Common Names: Dahlia

Botanical names: Dahlia, (DAHL-yah)

Availability: July through November

Vase life: 2 to 14 days; varies greatly

Storage temperatures: 36 - 38 degrees Fahrenheit

Ethylene Sensitive: No

Description: Dahlias consist of numerous hybrids and cultivars and a wide variety of shapes, textures and sizes, ranging from round to ball shaped, and daisy to pinwheel shaped.

Color: Wide range of colors

Botanical facts: The dahlias was named after the Swedish botanist Dr. Anders Dahl (1751-1789).

Design notes: Dahlias are a rare and wonderful treat for floral designers looking for different and exotic blossoms. Large blossom flowers add mass and accent. Smaller blossom flowers are excellent fillers.

Purchasing hints: Dahlias are not commonly available on the commercial market due to the difficulty of conditioning and shipping. Normally, dahlias are purchased directly from a grower. Purchase when the blossoms are open and undamaged. The foliage should be turgid and full of water.

Conditioning: While Dahlias are wonderful blossoms, many designers avoid them because they wilt quickly after being harvested. Dahlias can have a long vase life if they are conditioned properly. Remove all foliage that will be below the water line. Cut under water with a sharp knife. Add four inches of boiling water to tall vase, and immediately place the cut ends into the hot water. Protect the blossoms from the steam by wrapping a towel around the top of the vase. Allow the Dahlias to set in this hot water vase until the water cools completely. Then move to a solution of water and commercial floral preservative / floral food.

Additional notes: The vase life of Dahlias varies greatly by species and cultivar. Always test the vase life of a new variety before using it in floral design.