Dahlia flower types, there are countless varieties to choose from for your garden, whether you want large show-stopping blooms or petite, delicate flowers that come in their stunning shapes, sizes, and colors.
Dahlias are one of the most diverse flower types in the plant kingdom, with over 50 distinct flower shapes and an immense color range from white to yellow, orange, red, purple, and bi-colors.
Their vivid blooms add a tropical feel to gardens from summer to fall. The different types mainly differ in their bloom form and size, from the miniature blossoms of mignon dahlias to the massive dinner plate variety. So if you want to add a splash of color and variety to your plot this year, keep reading to find the perfect dahlia flowers for you.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- Dahlia Flower Types and Varieties to Explore in 2023
- 1. Cactus Dahlias
- 2. Pompon Dahlias
- 3. Waterlily Dahlias
- 4. Ball Dahlias
- 5. Single Dahlias
- 6. Orchid Dahlias
- 7. Collarette Dahlias
- 8. Formal Decorative Dahlias
- 9. Mignon Dahlias
- 10. Miniature Ball Dahlias
- 11. Peony Dahlias
- 12. Semi Cactus Dahlias
- 13. Anemone Dahlias
- 14. Plate Dahlias
- 15 . Dinner Plate Dahlias
- 16. Mignon Single Dahlias
- 17. Double Orchid Dahlias
- 18. Stellar Dahlias
- 19. Single-Flowered Dahlias
- 20. Miscellaneous Dahlias
- 21. Fusenable Dahlias
- 22. Spider Dahlias
- 23. Pom Pom Cactus Dahlias
- 24. Quilled Dahlias
- 25. Star Dahlias
Dahlia Flower Types and Varieties to Explore in 2023
1. Cactus Dahlias
Cactus dahlias produce blossoms shaped like tubular trumpets with pointed petals resembling a cactus. These compact flowers come in hues from red to yellow that attract pollinators. Native to Mexico, cactus dahlias thrive in areas with warm temperatures and prefer well-draining soil amended with organic matter. They make robust, long-blooming additions to borders or containers.
2. Pompon Dahlias
Pompon dahlias have petite globe-shaped blooms that resemble pompoms. These densely packed flowers come in rich shades of burgundy, purple, and bronze and often bloom nonstop from summer to frost. The plants have a bushy habit that reaches three to four feet tall and two to three feet wide at maturity. Pompon dahlias suit cottage gardens, walkways, and in-bedding displays due to their endless color.
3. Waterlily Dahlias
Waterlily dahlias produce flat blooms resembling water lilies, with densely furled petals in shades of purple, white, pink, and red. The flowers can reach six to 12 inches wide and contrast nicely against the lobed, textured foliage. These dahlias thrive in locations with fertile, moisture-retentive soil and prefer plentiful sunlight. The extended flowering period and informal nature make waterlily dahlias an attractive choice to fill the middle to back of borders.
4. Ball Dahlias
Ball dahlias offer rounded, globe-shaped blooms that form dense clusters of color along upright stems. They come in an array of compact sizes, from miniature to Large, with blooms in almost every shade of the rainbow. The plants have a neat, bushy habit with lush foliage, reaching one and a half to four feet in height, depending on the variety. Ball dahlias fit well into mixed borders, cottage gardens, and formal seasonal accents due to their durability and abundance of color.
5. Single Dahlias
Single dahlias bear solitary, pan-shaped blooms on tall stems perfect for cutting. The funnel-shaped flowers range in size from three to 10 inches wide and come in nearly every hue. Colors tend to intensify as the season progresses, with later flowers exhibiting richer tones.
These dahlias grow upright to four to six feet tall, producing an abundance of stems for cut flowers throughout summer and fall. Single dahlias offer dome stability and structure to mixed borders and cottage gardens.
6. Orchid Dahlias
Orchid dahlias feature many long, tubular petals that reflex backward and outwards, forming an orchid-like bloom. The clustered flowers can reach six to 10 inches across and are produced in a wide array of colors ranging from crimson to lilac, peach, pink and yellow tones. The plants grow upright, unbranched stems that typically range from three to six feet tall, topped with large lobed leaves.
