Flowers that look like dahlias can easily trick you into growing a dahlia flower that is not real.

Flowers with Similar Appearance but Different Genus

Dahlias are known for their beautiful, colorful, and rounded blooms, and they share some characteristics with many other species, including peonies, marigolds, and even chrysanthemums.

This article will explore some of the plants that are dahlias look-alikes. Please keep reading to find out their characteristics and key differences. 

List of Dahlia Look-alikes 

Few flowers are as varied as the striking dahlia. Dahlias spread their spectacular florets in vibrant colors such as pinks, reds, yellows, and even purples in blooms as large as a dinner plate.

The dahlia, which has a single flower-headed stem that is also leafy, is a low-maintenance plant with beautiful blooms. There are 42 different types of dahlias, which grow as tubers and are easy to reproduce. Although dahlias are perennials, they are sometimes grown as annuals in cooler climates.

While dahlias are a beautiful addition to any garden, here are 11 flowers that are similar to dahlias in some aspects but have their own distinct beauty to add to your garden.

1. African Marigold

African marigolds have traditionally been grown as an easy-to-grow annual that requires little care. African marigolds are annual and bloom from early summer through frost.

The flowers, however, could be better spheres since they are flattened at the top and, while densely packed with petals, they are fringed and curled. Furthermore, the flowers are barely 2 to 4 inches across and come in three colors: white, yellow, and orange.

They are incredibly gorgeous, though, with ultra finely textured leaves, and they also keep problematic bugs away from your beds and borders since insects despise their pungent odor.

Bright and Cheerful Flower in Garden

– Growing Season

African marigolds blossom from early summer to late fall and typically grow in a compact and mounded style, reaching a height of 12 to 20 inches, while some can reach a height of 48 inches. Depending on the cultivar, they can spread between 18 and 24 inches.

– Specific Needs

African marigolds like hot, dry weather and are drought and heat-resistant. Fungal infections like root rot can thrive in cool, wet circumstances. Marigolds require full light and rich, well-drained soil. Smaller marigolds work well as boundary-edging plants, and in pots, taller or larger-flowered marigolds can be planted in big pots or borders.

– Comparison

The pompon-shaped marigold sparkles in vivid yellows and oranges, mimicking the dahlia’s bright hues. Dahlias leaves are shaped as arrow-heads while marigold leaves appear as tooth-shaped. 

2. Mandevilla

Mandevilla, often known as rock trumpet, is a genus of tropical and subtropical flowering vines. The five-petal trumpet-shaped flowers are often spectacular and fragrant, appearing in pink, red, and white, with yellow throats on occasion.

Mandevilla thrives in zones 10-11; thus, it could be an excellent companion plant for the dahlia in some regions. However, the Mandevilla’s fast-growing vine structure requires support as it grows up to 20 feet and is just as wide.

– Growing Season

Mandevilla thrives in hot, humid conditions and blooms continuously from late spring till frost. It is better to buy them as potted plants. Wait until temperatures consistently reach 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day (50 degrees Fahrenheit at night) before planting them outside.

Mandevilla in Flower Pot on Trellis

– Specific Needs

Mandevilla requires high humidity and warm conditions. They will perish in a deep frost. If they’re in a pot, bring them indoors. If you live in a dry climate region or are growing them inside, mist their leaves on a frequent basis to keep humidity levels high enough to allow them to thrive.

– Comparison

This magnificent floral plant is tropical in origin, yet it, like the dahlia, enjoys warmer temperatures. Mandevilla blooms, like dahlias bloom, are huge, but none grow as large as the dahlia dinner plate variety. 

3. Coreopsis

The coreopsis, often known as tickseed, is a bright yellow flower with a cheery single layer bloom that can grow up to 2 feet tall. The coreopsis, although smaller than the dahlia, is used as a garden decorative flower. 

– Growing Season

Plants in the coreopsis species grow slowly, so they should be sowed in the spring after frost has passed. Annual varieties bloom in early summer and continue to flower throughout the fall, whereas perennial varieties bloom the second year after planting.

Long Blooming and Versatile Flower

– Specific Needs

Coreopsis prefers full sun and adequate drainage but will grow and bloom in partial shade (to a lesser extent). It may grow in poor soil but not in clay. Before planting, enhance drainage by adding compost.

– Comparison

These blossoms thrive in strong sunshine and porous soil, just like dahlias. The coreopsis flowers resemble dahlia in shape and color. 

4. Autumn Crocus

The autumn crocus flower begins life as a corm, similar to the tuberous beginnings of a dahlia. This type prefers well-drained soil and warm temperatures. Its exquisite pink, purple, white, and yellow blooms require full sun and are native to Northern Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Greece.

The crocus is an excellent plant for a border or lush ground cover in the yard. This is unlike the dahlia, which has a sturdy stem and does well as a cut flower.

– Growing Season

Autumn crocus should be planted mid-to-late summer to grow and blossom by October.

