Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Dahlia Karma Naomi has been chosen as the 2010 Cut Flower of the Year by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.
This charming dahlia was bred in the Netherlands specifically as a cut flower variety. All of the Karmas have very sturdy stems. Karma Naomi has been available for several years.
Karma Naomi can reach over four feet in height. This plant won’t need staking. It is hardy to zone eight. In other locations it can be grown as a summer bulb and dug at the end of the growing season.
These blossoms are four inches in diameter. Beautifully double, the rounded, deep red petals are layered. In general most dahlia plants can easily produce nearly two dozen stems for cutting. They begin flowering in mid-summer and continue until frost.
The dahlias are members of the aster family. In the language of flowers, these blossoms stand for gratitude. One particular species of dahlia, a red flowering one, is Mexico’s national flower.
Cutting Karma Naomi Flowers
When growing these flowers in a cutting garden, it is best to wait until the blooms are fully open. Dahlia stems are sometimes cut and sold commercially when three-fourths of the petals are open. The buds will simply fail to open if the stems are cut too soon. Choose perfect blossoms for cutting, and avoid ones with discolored petals. Wilted ones are also undesirable.
When cutting the stems, cut between two nodes, which are slightly swollen areas on the stem.
Once you get the stems indoors, re-cut the ends. Place the stems in warm water to condition them before arranging them.
Dahlias have hollow stems. Because they tend to bleed, the cut end should be seared. After doing that take a pin. Some designers also prick a small hole near the base of the stem before placing it in water.
Using Dahlia Karma Naomi as a Cut Flower
The vase life of these stems can vary widely, depending on whether a floral preservative is used and how well the stems are treated. Under ideal conditions, these can last up to ten days.
Prepare the stems by removing the foliage and any unopened buds. Dahlia blossoms are easy to arrange. One easy approach is to begin by using greens to create a base for the design. Then, insert each of the dahlia stems into the greens.
Dahlias have many uses in floral arrangements. They’re often used as a mass flower or filler as well as for an accent.
Dahlias are suitable for drying. Several methods can be used. If air drying, just hang them upside down in a dark, airy place. This method isn’t foolproof as the flowers can sometimes shrivel. Sand or silica gel work very well. When silica gel is used, these will take about a week to dry.