Making The Most Of Dahlias

by Alice White Walker
a bouquet filled with dahlias in a stone urn

Dahlias are one of the most generous flowers in the garden. From the length of their season, to the variety of hues, to their sheer size. Find our how to make the most of this seasonal flower in this stunning fall bouquet – bountiful and full of color. 

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To make this bouquet we used:

10 stems cafe au lait dahlias
5 stems blush pink dahlias
I bunch pink and yellow linara
5 stems black narcissus dahlias
2 heads hydrangea paniculata
Black elderflower branches
Blackberry stalks
3 stalks orange crocosmia
3 strands virginia creeper

several different flowers laid out on a table

To make this bouquet, use a tall urn, with some chicken wire inside the cavity to help support the stalks. Start by positioning the hydrangea to establish the outline of your bouquet. Try not to be too symmetrical with this. Add the branches of blackberry and black elderflower to create a harmonious base for your bouquet.

a bouquet with different colored dahlias being arranged

This is the good moment to pop in the strands of virginia creeper, allowing them to trail down beside the urn. Now position the dahlias, starting with the smaller pink and black dahlias, and then positioning the large café au lait, the stars fo the show. Take a good look at the bouquet, checking for any gaps or holes in the arrangement. You can pop in the crocosmia and linara to soften the outlines, and make the other colors pop.

Read next: Tips for Growing Dahlias

To increase the impact of a large bouquet, you can create a couple of smaller bouquets using the same flowers, and which can be positioned next to the main vase or nearby.

close up shots of small dahlia bouquets

Here in France, dahlia season starts in August through to late October’s first frosts. These beautiful blooms have a long reign, and luckily for us, the more they are cut and picked the more flowers they produce. Many people consider dahlias to be the peonies of the fall. The sheer size of their blooms, and the huge variety of available colors makes them a must-have for the garden and for creating bouquets.

If you love using dahlias for bouquets, it is a good idea to plant several different varieties. Big-headed and smaller flowers, light and dark colors, pompom or star shapes… there are so many choices available.   

In bouquets they can stand alone, or cohabit successfully with roses and other end of summer blooms. They are truly the stars of autumn.

a bouquet filled with dahlias in a stone urn

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of My French Country Home.
Photography by Sharon Santoni

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