Dahlia pinnata care infographicThe vibrant Dahlia Pinnata of the Asteraceae family is an herbaceous plant that displays amazingly gorgeous flowers that light up any garden, much like the sun. The perennial dahlia has colored blooms that span all the spectrum range and can sometimes change colors.

The innate beauty and delicate symmetry of Dahlia’s flowers make it one of the most highly desirable plants that make gardening truly rewarding.

What Is a Dahlia Pinnata?

The Dahlia Pinnata is a Mexican perennial herb that is growing in popularity because of its beautiful, showy flowers and deep-colored foliage. This herbaceous plant is considered one of the darlings in many summer gardens. Caring for these striking beauties is easy and simple, even in cooler regions.

Dahlia Pinnata Care

Growing Dahlia Pinnata is quite easy, despite their stunningly complicated appearances. Since they grow from tubers, gardeners can slowly start planting the tender perennial plant indoors in the early spring and move them outdoors under warmer conditions.

With some requisite information, many gardeners will be enjoying these colorful bloomers for the coming summer season.


The Dahlia Pinnata plant is not drought-resistant, so the summer season should be full of abundant watering. Abundant watering should only be done when the plants appear, as premature overwatering may cause the tubers to get soggy and rot.

Watering Tips for Dahlia


Half-hour deep watering schedules of two to three times a week are ideal for keeping these water-loving plants hydrated. Once they start blooming, the delightful Dahlia Pinnata plants will need more water and attention. In even drier, hotter climates, watering should be longer and more frequent.


Dahlia Pinnata plants love full sun exposure, although they need to be protected from strong winds. The best planting sites for tall Dahlia Pinnata plants are those facing the morning sun, like the East, or a South-facing site.

Dahlias tend to produce flowers better with six to eight hours of direct sun exposure, and the morning light is their favorite light as it is not as harsh as the afternoon sun.

To keep the darling Dahlia Pinnata from sunburn, a slight shade during the peak afternoon hours will help immensely.


Dahlia Pinnata plants thrive in rich fertilized soil with excellent drainage. The Dahlia’s roots do not do well in excessively wet soil and will rot in this condition. The ideal pH soil level should be neutral to slightly acidic in the 6.5 to 7.0 range. Taller Dahlias are better planted in the ground, while medium to small Dahlias can thrive in pots.

Fertilized Soil for Dahlia Pinnata


For gardeners with heavier soil or soils rich in clay, a great solution is to mix their local soil with sand, peat moss, and dried aged manure. This soil mix creates a light and loose soil texture that encourages excellent drainage and maintains the right amount of moisture.


Gardeners prefer to grow the Dahlia Pinnata tubers indoors or in greenhouses. Once established and in warmer conditions, they are planted in the ground.

The Dahlia Pinnata loves warmth, as long as the temperature is not extreme. Timing is the key when planting the darling Dahlia, as it prefers warmer soil temperatures. Once the soil temperature reaches around 60 F, the Dahlia may be slowly planted into the ground.


The Dahlia Pinnata is a plant that loves low-nitrogen liquid fertilizers. Once the Dahlia sprouts are visible coming from the tubers, they are best fertilized with a diluted fertilizer solution. Overfertilization can result in weak tubers, rotting tubers, or a lack of flowers.

Liquid Fertilizers for Dahlia


Mature Dahlias are heavy feeders, which mean the more regular their fertilizer doses are, the more abundant and enormous their leaves and flowers are. It should be noted that fertilizers high in nitrogen should be avoided, as nitrogen promotes foliage growth but not flowering. To promote blooming, fertilizers high in phosphorus should be used.

For gardeners who plan to dig up and store the Dahlia tubers for winter, fertilization should be stopped around the end of the summer season. This will discourage active growth when the tubers should be resting for the cooler winter months.

– Rest Period

The Dahlia Pinnata is a tender perennial, which means that it tolerates lower cool temperatures and may survive harsh winters if properly stored. In harsher, colder regions, the Dahlia is treated as an annual plant unless it is dug up and allowed to overwinter indoors in ideal conditions.

Gardeners in the warmer regions can simply cut back the Dahlia Pinnata plants. Once cut, they are ideally covered in mulch and allowed to rest and go dormant during the slightly cooler months. This setup is ideal for gardeners in North America living in USDA zones 8 and higher.

Gardeners in colder regions where the Dahlia Pinnata is usually an annual plant may either dig up and store the tubers through winter or purchase new tubers for a different field of delightful Dahlia blooms for the coming summer. This arrangement is ideal for gardeners in North America living in USDA zones 6 to 7.



The delightfully flowering plant is pollinated by insects, which produces Dahlia Pinnata seeds. The seeds are often a different type from the parent plant, as the pollination is often done between different Dahlia cultivars. Growing Dahlia plants from seeds can be exciting for some gardeners due to the sheer excitement of not knowing what to expect.

