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The meaning and symbolism of dahlia flowers

Dahlias have grown in popularity in recent years and have become a stable in gardens, wedding bouquets, floral pattern design and, of course, floral artwork. Totally unsurprising because they are STUNNING. The vast amount of variety and colour brings a huge amount of joy to the onlooker. However, the symbolism and meaning of this beautiful flower is even more intriguing...

Photograph taken at Muddy Fork garden in Retford-a charity that helps people experiencing mental health issues by taking part in gardening activities.



Dahlias have traditionally been included in wedding arrangements and bouquets because of their wide variety of colours and forms. However, it is their association with undying love and everlasting commitment that made them a popular choice for happy unions throughout history. Having flowers to symbolise the importance of our relationships is such a meaningful way to personalise such an important occasion. Some of my favourite commisions have been painting wedding bouquets. They almost always have a unique and special meaning for their flower choices. Dahlias would definitely be on my list!


Speaking as a terrible gardener (seriously... I don't know how I manage to neglect flowers so consistently!), dahlias take some nurturing. However, the meaning of inner strength may not come from the fact they can tolerate such harsh conditions. Dahlias were one of the first organic sources of insulin. They resulted in breakthroughs in treating diabetes to allow people with the condition to live a fulfilled life. Anyone who knows somebody with diabetes understands the resolve that is needed to manage the condition. Perhaps that is another reason why dahlias represent inner strength.


The psychology of colour absolutely fascinates me as an artist. The colours that we see in our environment are proven to have an impact on our mood, energy levels and well being. The vast array of colours provided by dahlias is another reason why they are so popular amongst visual artists and designers, but did you know different flower colours have different meanings?

I most often use pink dahlias within my artwork because of the positive emotions that I associate with this colour. I was delighted to discover the meaning of this colour within floral arrangements. A perfect thing to think of whenever I glance at the artwork on my wall.




purity, humility and innocence


joy, childhood, memories


love, friendship and gratitude

There are no true blue or black dahlias. Although the variety called black dahlia is a beautiful bugundy colour. This may not be the perfect choice in a gifted bouquet unless you are not very happy with the recipient. This colour of dahlia is said to represent betrayal and sadness!


Do you know anyone that was born in November?

As well as having birth stones and signs, flowers also symbolise the different months. Dahlias have been associated with the month of November due to their ability to bloom late into the autumn. Although as our winters get colder the frosts may change this! Anniversaries of special occasions or birthdays in November could prompt a gift that includes dahlias. Whether that be a beautiful bouquet, stunning painting or some tubers to grow.


The 14th wedding anniversary is known as the ivory anniversary. With obvious threat to elephant populations people seek alternatives to gift during this special occasion. Rare and precious, ivory has long signified the integrity of marriage and devotion shared by two people. As dahlias also represent strength, love and devotion, they have become a beautiful alternative to a present made from ivory.

National flower of Mexico, state flower of Seattle and San Francisco. I can see why a dahlia obsession is so prevalent. No matter the meaning behind this stunning flower, I am sure I will continue to be inspired by them and include them in my floral paintings.

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