It’s hard to beat the beautiful dahlia when it comes to adding color, texture, and symbolic value to your garden. These stunning flowers come in a range of hues, shapes, and sizes that seems almost infinite, with 70,000 named varieties from which to choose. Dahlias also grow in a virtual rainbow of hues; the American Dahlia Society (ADS) has named 15 officially recognized dahlia flower colors.
- Dahlia Flower Colors – The Essentials
- About Dahlias
- 15 Official Dahlia Flower Color Varieties:
- Wrapping Up
Dahlia Flower Colors – The Essentials
Dahlias grow in a wide range of beautiful colors. The American Dahlia Society specifies 15 color classifications, which include white, yellow, orange, pink, dark pink, red, dark red, lavender, purple and black, light blend, bronze, flame, dark blend, variegated and bicolor.
The Dahlia genus contains 42 species and hybrids that number in the tens of thousands. These tuberous plants belong to the Asteraceae family, which also contains sunflowers, daisies, chrysanthemums, and zinnias.
Dahlias grow in many different climate zones but often need a boost of fertilizer each season to thrive and do best when given at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun each day. They’re perennials in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11, tender perennials in USDA zones 6 and 7, and annuals in cooler climate zones. Dahlias thrive in a nutrient-rich, well-draining soil mix and require regular watering.
Dahlias have a long flowering season. Most varieties bloom from summer through fall. Some can bloom well into September and October or until the first hard frost.
Dahlias native range includes warm and mountainous regions of Central and South America, including Mexico, where they’re the national flower. In their native region, dahlias were long grown as a food crop, and indigenous peoples prized their edible roots. The Aztec people of Central America also used the 20-foot-tall tree dahlia’s hollow stems to hold and carry water.
In the 1700s, after colonization of the region, Spanish botanists brought dahlia tubers back to their homelands. They were grown for their edible roots, but breeders developed different varieties based on color, shape, and size.
Centuries and tens of thousands of hybrids later, dahlia are grown worldwide. Today, gardeners can add color to the landscape and choose from around 70,000 named varieties.
15 Official Dahlia Flower Colors:
1) White Dahlias
White dahlia varieties add a fresh touch to any landscape planting. Colors in this group range from icy, snowy white to creamy ivory and buttercream. Like other white flowers, they’re often associated with purity or innocence and are popular choices for floral wedding displays.
- ‘Center Court’ has stunning, 6-inch, pure white blooms that recurve toward the stem for a stylized look.
- ‘Peta’s Wedding’: This ball dahlia blooms have tiny, round blossoms packed with tightly rolled petals.
- ‘Snowcap’: A formal decorative dahlia with crisp ivory petals that look amazing in a wedding bouquet.
- ‘White Onesta’: A waterlily dahlia with crisp, 5-inch blossoms and a hint of green at the heart.
- ‘White Perfection’ is a 100-inch dinner plate dahlia that blooms with elegant, icy petals.
2) Yellow Dahlias
Yellow dahlia varieties add a cheerful touch of sunshine, no matter the weather. Buttery, lemony, and sunny, these happy flowers come in a range of sizes and shapes, from the palest buttercream yellow to deep
- ‘Golden Torch’ is a sunny yellow ball dahlia that looks amazing in cut flower arrangements.
- ‘Kelvin Floodlight’: A dinner plate dahlia blooms with giant, 10-inch blooms from late summer through fall.
- ‘Lake Ontario’ stands out with its strong, clear yellow petals kissed with the thinnest red margins.
- ‘Lucky Duck’ is an anemone dahlia with dandelion-hued petals around a deeper orange center.
- ‘Yellow Perception’: A profusion of 4-inch blooms boasting buttery yellow petals with white tips.
3) Orange Dahlias
If you want to add a bright, bold touch to the landscape, orange dahlias are a perfect choice. Choose tangerine-colored blossoms to create a happy, enthusiastic vibe in the garden bed. Some popular orange dahlia varieties include:
- ‘Amber Queen’ produces a profusion of 2-inch orange pompons.
- ‘Azteca’: An informal decorative dahlia with deep orange margins.
- ‘Blah Blah Blah’ is a formal decorative variety in the lightest shade of peach.
- ‘Firepot’ offers a luscious mix of orange petals that brighten to yellow at the heart.
4) Pink Dahlias
Pink dahlias come in a range of hues, from the softest blush pink to hot rose. Pink is deeply symbolic of affection and love. Whether you prefer a soft baby pink or an eye-catching hot pink, this lovely color looks attractive in the landscape.
- ‘Cafe au Lait’ is a wildly popular dinner plate dahlia with elegant, creamy, blush pink flowers.
- ‘Chilson’s Pride’: Informal decorate dahlia with 4-inch, pale pink flowers that fade to blush over time.
