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Home Blog Floret’s Favorite Dahlia Varieties
December 10th 2016

Floret’s Favorite Dahlia Varieties

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Floret

floret-dahlia-launch-9Dahlias are one of the most beautiful, versatile, and productive cut flowers you can grow. We have been growing dahlias in abundance for 8 years now. Over this time, we have conducted numerous field trials, growing over 400 unique varieties! I’ve recorded notes and have made comparisons on every single one. My obsession is a little out of control.

All dahlias are beautiful in their own way, but as a flower farmer I’ve had to measure them a bit more harshly based on specific criteria in order to decide which ones ultimately make the cut here on our farm. It’s often a difficult process to let certain varieties go, but with limited growing space, and eager customers always wanting MORE FLOWERS, only the best and most productive varieties have been able to stay.

floret-dahlia-launch-4The top traits I look for when grading dahlias are unique coloring, high productivity, weather resistance, and long, strong stems. When it comes to choosing varieties, a lot depends on what or who you’re growing dahlias for. We grow mainly for grocery stores, with Whole Foods being our biggest customer, and wedding focused floral designers.

Varieties that sell well to grocery stores might not be as popular with floral designers or brides. And the varieties that stand out as beautiful garden additions, or being suitable for pot growing are very important to the home gardener.

I’ve outlined my very favorites by category, based in my strict criteria, below. Be warned, this post is long. And if you don’t see a variety you’ve been eyeing on here, don’t worry! Just because it’s not on the list doesn’t mean it’s not great. I highly recommend every variety in our shop, since all have made the cut here at Floret and have a permanent spot in the garden. But I wanted to share the top performers, and most popular varieties with our customers, by category, in hopes it will answer some of the questions you might have.

floret-dahlia-launchDahlias are a big financial investment up front, but they will reward you long into the future. A single tuber planted in the spring will provide a clump of 6-12 tubers just seven months later that you can then plant or share the following year.

When expanding my collection, I opt for variety over quantity and get just one or two tubers of new gems, knowing that they will multiply rapidly after one growing season. But you might be the opposite and instead want more of a few top performers. There are no rules!

I will go into greater detail on how to grow and divide dahlias soon, but for now I hope this helps you to choose which varieties to add to your garden in 2017. Please note, that the varieties are listed below each strip of photos, and correspond with the images, left to right.
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If you’re growing for grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or straight bunch sales, the following varieties are for you. They are all EXTREMELY productive, easy to grow, have long-strong stems, hold up in both poor weather, and during transport and display.
dahlia1Cornel
One of the most productive and reliable varieties we’ve ever grown, ‘Cornel’ makes our top 5 list every year. Plants reach 4 feet tall and produce long, strong stems perfect for cutting. Blooms are 4 inches across and feature dark, cherry-red petals that resemble rich velvet. Hands down, the best red variety on the market. Ball-shaped flowers are weather resistant and last an extremely long time in the vase.

Cornel Bronze
A bronze sport from ‘Cornel’, which is one of the most productive and reliable varieties we’ve ever grown, this new introduction is already on the Floret Favorites list. Plants reach 4 feet tall and produce long, strong stems perfect for cutting. Blooms are 4 inches across and feature warm, bronze petals that resemble an heirloom pumpkin. Hands down, one of the best orange varieties on the market. Ball-shaped flowers are weather resistant and last an extremely long time in the vase.

Chimacum Night
The beautiful mahogany flowers of this dark treasure bloom abundantly all season long. The medium-sized ball-shaped flowers ride atop tall, strong stems.

dahlia2Crichton Honey
With warm, peachy-apricot blooms that look as if they are glowing, ‘Crichton Honey’ is a favorite with designers and market customers. Ball-shaped, 4 inch blooms are very weather resistant. At 3.5 feet tall, plants are on the shorter side, but if pinched early they will produce a bumper crop of long, strong stems that are excellent for cutting. One of Floret’s top 5 favorites.

Genova
This new discovery has quickly risen to the top of the Floret Favorites list this year. The vigorous, but manageable plants, produce a bumper crop of the most beautiful soft lavender ball-shaped flowers that have a distinctive dark eye. Tall, strong stems make them excellent cut flowers. A must grow!

