Few flowers enliven an arrangement (or for that matter, a garden) like dahlias. From late summer through autumn, dahlia blossoms’ diverse forms, range of sizes, and surprising and seemingly endless palette make them a standout.
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Eileen Tongson of FarmGal Flowers in Orlando grows her own flowers and herbs on a plot of land at East End Market, an artisan food hub. For a cheerful arrangement, she mixed four varieties of dahlias with other late summer blooms and a trio of herbs in a vintage turquoise vase. Materials: ‘Break Out’ dahlia, ‘Obo Katie’ dahlia, ‘Golden Scepter’ dahlia, ‘Karma Thalia’ dahlia, ‘Oklahoma Salmon’ zinnia, ‘Bouquet’ dill foliage, ‘Bright Lights’ cosmos, spearmint, holy basil, bupleurum, ‘Celway Purple’ celosia, and ‘Alaska Mix’ nasturtium.Photo by Shelly Strazis
In another FarmGal Flowers arrangement, a single ‘Karma White’ dahlia contrasts with lush layers of green in a variety of textures. Materials: ‘Benary Giant Lime’ zinnia, ‘Queen Lime with Blush’ zinnia, ‘Karma White’ dahlia, ‘Green Mist’ ammi, variegated pittosporum, yarrow, delphinium, ‘Green Trick’ dianthus, feather fern, Victoria’s lace, Asparagus plumosus, and weeping podocarpus. See more floral designs by Eileen Tongson, plus a step-by-step tutorial.Photo by Shelly Strazis
Artist Frances Palmer crafts more than clay vessels. Her dahlia garden is another creative example of her hand at work. Everything about dahlias excite her: their geometry, their wild array of forms, their suffused color spectrum—even their precise arrangement of tucked-in petals within a blossom. See more from Frances Palmer's dahlia garden and follow her on Instagram @francespalmer.
Photo by Rob Cardillo
Renowned floral designer Laura Dowling "flowered" many iconic Parisian places while working on her book Bouquets in 2019. Her exuberant Moulin Rouge bouquet, dotted with dramatic black dahlias and tied with silk ribbon, perches on the Alexander III Bridge with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Materials list: burgundy peonies, black dahlias, lady’s mantle, and pistachio foliage. See more from Laura Dowling's flower adventures in Paris.Photo by Erik Kvalsvik
Garden dahlias mingle like glamorous party guests in an alfresco centerpiece by Flower contributing editor Frances Schultz. She balanced a range of pink tones with a moss-covered container and olive foliage cut from her property in postcard-pretty Santa Ynez Valley. "When you can’t find the perfect container, make one. A wrapping of moss tied with raffia works every time," she says. Materials: ranunculus, tulips, yarrow, garden dahlias, zinnias, roses, and olive foliage. See more from this story.Photo by Shelly Strazis
For an everyday accent, Frances Schultz keeps her flowers simple and casual. At Bee Cottage, her former home in East Hampton, a vase of orange dahlias from her garden adds a sunny pop of color against the cool greens of the garden room.
Photo by Trevor Tondro
Sources: wallpaper in a trellis pattern by Carleton V; striped fabric by Manuel Canovas
“We look to the garden for bright, happy flowers and mix with traipsing vines—a sort of Constance Spry moment,” says John Loecke, co-creator of the design and lifestyle brand Madcap Cottage. To create a cheerful welcome in the foyer, he gathered an armful of blooms and foliage from his garden in High Point, North Carolina. Along with dahlias in a range of colors, the arrangement boasts zinnias, sunflowers, and roses. See more from the home of Madcap Cottage's John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon.
Photo by Anna Naphtali
A romantic creation by California floral designer Kristen Caissie combines large fluffy white dahlias with items you might forage on a summer stroll: wild grasses, persimmon branches, and bunches of spidery, wild clematis. See Flower magazine's Q&A with Kristen Caissie.
Photo by Corbin Gurkin
Photo by Erik Kvalsik
Another autumn-inspired creation by Sidra Forman appears to spring to life from the hand-painted scenic wallpaper behind it. Materials: ‘Snowbound’ dahlias, ‘Windermere’ roses, white Canadian chrysanthemums, pear branches, thorny olive, and oak foliage. See more designs by Sidra Forman.
Photo by Erik Kvalsik
Perennial favorite Sybil Sylvester filled the home of Birmingham architect James Carter with seasonal flowers for an open house featured in the book Living Floral by Flower magazine Editor-in-Chief Margot Shaw. In the entry hall, a pewter container holds goldenrod, dahlias, garden roses, black-eyed Susans, blue hydrangea, beautyberry, and pumpkin tree.
Photo by Davide Hillegas
Frances Harjeet of Denver captures the abundance of the harvest season in an arrangement starring five varieties of dahlias in a copper flower bucket. Materials: Cafe au Lait’ dahlias, ‘Color Spectacle’ dahlias, ‘Foxy Lady’ dahlias, ‘Karma Choc’ dahlias, buttercream dahlias, ‘Caramel Antike’ garden roses, Benary’s Giant zinnias, ranunculus, scabiosas, chrysanthemums, snapdragons, ‘Zinderella’ zinnias, nandina, gum maple, scented geranium leaves, millet, and wild grasses. See more dahlia arrangements by Frances Harjeet.
Photo by Ashley Sawtelle
Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm in North Georgia creates floral arrangements characterized by airiness, long lines, and a sense of movement. This vignette in her signature style uses antique silver pieces and dahlias from the farm boasting the jewel-toned hues of a fire opal. See more from 3 Porch Farm.
Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
A 19th-century painted bench shows off a winsome bouquet of dahlias, autumn leaves, and grasses by Kristen Jas Vietty of Lunaria Gardens. She created this piece for an autumn celebration at the home of Wendy Wurtzburger and Chris Bentley in Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley Park.
Photo by Alison Conklin
For the same event, Kristen Jas Vietty arranged this dreamy dahlia table runner augmented by materials from the garden. The farm table, made from a tree that homeowner Chris Bentley loved, is surrounded by stackable Tolix metal chairs from France. See the menu for this autumn gathering.
Photo by Alison Conklin
Sarah Ryhanen's barn is an appropriate backdrop for her wild floral aesthetic, as seen here in a design with red dahlias and fiery fall colors. See more designs from Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua.
Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo from In Bloom: Creating and Living with Flowers (Rizzoli, 2016)
Memphis-based floral designer Karin Woodward of Haute Horticulture welcomes the arrival of autumn with a festive wreath loaded with dahlias. Materials: magnolia branches, juniper branches, pear tree foliage, cypress branches, boxwood, pincushion protea, poppy pods, strawflowers, sheet moss, dahlias, yellow spray roses, orange spray roses, kangaroo paw, leucadendron, dried cotton, and nandina foliage. Learn how to make this autumn wreath.
Photo by Annabella Charles
For the holidays, Emily Kennedy fashioned a festive arrangement using dahlias, foraged ingredients from the yard, and a touch of fresh fruit. Materials: chestnut branches, evergreen branches, hellebores, weigela leaves, rose hips, fern, holly, croton leaves, dahlias, ranunculus, spray roses, milkweed, black-eyed Susans, gomphrena, coneflowers, pomegranates, unripe persimmons, and figs. Get step-by-step instructions for this arrangement.
Photo by Paige Rumore
More Dahlias and Late Summer Flowers
- Growing Dahlia Flowers
- Frances Palmer’s Dahlia Garden
- Sidra Forman‘s Fall Arrangements
- Mums the Word
- Top Tips for Working With Mums
- Here Comes the Sun (and Sunflower Arrangements)