Early Blooming Bulb of the Fall Season

Plant autumn-flowering crocuses and colchicums in late summer for fall and early winter color. The leaf development happens primarily in early spring before trees have fully leafed out.

– Specific Needs

Autumn crocus thrives in rock gardens, raised beds, and areas under trees. It may withstand modest shade from deciduous trees but should not be planted in thick shade. 

– Comparison

Unlike the dahlia, this crocus is hardy in zones 3-8 and, like the dahlia, blooms in the fall. The autumn crocus is a perennial that will die back in cold winters. Unlike dahlias, this crocus may reach a height of 6-9 inches while growing on rocky soils.

5. Chrysanthemum

This native Chinese flower, sometimes known as the mum, is a beautiful and resilient kind. Originally cultivated as a herb and utilized in dishes and beverages, the herbaceous perennial mum is now primarily used as a formal decorative flower. 

Mums have numerous bloom layers of florets in plain white, pink, yellows, bronze, rust, lavender, or purple colors. This lush flower resembles several dahlia kinds in appearance. 

– Growing Season

Early bloomers typically begin blooming in late July, early fall bloomers bloom in September, and late fall bloomers begin their colorful display in October. Each variety is different, but most mums bloom for four to eight weeks.

Classic and Colorful Flower of Fall

– Specific Needs

Chrysanthemums flourish and produce the most flowers when planted in full light and given plenty of food and water. Chrysanthemums should be planted in early spring when all frost threat has passed.

– Comparison

The mum, like the dahlia, is a rapid grower that blooms in the fall and should be planted in zones 3-9 in full sun. While certain mum kinds, like the dahlia, grow from 4-36 inches tall, they can also grow up to 3 feet broad. Mums, like dahlias, prefer rich, well-draining soil, but mums require more moisture than dahlias to thrive.

6. Cosmos

Cosmos are annual flowers with bright, daisy-like blooms on long, slender stems. They bloom from summer through fall and attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your yard. They are easily cultivated from seeds and can survive in poor soil conditions. Cosmos also make the best dahlia companion plants. 

– Growing Season

Cosmos blooms in early summer and can be kept going until frost if deadheaded. You don’t need to remove dead flower heads, but doing so maintains the plant neat and stimulates a speedy rebloom.

– Specific Needs

Cosmos thrive in both garden beds and containers and make excellent cut flowers. Cosmos does not require any special soil preparation other than well-drained soil.

Easy to Grow Blooming Flower

They prefer less rich soil, as rich soil promotes foliage at the expense of blossoms. They should be sown 12-15 inches apart to promote bushy growth.

– Comparison

The cosmos, like the dahlia, blooms from summer to fall with flowers in yellow, white, pink, magenta, orange, red, and brown. Cosmos grow to be about 6 feet tall, not quite as tall as the strikingly tall dahlia.

The cosmos, which originated in Mexico and Central America, prefers full sun and well-draining soil, just like the dahlia. However, unlike dahlias, they attract insects and birds and require little to no water once planted.

7. Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan is comparable to several single dahlia species, notably the stunning ‘Moon fire’, which has a dark purple core and bright red petals around it before turning cream.

Black-eyed Susan grows 1 to 3 feet tall, with leaves 6 inches long, stalks over 8 inches long, and flowers 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The nectar attracts butterflies, bees, and other insects to the flowers.

– Growing Season

Black-eyed Susan generally blooms from June to August. Plant fresh plants when all danger has gone in the spring, or plant in the fall.

Black Eyed Susan Flower Bed

70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal soil temperature for germination. It would be great if you avoid planting during the hot summer months. Sow seeds around six weeks before the typical last frost date if planted from seed.

– Specific Needs

The Black-eyed Susan thrives in direct sunlight. It can take partial sun, although it will bloom less consistently. It’s great if the soil is fertile, yet this plant can withstand harsh conditions.

– Comparison

In contrast to dahlias, black-eyed Susan is cold hardy, making it suited for gardens in moderate and even frigid climates. While it is a short-lived perennial, it can also be grown as an annual in beds, borders, or containers.

8. Japanese Anemone

Japanese anemones are perennials that bloom in the late summer and fall. Bold leaf mounds with upright, airy stems grow 2 to 3 feet in height, with 2 1/2 inch wide circular flowers in white, pink, or mauve. Flowers can be single, double, or semi-double and offer a splash of color to the landscape in the late season.

Japanese anemones produce saucer-shaped pink or white flowers on long, slender, branched stems. Once established, these hardy perennials are simple to maintain and adaptable, thriving in the sun or moderate shade and spreading fast.

They are commonly grown as garden bloomers, but they, like dahlias, can also be used as cut flowers.

– Growing Season

Japanese anemones are put on a spectacular display in late summer and early fall—open blooms in pale pink or white float above beautiful foliage on tall stems. Japanese anemones are good for growing in wooded areas or beneath trees.

White Flower Japanese Anemone

– Specific Needs

Japanese anemones thrive in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil rich in humus. They can even be cultivated in bright sunlight if the soil is moist. They can tolerate full shade but won’t flower as well and may get lanky and flop over.