Due to their unique, exotic shape that mimics tropical orchids and the wide range of distinct hues, orchid dahlias make stunning additions to mixed borders, cottage gardens, and cutting gardens. Deadheading of spent blooms throughout summer will encourage these dahlias to rebloom, extending their period of performance.
The tubular petals gracefully arch out and back from a central dome, forming an intricate yet airy silhouette that adds elegance, grace, and texture to gardens from mid-summer through fall. Thanks to their height, sturdy stems, long vase life, and ability to bloom en masse, orchid dahlias make excellent cut flowers for large, voluminous bouquets that can be featured as centerpieces or used to decorate several smaller arrangements.
The wide array of hues ranging from warm reds and pinks to cooler lavenders and lilacs complement a diverse mix of companions in the garden while the orchid-like shape provides an exotic, unique presence among more traditional rounded dahlia types.
7. Collarette Dahlias
Collarette dahlias produce abundant clusters of fragrant, pom pom-shaped flowers with tufted centers. The blooms appear in an array of soft pastel shades ranging from pinks and lavenders to yellows and oranges with diameters measuring three to five inches across. The name “collarette” comes from the French word for ‘collar’ in reference to the distinctive ring of narrow inner petals that resemble a lady’s collar. These compact dahlia varieties grow up to two feet tall, producing a profusion of color that makes them well-suited for gardens with limited space.
Collarette dahlias add textural visual interest to cottage-style gardens, mixed borders, and containers with their diffused, daisy-like form. The unique, informal shape of the clustered blooms with their fluffy pom centers and frilly collars of inner petals lend an antique, vintage charm to gardens.
The abundant yet petite-sized blooms borne in clusters along multiple stems create a carpet of floral color that is perfect for filling in small garden spaces. Collarette dahlias bloom throughout summer into early fall if deadheaded regularly, continuing to attract pollinators with their sweet fragrance. The pastel palette of soft pinks, yellows, peaches, and purples complements a wide variety of garden companions while imparting a whimsical, cheerful vibe.
8. Formal Decorative Dahlias
Formal decorative dahlias produce opulent, medium to large sized blooms in crested, quilled and cactus forms. The showy flowers appear in a wide array of solid colors ranging from bright yellow to deep wine red and burgundy. These upright plants grow three to six feet tall, producing numerous side shoots that hold the blooms high above the lobed foliage over the summer season. Formal decorative dahlias are well suited for more structured gardens, borders, and beds due to their symmetrical shapes, upright habit, and a high degree of formality.
The profusion of contrasting blooms in diverse sizes and shapes offers unmatched visual impact throughout mid to late summer and into fall if deadheaded regularly. Staking may be required to provide support for these heavy blooming specimens in windy or rainy conditions to prevent stem breakage. The perfectly symmetrical, orderly forms of blooms in formal decorative dahlias resemble pom-poms, quills, stars, and other formal shapes that impart structure, dignity, and gravitas when massed together in borders, containers, or cutting gardens.
The unparalleled array of rich, saturated hues brighten and warm up late summer gardens through crisp fall months, providing an explosion of brilliant color during Dahlia’s peak performance season.
9. Mignon Dahlias
Mignon dahlias feature compact plants with petite, finely formed flowers in a wide spectrum of colors. The blooms typically range from one to three inches wide with high petal counts, creating an intricate, delicate effect. These dwarf dahlias grow to one to two feet tall, making them ideal bedding plants for borders, tubs, and hanging baskets.
They are long blooming throughout summer into early fall if spent blooms are removed. The pint-sized flowers of mignon dahlias add elegance and finesse to gardens with their abundance of color and texture.
10. Miniature Ball Dahlias
Miniature ball dahlias bear numerous, petite globe-shaped flowers no larger than two to three inches in diameter. The clustered blooms arrive in an assortment of warm tones including yellow, orange, copper, and apricot. The compact plants reach eight to 12 inches tall forming clumps of rounded, padded foliage.
Miniature ball dahlias display maximized impact in limited spaces such as window boxes, large containers, and the front of borders. Their winning combination of small stature, durability, and ceaseless blooms make miniature balls excellent choices for creating a colorful splash in the garden.
