Dahlia Flowers: Different Types, How To Plant, Grow and Plant Care

Dahlias are among the most-loved plants there are, grown across the world for their color and beauty.

It’s said that once you grow one dahlia, you’ll be hooked. As vices go, that’s a pretty good one!

They’re easy to grow, and come in a huge multitude of forms and colors. When you consider how easy it is to hybridize these beautiful plants, it should come as no surprise that there are countless cultivars to choose from.

This can make it difficult to know where to start. 

Here’s everything you need to know about dahlias, including how to plant them, where to grow them, the different types of dahlia, and ones you should try growing at least once.

At a Glance: What You Should Know About Dahlias

Dahlias are the perfect way to inject a huge amount of color into your garden, while not needing very much attention from you.

Most dahlias do not have any fragrance, and what they lack in scent, they make up for in color to attract pollinators. The one color dahlias don’t come in is blue.

Dahlias come from the daisy plant family, Asteraceae, under their own genus. The genus itself encompasses 42 different species, of which there have been countless cultivars created.

Hailing from Mexico, dahlias can adapt to most environments with a little care, and they are grown in gardens across the world. 

All dahlias are perennials, growing from tuberous roots, but you can grow them as annuals in colder parts of the world, or overwinter them to make sure they survive for the following year.

When you look at the flower head, it’s interesting to note that the petals are actually florets, which are tiny flowers themselves. 

The Aztecs used the tubers as a food source, and while the modern day dahlia tubers are edible, they aren’t usually eaten, as they are grown for their gorgeous flowers instead of their culinary properties.

Getting Started With Growing Dahlias

While it may seem a bit overwhelming to begin with, dahlias are easy to grow, once you know how. 

While you can buy dahlias as plugs or even adult plants, it’s a lot more satisfying, and a lot cheaper, to start from the beginning, and grow them yourself.

There are two ways to grow dahlias from scratch. You can get dahlia seeds, or you can grow them from tubers.

Should You Grow Dahlias From Seed or From Tubers?

You can grow dahlias from either method. Growing them from seed does take longer, and it’s less reliable than growing them from their tubers, but it is generally cheaper.

Growing dahlias from tubers is much easier, quicker, and requires a lot less space than trying to grow them from seed. Many dahlia cultivars are only available as tubers, so keep this in mind. 

When to Start Growing Dahlias

When you should get started depends on the method you choose.

Growing Dahlias From Tubers

Dahlia tubers can be started off in the middle of spring, which is later than if you want to grow them from seed. You won’t need to plant them into their final positions until the end of May, or the start of June.

To grow dahlias from tubers, you’ll need a large pot, either two or three liters per tuber packet.

Fill the container with normal compost halfway, and put the tubers on the surface of the soil, making sure that the small stem points to the sky, not to the earth. Fill in the rest of the pot with compost.

Water it lightly, and keep it somewhere warm, preferably dark, too. Hold off on watering the pot until new growth appears above the soil line, and do so sparingly.

You’ll see new growth within a few weeks. How fast they appear is dictated by the type of dahlia and the variety, so be patient.

When the shoots get a little bigger, take off the tips of the biggest shoot, back to the tallest pair of leaves. When the dahlia starts to grow lots, take off the shoots, leaving five to grow.

This seems mean, but it will actually help the plant to grow properly, not diverting its energy into more stems than it can handle. It will also produce more flowers, too.

Growing Dahlias From Seed

If you decide to grow dahlias from a seed packet, you’ll need to start the seeds off from late winter into the early days of spring, and this should be done indoors or in a greenhouse, as they won’t tolerate frost. 

Grab a tray of moist compost, and sow the seeds about half a centimeter deep into damp seed compost, covering them lightly with horticultural grit or a thin layer of compost.

You can also use hot (yes, hot) water to kick-start the germination process, but this is the first and only time you should water the seeds with hot water.

Keep the tray somewhere warm, anywhere between 60 and 68°F (or 15 and 20°C), and you’ll see growth appear within two weeks or so, provided that you keep the soil damp.

Once the seedlings develop a ‘true’ leaf, this is a leaf which looks like a miniature version of a leaf on an adult plant, they’re ready for their own individual pots. At this point, they are ready for slightly cooler temperatures.

