The Flower Diaries

What to Know About Fresh Cut Dahlias

What to Know About Fresh Cut Dahlias

Every year, we anxiously await September, and it has nothing to do with boots and scarves and pumpkin spice. Fall on the flower farm is all about the dahlias. This coveted flower is a favorite for farmers, florists, and flower lovers, and saturates the Instagram feed with an array of looks that we can’t seem to get enough of. 

They’re nothing short of magic. 

On the farm, we grow over 30 varieties of dahlias, and between the field crew, the fulfillment teams, and the computer people (aka admins), we all have different favorites. My (Steph) personal favorite is Karma Sangria, a really fun cactus variety. They are gorgeous and fun with a tinge of frazzle- this also describes my personal self-image. 


As you can imagine, the Cafe Au Lait dahlias top the list for many Harmony Harvesters. But it’s funny, after a few dahlia seasons, people tend to stray away from listing this bodacious babe as their number one. I mean, she’s stunning, but she’s also pretty sassy and usually the first to go down when conditions aren’t *perfect*. She’s a diva. 

Where to Get Dahlias

The best place to get Cafe Au Lait dahlias is at your local flower farm. While we wish we could put them in a box and send them far away from the farm, they have a tendency to get homesick within a few hours of leaving the cooler. 

To get the big fluffy girls, find your local flower farm and be sure to take a bucket with you so you can transport them in water. Then, go straight home (or to your studio) and get them into a cool environment. If you are picking them up while you run errands, make the farm your last stop. Under no circumstance should you leave them in a hot car while you get gas, groceries, or bagels on your way home. Cafe dahlias do not like adventure and will turn on you *fast*. 

We promise they’re worth it, and as soon as you get them vased-up in a cool room and out of direct sunlight, they are absolute show stoppers. 

While you’re at the farm, don’t forget to check out the other kinds of dahlias! There are so many cool varieties that are equally as stunning, so mix it up a bit! Because the Cafe’s are so fussy, we don’t ship them, but we do ship lots of other kinds.

The real troopers in the dahlia family tree, though, are the honeycomb dahlias, like Ball or Pompon. These girls make up our Dahlia Bouquet Box - one of the best-selling seasonal bouquets. They’re pretty darn special.

Dahlia Vase Life

Regardless of variety, dahlias have a short vase life compared to other flowers. We usually say two to five days outside of the cooler. Dahlias are considered “cool flowers” meaning they thrive in colder temperatures, hence why they bloom in the fall. While you can keep them happy for about a week in your home, the vase life clock starts when they’re not sitting at a cool 45 degrees. 

Cafe dahlias are on the shortest end of that window- another reason why we don’t ship them. We want you to get a long life out of your flowers and a bloom going down within a day of you receiving it isn’t really our look. So, we stick to the heartiest dahlias when it comes to shipped bouquets. 

Confessions of My Birthday Bouquet

Last Saturday was my birthday, and on the Friday before, I decided to make myself a birthday bouquet. I went in the cooler with full intention of creating a beautiful fall sampling of everything available but came out with a *very large* armload of dahlias. I put them in the car (out of water) -AND- stopped at the grocery store. I live 20 minutes from the farm, so in total, my dahlia collection was in a car and out of water for 30-40 minutes. Shameful, I know. 

When I got home, the flowers still looked pretty good so I vased them up and let ‘er roll. I gotta tell ya, they lasted a pretty long time. Naturally, the Cafe’s faded first and most were chucked out by Monday. But the other girls? They stayed strong until Thursday! As I dumped them in the trash, I realized that certain ones still looked ok! Was I too hasty? 

So, I pulled some out of the trash (shame!) and realized I’d stumbled into the dahlia version of IG vs. Reality. 

The last remaining Cafe, not looking too shabby...from the front. 

This was the one that made me go back in and get them… until I did. 

I was shocked I threw this one away… then I saw his friend. 

Could I have left them in the vase just one more day? Probably. But they were starting to drop seeds and petals all over the counter which was driving me crazy. I knew that even if I salvaged the few blooms that still looked okay, I would just end up pitching them sooner than later, and I’d have to wash the vase. Oh, did I mention that I didn’t change the vase water -AT ALL- during their lifespan? I really hope that Jess doesn’t ever read this blog. She may actually kill me for that one. 

The point is, they lasted six days, and if I wanted to stretch it, they could have lasted seven or eight. Heck, they might have even lasted longer if I would have changed the damn water! 

At the end of the day…

They’re worth it. They’re stunning and everyone deserves to enjoy them. Find your local farmer and grab some- you won’t be sorry! If you’re not near a flower farm, order a Dahlia Bouquet and have some of our gems shipped directly to your door. 

Ok, but we gotta know- what’s your favorite dahlia? 

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