11. Peony Dahlias
Peony dahlias produce blooms consisting of spherical pompom-like centers surrounded by pedal-like ray flowers, resembling the flowers of Japanese tree peonies. The clustered blooms come in colors including red, pink, purple, yellow, and white, with diameters ranging from five to nine inches across. These medium-sized dahlia plants grow to heights between two to three feet tall, forming an oval shape of lobed, textured foliage.
Peony dahlias offer a semi-formal yet whimsical appearance that adds visual interest and tactility to cottage-style gardens with their distinctive fringed and curled petals. Regular deadheading of spent blooms throughout summer and fall will encourage reblooming of peony dahlias, extending their season of performance.
The elegant yet frilly shape of peony dahlia blooms resembles the blooms of vintage roses and old-fashioned garden flowers, adding a sense of antiquity and grace to garden borders and mixed plantings.
Peony dahlias thrive in full sun and require sturdy staking along main stems to support the heavy blooms above the compact growth habit of the foliage. The incredible diversity of blooms in peony dahlias ranging from whites through yellows, pinks, and purples, creates a versatile palette to complement other perennial and annual bedding plants in cottage-themed gardens.
12. Semi Cactus Dahlias
Semi-cactus dahlias produce clustered blooms shaped like elongated trumpets with slightly flared ends. The funnel-like flowers come in a wide range of colors, including apricot, red, yellow, orange, and bi-color combinations of peach and cream. These upright plants form sturdy stems reaching three to six feet tall that hold the blooms high above the tubular, textured foliage.
Semi-cactus dahlias provide a sculptural, structural element to borders, cottage gardens, and cutting gardens with their angular, tubular petals and vertical habit of growth. The tapering shape and narrow width of the petals give semi-cactus dahlias an upright, opening, cylindrical form that is more elongated and architectural than round or ray-type dahlias. Semi-cactus dahlias are known for their excellent performance with extended bloom time and reliability through hot, dry weather conditions.
The narrow, tubular shape of the individual blooms makes semi-cactus dahlias a good choice for floral arrangements and cut flower bouquets where an extended, vertical form is desired in contrast to fuller, rounder blooms.
13. Anemone Dahlias
Anemone dahlias bear flat, daisy-like flowers consisting of dense, layered petals that loosely resemble an anemone blossom. The blooms occur in a range of colors from red to purple to white and can reach six inches wide. These dwarf plants grow one to two feet tall forming a rounded shape of deeply lobed, crinkled foliage.
Anemone dahlias offer textural, bucolic charm to cottage gardens and containers with their loosely stacked, windswept blooms. Their versatility and durability make anemones a wonderful choice for season-long color.
14. Plate Dahlias
Plate dahlias produce very large, elegantly styled flowers that resemble porcelain plates, measuring up to 12 inches wide. The opulent blooms come in a wide variety of colors ranging from deep burgundy tones to yellows, pinks, and creams. The plants grow into bushy, upright specimens between three to four feet tall.
The symmetrical, layered arrangement of the overlapping petals gives plate dahlias a sophisticated, almost formal appearance. These sturdy dahlia varieties bloom profusely and reliably for months, weathering turbulent seasons and challenging conditions with bouquets of showy blooms. The immense size and architectural shape of plate dahlias make them ideal for use as statement pieces and focal points in borders, cottage gardens, cutting gardens, and large mixed containers.
Their massive blooms of eight to 12 inches across create a dramatic and eye-catching display that elevates smaller planting areas. The long, strong stems of plate dahlias also lend them to use as spectacular, substantial cut flowers for large bouquets, table arrangements, and floral centerpieces.
15 . Dinner Plate Dahlias
Dinner plate dahlias bear colossal, namesake blooms measuring eight to 12 inches wide at the ends of tall, sturdy stems. The opulent flowers arrive in classic colors like yellow, orange, red, and purple as well as earthy, bimetallic shades.
These giant dahlias grow upright to four to six feet tall bearing dozens of show-stopping blossoms throughout summer and fall. Dinner plate dahlias lend royal structural drama to mixed borders and cutting gardens with their monumental, stately presence. Their steadfast blooms even endure through inclement weather, frost, and tropical storms.