- ‘Esli’: This decorative dahlia blooms with an abundance of small, 3-inch flowers that are pink to yellow at the heart.
- ‘Herbert Smith’ is a semi-cactus dahlia with bright pink blossoms with a purple undertone.
- ‘Rebecca Lynn’: this formal decorative dahlia has bright, rose-pink blossoms about 3 inches in diameter.
5) Dark Pink Dahlia Flower Colors
Dark pink dahlias always bring a sense of the dramatic to the garden. Choose from various sizes and shapes, from giant magenta dinner plates to smaller rose-violet mignons or even miniature cellarette dahlias in shades of deepest rose.
- ‘Dahlinova Lisa Dark Pink’ is a semi-double bloomer with compact flowers.
- ‘Dark Magic’ is a formal decorative dahlia with deep pink petals that are silvery at the tips and deep magenta at the heart.
- ‘Magenta Star’ is an award-winning single dahlia with magenta petals arranged around a reddish central disc and deep purple foliage.
- ‘Sandra’: A ball dahlia with dramatic, rose-pink petals in a tight, honeycomb pattern.
6) Red Dahlias
Red dahlias offer a hot splash of color to the landscape, and attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, too. A few popular varieties of red dahlias include:
- ‘Alva’s Doris’ is a semi-cactus dahlia with spiky petals that look stunning cut flower arrangement.
- ‘Babylon Red’ boasts an 8-inch dinner plate that blooms in a cardinal red tone.
- ‘Bishop of Llandaff’: A peony dahlia, its rounded scarlet flowers contrast beautifully with dark, almost-black foliage.
- ‘Creve Couer’ produces massive dinner plate blooms on strong stems that stand up to 4 feet tall in the back of the border.
- ‘Red Cap’: Small, 4-inch flowers bring a bright crimson hue to the garden bed.
7) Dark Red Dahlias
Dark red dahlias can’t help but add drama to any landscape. When used in cut flower arrangements, dark red dahlias add a sense of romance to any floral gift. Colors range from deep blood red to the darkest maroon.
- ‘Arabian Night’: Deep maroon blooms are tiny — about 3 inches in diameter — but dramatic.
- ‘Black Jack’ has 8-inch flowers with pointy petals arranged around a center that looks almost black.
- ‘Red Fox’: Compact plants bloom a profusion of dark red flowers from late summer through fall.
- ‘Rip City’ blooms early in the dahlia flowering season with petals so dark they almost look black.
8) Lavender Dahlia Flower Colors
Soft, calming lavender looks fantastic in any part of the border. This cool color is often associated with beauty, elegance, and grace, making it a perfect addition to floral bouquets and arrangements for special occasions. Some of our favorite lavender dahlia varieties include:
- ‘Blackberry Ice’: A formal decorative dahlia with light lavender petals that deepen to purple at the center.
- ‘Blue Bayou’ is an anemone dahlia with lavender ray florets surrounding a deeper purple petaloid center.
- ‘Cloudburst’ is an informal decorative variety that produces large, 7-inch flowers.
- ‘Ferncliff Illusion’: These tall, sturdy plants bloom with the palest lilac blossoms that fade to white over time.
- ‘Pixie’: An adorable formal decorative hybrid with tiny, 3-inch blossoms.
9) Purple and Black Dahlias
Royal, regal purple dahlia brings a sense of elegance and drama to the garden. Purple is often associated with royalty and wealth, and purple dahlia lends itself well to formal and informal garden design. Of particular interest are several types of dahlia hybrids that are so dark purple they actually appear to be black dahlia flowers.
- ‘Babylon Purple’: Huge dinner plate blooms in a regal shade of purple.
- ‘Black Satin’ is a formal decorative dahlia with dark petals that appear black-red.
- ‘Boogie Nights’ is a formal decorative dahlia that’s a true purple shade.
- ‘Diva’: A highly saturated, royal purple informal decorative dahlia blooms atop sturdy stems.
- ‘Thomas Edison’ is another informal decorative dahlia with 8-inch, dark purple flowers.
- ‘Verrone’s Obsidian’: An award-winning orchid dahlia that blooms with masses of black, spiky flowers.
10) Light Blend Dahlias
Light blends create a fusion of lighter tones, such as pink, yellow, lavender, and other pastel hues. Light blend dahlias may also be two-toned flowers with pastel hues, where the central rays are a different color than the outer, or marginal, rays. A few light blend dahlia types include:
- ‘Coralie’ is a delicious mix of champagne and cherry blossom tones.
- ‘Ka’s Mocha Jo’: This formal decorative dahlia blooms with cream and pink flowers up to 4 inches in diameter.
- ‘Lark’s Ebb’ is a formal decorative dahlia with a blush center that fades out to a pale tangerine.
- ‘Mocha Katie’: An informal decorative dahlia with stunning petals in the palest shades of cream, blush, pink and yellow.
