A native to the colourful Mexico, Dahlias evoke all the cheer and vibrancy of their native land. There are many shapes, sizes and colours of these beauties hence why have always been an absolute favourite of mine, such diversity! From the moment I first layed my eyes on one the love affair started.
You’ll find flowers shaped like peonies, daisies, water lilies, pompons, balls, orchids, cacti, and more.
They grow in abundance in home gardens and are notoriously easy to grow from their tubers, like potatoes. Tubers are a bit like bulbs but are a bit longer in shape – like a little knobbly sweet potato. Funnily enough the Aztecs used to use them as a food crop.
New to the dahlia growing game last year, after planting, mine didn’t come up at all so a very disappointed me was ready to throw the towel in when unexpectedly in the 2nd year they popped up in abundance and their lush leafy bushes are now gigantic and stunning.
Not everything about dahlias is perfect…. they sometimes last but a few days as a cut flower and the majority do not have any scent whatsoever.
However they can be forgiven for their fleeting cut life because their peppy presence in a vase is so very worth it.
If you would like to order dahlia tubers to grow your own I would recommend visiting Dahlia Haven on the outskirts of Auckland. You can go and have a look at their many varieties and order the tubers for the ones you like best. I enjoyed my visit a lot (despite the kids running around like lunatics and strict orders they weren’t to touch any of the dahlias)… you have to book a space on one of their open days to have a look around. Or if you don’t fancy the trip you can just order online. http://www.dahliahaven.co.nz
From the garden: Pick when in the cool morning or late evening air to help with longevity.
For cut Dahlias: Take your cut dahlias and make a fresh horizontal cut at the bottom of the stem and place the cut ends in about 2-3 inches of very hot (not quite boiling) water. Let the stems stay in the water for at least one hour. This hot-water treatment conditions the stems so the blooms can last four to six days. Once the cut stems have been conditioned, strip off all leaves that would be below the water line in your vase. This is true for all flower arrangements, not just dahlias. When leaves stay under water, they decay and release bacteria that shorten the vase life of the flowers.
Change the water in the vase every two or three days, adding a floral preservative if you wish. We sell a good liquid one on the site that you just need a drop of or you can use your flower food sachets you receive each time you return your hessian wrap to us. Enjoy!