Jomanda
One of the most productive varieties we grow, ‘Jomanda’ is a rich, rusty orange with contrasting dark stems. Ball-shaped, 4 inch blooms are both beautiful and long-lasting, making them a favorite with our market customers. A must grow!

dahlia3Snoho Doris
Award-winning and one of our top 5 favorites, ‘Snoho Doris’ is a vigorous upright grower, with long strong stems and ball-shaped, virtually weather proof flowers. A favorite with designers and market customers, its 4-5 inch blooms are a beautiful mix of coral, peach, and apricot.

Suncrest
After trialing dozens of yellow varieties over the years, this beauty is still a top favorite. Soft canary- yellow, 4 inch ball-shaped blooms have a faint peachy-pink blush on the petal tips. ‘Suncrest’ is very productive and boasts long lasting, weather resistant flowers, making it perfect for market sales.

Valley Rust Bucket
This spectacular garden workhorse was lovingly bred by Leone and David Smith and is a must grow. The 3 inch miniature ball shaped flowers of  ‘Valley Rust Bucket’ are a deep rusty red-orange blend that is a favorite among our market customers and everyone who visits the garden. Productive plants reach 4 feet tall and produce tall, weather proof, long lasting stems all season long. A real winner!

dahlia4Intrigue
This formal decorative is one of the first dahlia varieties to flower each season. Blooms are 4 inches across and start out as a brilliant coral that fades to rich raspberry. Prolific, long-lasting, and loved by all our market customers, ‘Intrigue’ is a must grow.

Terracotta
This variety was discovered in a patch of seedlings and was gifted to us a few years ago. It has quickly become a true favorite. The 5 inch semi cactus blooms are a warm peachy brown, reminiscent of butterscotch. Long, strong stems are perfect for arranging. Extremely productive plants reach 5 feet tall. A must grow!

Chimacum Nadjae
The warm coral flowers of this workhorse variety bloom prolifically all summer long. A good cut flower, ‘Chimacum Nadjae’ is a lovely addition to both the flower garden and the vase.

Erin Floret Cafe au Lait dahliaIf you’re growing flowers for floral design work, especially weddings and events, or to sell to florists, then the following varieties are worth considering. 

dahlia5

For larger arrangements and centerpieces, these fluffy beauties are eagerly snapped up by our customers and incorporate beautifully into feature bouquets.

Café au Lait
Our number one most requested variety! Every year we double our patch and always agree that we should have planted more. The massive informal decorative dinner plate-sized blooms resemble pastel silk pillows. Popular with brides and wedding designers, flowers are the most unusual blend of pale creamy blush.

Sherwood’s Peach
Second only to ‘Café au Lait’ in popularity, this amazing new (to us) variety has stolen the hearts of everyone who has visited our garden. The large glowing peach petals are backed by the softest purple haze, giving the flowers a dusty heirloom quality rarely seen in a dahlia. The large plants are smothered in flowers all season long and produce buckets and buckets of blooms that are perfect for flower arranging and wedding work. A must grow!

Hamari Gold
This giant-flowered gem is a beautiful warm bronzy gold and is always a favorite with everyone who visits our garden. Its blooms mix beautifully with just about anything. Plants reach 4-5 feet tall and are especially striking in the fall.

dahlia19

Breakout
One of the loveliest varieties we have ever grown, this large-flowered treasure produces an abundance of 8-10 inch soft watermelon colored blooms brushed with buttercream on long, strong stems. If ‘Café au Lait’ had a sister, it would surely be ‘Break Out’.

Otto’s Thrill
This giant rosy-pink treasure is a huge hit with everyone who visits our garden, especially wedding florists. If you’re looking for a winning addition to your dinnerplate dahlia collection, then look no further. With long, strong stems and huge 8-12 inch shimmering pink blossoms, ‘Otto’s Thrill’ deserves a spot in every cutting garden.

Labyrinth
Trying to put into words the beauty of this magnificent variety feels almost impossible. The healthy, dark leaved plants produce a staggering number of large peachy-raspberry flowers that are like nothing else we’ve ever grown. With long, strong stems and such an unforgettable color combination, ‘Labyrinth’ is a flower arrangers dream.

dahlia7

These gems are perfect for hand tied bouquets and centerpieces. They are also very popular wedding colors right now and sell out every week with our florist customers. 

