It’s the year of the dahlia. These native Mexican flowers have topped every wedding trend list of 2019 — their eclectic textures and vivid colors have captured brides and event planners all over the world. Texture and personalization are central themes in the wedding industry this year, making the versatile dahlia a perfect addition to any arrangement.
There are over 42 types of dahlias and innumerable hybrids. These exotic beauties range in size, color and texture. Due to their wild colors and interesting shapes, dahlias make great additions to gardens, bouquets and arrangements. These flowers typically bloom throughout the summer and fall, making them the perfect perennial plant to bring some color to your garden in the warm months.
Since there are thousands of dahlias, they are each classified under one of these 11 categories. Once you learn about all the different types of dahlias, you will be able to identify this beautiful bloom and you just might discover your new favorite flower.
Cactus and Semi-Cactus Dahlias
Cactus dahlias are by far the most dramatic of all dahlias. These blooms are double-flowering with long, rolled petals, giving them a spiky look. These types of dahlias feature a variety of colors and can range from miniature flowers to giant blooms. Cactus types are classified as incurved cactus, straight cactus and semi-cactus. Incurved cactus types have petals that are completely rolled with the tips curving toward the center of the flower. Semi-cactus blooms feature petals that are only half rolled and are flat at the base. Finally, straight cactus have straight petals that are rolled for one-half of their length.
Some popular cactus and semi-cactus dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Doris Day’
- Dahlia ‘Frigoulet’
- Dahlia ‘Pianella’
This is the largest category of dahlias and offers a wide variety of colors and shapes. Unlike the cactus types, decorative dahlias have broad and flat petals. These versatile blooms are double-flowering and they are either classified as formal or informal. Informal decorative dahlias have petals that are evenly and regularly placed while informal types have flat petals that are slightly rolled at the tip and are placed irregularly.
Some popular decorative dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’
- Dahlia ‘Rothesay Reveller’
- Dahlia ‘Kelvin Floodlight’
Single dahlias feature a row of overlapping petals that are flat or slightly cupped. The uniform petals on single dahlias can be rounded or pointed. These types of dahlias are single-flowering and can be over two inches in diameter. Fun fact: pollinators are particularly attracted to these flowers!
Some popular single dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Magenta Star’
- Dahlia ‘Mystic Illusion’
- Dahlia ‘Waltzing Mathilda’
Mignon dahlias are similar to single dahlias and are sometimes even categorized together. The main differences are mignon dahlias tend to be under two inches in diameter and feature petals with round tips. The daisy-like flowers bloom in a variety of vivid colors, often around a contrasting center.
Some popular mignon dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Scura’
- Dahlia ‘G.F. Hemerik’
- Dahlia ‘Sunshine’
Pompon dahlias are generally small double-flowering blooms with flat petals arranged in a spiral. They are almost perfectly round and feature tightly rolled, quill-like petals. These delicate blooms reach a maximum of two inches in diameter.
Some popular pompon dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Moor Place’
- Dahlia ‘Plum Surprise’
- Dahlia ‘Franz Kafka’
Ball dahlias are either shaped like a ball or a slightly flattened sphere. The petals of ball dahlias can be blunt, rounded or indented and are usually displayed in a spiral arrangement. Unlike pompon dahlias, these blooms often grow larger than two inches in diameter.
Some popular ball dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Aurora’s Kiss’
- Dahlia ‘Jomanda’
- Dahlia ‘Cornell’
Anemone dahlias have an outer ring of flat petals surrounding a dense group of long and tubular petals. These big blooms are a popular choice for bouquets. They make great cut flowers and can introduce vivid colors and texture to any arrangement. Fun fact: these flowers can vary from two to four feet tall!
Some popular anemone dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Purpinka’
- Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine
- Dahlia ‘Boogie Woogie’
Like anemone dahlias, collarette types feature large flat petals that surround a ring of shorter petals. These smaller petals are often a different color, forming a collar in the middle of the bloom. The open flower structure of this bloom makes it attractive to pollinators, so it’s the perfect addition to any garden!
Some popular collarette dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Teesbrooke Audrey’
- Dahlia ‘Pooh’
- Dahlia ‘Night Butterfly’
Peony dahlias are beautiful single-flowering blooms that have open centers. The center is surrounded by two or more rows of large petals. These petals are often irregularly formed, giving this unique bloom a fluffy look. This textured look makes it an interesting addition to any bouquet or arrangement.
Some popular peony dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Fascination’
- Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’
- Dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’
Like peony dahlias, orchid dahlias are also single-flowering and feature an open center. Orchid dahlias are either classified as a single orchid or a double orchid. Single orchid dahlias feature one row of petals and double orchids have two rows of petals that hide the center of the flower. Though the name of this type suggests a similarity to the orchid flower, these types of dahlias bear little resemblance.
Some popular orchid dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Honka Red’
- Dahlia ‘Fragile’
- Dahlia ‘Honka Surprise
Unlike orchid dahlias, waterlily dahlias resemble their namesake, the water lily flower. They have breathtaking double blooms made up of broad and sparse petals. These flowers are extremely eye-catching due to their striking color and pattern.
Some popular waterlily dahlias include:
- Dahlia ‘Caballero’
- Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’
- Dahlia ‘Pearl of Heemstede’
Now that you know the differences between all the dahlia flowers, you get to discover which types are your favorite! No matter what you choose, these beautiful flowers will look stunning in any bouquet or centerpiece. Whether you decorate with dahlias or plant them in your flower bed, these exotic flowers are sure to bring life to your event, home or garden.