I’m so excited to welcome Brooke Wetzel, owner and lead designer of The Plum Dahlia, to 5th & Hollyhock! Today Brooke is sharing her unique Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) floral arrangements. I love that you can easily re-create these designs at home and that they can be used for both Día de los Muertos and Halloween celebrations. Let’s hear from Brooke:

Growing up in Los Angeles and being Mexican-American meant that I got two fall holidays: Día de los Muertos and Halloween. Día de los Muertos is a joyous holiday, set aside to celebrate and welcome back the souls of our family who have passed on.


Día de los Muertos can be a special and sacred time for families to create and build altars together. People remember loved ones that have passed and use this day to celebrate their lives and to welcome them back to earth for a party. My mother’s home altar will be decorated with photographs and with my stepfather’s favorite things.

Marigolds are essential to Día de los Muertos celebrations and to every altar. Families in Mexico use marigold petals to create a trail for their loved one’s spirit to follow from their grave site, to their home, with the scent of flowers being their guide. Piles and piles of bright orange petals and garlands decorate home altars and grave sites in tiny villages and big cities.


In addition to the more traditional marigold arrangement, I made another one with black scabiosa for texture. Also included for a bold and modern touch; the dahlia is native to Mexico and reminds me of the bright paper flowers that are used to decorate home altars. The vases are a lesson in budget finds and repurposing! The taller black vase was an awesome surprise at my local 99 cents store and the “calavera” vase is a repurposed stemless wine glass from a gift set I received.

While I don’t celebrate it today, the traditions and imagery are close to my heart. I look forward to walking through Los Angeles’ Olvera Street for the altars, decorations and for the amazing processional on November 1st. Día de los Muertos is a beautiful holiday and I’m so pleased to share it with you in flowers.


Thanks so much Brooke! To send a custom Día de los Muertos or Halloween bouquet, click here.