Delightful Dahlias!

mix of dahlias

As a floral designer who tries to use seasonal and locally-grown flowers whenever possible, I love summer and fall for the brightly-colored and interestingly-textured options available. I’m especially enamored of dahlias, particularly just how much variety there is in terms of flower form, shape, color, and size. It’s sometimes hard to believe that a flower the size of a half dollar resembling a ball and a flower the size of my entire head with a plethora of gracefully pointed petals are from the same type of plant.

ball dahlias coral dahlias

In fact, there are fourteen DIFFERENT classifications of dahlia type accepted by the Royal Horticultural Society. They vary from single-flowered dahlias to a water lily style, from cactus dahlias to double orchid and even peony-flowered. These classifications don’t take size into account, and flowers in these categories can range from very very small to VERY large.

multicolored dahlias

Dahlias are members of the Asteraceae family and as such are related to sunflowers, daisies, chrysanthemums, and zinnias. Native to Mexico, dahlias were brought to Europe in the late 1700s and began being bred and crossed to eventually become the 42 currently accepted species in the Dahlia genus. According to traditional Victorian floriography, dahlias mean "dignity and elegance," which makes perfect sense when one encounters these stylish blooms.

Giant Cactus Mix dahlia

I was always under the impression that dahlias are grown from tubers, but SGS has several types of dahlias one can grow from seed! Here are some examples of dahlias grown from our Species Mix, Fireworks Mix, and Cactus Flowered Hybrids Mixed dahlia seeds in the SGS test garden.

Giant Cactus Mix dahlia Fireworks dahlia Fireworks dahlias Species Mix dahlia Species Mix dahlia

Many types of dahlias make excellent cut flowers. Below is an example of a bouquet I made this past week of seasonal, locally grown flowers with an emphasis on dahlias.

Bridal bouquet featuring dahlias

What’s your favorite dahlia style?