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Beautiful dahlias are a one of our all-time favourites blooms due to their versatility. There are a wide variety of forms and textures available and dahlias grow in a large range of hues. They are seen in lighter shades of white and cream through to bold ruby reds, golds, purples and magenta, and there are over 50,000 varieties to be found across the world. Dahlia can easily be confused with chrysanthemum and the easiest way to tell them apart is by the dahlia’s hollow stem which is shorter in length to that of the longer, solid chrysanthemum stem.

History of dahlia

The dahlia originates from the mountain regions of Mexico and Guatamala, and the flower is the national flower of Mexico. It is believed the Aztecs used dahlias for both food and medicine, particularly as treatment for epilepsy. In the 16th century a variety of dahlia could be found with a stem length of over twenty feet. The hollow stem was used to carry water by traveling hunters.
Dahlias hold different meaning depending on their colour. Generally, they are said to represent elegance, inner strength, change, creativity, and dignity. During the Victoria era, dahlias symbolized a lasting bond and lifelong commitment between two people.

How to care for dahlia

Buy dahlias when the flowers on the stem are approximately three-quarters open as they don’t open much further in the vase. Look for fresh, green leaves which haven’t yellowed, petals which are strong and not wilted, and ensure the hollow stem is not crushed. Trim a couple of centimetres off the end of the stems, strip leaves from lower down the stem and immediately plunge into a vase of fresh cool water. Be sure to use very sharp scissors as to not damage the hollow stem.
To ensure longevity, trim the stems, clean the vase, and change the water every day or two. Keep dahlias in a cool environment away from direct sunlight.

How to style dahlia

The dahlias varied colour palette and formation allows for them to be styled in a multitude of ways. All varieties look stunning presented alone in a vase to make the most of their beautiful and individual form. The burgundy, rust and gold varieties are wonderful paired with autumnal-hued favourites such as rosehips, antique hydrangea and burnt orange roses, whilst the vibrant magenta and purple dahlias pop alongside lime green flowers or foliage.