Dahlias as cut flowers
This bouquet features three varieties. The orange one is a cactus-flowered type and I’ve lost the name. The white one is Prince Charming, and the small yellow one, a waterlily style, is Peggy Jean. All good producers and keepers for next year.

Up here in Vermont, the dahlia season has arrived late, but those of us who’ve escaped early frosts are enjoying the fantastic blooms at last. Dahlias make great cut flowers, but I’ve often been disappointed in their short life in a bouquets.

This year, I learned a way to help cut dahlias last longer, about four to six days. It’s simple, and it works.

  1. Start by picking early in the day, a good practice for any cut flower. In the cool morning, blooms are less stressed by the heat of the day. Choose blooms that have started to unfurl — not tight in bud or fully open.
  2. Place the stems in a glass of very hot tap water (160 to 180 degrees F) and allow them to cool for an hour.
  3. After that, arrange as you wish, using fresh water and changing it every couple of days or so.
    These tips comes from Swan Island Dahlias, a grower and mail-order supplier in Oregon. Thanks!

David Grist, landscaper and former employee-owner

Learn more: How to grow dahlias and store the tubers for winter