Since October is almost over and autumn is in full force, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce you to a plant that may be unfamiliar to most, but that is most definitely worthy of a spot in your fall-themed wedding. Dahlias are beautiful flowers that give an interesting texture to any flower arrangement or bouquet. The word “dahlia” is a Neo-Latin word and the plant was named after Swedish botanist Anders Dahl. The plant’s Latin and common name is “dahlia.” Did you know the dahlia is the national plant of Mexico?
Dahlias are perennials that come in orange, pink, purple, red, scarlet, yellow, white, and some are even bicolored. They come in different forms, too, including (from left to right in above photographs), a pompon form, a ball form, and a water lily form. Most dahlias aren’t fragrant, but the Peony type (like the one to the right) have some fragrance. Dahlias are “better suited for the gardens of people with outdoor allergies”, according to The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. In fact, the academy recommends dahilas as a plant that people with allergies can grow in their garden. Even though the pollen may not trigger allergic reactions, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service explains that the leaves contain a phytotoxic chemical that may cause skin irritation after repeated contact with the leaves and then exposure to light. The plant becomes toxic if eaten in large quantities, so it’s better safe than sorry and leave the dahilas for decoration and the lettuce for the salad bowls.
Dahlias are summer and fall flowering plants, so they should be easily attainable during autumn. The expected average vase life of dahlias is about four to ten days. An exception to this are the single dahlias (those with only a single row of petals). These flowers tend to lose some petals after only a few days in a vase, so if you decide to use single dahlias, be sure to get them as close to your wedding date as possible. A good idea (regarding any cut flower) is to re-cut the stems once you get the flowers home. The trick, though, is to submerge the stem under water so your actual cut is taking place under the water (here’s a scientific reason for this from Clemson University, if you’re interested). This will help move water back into the stem. This step, along with adding a fresh flower food solution to the room-temperature water will act to add longevity to your dahlias.
There are some varieties of dahlias that can have blooms up to 12 inches across, and sometimes these huge blooms can weigh the stems down, causing themt to droop as a cut flower. There’s a simple solution to this… float the huge blooms in bowls of water as centerpieces! A single dahlia flower in a small vase is showy enough to be a thrifty and beautiful table decoration, too. The dahlia flower symbolizes dignity and splendor, as well as representing elegance. So, if you are looking for a flower that comes in many colors, has a good vase life, and will add an elegant touch to your big day, look no further than the versatile dahlia.
Time to give credit where credit is due. Here are the sources I used: