Dahlias:: Care and Handling

Bare Root Flora

Dahlia season is here and one of the biggest challenges of designing with dahlias is the initial care and handling of these beautiful blooms once we get them to our workspace. Here are a few tips and tricks I have collected from different sources.

Bella Fiori


How to Maximize the Life of Cut Dahlia Flowers
All cut flowers require care–called conditioning–to maximize their vase lives. Dahlias that come from your garden require extra help. The cut stems need to be seared. Harvest your bouquet in early morning. Then make a fresh, straight snip on each stem, and pass it over an open flame.

Soak stems thoroughly before arranging. First, remove foliage that’s below the water level. Then, put the stems in a bucket of warm water, and place in a cool, dark place overnight. (Dahlias from flower shops have been treated already. While the stems don’t require searing, they do appreciate the rest of the conditioning process.) *From Southern Living Magazine Online

A.J. Florals


From the Floral Design Institute

Courtenay Lambert Florals

Wholesale and Retail Flower Handling
Dahlia, Dahlia hybrids
Processing Care
• Unpack flowers from shipping box as soon as possible.
• Unwrap flower bunches.
• Recut flower stems under water 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch. Use warm water, 100 to 105°F,
preferably acidified to pH 3.5.
• Hydrate flower in warm water, 100 to 105°F, preferably acidified to pH 3.5
for 30 to 60 minutes or until flowers, leaves and stems are turgid.
• After hydrating, place flowers in floral preservative and then in cold
storage—32 to 36°F and 80 to 90 percent relative humidity.
Display Care
Check flowers daily, refresh preservative, discard diseased and damaged
flowers and recut stems.
Other Comments
Keep dahlias out of direct sunlight and away from rapid air movement.
Flowers may shatter if exposed to ripening fruit.
Vaselife-1 to 2 weeks.

Courtesy of: K-State Research and Extension
Horticulture Division
Karen L.B. Gast, Ph.D., Extension Specialist—Postharvest and Marketing;
Jennifer Neujahr, Extension Assistant
Kansas State Florists Association

Loda Floral Design

We hope this answers some of the questions you have regarding the care and handling of dahlias.

Do you have a tip or trick for dahlias that you would like to share?

Exquisite Design

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  1. I have used the boiling water method and found it to be the best for hardening up droopy dahlias. Dinner plate dahlias especially.