Dahlia Flower Origins, Meaning, Symbolism, Colors, and Care Tips.

Whether combined with other cut flowers or used on their own in any floral arrangement, dahlia flowers are always spectacular. These ornamentals are one of the longest-lasting cut flowers, though that is not the only reason how they’ve become a popular choice among brides, florists, and gardeners alike. Here we’ve crafted the ultimate guide on everything you need to know about these summer-blooming beauties, including Dahlia flowers meaning, symbolism, origins, colors, planting tips, care tips, and more. Enjoy!

The Dahlia Flower

The Dahlia Flower

One feature of dahlia flowers that made them a highly sought-after cut flower is their versatility. With over 50,000 varieties available, you’ll find these blooms in almost every possible flower color and a variety of shapes. The American Dahlia Society, in fact, notes 19 different flower forms of dahlias.

The colors of dahlia flowers range from red to pink, orange, yellow, white, purple, blue, and more. Moreover, some species feature different-colored stripes, or their tips display a different hue than the rest of the flowers.

Dahlia Flower Sizes

The size of these flowers varies as well, ranging from 2 inches to as big as 10 inches in width. The New Zealand Society lists different dahlia groupings depending on flower sizes. These include giant flowered cultivars, large-flowered cultivars, medium flowered cultivars, small-flowered cultivars, miniature flowered cultivars, and pompom flowered cultivars.

Dahlia Flower Types

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) classification identifies 14 different groups of dahlia flowers, grouped by flower types, as follows:

  • Single Dahlias
  • Anemone-Flowered Dahlias
  • Collerette Dahlias
  • Waterlily Dahlias
  • Decorative Dahlias
  • Ball Dahlias
  • Pompon Dahlias
  • Cactus Dahlias
  • Semi-Cactus Dahlias
  • Miscellaneous Dahlias
  • Fimbriated Dahlias
  • Single Orchid Dahlias
  • Double Orchid Dahlias
  • Peony-Flowered Dahlias

Dahlia Flowers: History, Origins, and Cultural Significance

Dahlia Flowers Cultural Significance

Dahlias, which are part of the Asteraceae family, are native to Mexico and South America.

Although the exact name origin of the plant is not definite, many believe that it was named after Swedish botanist Anders (Andreas) Dahl by the director of the Royal Gardens in Madrid, Antonio José Cavanilles. There were even earlier reports that Swedish taxonomist and botanist Carl Linnaeus named the plant, but many opposed the idea since he died before Dahlia was ever named.

The flowers are also known as “valley flowers” because the word “dahl” is similar in sound to the Swedish equivalent of the “valley.” Moreover, other gardeners refer to these flowers as the “Queen of the Autumn Garden” because they bloom longer than most of the other garden plants.

Dahlia flower plays an essential role in the history and culture of many countries. Garden Dahlia (Dahlia pinnata) is Mexico’s national flower. In the USA, the dahlia is the official flower of Seattle and the official flower of San Francisco.

Also recognized are the medicinal importance of dahlia plants. The Aztecs, in particular, used this plant as a treatment against epilepsy. A substance called Atlantic starch, derived from the tubers of dahlias, was a renowned treatment for diabetes before the discovery of insulin.  

Dahlia Flowers Meaning

Dahlia Flower Meanings

Dahlia is a diverse genus of flowering plants in the same family as sunflowers and asters. Because of this diversity, dahlia flowers meaning in the language of flowers are varied and profuse. Aside from this fact and the flowers’ appearance, their significance to many cultures likewise give rise to different symbolic meanings of these sumptuous blooms.

Generally, the significance of dahlia flowers is positive. Perhaps the most common of all is finding inner strength, which roots back to the plant’s ability to withstand harsh conditions. More common meanings of dahlias are remaining graceful and standing out from the crowd since their beauty and elegance is undeniable. That being the case, these flowers make the best gift for someone you admire or perceive as a strong person.

If you know anyone who’s experiencing a significant change in life, dahlias are the perfect flower to express support, good luck, or congratulations since they mean embracing positive changes. Other known dahlia flower meanings include commitment and honesty. So, if you want to let someone special know that you are committed, then dahlia flowers are worth considering.  

Among many more dahlia flower meanings is always to be kind since they represent kindness. The flower invites positive energy, and this means embracing kindness and love for others.

Dahlia Flower Symbolism

Dahlia Flower Symbolism

Dahlias are the official birth flowers for August, although other traditions recognize it as the November birth flowers instead.

Dahlia flowers hold different symbolism depending on their colors. Generally, these summer-blooming and vivid flowers symbolize elegance, inner strength, change, creativity, and dignity. Though most of the many symbolism is positive, dahlias still carry a few negative connotations, including betrayal, dishonesty, and instability.