Where and How to Plant Them

After you’ve started off your dahlias by seed or tuber, it’s time to plant them out once they’ve gotten a little bigger, and this should be in the middle of spring, once the risk of any frost has passed.

It’s important to introduce dahlias gradually to cooler temperatures, so you will need to harden them off before keeping them out all summer. 

This means bringing them outside for a while each day, extending the time that they’re out a little longer each time. This prevents any shock to the plant.

If you’ve grown the tubers in a pot, you can leave them in there and put the pot into its final position, or you can transfer them into the ground.

When you are planting your dahlias into their final homes, make sure to do this only when the chances of frost are over, as dahlias won’t tolerate freezing temperatures.

If you are putting them in the ground, the hole needs to be a foot wide by the same depth. To prevent overcrowding and fungal disease, make sure to plant dahlias at least 75cm apart from each other.

Before putting the dahlias in, you can put a layer of grit into the bottom of the hole to help improve the drainage, and reduce the risk of root rot.

Put the dahlia in, making sure that the tubers sit just below the surface, and firm it in. Some dahlias, especially the larger-flowering varieties, will need staking, so you can put those in now, and tie the dahlias in when they need the extra support.

Can You Grow Dahlias Indoors?

While you can grow dahlias indoors to start them off before the risk of frost is over, and keep them indoors to make sure they survive freezing temperatures and wintery conditions, dahlias will not survive indoors for more than a season.

Like roses, dahlias are meant to be grown outdoors, whether that’s in a pot, in a raised bed, or in a bed at ground level. You may keep them indoors for a little while, but over a prolonged period they will suffer.

How to Keep Dahlias Healthy

Sunlight and Position

Dahlias require a lot of sunlight in order to produce their beautiful blooms, more so than most flowering plants. 

Keep them in a sunny position, preferably somewhere sheltered if possible, as this will stop the wind from knocking off heavy flower heads, or snapping the hollow stems.

You can keep them in dappled shade if this is what you have. They won’t flower nearly as much, and you’ll have to be extra careful to make sure you don’t overwater their tuberous roots.

In terms of soil, they prefer rich soil which is packed full of nutrients, and one that drains well. 

It may be easier to grow them in pots if this doesn’t sound like the earth in your garden, but they will do fine in well-draining soil that doesn’t have a lot of nutrients. 

You can replace the nutrient content with fertilizer if this is the case.

Watering Needs

Despite what you might think when you think of where they come from, dahlias are very thirsty plants, though they will tolerate a small dry spell.

In the ground, they will mainly take care of themselves, but if there’s a drought, or a long period of hot and dry weather, you’ll need to give them a good drink once a week.

If you’re keeping your dahlias in pots, you’ll need to water them more often than this, as the soil won’t keep the moisture nearly as well. If there’s a hot, dry spell, they will need water every day.

Should You Feed Dahlias?

Yes. Dahlias benefit greatly from fertilizer once they start to produce flowers. You can use a liquid fertilizer made from seaweed, nettles, comfrey, or another well-balanced fertilizer, feeding the plants once a week during the summer.

It’s not necessary to feed them, however, and be careful of overdoing it, but the flowers they will produce will be bigger and better, and the overall plant health will be bolstered, too.

Cut Flowers

It’s a good idea to take cut flowers from dahlia plants, as they make great flowers by themselves, and it also helps the plant to produce more flowers, too.

A good way to ensure that cut flowers last for as long as possible is to have a bucket of water ready before you cut them. 

Think of the stem of a cut flower a little like an open wound, the sooner you get it back into water, the better it will be. Add a little white vinegar to any flower arrangement to help them last a little longer, too.

Don’t forget to leave some of the flowers for the bees and other pollinators, as this will help improve the health of your garden.

If you think that taking flowers for the house is a crime – each to their own – you will still need to deadhead any flowers that have faded, as this helps keep the flower production up, as well as preventing disease. 

The best way to deadhead a spent dahlia bloom is to take it back to the first leaves below the flower head, and this will save the plant some energy.

Taking Cuttings

It’s a good idea to take dahlia cuttings in spring, as dahlia plants tend to be less vigorous in their second year, and some don’t reappear at all. So the sooner you take cuttings, the better, and your garden will be full of color for longer.