16. Mignon Single Dahlias
Mignon single dahlias produce an abundance of long-stemmed flowers with small yet showy, funnel-shaped blooms up to three inches in diameter. The petite blossoms come in cheerful colors ranging from soft coral and pink tones to shades of lilac, lavender, and lemon yellow.
These miniature dahlia varieties grow in upright, compact mounds between eight to 24 inches tall, forming rounded bushes with deeply lobed, textured foliage. Mignon single dahlias add a sense of delicacy, whimsy, and refinement to cottage gardens, borders, and mixed containers with their profusion of small but elegant blooms.
They thrive in spaces where limited dimensions require plants that provide maximum visual impact in a minimal footprint. The petite stature and slender stems of Mignon single dahlias make them a good choice for bouquets, floral arrangements, and cut flower displays thanks to their charmingly dainty appearance. The cheerful color selections and extended bloom time from summer into early fall provide continual pops of color to brighten smaller garden spaces.
17. Double Orchid Dahlias
Double orchid dahlias bear immense, layered blooms with many overlapping petals that fold and recurve like an orchid blossom. The florets range in size from six to 10 inches wide and typically appear in warm tones, including apricot, peach, yellow, and orange.
These sturdy plants grow upright, reaching four to six feet tall and bearing their abundant, frilly blooms high above the jagged foliage. Double orchid dahlias infuse cutting gardens and perennial borders with a sense of the exotic through their showy, complex blooms. Their elegantly untamed form and vibrant hues bring texture, depth, and visual interest to summer displays.
18. Stellar Dahlias
Stellar dahlias bear large blooms up to 12 inches wide with overlapping rays that resemble stars. The clustered blossoms appear in bright solids and contrasting colors, including gold, scarlet, and purple edged in white. The upright plants reach heights between three and six feet tall, bearing their dazzling, starlike flowers above coarse textured foliage.
Stellar dahlias lend drama and whimsy to borders and cutting gardens with their sizeable yet sprightly blooms. Deadheading regularly throughout summer will encourage stellar dahlias to rebloom, offering an encore performance of color.
19. Single-Flowered Dahlias
Single-flowered dahlias produce elongated blooms up to eight inches wide with a single row of petals. The funnel-shaped flowers appear in classic colors like scarlet, yellow, and plum, as well as pastel hues. These upright, bushy plants grow three to six feet tall, bearing their abundant, long-stemmed blossoms above textured, jagged foliage.
Single-flowered dahlia varieties offer dependability, producing tall stems ideal for bouquets and arrangements throughout the summer months. Their composure, longevity, and stunning shape allow them to shine as standalone specimens in borders, beds, or as cut flowers.
20. Miscellaneous Dahlias
Miscellaneous dahlias encompass a diverse range of unique shapes that defy categorization. The unusual blooms appear in an assortment of pastel and contrasting bicolor combinations. These dahlias include hybrid cultivars with novel petal patterns and inflorescences such as star, spider, and formal decorative styles.
Miscellaneous dahlia plants typically grow three to four feet tall, bearing their distinctive blooms atop sturdy stems. Their unorthodox forms and unpredictable colors make miscellaneous dahlias an intriguing choice for collectors seeking something different in the garden.
21. Fusenable Dahlias
Fusenable dahlias feature blooms with narrow, tubular petals that can be fused or joined together. The stems of fusenable dahlia naturally twist around each other, causing flowers to connect in unusual patterns. These hybrid dahlias produce clustered blooms in colors ranging from orange and red to yellow and earth tones.
The plants grow three to four feet tall, bearing their unique fused blooms above broad, palmately-lobed foliage. Fusenable dahlias bring whimsy, curiosity, and wonder to cottage gardens and perennial borders with their habit of forming intricate, interlocking unions.
22. Spider Dahlias
Spider dahlias bear small blooms in clusters resembling a spider with many legs. The petite flowers form at the ends of long, and wiry branching stems that radiate out from the central plant. Spider dahlias occur in bi-colors incorporating combinations of gold, rose, bronze, and crimson.
The lanky plants grow three to four feet tall, bearing numerous clustered blooms above large, slightly-lobed foliage. Spider dahlias offer elegance, intrigue, and fine texture in perennial borders and cottage-style gardens with their unique, sprawling form. Keeping plants well-stacked will help avoid stem breakage due to the weight of the clustered flowers.
