Another month, another flower feature in our Flower Patch Year of Flowers!
In October, we’re going to feature the Dahlia.
Let’s jump in and learn about this fun, beautiful flower!
History and Interesting Facts
The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963. The tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs and used medicinally to treat Epilepsy, but this use largely died out after the Spanish Conquest.
Since then, the seeds have been spread and bred to make over 85 varieties of Dahlia, spread into 14 unique groups. All of these flowers are a beautiful addition to the garden, or a stunning floral arrangement or flower crown.
Dahlias are also known as the Valley Flower because the word “Dahl” is similar in sound to the Swedish equivalent of “Valley.” Moreover, other gardeners refer to these flowers as the “Queen of the Autumn Garden” because they bloom longer than many other garden plants.
Cultural Uses and Symbolism
There are many symbolic meanings to Dahlias throughout different cultures, and the meanings can differ depending on flower color and location.
Red Dahlias symbolize perseverance and ability to overcome. A perfect gift for someone going through a hard time or the death of a loved one, this flower can be a reminer of our inner strength.
The soft, lush pink Dahlia represents feminine beauty and kindness. This can be combined with other colors and flowers to create a unique meaning for your loved one.
Like other white flower meanings, white dahlias are associated with purity and innocence. They also symbolize staying focused.
This color of dahlia is the best gift for grandparents on their birthdays. You can also give white dahlias for celebrations of baptism or new birth.
Because of their color, white dahlias are frequently part of weddings and other ceremonies.
This variety has a darker meaning, generally referring to death and being a bad omen.
Meanings around the world
In Europe during the victorian era, the Dahlia started to become a sign of devotion and love, used often in wedding celebrations and gifts to spouses.
Today, dahlia flowers symbolize beauty, commitment, and kindness. They’re also tied to steadfastness, due to their ability to bloom after many other flowers have died. For all of these reasons they’re a popular flower to be used throughout wedding celebrations, and they are the birth flower of November, due to being able to last so late into fall.
Growing and Flower Care
Dahlias enjoy a moderately warm, most climate. They are a perennial in USDA Hardiness zones 8-11, which means they will go dormant in the late fall and come back in the spring.
In colder zones, you can dig the roots out of the garden and keep them inside until springtime.
(See what hardiness zone you’re in!)
Make sure your Dahlia is planted in rich, well draining soil, and gets plenty of sunlight.
Keep them to enjoy all summer long, and then let them be reborn in the spring, or cut them in the fall to enjoy in a floral arrangement, hair accessory or even a corsage for prom!
Dahlias as Cut Flowers
The more you cut dahlias, the more they’ll bloom—and dahlias are beautiful in a vase. For a bouquet, cut stems in the morning before the heat of the day and put them into a bucket of cool water. Remove stems’ bottom leaves and place the flowers into a vase of water. Place the vase in a cool spot and out of direct sun. Check the water daily.