The easiest way is to wait until the tubers have started forming shoots, at least 10cm long. Use a sharp, clean knife to separate them from the main tuber, taking a section of the tuber with it.

Take off every leaf but the top two. This will encourage the cutting to grow roots instead of putting its limited energy into the leaves. 

Take a small pot, and fill it with compost and horticultural grit or perlite. To make things easier, use a square pot. 

Put each cutting into the soil around the edge of the container, making sure to leave enough space that the cuttings don’t touch. Give the container some water, and place it somewhere warm, in a bright but indirect position.

In about a month, you’ll see the cuttings putting out new growth, which means they have formed roots. At this time, you should put them in individual pots, transplanting them as they get bigger.

If you feed and water them enough, these cuttings may flower in the same year, as dahlia plants in their own right.

Dividing Tubers

If you’d prefer to divide your existing tubers, you can do this in place of taking cuttings, or you can do a mixture of both! Tubers can be divided in the spring months, around the same time you would take cuttings.

As with the cuttings, allow the dahlias to produce shoots before you do anything. Take a clean and sharp knife, and divide the tubers, allowing a shoot and some roots per division. 

Pot up each group of tubers as you normally would, and plant them out once the chance of frost has completely passed.

Should You Overwinter Dahlias?

Yes. As they hail from Mexico, dahlias cannot tolerate any frost or very wet conditions, so it’s important to store them over winter so that they survive for the following year. 

Once dahlias have finished flowering, and the temperature drops, you’ll notice slight frost damage on the leaves. This is the time to lift them from the ground.

Before you do so, it helps to chop back the foliage until the stems reach about 12cm. This will save you struggling to dig around the plant, and it also makes it a lot lighter to lever from the soil.

Dig around the dahlia to make it easier to lift. Use a garden fork to remove the tubers from the soil, and shake off as much soil as you can, using your fingers in between the tubers.

If you’re digging up several dahlias, it’s easiest to place them in a wheelbarrow until you’re finished, but make sure you remember which is which!

To dry out the tubers, put them upside down in a tray lined with paper towel or newspaper, somewhere dry. This will take several weeks.

When the tubers have dried out completely, it’s time to place them somewhere dark and cool, away from anywhere that can get frost. 

Put them in a tray filled with either dry compost or sand, making sure to leave them alone until it’s time for them to come out in spring.

If you live somewhere that doesn’t get freezing temperatures during the winter, or you don’t have the space to store tubers for the following spring, you can cover the dahlias in the ground, using a very thick layer of compost or straw. 

This should stop frost from getting to the delicate tubers, but you may see some damage anyway. 

When it gets to spring again, take off the extra layer with a rake.

How to Choose the Right Dahlias For Your Garden

With the sheer amount of cultivars and dahlia types available, it can be difficult to know which types to choose for your own garden space. Here are some pointers to get you started.

Where are You Growing Them?

The biggest thing to consider when choosing dahlias is the amount of space you have to work with. 

Do you have a large garden, with a choice of pots, borders and beds to put dahlias in? Do you have a more compact green space with no garden soil?

The good news is that you can grow dahlias in pots and in the ground, but there are different types of dahlia which are suited for different places in your garden.

While wherever you plant your dahlias needs to be in sunlight, compact dahlias will work well in both borders and containers, while tree dahlias need to be in the ground to be at their best.

You can also get the different types of dahlia in different sizes, too.

Color

One of the best ways to pick out plants for your garden is to consider the flower color. What colors are you drawn to most? Is there a certain palette that you always gravitate to?

Do you find yourself always planting warm, cheering and uplifting yellows, oranges and reds?

Do you prefer the drama of darker dahlias, in purples, reds, and burgundy? Are you someone who loves pastel colors the most?

With dahlias, there is a flower blooming in pretty much any color you can think of, and some are bicolored, too.

Now you know what space you have to play with, and what colors you love, it’s time to look at the different types of dahlia you can pick from.

Dahlia Type

Dahlias are classified by the shape of the flowers produced, and most are fairly obvious from their name, making them easy to tell apart when they are in flower.

It’s worth mentioning that while dahlias attract a lot of pollinators into your garden, some attract more than others.

Those with fewer petals, such as the single-flowered dahlia, are favorites of pollinators because they can reach the nectar without a struggle, but that doesn’t mean that other types with huge numbers of petals don’t attract pollinators.

