Comprehensive Dahlia Variety Guide by Color
The flowers of dahlias offer such a fantastic range of color, size, and form that it is hard to resist trying out every variety. That said, I only have so much space in my field and have to keep it narrowed down to the types that my florists and I can use in design work. I am always on the lookout for cultivars that add a unique flair of color, texture, or shape to my standard go-to blooms.
Overall, I love growing rainbows! Maintaining a curated collection of dahlias means that not only do I have to keep a constant supply of the standard ball and informal decorative forms in whites and blushes, but I also must provide a rainbow of options in the cool shapes like the waterlily, anemone, and collarette forms as well as the texture that laciniated and cactus types bring.
This year, I saw a significant increase in the desire for yellow tones - from soft buttery shades to warm golds—think “Ferncliff Spice,” “Mary Lou,” “Darcy” and the very fun “Double Jill.”
Peach is a perennial favorite, and I surprised everyone with the laciniated “Lakeview Peach Fuzz”—it looks like it sounds!
I also delivered buckets and buckets of pink and coral tones to one florist this year (everyone has their specialty!) My favorite choices of those are “Southern Belle,” “Kenora Lisa,” “CG Coral,” and “Islander.”
Another laciniated favorite was the deep burgundy “Urchin” which paired perfectly with productive “Rock Star” (an anemone form) for those moody blush, burgundy, and marsala combos that another florist of mine is known for (I simply cannot grow enough “Voodoo” for her!)
Copper tones came into play more this year as well, and my new go-to favorite choices are “Pennhill Watermelon,” “Robann Butterscotch,” and “Hy Suntan.”
Bronze shades like “Sierra Glow,” “Terracotta,” and “Cornel Bronze” mix with both of those groups—and never forget “Iced Tea!”
Lee has been a source for our wedding and demonstration flowers since 2013. She’s got a designer’s eye, so her attention to color nuances is precise. Searching out and providing rare varieties is a strength of hers. I know you’ll enjoy adding these thoughtfully curated specimens to your collection!
— Kelly Perry, Team Flower & Philosophy Flowers
“Double Jill” was all over the place with coloring, from pure white to yellow/white calico with wine tips. One plant produced the most incredibly shaded peach blush wash over white. All bloomed nonstop. 2.5" flowers.
Keep in mind folks: not all dahlias are meant to be cut flowers. There are plenty out there that are absolutely beautiful on the plant but end up having stems that are too short, fat, or weak to make it very far out of the field. For me, the deciding factor in keeping a variety is how it performs in my particular climate and soil. Regional differences in day length, variable temperatures, soil composition, and fertility (as well as available moisture) can affect petal color, flower size, stem strength, and general productivity. At the end of the day, it is up to the grower to figure out what works best for them through trial and error. It takes time, observation, and tenacity. But the successes are worth the bombs—I promise!