- ‘Wyn’s New Pastel’ blends peach, blush, and honey in a light blend on 6-inch blooms.
11) Bronze Dahlia Flower Colors
Bronze dahlias add a metallic tone between orange, yellow and brown. These beautiful and unusual dahlias are highly sought by wedding florists. They also look beautiful in the flower bed and add color to the late summer and fall landscape.
- ‘Baarn Bounty’ boasts massive, peachy-bronze flower heads up to 10 inches in diameter.
- ‘Babylon Bronze’: Tall dahlias bloom profusely from late summer through frost with fully double, dinner plate blossoms.
- ‘Cornel Bronze’ is a ball dahlia with coppery blooms and strong stems that are perfect for cut flower arrangements.
- ‘Glorie van Noordwijks’ blooms with 8-inch bronze-orange flowers with fimbriate petal tips for a lacy look.
12) Flame Dahlias
If you want to spice up your garden with hot colors, flame dahlias are a perfect choice. These fiery blossoms sizzle in brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow that call fire to mind. Some of our favorite flame dahlia varieties include:
- ‘Flame Thrower’: An informal decorative dahlia with twisted yellow and orange petals on 8-inch flower heads.
- ‘Fire Magic’ is a raspberry-mauve mix that sits atop sturdy 5-foot stems.
- ‘Happy Single Flame’: An award-winning single dahlia with fiery red overlapping petals around a yellow and brown center, all atop burgundy foliage.
- ‘Summer Flame’ is a formal decorative dahlia with spicy orange petals.
13) Dark Blend Dahlias
Dark blend dahlias are characterized by a brilliant mix that may include deep reds, purples, oranges, pinks, lavenders, and bronzes. White tones can be ignored when classifying a dahlia as a dark blend. Dark blends to try in your garden or containers include:
- ‘Chick A Dee’: A pompon with wine and purple flowers less than 2 inches in diameter.
- ‘Elfin’ is a pompon dahlia that blends hues of purple, wine red, and violet, and grows up to 3 feet tall.
- ‘Dracula Dark Angel’ is a small (12-inch-tall) variety with shades of dark red and purple, all atop unusual purple foliage.
- ‘Myrtle’s Brandy’: A formal decorative dahlia with deep red and wine-streaked petals.
- ‘TLC Kiss’ fuses dark red tones into lovely 7-inch flowerheads with tight, evenly spaced petals.
14) Variegated Dahlia Flower Colors
Variegated dahlias bloom with two or more colors in certain patterns. These must include dots, splashes, or stripes on narrow lines. Variegated dahlias add much visual interest to the garden, thanks to their unique patterns and colorful appearance. Some lovely variegated dahlia varieties include:
- ‘Cha Ching’: A waterlily dahlia with bright pink petals splashed with burgundy stippling.
- ‘Double Trouble’: A cellarette dahlia with raspberry and pink outer petals and variegated pink and white inner petaloid around a sunny yellow central disc.
- ‘Hollyhill Six-in-One’ is a unique laciniate dahlia with yellow, red, and white variegation.
- ‘Hulin’s Carnival’: This formal decorative dahlia has white petals stippled with wine-red splashes.
- ‘Insipic’ is an unusual novelty fully double with red, orange, and yellow stippled petals.
15) Bicolor Dahlias
Bicolor dahlias bloom in two sharply separated, distinct, and clear colors. These unusual dahlias are always eye-catching and are a great way to turn any garden bed into a rainbow of colors instantly. Some exciting varieties of bicolor to try include:
- ‘A.C. Sandra J’: Informal decorative blossoms with pink, orange, and white hues.
- ‘Ala Mode’ looks like a peaches and cream dessert, thanks to white-tipped and orange ray florets.
- ‘Hollyhill Joker’s Wild’ boasts 5-inch blooms with randomly varied bright red and pure white petals.
- ‘Olson’s Folly’: A formal decorative dahlia with sharply delineated orange and white petals.
- ‘Wuerth’s Amelia’ is a bright single dahlia with a row of white petals with bright red margins.
With 15 color classifications and a seemingly infinite combination of hues, sizes, and shapes, the sky’s the limit when it comes to growing dahlias in your garden. Whether you prefer strict dahlia flower color schemes or a wild riot of color, the sheer variety of dahlias adds excitement and beauty to the landscape.
For more, see our in-depth guide to cutting dahlia flowers for a vase or bouquet arrangement.
Linsay is an American copywriter based in the Pacific Northwest with a background in academic writing and research. Linsay holds Master's degree in both Anthropology and Library and Information Sciences and has written for numerous national and international publications including USA Today, SFGATE, Hunker, and The Bump across an array of topics in the gardening, green living, and travel sectors. When she's not writing, you'll usually find Linsay reading, kayaking, sailing, snowboarding, or working in her garden.