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Dahlia roots are already being sold in my area. My failure of last year has not deterred me from making another attempt to grow them. After all, I had failed when the show was over, not while they were in bloom. 
The key is to buy them early, but not too early. Time it so that its early enough that they aren’t dried out in the store, and late enough that they don’t dry out while you wait for the danger of frost to pass. 

Easier said than done, right?

Last year, we bought our dahlias, and though they were good quality, they were looking a bit shriveled. This year, I went ahead and threw out the completely desicated roots of the previous season and bought some fat, happy dahlias. I placed them in some nice coconut husk and moisture retaining soil to wait for the right time to plant. 
I keep checking on them to make sure there’s no mold or dehydration. So far, so good.

This is a good example of a healthy, root. The tubers are plump, and are not wet. There are no wrinkles, and they are firm to the touch. Because it’s so dry here in Colorado, I have been misting them lightly when the soil seems dry. I’ve been paranoid and have been checking them weekly for rot. 

Since I work in addition to my hobby, I don’t have a lot of time to root around at my local garden centers. That’s why i bought my dahlias so early,  since I am particular about the type that we plant.

… So, full disclaimer!! You don’thave to be so obsessed about the conditions of your roots like I am. Most likely you will find a good dahlia at the right time to plant. (For us, its at the end of May, after Mother’s Day)
Just avoid roots that look thin, shriveled, or few in number.