Dahlia Varieties: 9 Types of Dahlias and How to Arrange Them

Fall is here! It’s time to forget the daisies and sunflowers, and begin embracing a more fall-skewed color palette with your flower arrangements. As far as seasons go, fall has to be one of the most evocative. Just that one word instantly conjures images of crunchy leaves, warm scarves, and pumpkin-flavored everything.

 

And of course, there are definitely fall-specific flowers and plants! Our absolute favorite flower for this time of year is dahlias. They’re definitely a fall essential –– you’d be mad not to include them in your decor this year.

Shop Dahlia Flowers

orange dahlias in a fall arrangement
Orange Dahlias: Maarn, Hy Suntan, Jomanda, Bedhead, Valley Rust Bucket, Beatrice, David Howard, Moonlight Sonata, Amber Queen, Hamari Gold, Punkin Spice, Ginger Willo, Kenora Lisa. (via floret Flower)

 

Let’s take a look at the different types of dahlias you can get, how to style them, and some other fabulous fall picks. We’ve got everything you need to make the autumn flower arrangements of your dreams!

 

Why Are Dahlias so Good in Fall Arrangements?

Dahlias have long been a florist’s favorite thanks to just how diverse they can be. Dahlias come in a huge range of colors, shapes and sizes, which definitely makes for interesting bouquets and arrangements. 

 

dahlia arrangements in pumpkins and gourds
PUMPKINS AND GOURDS You can make autumnal flower vases from any small gourd or pumpkin. We used dark-green kabocha squashes and orange ambercup squashes to hold bright orange and red dahlias. – Martha Stewart

 

Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of dahlias:

Single Dahlias

Single dahlias have one single ring of petals that circle a central disc. The petals can be pointed or rounded, and often overlap.

On their own they’re stunning, but they really come in handy as an accompaniment to bigger, flasher dahlias in an arrangement. Here, light-colored single dahlias and a low, wide bowl add volume and levels to the piece without taking away from the bright focal points. 

Single Dahlia Flower arrangement Ideas

 

martha stewart gray lavender centerpiece with dahlias
One lush, overflowing centerpiece creates an unforgettable tablescape and lets you keep everything else spare and simple. This arrangement of hellebores, andromeda, garden roses, dahlias, clematis, delphiniums, and porcelain vines is displayed in a custom compote that’s actually just a footed bowl dipped in plaster. – Martha Stewart Weddings

 

Cactus Dahlias

Cactus dahlias are round blooms that add a lot of character to an arrangement. The petals are narrow and curved, which gives it a distinctive spiky look. 

 

Semi-cactus dahlias look fluffier than the full cactus variety. The petals are softer and broader, rolling in on themselves as they protrude from the central head of the flower. 

Cactus Dahlia Flower Arrangement Ideas

brass vase with dahlia floral arrangement sidra forman flower magazine
Chef and floral designer Sidra Forman whipped up this tantalizing fall arrangement using only dahlias and herbs. Materials: ‘Pat Feary’ dahlias, ‘Hollyhill Black Beauty’ dahlia, ‘Kentucky Colonel’ spearmint, lemon verbena, and marjoram. – FLOWER magazine

 

One of the most beloved semi-cactus dahlias is the Hollyhill Black Beauty –– a real showstopper of a flower. It’s a deep crimson red, long-stemmed, and grows to about 6” in diameter. Paired with lighter-colored blooms, and placed in an upright vase to add height, they make for a dramatic element to any arrangement.

 

black dahlia Pee Gee hydrangea Crystal rose centerpiece
BURGUNDY AND GREEN FLORALS IN BROWN BOWL I think the black dahlia created a nice contrast to the soft hydrangea and the protea is just a fun, different flower often overlooked as it isn’t a traditional romantic flower, but it really works in this arrangement. – Violet and Verde for Ruffled. The flower list: hydrangea, protea, privet berry, Pee Gee Hydrangea, dahlia, scabiosa, and Crystal roses.

Pompon Dahlias

pink pompon dahlia arrangement in ceramic bowl
High and tight with pompons. (via @macandthemushroom)

 

Pompon dahlias are perfect spheres, formed of petals which curve inwards. They’re small and are a great accent in an arrangement.

Pompon Flower Arrangement Ideas

Because pompons are so small, they can easily be paired with larger, more showy flowers –– adding depth without stealing the show. When mixing different shades and shapes, it’s a good idea to keep your vase neutral: a simple brass vase is perfect for fall. 

 

windowsill dahlia arrangement from style me pretty
The flower list: dahlias, lace hydrangea, coleus, amaranthus, Queen Anne’s lace, straw flower, autumn blooming clematis, pokeberry. (via Style Me Pretty by Petal Floral)

Ball Dahlias

Ball dahlias are similar to pompon dahlias, but a lot larger. They have the same distinctive spherical shape, though.