Mystique
After trialing hundreds of varieties in search of the perfect muted raspberry toned blooms suitable in size, shape, and color for high-end floral design, we finally found what we were looking for in ‘Mystique’. The medium-sized, dusty-rose flowers are a sight to behold. Plants produce an abundance of long stemmed blooms all season long. The outside edge of the raspberry petals gently fade, creating the most beautiful smoky, dusted effect. A must grow!

Rock Run Ashley
One of the most beautiful and versatile varieties from our recent trials, ‘Rock Run Ashley’ produces a steady stream of small buff to blush blooms all season long. This extraordinary discovery has quickly taken a spot on our top 10 list. Its strong stems and delicate looking flowers make it a must have for any flower arranger or wedding florist. Plants are on the shorter side, but if pinched early will produce long stems abundantly.

Jowey Winnie
If ‘Bracken Rose’ had a big sister, this beauty would be her. Their coloring is so similar, but ‘Jowey Winnie’ has a warm peach undertone whereas ‘Bracken Rose’ is more of a cool rosy pink. The vigorous, healthy plants churn out armloads of large, ball-shaped, dusty-rose flowers all season long. Their long, strong stems make them ideal for cutting. A must have for flower arrangers and wedding florists.

dahlia8Crichton Honey
With warm, peachy-apricot blooms that look as if they are glowing, ‘Crichton Honey’ is a favorite with designers and market customers. Ball-shaped, 4 inch blooms are very weather resistant. At 3.5 feet tall, plants are on the shorter side, but if pinched early they will produce a bumper crop of long, strong stems that are excellent for cutting. One of Floret’s top 5 favorites.

Snoho Doris
Award-winning and one of our top 5 favorites, ‘Snoho Doris’ is a vigorous upright grower, with long strong stems and ball-shaped, virtually weather proof flowers. A favorite with designers and market customers, its 4-5 inch blooms are a beautiful mix of coral, peach, and apricot.

Linda’s Baby
We have been on a quest to find the perfect peach dahlia for years now and ‘Linda’s Baby’ is everything we hoped for and more. The stunning ball-shaped blooms sit atop tall, strong stems and plants are both healthy and free flowering. Winner of our favorite new variety for 2016, this beauty is a must have for anyone who loves flowers.

dahlia9These novelty varieties make the perfect accents in any type of arrangement. A few blooms tucked here or there provide instant interest and texture! Be sure to harvest them when they are just opening for the longest vase life.

Appleblossom
One of the most popular varieties we grow, ‘Appleblossom’ is a hit with event designers and makes a wonderful wedding bouquet addition. The petals start out a soft buttercream and transform to a delicate blush peach and combine beautifully with Café au Lait.

Waltzing Mathilda
We have wanted to get our hands on this coveted variety for years after hearing rave reviews from floral designer Susanne Hatwood of The Blue Carrot in England. Probably the most striking variety in our field, this coral-peach single flowered bloomer has the most brilliant raspberry colored centers that draw in everyone who sees them. The vivid flowers are set against a sea of dark foliage and bloom abundantly, without being deadheaded, all season long. A marvelous variety for cutting and a spectacular addition to the flower border. A must grow!

Platinum Blonde
One of the most unusual varieties we grow, flowers resemble double flowered echinacea. Each fuzzy buttercream center on this 4 inch anemone-shaped bloomer is surrounded by a ring of bright white petals. Loved by designers, the long stemmed flowers are great for wedding work and last well in the vase. Plants bloom abundantly all season long.

dahlia10Gitty Up
A huge hit with everyone who visits our garden, this eye-catching novelty has fuzzy cherry-red centers encircled by glowing orange petals. While its 3 inch blooms look quite delicate, they are surprisingly weather resistant, very productive, and make a wonderful accent in arrangements.

Dad’s Favorite
A wonderful novelty, 5 inch unique anemone-shaped purple flowers have lovely dark violet petals and fuzzy, gold flecked centers. Plants reach 5 feet tall and produce long stems prolifically all season.

Black Narcissus
This spiky black treasure was a gift from a dear friend, and in addition to churning out buckets of spiky black, textural flowers, it adds a bit of drama to the garden and the vase. Flowers are a bit weather sensitive, so harvest before fully mature and let them open fully inside.

dahlia11These little darlings are perfect for small handwork such as boutonnieres, flower crowns and corsages. They all have long, strong stems and also are adorable tucked into bouquets.