Most gardeners prefer to propagate Dahlia Pinnata plants by dividing the tubers, which is faster than growing from seed. This method also ensures that the seedlings turn out like the parent plants.

Facts About the Dahlia Pinnata

– Size

The Dahlia Pinnata can grow to around four to five feet, with some varieties exceeding their expected height due to optimal growth conditions. The lush foliage is produced from an erect stem, which only branches in the inflorescence. The slightly shaggy plant is in the Asteraceae family, including the sunflower, the chrysanthemum, the zinnia, and the daisy.

– Leaves

The scraggly nature of the Dahlia Pinnata’s leafy foliage is casually elegant, with ovate leaflets that can grow to around four inches long. The glossy, simple, dark leaves are usually segmented, toothed, or serrated.

Leafy Foliage of Pinnata


While many Dahlia Pinnata leaves are green, some varieties produce foliage that ranges from reddish to purplish to almost black.

– Roots

Dahlia Pinnata roots are tuberous in nature, coming from tuberous root clusters. Dahlia Pinnata tubers with shoots will produce plants, and those without shoots will not. Under the soil, the Dahlia Pinnata tubers multiply during each growing season. Small tubers steadily grow into bigger ones and produce smaller tuberous roots at the same time.

– Flowers

The Dahlia Pinnata flowers come in a rainbow range of dazzling colors. From pale pastels to vibrant hues, the flowered beauties amaze gardeners and admirers alike with their showy blooms.

Flowers of Dahlia Pinnata


The flowers can be in simple or compound forms, such as single-flowered, double-flowered, pompon flowering style, cactus flowering style, water lily flowering style, peony-flowered, and dinnerplate Dahlias.

The Dahlia Pinnata flowers from summer to early fall, making these species ideal for gardeners wishing for some warm-season blooms even on the onset of colder seasons.

Deadheading the plants encourages the plants to produce more flowers and keep the whole plant looking trim and tidy. Cut Dahlia Pinnata flowers are most popular as floral arrangements.

– Habitat 

For the Dahlia Pinnata Mexico is its native habitat where it is found growing profusely in the wild as well as in cultivation. While they have adapted to this warm country, Dahlia Pinnata is a tender perennial, which means they are ideal for cooler, temperate regions.

In North America, this gorgeous beauty is ideal for gardening in the USDA Zones 7 through 10. Extremely hot states with very warm climates, such as southern Florida or Texas, might seem suitable, but some varieties of the Dahlia Pinnata may perish from the extreme heat.

In colder regions, the Dahlia Pinnata is grown as an annual. Gardeners are advised to make a variety of selections that are most suitable to their regions.

– Origins

Vincent Cervantes, the director of the Botanical Garden in Mexico City, sent parts of the newly-discovered plant to the director of the Royal Gardens of Madrid, Abbe Antonio José Cavanilles, in 1789. Two years later, Abbe Antonio José Cavanilles successfully grew the plants and named them after Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist and a student of Carl Linnaeus.

Origins of Dahlia Pinnata Plant


The first of the plants were called Dahlia Pinnata due to the pinnate growth of the foliage. Other plants were called Dahlia rosea and Dahlia coccinea.

Common names for the Dahlia Pinnata are the Garden Dahlia, the Pinnate Dahlia, or just plain Dahlia.


What colors can the Dahlia Pinnata change to?

The Dahlia Pinnata can change colors to various shades including red, pink, yellow, orange, white, and purple.

Is the Dahlia Pinnata frost resistant?

Yes, the Dahlia Pinnata is frost resistant, making it suitable for colder climates.

Is Dahlia Pinnata better potted or planted in the ground?

Dahlia Pinnata thrives when planted in the ground, but it can also be potted for versatility in smaller spaces.


Dahlia Pinnata plants are one of the darlings in many summer gardens. With their beautiful, showy flowers and deep-colored foliage, the delightful Dahlia continues to rise in popularity through the years.

Let’s go over what we’ve learned so far about growing this gorgeous beauty:

  • The Dahlia Pinnata is a tender perennial plant that is grown primarily for its beauty in ornamental gardens.
  • The Dahlia can be grown in colder climates as an annual or dug up and stored in ideal conditions as a perennial.
  • The Dahlia Pinnata is a great feeder and performer, rewarding gardeners by showcasing its enchanting blooms amidst lush foliage.

Dahlia Pinnata plants are a fantastic addition to any garden, especially for gardeners who enjoy a visual extension of beautiful summers. Growing and taking care of these striking beauties are easy and simple, even in cooler regions. The beautiful blooms of the vibrant Dahlia Pinnata will always bring a happy smile to whoever sees their spectacular flowering displays!

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