Dictionary of Flowers: Dahlia Hybrids, Short Varieties

Amazing Dahlia hybrids. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Takashi Hososhima and Flickr

Amazing Dahlia hybrids. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Takashi Hososhima and Flickr

  • Dahlia Hybrids, Short Varieties 
  • Common name: dahlia
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Category: annual, frost sensitive
  • Height: 18" or less
  • Width: 18"
  • Sun
  • Blooms: midsummer to frost
  • Attracts: bees, butterflies, birds
  • Growth habit: clumping. Used as a filler in container combinations
  • Maintenance: medium
  • Soil: fertile, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers.
  • Garden uses: containers, front of border, edging plant, cutting garden
  • Diseases: few, if not stressed
  • Pests: earwigs

A herbaceous perennial genus with a large number of species and literally thousands of varieties,

Dahlias are native to Central and South America.

They are heat loving annuals (perennial in warmest zones) that grow from tuberous roots. 

Dahlias are classified according to their flower size and flower form. They range in height from one to six feet tall and bloom in several colors, including white, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple and bi-colors. 

They are reliable summer bloomers.

Dahlias require rich soil that drains well. They are heavy feeders, so fertilizing needs to be done on a weekly basis.

Before the plant starts forming buds, feed with a fertilizing formula high in nitrogen. After buds appear, switch to a phosphorus-high fertilizer to promote heavier blooming until the end of the season.

Dahlias prefer consistently moist soil. They get severely stressed if under-watered, especially those grown in pots.

Mulch to preserve moisture and water on a consistent basis during summer. Disbudding dahlia will promote bigger blooms. Deadhead for continuous bloom.

They are frost tender, so they die to the ground after the first frost. The tubers can be then lifted, allowed to dry and stored to be planted the next spring after danger of frost has passed and the ground is warm.

In warm zones, tubers can be left in the ground during winter (zones 8 and up).

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Dahlias can also be grown from seed.

Indoors, plant seed in moist starting mix, barely covering it four to six weeks before the last frost date. Kept at 70 to 80F, they germinate in one or two weeks.

Keep the seedlings moist and pinch back when a few sets of true leaves have appeared. Wait to plant in their permanent position outdoors until all danger of frost has passed.

Tubers and bedding plants can be purchased in nurseries during spring and summer. If growing from tubers, they can be planted indoors in moist potting mix and placed in a sunny position, or if planting tubers outdoors, wait till soil has warmed up.

Plant in soil to which manure or compost has been added to enrich it. Planting depth of the tubers should be about two inches for short varieties.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Dahlias aren't disease prone if taken care of properly. Rot can happen in soils that don't drain well. Powdery mildew is produced by lack of air circulation. If plants show signs of virus disease, remove and discard.

Pests can be treated with insecticidal soap or insecticide. Though not deer resistant, they aren't among deer favorite foods.

Popular varieties:

  • Dahlia 'Redskin' - double flowers on one foot plants with dark bronze foliage
  • Dahlia 'Victoriana mix' - sixteen inch plants with two inch blooms, single. Colors include yellow, pink, orange and red, some bicolored
  • Dahlia 'Diablo mix' - one foot compact plants with double flowers in red, orange, purple or mauve
  • Dahlia 'Mignon' - single flowered twelve inch plant. Early bloomer
  • Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’ - semi double blooms, bi-colored. Twelve to fourteen inches tall.
  • Dahlia 'Sunburst' - bi-colored red and yellow on a short one foot plant.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

Go from Dahlia Hybrids, Short Varieties to the Dictionary of Flowers

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