need to take.


I will be taking you through the process of placing the dahlias on soil to get them started waking up. But first, it is important you take a good look at your dahlia tubers and assess their condition.

Don’t give up on a tuber before assuring that it is still alive. This past winter we had ice storms, snow plus lots of rain; making it impossible to dig out on time my tubers that I wanted to relocate.

My tubers looked great, but extremely large and I knew something was not right.

When I brought the tubers out of storage, they had shrunk so much and unfortunately, many had rotted. I simply discarded the rotted ones when dividing the tubers and kept the rest, even if they looked wrinkled. It worked! I have a huge amount of tubers with eyes and shoots.

Do not give up, dahlias are extremely tough, even when the tubers look fragile. Give it a go!

You want to learn more tips about growing dahlias. Check out my post ‘HELP! MY DAHLIAS ARE NOT BLOOMING! / MY FAVORITES!’

dahlia flower garden
The tuber looks really bad, but look at the eye!


The materials are simple, but each is important to the success of waking up the dahlia tubers.

  1. Clear storage container
  2. Organic garden bed soil that does not contain any chemicals or fertilizer and it does have good drainage.
  3. Osmocote
  4. Spray bottle
  5. Dahlia Tubers
  6. Heater (Optional if you live in a cold zone)
  7. Plant Tags
  8. Garden Pens

I told you it was simple materials! I love that even more!



How to harvest calendula seeds


Select Container

  1. Select a storage container that is clear. Do not use any dark containers because they will not allow light to filtrate. Place your container where it will get indirect lighting. I have mine in front of my sliding doors.
how to grow dahlias indoors

Preparing Soil

2. Add 2″ or 3″ of soil. Make sure the soil has a little moisture but it is not wet. We will talk later about spraying your dahlias with water.

If you feel the soil is too dry and it will be a problem, you can add vermiculite. I don’t use it any longer and have had a lot of success growing dahlias indoors.

Placing Soil


3. Add Osmocote to the soil and mix well. The dahlias are not hungry until they begin to grow. You don’t need to add anymore Osmocote, just sprinkle some on the soil to begin with and it will last the entire growth period, until you take them outside.

Amount will depend on the size of your container. Refer to instructions by manufacturer. I place about 3 scoops on my large containers, you don’t have to be exact, but don’t overdo it either.


Placing Dahlias on Soil

4. Place dahlia tubers next to each other laying flat on the soil. Make sure they are touching the soil, but you do not have to bury them. If you have an eye, place the tuber with the eye on the top. Check the dahlia tubers daily to see if any eyes are growing and turn the tuber if needed.

It is very important that the tubers do not touch each other in order to prevent any moisture between them to build up and rot any parts. This allows air flow between each tuber.

If you have a large clump, simply lay it down on the soil as you would on the ground. You do not need to bury the tubers, just make suretheyy make contact with the soil in order to grow the roots.

laying out dahlia tubers

Labeling Dahlias

5. Create labels for each tubers, depending on how you lay them out. You can do a row of the same with one label. If you plan to use the labels outdoors later, use a garden pen so it won’t wear off.

label tubers

Watering Dahlias

6. Spray your tuber in the morning and late afternoon. It is good to keep the moisture level going but don’t over water. You do not need to water with a water dispenser until the growth is at least 2″.



7. This is an optional step; I add a small heater that I keep at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, since I live in a chilly zone and want to wake up my tubers faster. The warmer temperature will get the tubers to wake up.

Do not place your heater right next to the dahlias, leave a space of a couple of feet or more. The excessive heat can cook your tubers, think of them as potatoes. Be very careful, but the flow of warm air will drastically change the amount of time the tubers will take to wake up. If you live in a warmer zone you don’t need to go through this step. Dahlias love temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dahlia tuber indoors


8. You now will have amazing growth on the tubers and healthy roots that will be ready to plant outside! Growing dahlias indoors will provide you with a strong beginning to the season.

starting dahlias indoors


Dahlias are like nothing else I grow in my small space garden. Something about these flowers brings so much joy to my heart. Every single tuber that I see an eye picking out, is like a baby to me. I get beyond excited to see them wake up and know that it all started with one tuber.

Learn more about the dahlias I grew this year and which have become my favorite on Dahlia Flowers Season | BLOOMS THAT STOLE MY HEART!’. I have an absolute favorite you should consider growing next year!

Another flower I love combining with dahlias in flower arrangements is the Zinnias. Check out my post ’12 REASONS I AM GROWING ZINNIAS. MORE THAN EVER!’

grow dahlias indoors

This is the most incredible thing about dahlias, they gift you with so many more! Growing dahlias indoors Dahlias is not complicated. Dahlias make it easy and I will be eternally grateful to have something in my garden that is ‘Easy’.