23. Pom Pom Cactus Dahlias
Pom Pom cactus dahlias produce clusters of petite flowers shaped like elongated trumpets and tightly furled into small spheres. These blossoms occur in colors that range from apricot and yellow to vermilion red.
These mounded plants grow two to three feet wide and tall bearing their petite puffball blooms throughout summer. Pompom cactus dahlias provide a textural counterpoint to mixed borders and cottage gardens with their spherical form and angular, prickly foliage.
With steady deadheading and regular watering, these beauties offer a prolonged performance with successive waves of color. Moderate fertilizing and staking tall stems help maintain plants at a manageable size and shape.
Minor issues that may occasionally arise include slug damage, leafhoppers, and powdery mildew. Leaves with slug damage should be removed and barriers placed around plants. Insecticidal soap sprays can manage leafhoppers while fungicides containing sulfur or neem oil can help control mildew.
Despite occasional concerns, pompom cactus dahlias remain relatively low maintenance additions to the mixed perennial garden. Their cheery spheres of red, yellow, and gold blossoms provide continuous charm and offer creative contrast among taller, coarser perennials when grown under suitable conditions with regular care. With proper attention, these petite plants will reward gardeners with many months of visual delight.
24. Quilled Dahlias
Quilled dahlias feature blooms consisting of long, narrow, tubular petals that are tightly rolled like a quill pen. The clustered flowers arrive in shades of white, blush, purple and yellow, ranging four to eight inches wide. The plants grow upright, forming caned stems that typically reach heights between three and six feet tall.
Quilled dahlias prefer full sunlight and fertile, moisture-retentive soils amended with generous helpings of compost and organic matter. They require regular watering to maintain consistently moist soil for optimum growth and flowering. The symmetrical, formal shape of quilled blooms make them an architecturally pleasing addition to borders and cutting gardens throughout summer. Their vertical form offers an airy, elegant sense of dimension and grace among the perennial plantings.
Once established, quilled dahlias require minimal care. Pinching off developing side shoots early in the season encourages strong vertical growth while also increasing the size of individual blooms. Regular deadheading will promote additional flowering into fall. Common pests like fungus gnats, aphids and slugs can damage foliage but usually cause only minor cosmetic effects that do not significantly impact bloom production. Chemical or organic controls can be applied as necessary but are often not warranted except under severe conditions.
With proper care, quilled dahlias reward gardeners with their sculptural blooms constructed of delicately curled petals. Their bold vertical presence creates an attractive focal point for summer and fall perennial plantings, offering artistic intricacy and elegance amidst the wider border’s more exuberant colors.
25. Star Dahlias
Star dahlias produce showy blooms with between five and 12 ray florets that radiate out like the points of a star. The clustered flowers occur in bright colors including scarlet, orange and gold as well as contrasting bicolor combinations. The upright plants form sturdy stems typically between four and six feet tall bearing ray florets above divided, palmately lobed foliage.
Star dahlias thrive in continuously sunny areas with fertile, moisture-retentive soils. The remarkable shape and vibrant hues of star dahlia blooms lend visual drama, uniqueness and charm to summer perennial borders and cutting gardens. These showstoppers offer dependability through their long blooming season and exuberant display of color.
The diversity of dahlia flower types is truly astounding, with each variety offering its own unique beauty, bloom time and growing requirements and in this guide, we covered 25 of the most popular dahlia flower types you must know about for the upcoming gardening season:
- Double orchid dahlias bear immense, layered blooms with many overlapping petals that fold and recurve like an orchid blossom.
- Mignon single dahlias produce an abundance of long-stemmed flowers with small yet showy, funnel-shaped blooms up to three inches in diameter.
- Formal decorative dahlias produce opulent, medium to large sized blooms in crested, quilled and cactus forms.
- Semi-cactus dahlias produce clustered blooms shaped like elongated trumpets with slightly flared ends.
Growing heirloom dahlias keeps flower varieties of the past thriving for future gardeners to discover and cherish. So share the gift of these remarkable flowers – there’s more than enough beauty to go around.