How to Cut and Process Dahlias for Long-Lasting Vase Life: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cut Dahlias from your garden make a stunning addition to your home!

dahlias in a vase

Enjoying Cut Dahlias in your home

Dahlias are gorgeous flowers to have both inside and outside the house during growing season. After planting the tubers in our garden and watching them grow (learn more about growing them here) we like to share them and even take a few (or a bunch!) inside for ourselves.

To enjoy the vibrant colors and intricate beauty of dahlias indoors, it’s essential to know the steps of cutting and processing dahlias properly. This step-by-step guide will help you maximize the vase life of your blooms, allowing you to enjoy their splendor for longer.

Cut Dahlias

The 8 steps process to Cutting Dahlias

After growing Dahlias, cut them for a vase in your home!

1. Timing the Cut Choose the right time to cut your dahlias for the longest vase life. Wait until the flowers are fully open, with the petals exhibiting their full color. Avoid cutting them in the mid-day or late afternoon when the plants are stressed and dehydrated. Opt for a time when the plants are well-hydrated and the weather is cooler, such as in the early morning or evening.

2. Selecting the Right Tools Ensure you have the proper tools for cutting to avoid damaging the stems and compromising their vase life. Use a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears or garden scissors. Dull blades can crush the stems, making it difficult for the flowers to take up water. Additionally, sterilize the cutting tools with rubbing alcohol or a diluted bleach solution to minimize the risk of introducing bacteria or pathogens to the stems.

3. Cutting Technique When cutting dahlias, it’s important to make a clean, angled cut to maximize water uptake. Choose a stem that has at least one set of leaves below the flower. Position your pruning shears or scissors at a 45-degree angle and make a sharp cut just above a set of leaves or leaf node. This method promotes continued growth on the plant and encourages the development of new blooms.

Dahlia Flowers

4. Water Immersion Immediately after cutting, take the flowers and immerse the stems in a container of warm water. Submerging the stems allows them to absorb water quickly and prevents air bubbles from forming in the xylem, which can hinder water uptake. Leave the stems submerged for 1-2 hours, allowing them to hydrate fully.

5. Stem Trimming After the water immersion, remove the dahlias from the container and place them on a clean surface. Trim the stems at a slight angle, removing about an inch or two from the bottom. This step ensures a fresh cut, eliminating any potential blockages in the stem that could impede water absorption.

6. Conditioning Before arranging in a vase, it’s important to condition them to prolong their vase life. Fill a clean vase with fresh, lukewarm water. Add a floral food to the vase water which helps inhibit bacterial growth, nourishes the flowers, and extends their longevity. Place your flowers in the vase, making sure there are no foliage submerged in the water.

In need of a good flower food recipe? Look no further: Powdered Flower Food + Liquid Flower Food

Cut Dahlia Bouquet

7. Vase Placement Firstly, choose a suitable location to maximize their vase life. Keep them away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts, as these factors can accelerate wilting. Display the vase in a cool area, such as a room with moderate temperatures, away from fruit bowls or ripening produce, which release ethylene gas and can hasten flower aging.

8. Water Maintenance Finally, maintain the vase’s water quality by regularly changing it every 2-3 days. Recut the stems at a slight angle with clean pruning shears before placing them in fresh water. Remove any wilted or decaying petals or foliage to prevent the spread of bacteria. Additionally, ensure the water level in the vase remains sufficient to keep the stems submerged.

Cut Dahlias

Dahlias present in many different types like in this beautiful bundle. Learn about the numerous different types here

Questions People are asking about Cut Dahlias

How to cut Dahlias for more blooms

Making a sharp 45 degree cut above a set of leaves or leaf node encourages the growth of new blooms. The leaf node is where the leaf meets the stem and cutting here promotes continued growth.

Will Dahlias open after cutting?

No, there will be no new growth after being cut, they will not continue to bloom or open. This is why we wait till they are fully open and at maturity to cut.

How should I arrange Dahlias in a bouquet?

In our bouquets, we like to play around with the variety of blooms we grow in our garden. When put in a bouquet, Dahlias usually steal the show – we often combine them with larger grasses and smaller flowers.

Where should I place my Dahlia vase?

In contrast to their direct sun preference when planted in soil, it is best to place your bouquet in a cool spot out of the sun. Sunlight will dry out your flowers faster.

Are Dahlias Perennials or Annuals?

When looking at new growth opportunities in your garden, it’s important to consider perennial and annual classifications. Dahlia flowers are considered “tender perennials” because they are perennials in hardiness zones 8 to 11. Here in zones 4 and 5, we need to plan our dahlias from tubers every season. Learn more in our blog “Knowing your Hardiness Zone in the Midwest”.

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Dahlia Pin
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This post may contain affiliate links from a paid sponsor, Amazon or other program. When you use these links to make a purchase I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to continue creating the content that you love. The content in this article is created for information only and based on my research and/or opinion. 

Emily T.

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