There’s no denying it, dahlias are breathtakingly gorgeous. So much so, that if you think you don’t like them, I challenge you to read on, as there are so many sizes, shapes and colours within the dahlia family that I bet you find one to fall in love with.
Some, like the one used below by Little Big Farm, are the size of dinner plates! For me, I am in love with them all, as each one has their own unique feature. Some have soft, ruffled petals while others are more structured. Let’s take a closer look at decorative dahlias: their season, colours, varieties and how to best use them in weddings.
In Australia, dahlia season is Summer/Autumn, from late December, early January to around April. I love this season as the locally grown blooms from the Adelaide hills start popping up everywhere, from the markets to jaw dropping images on Instagram. They are truly captivating cut flowers, originating from Central and South America between Mexico and Colombia.
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The range of colours available is extensive and breathtaking, as one of my favourite farmer florists, Floret Flowers, shows here. There are deep red burgundy tones, brighter reds, pinks, purples and peaches in all shades, as well as lemons, creams and whites. Because of the extensive colour palette available they can be used in bright festive floral designs, to pretty, soft and feminine designs.
One of the most popular shades with brides-to-be is the soft pastel pink dahlia. A lovely choice for a summer/autumn wedding for the pretty in pink bridal party.
Now, there are many, many varieties, but I have chosen to focus on just a few of the more popular varieties. Firstly, one that may not be as well-known as some, but is quite unique: the cactus dahlia.
It has long pointed petals that roll back on themselves giving the petals a spiky look, like a spider chrysanthemum. While this variety is not as popular with some brides, I think this style can be quite interesting, adding texture and interest to a design. The cactus dahlia in the floral design below by Basil & Bergamot Flower Farm certainly stands out as the feature.
A simple grouping of this variety, perhaps in different colour tones, can give a simple and striking effect on guest’s tables. I love this table centre design by The London Plane.
Now this variety, the double dahlia, is what most people know and love. They have a double layer or ring of broad flat petals that come to a point. Sometimes these petals are wavy, especially in the larger blooms, but most are straight. Some varieties are formal with evenly spaced petals and some are informal with random petals forming the overall circle shape.
You can see each flower is different, even within the one variety. Blazing Star Farms created this beautiful wedding bouquet using different sized and shaped blooms within the double dahlia family.
Pom Pom Dahlias
Sometimes referred to as a Pompon or ball dahlia, it is aptly named for the shape of the bloom. I could stare at these blooms and marvel at their perfect petal design all day long. They remind me of a beehive for their perfect structure. Pompoms are often smaller in size than the double.
How cute do they look in this bouquet by Nature Composed? The colours of apricots are just gorgeous, in all the flowers including the ranunculi and peonies.
These have a single row of flat overlapping petals. You can see the centre of the flower and in this regard, it looks like well-known daisies with the outer sometimes pointy petals and prominent centre. Again, there are so many colour variations, like every colour of the rainbow!
The possibilities for this flower in weddings are endless. Perfect in simple vessels scattered down a long table or as feature blooms in floral crowns (the stronger pompon varieties work best for this). I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for buttonholes as they are large and the petals would not hold up to a lot of stress. Some varieties and colours can be more delicate than others and they do like to be in vessels of water rather than oasis as they drink lots of water up their tall stems.
Naturally they are an absolute hero and feature flower for any wedding bouquet. This combination of whites, roses, blushing bride and green textured foliage by Mint Floral Co is just beautiful.
The brighter blooms including red, burgundy, hot pinks, bright oranges and yellows are fantastic for adding colour into wedding flower design. These blooms can certainly pack a punch with their size and colour. Use them to make a bridal party stand out or have guests saying ‘wow’ upon entering your reception space.
What is your favourite colour and variety? I am always torn between the doubles and the pompoms. And as for colours, well, that’s an even harder decision!