Amber Queen
One of the earliest varieties to flower, this abundant bloomer makes a wonderful addition to bouquets. Its petite 2 inch glowing bronze button-shaped blooms make great cuts. ‘Amber Queen’ is a real garden workhorse.

Small World
Hands down, the best white dahlia we’ve ever grown, ‘Small World’ is smothered in miniature ball-shaped flowers all season long. The more you cut it, the more it blooms. Long, strong stems and weather proof flowers make it an excellent cut flower. Especially prized by wedding florists.

Moor Place
This adorable little black button dahlia is as hardworking as it is productive. Each plant is smothered in an abundance of miniature deep maroon, ball-shaped flowers all season. Long, strong stems and weather resistance make it an excellent variety for cutting.

dahlia12Golden Scepter
The large, healthy plants of this cheerful variety produce small glowing yellow flowers in abundance all season long. The petite blooms are perfect for mixed bouquets and wedding work and their long stems make them a nice cut flower.

Koko Puff
With 2 inch pom pon shaped blooms in the most exquisite smoky mauve color, ‘Koko Puff’ is reminiscent of a moody SAIPUA bouquet. Similar in color to ‘La Belle Epoch’ tulips, it blends beautifully with many different color palettes. This little treasure flowers steadily all season long and is a must grow if you are looking for a unique garden addition. Plants reach 3 feet tall.

Frank Holmes
One of the sweetest little dahlias in our patch, ‘Frank Holmes’ produces armloads of 1.5 inch soft lavender flowers on long, strong stems all season long. If you love purple then this sweetie is for you!

floret-dahlia-launch-7If you’re growing purely for pleasure and want dahlias that look great in the landscape, then these guys are for you! Even if you don’t have a lot of space to devote to them, you can still enjoy these wonderful plants in pots or tucked into your existing garden, plus be able to pick from them and bring flowers in the house.

dahlia13These petite plants have a compact growth habit, flower abundantly all season, provide plenty of flowers for cutting and are ALSO suitable for containers.
Amber Queen
One of the earliest varieties to flower, this abundant bloomer makes a wonderful addition to bouquets. Its petite 2 inch glowing bronze button-shaped blooms make great cuts. ‘Amber Queen’ is a real garden workhorse.

Lark’s Ebbe
This beautiful little variety has quickly become a favorite for bouquets here at Floret. The compact plants produce a bumper crop of medium sized peachy flowers, with long stems, that are perfect for both hand tied and vase bouquets. A real gem!

Koko Puff
With 2 inch pom pon shaped blooms in the most exquisite smoky mauve color, ‘Koko Puff’ is reminiscent of a moody SAIPUA bouquet. Similar in color to ‘La Belle Epoch’ tulips, it blends beautifully with many different color palettes. This little treasure flowers steadily all season long and is a must grow if you are looking for a unique garden addition. Plants reach 3 feet tall.

dahlia14Stolze Von Berlin
The small lilac-pink, ball-shaped blooms of this sweetheart sit atop long stems. Plants are on the short side, but if pinched early will produce an abundance of stems great for cutting all summer long.

Bantling
This adorable knee-high plant is loaded with the most adorable bright orange button-shaped flowers on long, strong stems. Perfect for wedding work, hand tied bouquets, and boutonnieres. A must grow for flower arrangers!

Doris Duke
The stunning salmon-pink flowers of this beauty look incredible in both the garden border and the vase. While plants are on the shorter side, what they lack in height, they make up for in flower production. Blooms of this variety are more weather sensitive than most, so harvest when partially open for best vase life.

dahlia15These stunning gems all make wonderful garden plants, look great in the border all season long, plus produce plenty of flower for cutting too.

David Howard
The medium-sized, pumpkin-orange flowers of this award-winning variety seem to smother the dark purple leaved plants all season long. The contrasting dark foliage and vivid flowers make ‘David Howard’ a great flower border addition as well as a stunning cut flower.

Waltzing Mathilda
We have wanted to get our hands on this coveted variety for years after hearing rave reviews from floral designer Susanne Hatwood of The Blue Carrot in England. Probably the most striking variety in our field, this coral-peach single flowered bloomer has the most brilliant raspberry colored centers that draw in everyone who sees them. The vivid flowers are set against a sea of dark foliage and bloom abundantly, without being deadheaded, all season long. A marvelous variety for cutting and a spectacular addition to the flower border. A must grow!

