The national flower of Mexico, the dahlia is known for its continuous, showy flowers that come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, making it a favourite amongst florists for weddings. Dahlias bloom through summer, autumn and early winter in colours from white, cream, bright yellow and orange to deep red and burgundy.
The best blooms for bouquets should have long, strong stems with upward angling flowers not much bigger than 10cm across. Avoid the single petal dahlias, as they tend to drop their petals easily.
Dahlias not only look dramatic and romantic, they are versatile whether used in a traditional wedding or one that is more relaxed. They look stunning clustered in a beautiful bouquet or as a stand-alone bloom in mismatched vases or en masse in centrepieces. The natural, whimsical aesthetic of these divine flowers makes them the perfect choice for a rustic wedding but they also look striking when contrasted with vintage or handmade décor. Dahlias can look impressive either on their own or mixed with other large blooms such as peonies, roses or hydrangea. For a lighter feel, try mixing dahlias with smaller, whispy accents of scabiosa, mock orange, cosmos or astilbe.
D A H L I A T I P S
The best time to harvest dahlias is early in the morning. If you are buying them from the markets, avoid the heat of the day as they may wilt in the car. Once home, remove all the leaves that will be below the waterline to avoid decay and bacteria that will shorten the life of the flowers. Freshly cut the bottom of the stems and place them in fresh water with floral preservative added.