Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Are chrysanthemums the new dahlias?

This is probably the most controversial blog post I will ever write. Essentially I am suggesting that the dahlia, perhaps the most coveted of all the Instagram flowers (second only of course to peonies), might in fact my usurped by something that has never until now, been considered 'grammable.

Anyway, in a bid to at least attempt to win you around, here are my reasons why I think chrysanthemums might just be the new dahlias.

1. They are scented. Now there is not much wrong you can say about dahlias; they grow super easily, flower and flower and flower and look beautiful, but they are not scented. Chrysanthemums on the other hand are. Now it's a bit of a tough one as not everyone loves the chrysanthemum smell, it's not quite on a level with roses or sweetpeas, in fact it's perhaps slightly more marmite-y more like hyacinths or daffodils, but there's not mistaking that they are scented and this is very much in their favour as it feels much more like you have fresh flowers around if you can smell them when you enter a room.

2. This is probably the biggie really, they flower much later, in fact bought inside they'll produce flowers all the way up Christmas and perhaps even slightly longer. This means that when all the other flowers have given up on you and gone to sleep, chrysanthemums are very much there, the last ones standing at the after party, and anyone who has that sort of longevity/ endurance, has my respect. You can start them off outside in a large pot and then bring it inside for some winter colour.

3. They have multiple flowers per stem. A silly one really, but each time you grow a stem you get lots and lots of flowers so just a couple of stems really fills a vase, alternatively you can cut lots of the individual flowers off and pop them in little jam jars- what more do you want? Now dahlias will also grow multiple flowers per stem, but this is often to the detriment of the other flowers and often none are quite as strong if allowed to do this, so many disbud so you get one really strong flower. There is no such issues with chrysanthemums.

4. They look quite like dahlias. They really do, I don't know why no one thinks they're cool, they have lots of petals, are reasonably geometric/ symmetrical, can be tiny or huge. Whichever dahlias you love there will likely be a chrysanthemum alternative. Even the cafe au lait has an *almost* equivalent in the very beautiful huge, blush pink Avignon Pink...

5. They're cheap as chips, either to grow yourself, or if you buy them as bunches. You will often see them for around the £2 ish mark and certainly you very rarely see them at the much higher peony style prices.

6. Lastly, they last for ages in the vase, weeks even a month if cared for properly, this is such a huge plus, if you just refresh the water and perhaps chop a little bit of the end they'll just go and go.

So I am interested to know what you think? Could they be the new dahlia? It is interesting, having been on Instagram a few years, to watch the flower trends as they come and go, it seems a few big instagrammers featuring a flower quite heavily can really be all it takes to catapult that flower to Instagram wide popularity. Of course once that happens, like with most things fashionable, once you've acquired a taste for it, you can't imagine ever not thinking that thing was beautiful but of course a few years later and your tastes often do change. I do love dahlias, I really do, but also remember very much when they weren't nearly as popular as they are now, and am very interested to see which flowers come next to try and steal their crown. Let me know in the comments what you think, I'd love to hear!

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