Everything You Need to Know About Dahlias!

Posted by Amber Williams on 4th Jul 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Dahlias!

Ah, Dahlias. With a broad selection of unique shapes, sensual shades and even heights, it’s easy to see why they’re among the most cultivated flowers in the country!

Sure, they’re a popular plant now. But were they always? As you can imagine from their tropical appearance, Dahlias were natives to warmer areas of the globe before they settled roots in a colder, milder Europe.

In this week’s blog, not only will we delve into the history of Dahlias, but we will also explore the benefits of growing them and which ones to keep on your radar for next year. 


Dahlias, believe it or not, weren’t always grown in areas of Europe. In fact, many might not know that they originate from areas of Mexico and Guatemala. Although this isn’t too surprising considering how tropical they make our gardens feel (and how much sunlight they need!).

Before making their way over to Spain in 1789, Dahlias were loved by the Aztecs for their ‘healing properties’. They even used Dahlias as a food source, or more specifically, the tubers. That’s right, in their raw and natural form, Dahlia tubers aren’t very different to your usual root vegetable.

In 1789, plants and parts of Dahlias were sent to Spain. The recipient, Antonio Jose Cavarille, grew 3 plants from this bounty in the Royal Gardens of Madrid. From these three, he named them Dahlia pinnata, D. rosea, and D. coccinea – all after the Swedish botanist, Andreas Dahl.

From then, Dahlia plants and cuttings were shipped across Europe until each country had their own stash. To this day, new cultivars and varieties are produced, helping us to create sensational summer displays in abundance.

Did You Know?

There’s no true-blue Dahlia – Although that isn’t for lack of trying! Many have tried and ultimately failed at trying their hand at growing the very first blue dahlia. Although some have gotten close with mostly purple shades, no one has succeeded.

Their tubers were once considered a vegetable – Remember Andreas Dahl? He coined the Dahlia and considered it as a vegetable as their tubers are completely edible. Apparently, their flavour sits somewhere between a potato and radishes...

Dahlias are one of the most loved flowers in the world – They’re even considered to be one of the most beautiful blooms around, according to many landscape designers and gardeners.

And finally, there are over 40 species of Dahlia and around 20,000 cultivars. People just can’t get enough of their Dahlias!

Dahlias to Know and Grow

Dahlia Cafe Au Lait

Wondering which Dahlias are going to take your garden to the next level? These fan favourites are guaranteed to do the job.

Dahlia Café au Lait:

Dahlia Cafe Au lait is a pretty Dinner Plate Dahlia variety with huge creamy coloured flowers and contrasting peachy centres. Perfect for border or patio containers, they will produce a fabulous display throughout the summer and provide excellent cut flowers for the vase.

Dahlia Arabian Night:

Arabian Night is striking dark red, sure to be a focal point in the garden. Its ideal spot is in a sunny garden border, bed or patio pot in a sheltered position. When this Dahlia is in full flower it can be cut for an excellent cut flower display.

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff:

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

One of the most popular Dahlias is sure to be Bishop of Llandaff. This gorgeous variety with stunning red flowers and sensational dark foliage produces an abundance of stunning flowers from June to October. They prefer to be in a sunny location and look superb in pots on the patio or in a sunny border. This beauty is even a winner of the most prestigious Award of Garden Merit, awarded by the RHS.

Dahlia Megastar:

Dahlia Megastar is a stunning decorative dahlia variety that produces huge bi-coloured white and orange flowerheads. This impressive bloom flowers from July until the first frost, making it a worthy investment for your summer displays.