Dahlias are very exuberant and seduce the eye, so it is better to get playful than to try to control their shape in a static arrangement. Use one color as a base, playing with another on top — it’s almost impossible to go wrong and you’ll get a gorgeous piece.
- Tall, narrow vessel (approximately 10-12″ h, 5-7″ diameter). A footed vase lends a special, formal touch.
- Floral tape
- Floral preservative (to keep bacteria low and extend life of arrangement)
- About 10-15 dahlia stems, at least 10″ long
- Sharp knife or bypass pruners
1. Fill the vessel to within 2″ of the top with tepid tap water and add floral preservative.
2. Cover top of vase with tape in a grid formation. This helps create volume and balances the weight of the flowers on top of each other so the ones on the bottom don’t get smashed. It’s also helpful to hold the flowers in place when the vase isn’t very deep.
3. Select dahlias that are not too closed or too open. Make sure the petals don’t come off easily, and strip the leaves from the stems.
4. Hold stems at the side of the vessel to approximate the various heights you want, with some cut lower for the edge and higher for the center of the arrangement. Cut stems at a slight angle with shears or floral knife to increase water uptake.
5. Choose dahlias from the pile and start to cut and arrange the flowers within the grid, starting with the outside edge and working toward the center.