Anemone Dahlias

Anemone dahlias are one of the most elaborate flowering types, producing tubular-shaped florets at the heart of each flower. One or more rays of normal, flatter florets ring the flower head.

In general, these flower heads can reach about 10cm in diameter, the plant ranging from 60cm to 120cm tall. If planted out early enough, most will flower from midsummer into the first frosts.

Cactus Dahlias

Cactus dahlia types feature double-flowered blooms with petals that almost end in points, looking like spiky flower heads. 

These florets curve outward, and you can get them in smaller forms as well as large flowers.

Collarette Dahlias

Collarette dahlias produce what would look like a classic, single-flowered dahlia, if not for the smaller, second ring of petals produced directly on top of the first. 

These smaller petals are usually in a different color to the rest of the flower, and they are quite dainty-looking.

Dinner Plate (Decorative) Dahlias

Decorative or dinner plate type dahlias produce the biggest flowers available, capable of reaching 25cm wide! 

They are the most dramatic, showy type of dahlia available, the flowers producing almost uncountable florets which can be pointed or rounded, some varieties can be bicolored, too.

It is worth noting that because of the sheer weight of the flowers, dinner plate dahlias often point towards the floor, and they will need staking.

Pompon and Ball Dahlias

Pompon and ball dahlias have a more delicate but perfectly satisfying and symmetrical florets. Each floret is rounded, making up the globular flower head.

Pompon dahlias tend to be larger than ball type dahlias.

Single Dahlias

The most attractive type to pollinators, single dahlias feature the least amount of petals of all dahlia types, but that doesn’t mean they should be dismissed.

Single-flowering dahlias are still beautiful, more resembling other plants in the daisy family with around eight large outer florets per flower head, surrounding a central eye.

These petals may be pointed, or rounded, depending on the variety.

Waterlily Dahlias

This type of dahlia closely resembles the flower of a waterlily, minus the water, and plethora of leaves that have to be thinned out every year.

These dahlias boast huge, saucer-shaped flowers, the florets either flat or pointed.

Dahlia Varieties You Should Try Growing At Least Once

Anemone Dahlias:

Dahlia ‘Inca’

Featuring crimson flowers with rays upon rays of petals, some of which are tubular, some flat, this is a very dramatic variety which oozes character.

‘Inca’ and other varieties of this type are perfect for cut flowers, where their unique shape makes for a very attractive bloom. 

This cultivar was introduced in 1967, and the height can range between 90 and 120cm, making it perfect for both pots and borders. 

It’s worth planting Inca at the front of a border, as the flowers come in a miniature form of about 10cm wide.

Dahlia ‘Que Sera’

A relatively new hybrid, ‘Que Sera’ is a wonderful anemone dahlia which is slightly bigger in form, each flower reaching between 10 and 15cm wide. 

The flowers create a real focal point in any garden, featuring a ruffled center of white toothed petals beveled with purple streaks at the heart of the flower, turning fully white as they move from the center.

The ray petals are also white, stippled with the same purple streaks randomly, making for a very attractive flower.

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

Growing to a maximum of 90cm tall, ‘Totally Tangerine’ brings warm and cheery tones of color into any garden. 

The inner florets of these flower heads are much smaller than other anemone types, contrasting well against the larger ray petals.

Each flower head can reach 7cm wide, boasting orange and yellow florets in the heart of each flower, the ray petals are baby pink, streaked with the same burnt-orange as the center.

Dahlia ‘Toto’

One of the more compact varieties, ‘Toto’ reaches a maximum height of 45cm, making it a perfect cultivar for pots, or for the front of a border.

The flower heads are unique, boasting a pincushion ray of sunshine-yellow florets in the center of each flower, surrounded by a ring of brilliant white, flat petals. If you squint, they could look like huge daisies.

Cactus Dahlias:

Dahlia ‘Bora Bora’

A real collector of awards, the ‘Bora Bora’ dahlia will add spectacle into any garden. Its spiky blooms are softened by a golden yellow center, deepening to dark pink at the ends of the petals, showcasing the form.

Each flower is capable of reaching 20cm across, contrasting well against bright green foliage. 

This particular cactus dahlia can reach a maximum height of 90cm tall, perfect for holding its own in a mixed bed, or really showing off in a large container.

