How long do your Dahlias last?

Fundybayfarm(z5westernN.S.)July 23, 2007

Hello Everyone,

I'm sure all of you are very busy, I can tell by the lack of posts, including myself!I hope you are all having a good summer. I am finally doing a farmers market and it's going well.

Just a quick question about dahlias. I am now growing them in my greenhouse, the karma variety, and they have produced like crazy. I've had them blooming a long time, but my customers at the market tell me it's the first flower to go in their bouquets.I was very surprised to hear this since I seem to get at least 5-7 days at home, but have noticed a few that go rather quickly. I remember someone, probably Trish, saying that they don't like bleach, so I just cut those into fresh water in a clean bucket of course, and that's it. Do they need something else to make them last, and how long is a reasonable expectation?

Thanks very much,


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flower_farmer(5/6 MI)

Karma dahlias are not all created equal. Same for the field grown varieties.

We always tell our market customers they should reasonably expect the dahlias last 3-5 days. If they last longer, they are pleasantly surprised. And, many customers tell us they last 5-7 days. We always give a packet of flower fresh with every purchase. If the dahlia bouquet is going to be out of water for any length of time, we let the customer know about dipping the stems in boiling water for 30 seconds. This forces out the gas/air that has formed in the stem cells. I don't know what you mean about the bleach. We cut our dahlias into fresh water, and transfer into a holding solution before they go into the cooler.

We're writing an article about dahlias for the September issue of Growing for Market.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 8:14PM
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Thank you for the response. I use Jeannes flower preserve to cut into, which has a small amount of bleach in it. I thought I remembered someone saying dahlias didn't like the bleach. Thanks for the tip on re-cutting stems into boiling water. I'll pass that along. I hope your summer is going well.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 6:40AM
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Cheryl -- do your bouquets go home in water or without? If without, that could have an effect. Maybe more so on that dahlias than some other flowers?

For example, on warm and hot mornings, I kind of insist that customers take home sunflowers (and a couple other items, such as zinnias) in water. From time to time I've seen other sunflower cuts carried through the market bare-bottomed. Makes me cringe to think what they'll look like after even another half hour in the car, etc.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 6:35AM
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It could be the reason because they are lasting for me at home. I know most of us cut flower growers use dahlias, and I haven't read any posts about them not lasting, so maybe it's in the conditioning that prevents this from happening. Most people send their customers home without water, I believe. How do you remedy that problem?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 5:51AM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Cheryl - I send all my flowers home in water (except those customers that have a 2 block walk home and they know what to do! I have purchased the sealed bottom sleeves, which are great for small bouquets with neatly trimmed bottoms...which mine usually are too big and not as well trimmed, so I poke holes in them! I buy a roll of the produce bags from the local grocery store and one roll lasts almost a season - which I use much more than the sealed bottom sleeves. Part of my setup is - a bucket of water with preservative in it, a plastic cup, and a basket w/rubber bands. I fill the cup about 1/3 - 1/2 full and put that in the bag, then add the bouquet and hold up the corners and put a rubberband around the bouquet (kind of like a goldfish container! It gives me time to teach new customers about recutting stems, how to put the preservative in the water, strip greenery, etc.! That works for me...and all my competitors (those making bouquets at market wrapping them in paper, use small sandwich bags with not as much water! So, not sure how their flowers fare.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 4:42PM
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hvander(5B ON)

Cheryl, this is my first year growing dahlias - we cut 2500 stems every other day. And, we use bleach in our buckets without any adverse effects. I was just told by one of my customers that the dahlias I gave her lasted 10 days! Typically, I get about 5 - 7 days in a vase. We also dip the dahlia bunch into a product called 'Quick Dip' which helps to hydrate the flowers.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 8:14PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Henry - oh my gosh! 2500 stems!! Now, we're into growing questions!! I'm frustrated this year because of: 1) 1 1/2 rows didn't come up, 2) new tubers barely are up, and 3) weeds (my fault), 4) My competitors at market come with at least 15 buckets of tall dahlias (one color per bucket). I may have planted some smaller ones too deep and we did have a gopher problem early on, but don't think that's the main culprit.

I'm not a large grower, but do have 8 rows 4" by 50" -- enough I would think! So, question time:

How do you plant yours? Single rows, multiple rows within beds? Do you use a hiller? I've seen one grower that does...
How many plants do you end up with in order to have that volume?? Do you plant new each year or dig up and store them? Where/how do you store them?

What are your favorites? I like the waterlily types...not always the cactus, or dinnerplate, though do have a few! I tried Karma's last year and they were fine, but without a hoophouse, not sure it was worth it for the quantity we had...may try again next year.

I'm sure I'll think of more questions, but that's it for now!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 1:59PM
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hvander(5B ON)

Hi Wendy,

Yes - it's a lot of work... and now I'm just waiting for the cheques to roll in! If it we're only that easy!

Like I said before, this is our first year growing dahlias so everything has been a new experience for us. Everything I've learned came from an old time dahlia grower who had been growing dahlias since the 1940's in Holland!

I'll try answer your questions:

We first make a furrow, then drop the tubers in, and cover using a hiller. We plant the dahlias in single rows with 12" spacing between the tubers. The rows are 4' apart. I have at least 150 tubers per variety. We do dig the tubers and store them in an insulated cooler which is set at 7C. AS far as favourites go - I haven't established that yet. I'm reserving my opinion until the fall!

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 3:21PM
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