During the Victorian era, dahlia flowers symbolize a lasting bond and lifelong commitment between two people. Presently, these blooms are a commemoration of something new, like joining a new religion or trying a new habit. Moreover, they are often perceived as a symbol of diversity since their petals appear to fit perfectly into the whole head.

Red Dahlia Flower Meaning & Symbolism

Red Dahlia Meaning

Red dahlia flowers are a known symbol of both strength and power. Because of that, you can give them to a sick or recovering friend as a get well soon gift. Red dahlias are also ideal gifting flowers for someone who’s about to embark on a new professional career or a new milestone in life.

White Dahlias Meaning & Symbolism

White Dahlia Meaning

Like other white flowers, white dahlia flowers meaning is associated with pureness and innocence. They also symbolize staying focused. This type of dahlias is the best gift for grandparents on their birthdays or even when you just want to let them know that you care. 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.

Pink and Purple Dahlias Meaning & Symbolism

Pink Dahlia Meaning

Pink and purple dahlia flowers meaning is associated with kindness, service, feminine beauty, and grace. They make an excellent gift for mothers, sisters, friends, or co-workers, whether it’s Mother’s Day, Valentine’s  Day, or birthdays. They can also be a flower gift for your special someone, girlfriend, or wife for your anniversary or just because.

Besides, purple dahlias also symbolize royalty and dignity, which makes them the perfect gift for someone you appreciate and admire.

Blue and Green Dahlias Meaning & Symbolism

Blue Dahlia Meaning

Blue and green dahlia flowers are your go-to blooms for those making new changes in their lives since they are a symbol of a fresh start and significant changes. Give a bunch of blue and green dahlias to a friend who’s moving out, starting a new career, buying a house, or having a new baby to express your support and congratulations.

Black Dahlias Meaning & Symbolism

Black Dahlia Meaning

Black dahlias, which are actually dark burgundy, convey negative meanings compared to the other shades. Since they have the strongest hue of all dahlias, they often symbolize betrayal, sadness, and other negative emotions.

For more, see our in-depth guide to black flower types and their symbolism here.

5 Essential Tips for Planting Dahlias in Your Garden  

Planting Dahlia Flowers

Growing dahlia plants is easy! You can plant them in your backyard garden or even in containers or pots for small or dwarf dahlia varieties. To help you get started, we have come up with a rundown of key information about growing these lovely flowers. Here they are:

  1. Dahlia plants require at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. Thus, plant them in a spot where they can get direct sun from morning to midday.
  2. They thrive best when planted in soil with good drainage.
  3. Taller dahlia varieties may require staking to support the large blooms and keep the plant upright in windy conditions.
  4. Established dahlia plants require deep watering at least two to three times per week.
  5. During growth, these plants could use fertilizers with N-P-K ratios of 5-10-15 or 10-20-20, 5-10-10, or 0-20-20.

Dahlia Cut Flower Care Tips  

Dahlia Cut Flower Care Tips

Dahlias make great cut flowers, but you may not be able to enjoy their fascinating blooms if you don’t give them the proper care and maintenance. Follow these basic tips to make your dahlia flowers last longer.

  • If you are picking the flowers yourself, cut them early in the morning when the blooms are less stressed by the heat. Select those that have just started blooming – not tight in bud or full-bloomed flowers. The buds will not open once flowers are cut.
  • Condition the stems using hot water treatment. Make a fresh slant cut at the bottom then place them in about 2-3 inches of hot water for at least 1 hour. Doing this would allow the cut flowers to last for four to six days.
  • As with any other cut flower, remove any leaf that will fall below the water level in the vase.
  • Keep the water in the vase clean by regularly changing it every two to three days. You may also add flower preservatives as you wish.

Dahlia Flower FAQ:

In the language of flowers, Dahlias carry the symbolic meaning of inner strength, grace, and openness to change and evolution. The individual colors used within the dahlia tattoo may also convey additional sentiments and meanings.

Dahlia flowers have long been used in ancient medicinal practices. The Aztecs, in particular, used this plant as a treatment against epilepsy. A substance called Atlantic starch, derived from the tubers of dahlias, was a renowned treatment for diabetes before the discovery of insulin.  

The foliage and tubulars of dahlia flowers contain traces of toxic compounds which can cause negative side effects if consumed.

Black dahlias, which are actually dark burgundy, convey negative meanings compared to the other shades.

Despite their highly attractive flowers, Dahlias don’t possess any real noticeable fragrance except for very light floral notes.

Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:

Looking for a particular stem or in need of some inspiration on the best blooms for a certain occasion? Check out Petal Republic’s expert flower guides to Roses, Asphodel, Valerian, Astrantia, Viburnum, Acanthus, Ranunculus, Lilies, Irises, Borage, Clovers, Freesia, Marjoram, Anemone, Begonia, Orchids, Allium, Carnations, Coreopsis, Gerbera Daisies, Gladiolus, and Peonies.  


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