Dahlia ‘Clair-Obscur’

While many cactus dahlias are bicolored, you might find it difficult to find one more dramatic than ‘Clair-Obscur’. This cactus dahlia features gorgeous flower heads in deep purple, turning to a lighter pink, tinged with white at the edges. 

Depending on where you grow this dahlia and its conditions, it can reach between 80 and 90cm tall.

Dahlia ‘Doris Day’

One of the longer-flowering varieties of the cactus dahlia, ‘Doris Day’ produces bright red flowers from mid-summer well into the autumn, if the weather is kind. 

This plant produces a sea of flowers during the season, making it perfect for cut flower gardens.

‘Doris Day’ can reach up to 110cm tall, and the flowers themselves can reach between 10 and 17cm wide.

Dahlia ‘Frigoulet’

Also sold under ‘Friquolet’, this cactus dahlia features crimson red flowers which look like they’ve been dipped in white at the ends, making for a great display no matter the color scheme in your garden.

Each flower can reach up to 15cm across. It’s quite a tall cactus dahlia, able to reach 152cm high in the right conditions. It will also flower from midsummer until the frosts hit, making it a good option for long-lasting displays.

Dahlia ‘Dutch Explosion’

If you’d prefer a more compact version of the cactus dahlia, ‘Dutch Explosion’ might be the variety for you. It grows to a smaller height than some cactus dahlias, at around 80 or 90cm tall.

The white buds open into an explosion of tubular florets in a cosmic white, turning a deep, rose pink at the ends of every petal.

Dahlia ‘Hy Trio’

If you like bicolored flowers, but you’re a little sick of the ends of cactus dahlias being a different color from the heart of the flower, you might go for ‘Hy Trio’.

Each striking flower is peppered and streaked with deep purple and white unevenly across the flower head, each coloring unique. 

‘Hy Trio’, in the right conditions, will reach 140cm tall, making for an impressive and dramatic effect in any garden, well into autumn, until the first frosts hit.

Dahlia ‘My Love’

If you’d prefer a cactus dahlia in a single color, ‘My Love’ will compliment any garden scheme with cosmic white flower heads. 

In the heart of each flower, the cactus dahlia adopts a touch of green and yellow, adding further interest.

Capable of reaching 120cm high, this dahlia will brighten up any bed or border you choose to plant it in, while producing plenty of flowers for cuttings, should you wish to bring these beautiful blooms indoors.

Collarette Dahlias:

Dahlia ‘Dahlegria Tricolore’

The Dahlegria series is a special type of dahlia designed to have a compact growth habit, making it ideal for container gardens or smaller places.

‘Dahlegria Tricolore’ is a very tidy-looking flower, featuring the tiniest of inner florets in yellow, contrasting nicely against the central eye in deep crimson.

The outer petals are the real star of this plant, starting off as a deep red to match the center, fading to a lovely light peach, and then turning into a bright pink at the end of the petals.

Dahlia ‘Fashion Monger’

While introduced in 1955, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a new variety, as it has a very unusual look.

The signature inner layer of florets are a vivid white, making a nice contrast against the yellow center of the flower. 

These smaller petals make a great base for the ray petals, which are pure white at the edges, deepening into rich pink streaks the closer you get to the center of the flower.

Dahlia ‘Night Butterfly’

What ‘Night Butterfly’ lacks in size, it makes up for in the most striking collarette dahlia blooms available. Each flower head boasts wine red petals, ringing a collar of pink and white petals, surrounding a sunshine-yellow center.

Dinner Plate Dahlias:

Dahlia ‘Black Jack’

One of the most handsome dinner plate dahlias available, ‘Black Jack’ is a tall beauty, reaching a maximum of 180cm tall, making it worthy of any must-have plant list.

The blooms that this variety produces are in the deepest blackberry red you can picture, in a semi-cactus dahlia form. They brighten to a rich crimson at the tips, making a nice contrast.

These flowers are later-flowering than some, appearing in the later weeks of summer, well into autumn if the weather permits. Each bloom can reach an impressive 25cm in diameter.

Dahlia ‘Crème de cassis’

If you prefer your dinner plate dahlias in a lighter shade but still with plenty of unique beauty, ‘Crème de cassis’ might be what you’re looking for.