Ball Dahlia Flower Arrangement Ideas

classic wedding arrangement with dahlias and ranunculus in a rust urn
Dahlias, cascading greenery, ranunculus, and zinnias in a classic urn. (via @floralverde)

 

You’ll often see them as the highlight of a large arrangement, paired with smaller neutral flowers like white roses or ranunculus. Ball dahlias have a great texture which you can play up with spiky leaves or fluffy reeds in your arrangement. Don’t forget that they’re fairly large, so you’ll need a bigger vase or urn to display them in your home. 

Waterlily Dahlias

Waterlily dahlias are broad and shallow flowers that resemble – you guessed it – water lilies. The petals are flat or slightly curved. 

Waterlily dahlias add a very interesting dimension to any arrangement. Here, the dahlias are the focal point, accompanied by foraged native plants and a few pieces of fruit for accent. The rich orange and reds are great for fall, complimented by a brass bowl in place of a typical vase. 

Waterlily Flower Arrangement Ideas

waterlily dahlia holiday arrangement with fruit in a gold bowl
FRUITFUL HOLIDAY ARRANGEMENT. The flowers & tools list: 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, figs, container, floral tape, floral foam, coated chicken wire. (via FLOWER magazine by Emily Kennedy)

 

Most waterlily dahlias come in deep, rich tones, making them perfect for a fall bouquet. If they’re a little too dark and gloomy for your decor, use them as strategic accents in a light-colored arrangement –– keep the vessel wide and shallow to allow the flowers to spread out.

Anemone Dahlias

Anemone dahlias are distinctive, thanks to their tubular florets at the center, surrounded by a flatter ring of petals on the outside. 

They’re a soft and romantic flower –– they look great in bouquets but also have enough personality to stand out on their own. We love pairing them with antique-looking furnishings such as votive candle holders.  

Anemone Dahlia Flower ARrangement Ideas

vintage-look mercury glass votives glowing with tea lights, dahlias, and succulents
Close-up: vintage-look mercury glass votives glowing with tea lights, dahlias, and succulents. A soothing palette of blush, silver, and pale green. (via Pinterest)

 

Of course, sometimes less is more! If you’re a minimalist at heart, a single anemone dahlia, paired with some strategic blooms, leaves, and branches, can make for a striking centerpiece for any fall occasion. Go for a sleek white vase and dark black wood sticks for the classic minimalist aesthetic. 

 

Nothing says secret garden wedding more than this ranunculus, dahlia, astilbe, and fern display
ROMANTIC GARDEN PARTY Nothing says secret garden wedding more than this ranunculus, dahlia, astilbe, and fern display. How unexpected (and romantic!) is the juxtaposition of the pinky-peach blooms against the moodier manzanita branches? – Martha Stewart Weddings

 

Decorative Dahlias

Decorative dahlias are the largest type of dahlia. They’re spherical, but unlike pompoms and balls, they have flat and broad petals which curve outward. They can be up to 25cm in diameter, and are often the main element of an arrangement.

Decorative Dahlia Flower Arrangement Ideas

pink yellow dahlias burgundy foliage berries in a white vase
Dahlias and berries. (via The Seasonal Bouquet Project)

 

They come in some beautiful colors – when you’ve got so many colors happening in one place, stick with a simple white vase so nothing clashes. 

Collarette Dahlias

Collarette dahlias have large overlapping petals on the outside, which surround a ring of smaller petals around the center disc.

 

lindsey taylor fall dahlia arrangement
NO HARVEST COLORS, PLEASE: UNEXPECTED AUTUMNAL ARRANGEMENTS For bold flowers, dahlias in white and dinner plate dahlias in dusty pink that they call café-au-lait felt right for the season. – Lindsey Taylor for Gardenista

 

We love this mix of dahlias and hydrangeas for an autumnal arrangement which shies away from the classic orange and browns of the season. If you want to opt for white and pink flowers, you can bring the element of fall into the arrangement with dark foliage, and a rustic vase.

 

The best flowers for fall arrangements

It can’t all be dahlias, right? Here are some great fall flowers and foliage that’ll complement whichever dahlias you choose to go with. 

 

  • Zinnias for a bright pop of color
  • Marigolds in a soft orange or yellow
  • Bittersweet branches, which are studded with orange berries
  • Thistle leaves to add texture
  • Baby eucalyptus to contrast orange hues with some greenery
  • Pokeweed for bulbous texture
  • Sweet potato vine – it’s in season!

 

Planning a perfect fall arrangement but need something special to top it all off? Have a look at our huge range of vases, bowls, buckets and urns that will make any flower arrangement magical.