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How to do Dahlias

Well. They hardly need any help but we’re going to attempt to gild this particular lily (or dahlia if you will) with some handy hints for easy displays of these early Autumn beauties.

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A delivery of dahlias from Stem & Green.

The Flowers

James from local flower farm Stem and Green is our new, and very best, friend. It was an extremely happy day at the shop when he hand delivered buckets and jars and boxes filled with the most beautiful flowers from his chalky patch in far flung Easton. Dahlias, once the preserve of champion growers for the village produce show and favoured flowers for the church floral rotas, have managed to retain their 1950s charm whilst finding a modern audience. First imported into Europe over 200 years ago from Mexico (it remains the country’s national flower), hundreds of cultivars were developed over the next two centuries and provide the huge variety of shapes and colours we see today.

A flatlay of dahlias by cultivar.

The Cultivars

Whilst we can’t claim a completely exhaustive, national collection range from our new BFF, we had a pretty good haul of all the major dahlia groups. Check out dinner plates (the great big, blowsy, enormous, size of dinner plates ones), balls (the ones you can’t believe actually grow naturally because they’re so ridiculously detailed and grow so very neatly), pom poms (the little sisters of balls), waterlily (the elegant ones) and single (the basic model and most like the original Mexican imports).

The Arrangements:

Single Stems in Tiny Vessels

James tells me that florists like to have very long stemmed dahlias for their arrangements so he had a surfeit of shorter stemmed blooms for us that didn’t make the florists’ cut (you may also have varieties in your garden on shorter stems). These are perfect for putting individual blooms in small vessels; ideal for a bedside table or window sill. You could also group a collection of containers together for more impact, down the centre of a table or along a mantelpiece. We repurposed our Minya and Tima glass candlesticks and Hay Tint tumbler (if you want a more modern vibe) with the Colosseum vase.

Single stem dahlias in  candlesticks.


Dinner plates and balls in all their dramatic glory, heaped together in a large mismatched bunch, signify a really lovely carefree, and generous, approach. We kept the leaves on and used the multi flowered stems to keep it a bit messy. Just chop to a roughly similar height and slam into large jugs. We used the new Mosser panel pitcher but any Falcon jug would work here.

A hand holding a bunch of mixed dahlias.
Mixed orange-toned dahlias with a ladybird on.

Colour Blocking

We love nothing more than a bit of colour blocking. By grouping dahlias together by colour, you can really appreciate the crazy variety of sizes, textures and shades. Go deep red for a bit of drama; softest pinks for prettiness; white for understatement. The Mosser panel tumblers are ideal and the Georgia blue is a perfect foil for pink. For more homespun charm and whimsy, use a Falcon teapot. The By Mutti Love vase works beautifully with the orange colours.

Cut Dahlia Care

These are not the longest lasting flowers though they are the most beautiful. Make sure you make a fresh horizontal cut at the base of the stem, place the cut ends in hot water and leave for at least an hour before you start arranging. Add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice to your fresh water to ward off bacteria. And ensure that any leaves below the water line are stripped off.

Dahlias layed out for trimming.
Scissors and Dahlia stems.
Cutting a dahlia stem at 45 degree angle.

Try it Yourself!

Check out all our beautiful vases and vessels and pots and jugs here:

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Boxes or Stem and Green Dahlias.