Share with me about your dahlias.

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growing dahlias indoors



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    1. Sometimes we make it complicated and it really does not need to be. This is the one thing I am so happy that is easy to accomplish! I hope you find a place, even if you grow one on a window. Thank you for supporting always Cindy!

  1. Very interesting article , I would have thrown out the dry looking ones without checking them out. Thanks

  2. Melba, quick question because I’ve never grown dahlias indoors. I notice you put the tubers on top — do you cover them with soil or do you leave them uncovered?

    1. Hi Angie! I simple placed them on top of the soil, but make sure the whole bottom of the tuber has contact with the soil, if you see an eye, have it face up and the roots will grow into the soil. they do not need to be buried in the soil. If you need any other help or want to dm me, I can video you and you can see mine to get an idea. Super excited for you!!!

  3. WOWOWOWOW! I love learning from you. I will have to try this next year. I just planted my tubers in the ground a week ago and I go out every day to see if anything is happening. I have pined this so that I know what to do for next year, thank you Melba!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I am so happy you are going to try it! I hope you get the desert rose, it is the most incredible plant I have ever seen. The beauty is not only flowers, but the shape of the base of the trunk to the way you shape the branches. A work of art, you will really enjoy growing one! Thank you so much again for always supporting my posts!

    1. Thank you! Yes, you can start them inside to get ahead of the game if you live in a cold zone. As long as you have good light, they grow very well!

    1. Thank you so much very much Kim! I am so excited and appreciative for your support.

  4. Hi,
    I’m hoping you have some thoughts/advice regarding dahlia tubers. I live in the northeast (zone 5) and late last fall I dug up, cleaned my dahlia tubers. I then tucked them in various storage places in my home. I just discovered some that I forgot about. They had sprouted roots that were quite long…twisted, some even grew upward over 4 feet. They were packed in peat moss and actually look quite healthy, but I’m not sure what to do. We’ll likely have our first frost in about 45 days. (I typically dig mine up after the first hard frost). Should I plant them in pots? Do I remove the roots? Don’t they need a growing season to produce eyes? Help!! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Beth! I am so very sorry I am so late answering your question. I would have planted then in a pot and make sure the soil is at least 65 degrees or warmer so that it keeps on growing. If they are 4 feet, they will bloom quickly. Make sure you add Osmocote, it is probably really hungry. LOL! If you want to shat more, DM on instagram and I am happy to help further. Again, my apologies for not seeing your message earlier. I hope you got to enjoy the beautiful flowers!

  5. I love your article! I live in NE Ohio and woke my dahlias up WAY TOO SOON because I was struggling with family illnesses, etc….I needed some beauty around me so I turned one of our extra bedrooms into a makeshift garden room. I started Zinnias from seed and I’ve enjoyed watching the flowers bloom indoors! I began planting my dahlia tubers in pots and also started over 60 from seed. They are all under grow lights in a room that I keep warm and keep the humidity up. I’ve begun pinching the tops of the dahlias and I am worried I am quickly running out of space because I can’t plant outdoors until the end of May. I am praying that I can keep them all alive and thriving in my house. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

    1. Hi Carol! So great to meet you and thank you for the kind words on the post, so happy it has helped you. I totally understand starting things early because we crave beauty, I have done the same with other seedlings. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do right now is to make sure they have enough soil for the roots to grow and maybe provide some osmocote for slow-release feed. Do you have a sliding door you can place them in front of so they start getting used to natural light? One trick you may be able to do is to cut all the stems and keep only 3 strong ones per tuber. It may provide you more space and this is something I do to get the 3 stems to be stronger than so many that may not be as strong or produce much. I would pinch any blooms or even better, prune the stem low if you get blooms developing until they are able to go outdoors to keep the roots developing strong and healthy. I hope this helps you! Let me know how it goes.

  6. Thank you for your input! I pinched every one of them back just yesterday, but maybe I should go lower. Thank you, again, for sharing your wisdom!

    1. If you are referring to the removal of some of the stems to leave only 3, this is a little different from pinching. You will remove some of the new growth completely, leaving only 3 of them. I hope this makes sense. Good luck!

  7. Thank you for your great advice! How long did the growing process take, from placing the tubers on the soil until flowering?

    1. You are so welcome! It will depend on the amount of warmth in your space. I start mine indoors in March, but in my zone 8b, they won’t start flowering outside until July. Hope this helps!

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