This is a much smaller variety than ‘Black Jack’, reaching a more manageable height of 90cm when the dahlia has matured.

What it lacks in stature, it more than makes up for in its flowers. This dahlia produces pastel-purple flowers, the undersides of which are a shade of deep wine, not unlike ‘Black Jack’. 

You can even see this rich color on as you look at the dahlias, as the petals are ever-so-slightly edged in it.

Dahlia ‘Iceberg’

A gorgeous, white-flowering dahlia, ‘Iceberg’ is sure to lift any area of your garden that could do with some elegant structure and simple color.

The plant itself ranges in height depending on the growing conditions, between 80 and 100cm tall. 

This cultivar will need some support, as the flower heads can reach 25cm in width, where they may start to nod or bend the flower stems.

Dahlia ‘Islander’

Featuring huge, ruffled petals in a breathtaking bright pink, ‘Islander’ produces giant blooms which still manage to soften any planting scheme.

Given the right conditions, this variety will flower all the way through summer until the temperatures drop, reaching a maximum height of 150cm.

Dahlia ‘Kelvin Floodlight’

A favorite of those who breed dahlias to show them, ‘Kelvin Floodlight’ produces double flower heads in almost luminous yellow, with nearly countless petals. 

This is a fantastic dahlia which really lives up to the dinner plate label, making for the perfect cut flower, or a great focal point within your garden, where the plant can reach 100cm tall.

Dahlia ‘Myrtle’s Folly’

‘Myrtle’s Folly’ is bound to catch anyone’s attention. This variety is part of the Fimbriata subgroup of dahlias within the dinner plate or decorative group, where the very ends of the ray florets split, giving the whole flower head a whimsical, fringed look.

The petals range in color, from a deeper pink at the heart of the flower, coral pink in places, and even streaks of lilac, the flower head getting to a maximum diameter of 20cm.

Dahlia ‘Penhill Watermelon’

One of the most impressive and most popular dinner plate dahlias (which is saying something), ‘Penhill Watermelon’ produces huge flower heads with twisting petals.

These individual florets almost look frozen in time, twisting away from the heart of the flower, creating the perfect outline of watermelon pink and streaks of white.

Dahlia ‘Tartan’

Dinner plate dahlias are especially beautiful when they are strongly bicolored, beveling each petal and allowing you to see its brilliant form in a new way.

‘Tartan’ boasts large flower heads reaching 20cm wide, the deep red petals edged in a brilliant white, from the middle of summer until the first frosts descend.

Dahlia ‘Thomas A. Edison’

If you can’t wait until midsummer for fantastic displays of color, ‘Thomas A. Edison’ has you covered. This dahlia produces deep purple blooms in the first few weeks of summer, earlier than most.

With time, it will reach a height of 100cm, making it perfect for the middle or back of borders, as well as large pots.

Pompon and Ball Dahlias:

Dahlia ‘Aurora’s Kiss’

If you prefer your dahlias small and perfect, ‘Aurora’s Kiss’ is the perfect ball dahlia in miniature form. It boasts deep red, globe-shaped flowers from midsummer onward, on stems reaching a decent height of 120cm.

The flowering period of ‘Aurora’s Kiss’ is shorter than most, lasting around three months on average, but what a show it will give you.

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere hot, while ball dahlia tubers produce as many flowers as they are capable of growing in full sun, they do benefit from some afternoon shade.

Dahlia ‘Brown Sugar’

For coppery and uplifting tones, ‘Brown Sugar’ will brighten up any patch of your garden. These beautiful blooms deepen to a reddish orange at the heart of the flower, carrying different shades of copper through the petals.

Each flower is capable of reaching 10cm across. To really show them off, plant them in groups of odd numbers where their dainty shape can really stand out.

Dahlia ‘Jomanda’

‘Jomanda’ is a tall dahlia, reaching about 150cm in the right conditions. The bright green foliage is lovely on its own, but the dahlia really shows off in summer when it gives you a plethora of bright pink to orange rounded blooms, each petal ending in a slight point.

This particular variety has won the Award for Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, and it’s a regular contender in dahlia flower competitions.

Dahlia ‘Moor Place’

A striking pompon dahlia, ‘Moor Place’ boasts deep magenta blooms which are perfectly formed, making it a firm favorite of those who show their dahlia flowers at competitions.