– Comparison

This dainty flower, like the dahlia, blooms late in the season. Japanese anemones are ideal for naturalized and informal gardens since they easily adapt to growing under trees and in moist soil, where true dahlias would suffer and fail to bloom.

It has broad, well-proportioned petals with rounded and dented tips that surround a canary and golden yellow center and thus can easily be mistaken as a dahlia. 

9. Peony

The peony is breathtakingly lovely in blossom, with the fattest, most delectable petals and lush green leaves. Peonies are one of the most well-known and well-loved perennials. This is not surprising given their abundant beauty and scent, trouble-free nature, and lifespan.

Dahlias and peonies are similar in many aspects, particularly in double and collarette forms. Globular blooms combined with an uneven petal arrangement create the desired sweet and romantic effect.

– Growing Season

Peonies blossom from early summer to late spring, depending on where you reside and the type of peony you cultivate. Many nurseries provide early, midseason, and late blooming kinds, allowing you to extend the peony season and enjoy those wonderful blossoms for as long as possible. 

Details of the Beautiful Peony Flower

– Specific Needs

Peonies prefer full sun, and while they may tolerate partial shade, they blossom best in a sunny location that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. Because of their huge flowers, peonies can become top-heavy in strong winds.

Peonies thrive in rich, fertile, humus-rich, moist soil that drains well. The soil pH should be neutral.

– Comparison

Peonies are generally gentle whites and pinks, unlike dahlias, although they can also be reds, rich corals, and purples. Peonies are native to Europe and Asia and grow in zones 3-9, depending on the variety.

It prefers to be planted in the fall, unlike dahlias, to allow for roots before the growing season. The peony flower, which grows to be approximately 1-3 feet tall, is admired for its beauty. Like the dahlia, it is frequently used in cut arrangements and gardens.

10. Zinnia

Zinnias are one of the most convenient flowers to grow because they grow rapidly and produce a lot of blossoms. Zinnias are annuals, which means they only live for one season, producing blooms and seeds but not returning in subsequent years. Zinnias, closely related to dahlias, feature brightly colored blooms that are appreciated in cut arrangements.

– Growing Season

Zinnias bloom at their best from April through November through the fall frost. To start zinnias from seed (indoors or outdoors), insert the pointy end of the seed into the soil and lightly cover it with the earth. Plant zinnias 6″ to 18″ apart, depending on the type, to improve air circulation and avoid powdery mildew.

Pink and Orange Zinnias in Nursery

– Specific Needs

Zinnias thrive in direct sunlight. They can flower in partial shade, especially in hotter locations with afternoon shade, but they may be more prone to disease and produce fewer flowers. Zinnias thrive in fertile, well-drained soils rich in organic materials.

– Comparison

Both zinnias and dahlias belong to the sunflower family, and their flowers are similar in appearance. They both produce blooms composed of numerous tiny flowers that join to form a big head. You should notice a key difference in the size and color of flowers right away. 

Dahlias have flowers that are yellow, purple, orange, pink, red, or a dark purple tint. Zinnia blooms come in various colors, including yellow, white, off-white, pink, lilac, pale green, gold, red, purple, and orange.

11. African Daisy 4D Series

The flowers of the 4D series of African daisy cultivars are notable for their resemblance to collarette dahlias. Subtle color schemes like this are a nice complement to any garden. The lush vegetation contrasts with the long-lasting floral arrangement. 

The pearly white blooms are surrounded by a short yellow band and are centered with steel blue. The blossoms are high above the plant, which grows into a dense mound. The foliage is a lovely grayish-green that complements the other hues in the garden.

These African daisies are beautiful and low-maintenance, blooming consistently from spring to October. They flourish in containers and window boxes, unlike many other dahlias.

Exploration of Beauty and Diversity

– Growing Season

Daisy blooms seasonally, as do other plants. The first daisies appear in spring (March), and the last daisies bloom at the beginning of fall (October) when the weather begins to cool again.

– Specific Needs

African daisies thrive in full sun but yield fewer flowers if grown in partial shade. To avoid the heat stress, daisy’s blooming will cease over the summer and will resume in the fall. 

– Comparison

The 4D series of African daisy cultivars is distinctive in that the blooms resemble collarette dahlias. They feature flat outer petals and then another spherical clump in the middle with smaller tubular petals.

Conclusion

Growing dahlias is something every gardener looks forward to because these breathtakingly gorgeous flowers are easy to grow and maintain.

However, you will find several flowers that resemble dahlias in appearance, color, needs, or growing conditions. The list we have compiled offers in-depth information regarding these flowers. 

Here’s what you should know when planting dahlias:

  • Dahlias share similar characteristics with a variety of flowers. 
  • The differences are not just in flowers and their colors but also in size and growth, foliage, soil and sunlight conditions, or climate zones. 
  • Dahlias bloom late, keeping you company from the hottest day of the year until the leaves turn golden and red before falling.
  • With this knowledge, we hope you can distinguish dahlias and flowers that look like dahlias. 
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