Punkin Spice
This informal decorative boasts 6-7 inch bright glowing orange blooms, some with raspberry undertones, and others with hints of gold and red. Petals are lacinated at the tip, giving the flower an almost fuzzy quality. ‘Punkin Spice’ is versatile and looks incredible in mixed arrangements or displayed en masse. Plants reach 4.5 feet tall and their lush growth requires extra support. A must grow!

dahlia16Bacardi
One of the most beautifully colored varieties we grow, this muddy-rose beauty has dark raspberry tips and center. A floral designers dream, the striking flowers are amazing in bouquets. Be sure to harvest this beauty when they are one-third of the way open, since the delicate petals are more prone to weather damage than most.

Sonic Bloom
Petals are a very unique blend of raspberry, mauve, and peach, and are incredibly versatile for arranging as they can be combined with so many colors. The medium-sized flower heads have slightly lacinated petals, giving the flowers a fuzzy, shaggy look.

Doris Duke
The stunning salmon-pink flowers of this beauty look incredible in both the garden border and the vase. While plants are on the shorter side, what they lack in height, they make up for in flower production. Blooms of this variety are more weather sensitive than most, so harvest when partially open for best vase life.

12 Comments

  1. Katie Schippers on

    Thank you for taking the time to put together this lengthy post. I so appreciate you sharing your wisdom! I have been growing more and more cutting flowers every year, on a very small scale for my own enjoyment. It’s so, so wonderful to go around my yard, collect blooms, and play at being a florist for the afternoon. I love having a big bouquet when others come over or when I’m photographing a sewing/knitting/baking project I’ve completed. So I will be checking in to your blog for more! Can’t wait to learn how to divide dahlia tubers (I have several huge clumps sitting in peat moss in my basement right now)!

    Reply
  2. Alma Buettell on

    I have been growing dahlias for about 35 years here in Kansas where the wind blows like a tornado daily. Your dahlias look amazingly robust how do your fertilize? My daughter and I have been scouring the internet for dahlias and too late we found yours. Still we must indulge.
    yours
    Alma Buettell

    Reply
  3. heather on

    this is such a helpful post – THANK YOU, erin & team…as always, you have outdone yourselves :o) so much love & thankfulness to you all & your families. your passion & pursuit of your dreams is a blessing & gift to us all.

    i can’t wait for tomorrow morning to see what lovelies i can score, and i am REALLY excited about your upcoming post about dividing & storing tubers. i would be so thrilled to be able to grow my garden slowly & steadily over the years with Floret beauty, watching intentional, thoughtful purchases nestle into new nooks in our yard & garden from year to year :o)

    Reply
  4. Ally Tatum on

    Thanks for all of your tips! I do have a question though. I am in Georgia and I am looking to get some of your Dahlias on Tuesday. They don’t ship until April, can I still plant them here in the south that late in the season??

    Reply
    • Susan King on

      Hi Ally,
      As I understand it, the frost-free dates for a good chunk of Georgia are in the last part of March, so if you plant the tubers when you get them in early April they should do just fine. Thanks for your interest in our dahlias!

  5. Linda Q on

    This post is putting me in a holiday mood-it’s like Christmas morning for dahlia lovers!

    I’m making my list, checking it twice,
    Hard to choose ’cause the’re all so nice,
    Floret dahlias are coming to town!

    Reply
  6. Linda Q on

    This post put me in a holiday mood-it will be like Christmas morning for all of us dahlia lovers?

    “I’m making my list, checking it twice,
    Hard to choose ’cause the’re all so nice’
    Floret Dahlias are coming to town!”

    Reply
    • Susan King on

      Love it! Thanks Linda!

  7. Stacy on

    Thank you. I’m so excited to finally purchase Dahlias from Floret. Thank you for sharing all the wonderful and helpful information.

    Reply
  8. Kelsey on

    Thanks for all the wonderful information! One question I would love to have answered- Have you ever taken dahlia cuttings from tubers in the spring in order to have more plants for fall harvest? Does this work well or can it really hurt the original tuber? I’d be really interested to know because I’m just starting out and don’t want to spend my whole flower budget on tubers…

    Reply
  9. Corinne on

    oh my. Erin, thank you for being such a dahlia nerd! You are truly amazing…and thank you for the super detailed post. Full of gratitude. Can’t wait to get my order in. This is gonna be the year my dahlias grow like crazy!

    Reply

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