‘Moor Place’ can reach 120cm high, which means it’s a little large for all but the largest of pots, so it may be better to plant it in the middle of a border. It needs full sun in order to put on the best displays possible.

A compact ball dahlia, ‘Tam Tam’ is perfect for container gardens, cutting gardens, or at the front of borders. 

It reaches a maximum height of 75cm, and what it lacks in stature, it makes up for in its sea of wine-red dahlias, each flower able to reach 10cm in diameter.

Dahlia ‘Tam Tam’

This petite plant will bloom profusely all the way until the first frosts hit, making it a favorite of many gardeners.

Dahlia ‘White Aster’

‘White Aster’ is a firm favorite of gardeners across the world, which is impressive when you think that this particular variety has been in circulation for over 120 years, and new dahlia cultivars are being developed all the time.

It’s one of the best dahlias to showcase the form of the pompon dahlia, in a shade of cosmic white, turning ivory at the heart of the flower. Providing that you put the plant in enough sunlight, it will produce a sea of color.

They are popular for cut flower gardens, container gardening, and even sourcing your own wedding flowers from your back garden.

Single Dahlias:

Dahlia ‘Annika’

All single-flowering dahlias are magnets for pollinators because the nectar is easy to access without countless petals getting in the way. 

‘Annika’ is a particularly beautiful variety, producing bright pink flowers, offsetting the rich green foliage. 

The plant itself reaches a modest 45cm height at best, making it perfect for container gardens, balconies, color for next to the back door, or at the front of borders.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Auckland’

‘Bishop of Auckland’ is perfect for the middle of a mixed bed or border, where it will really hold its own with its brilliant, deep red flowers, black stems, and vibrant green foliage.

The flowers are intensely pigmented, looking almost deep purple or black in places, with very dark centers, ringed with tiny yellow florets.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Dover’

If you prefer your dahlias in white with a lot of contrast, ‘Bishop of Dover’ is a good choice. It provides the perfect focal point in any garden, with dark purple leaves, maroon stems, and striking white flowers.

The central yellow eye of each flower pops against the deep foliage, and each bloom has a hint of lilac to the white petals.

It will flower from summer well into autumn, making it a great food source for pollinators when flowers can be more scarce.

Making anyone hungry, ‘Chocolate Sundae’ is perfectly named, featuring dahlias in velvety chocolate tones, contrasting well against the sunshine-yellow florets in the center of each flower.

Dahlia ‘Chocolate Sundae’

Unfortunately, these flowers aren’t chocolate scented. If you are after flowers that do make your stomach growl with their perfume, go for chocolate cosmos, or cosmos astrosanguineus, instead.

Dahlia ‘Ian Hislop’

If you like warm, pastel tones, ‘Ian Hislop’ could be your next variety of single dahlia to try. It features pale orangey-yellow blooms, where the petals curve slightly inward towards the central yellow eye of the flower. 

The plant itself can reach 120cm high, making it a good choice when you want to add more height and color into your garden. The flowers appear in midsummer, and the blooming season will last for as long as the weather allows.

Dahlia ‘Moonfire’

A favorite of those who prefer their dahlias with very dark foliage, ‘Moonfire’ shows off with its purple leaves, but it really comes into its own once the flowers appear in late summer.

The blooms are treasure-yellow, ringed with deep orange to red surrounding the central yellow and maroon eye. You’ll also see it labeled as ‘Dahlia Sunshine’.

Dahlia ‘Tywnings Candy’

Instantly recognizable for its novel, candy-like blooms, ‘Tywnings Candy’ produces brilliant white flowers which are thickly beveled in a bright crimson, surrounding the central eye of the flower.

The foliage is deep green, offsetting the bright flowers well, and while this plant reaches a modest height of 75cm, it will hold its own in any mixed border or planting scheme.

Dahlia ‘Wishes N Dreams’

A dwarf single dahlia, ‘Wishes N Dreams’ will catch anyone’s attention with its dark purple foliage, providing the perfect backdrop for its bright bicolored blooms.

The flowers are a lovely lilac, deepening to a vibrant purple at the heart of the flower, the central yellow florets providing just the right warmth to show off the colors. 

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