Growing Guide
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Dahlia, bedding varieties

Annual Flower

Dahlia sp. (bedding)
Solanaceae Family

These short varieties (less than 1.5 feet tall) are usually used as border or edging plants. Unlike most other Dahlias, they are grown from seed and treated like annual flowers. Plantings usually produce a mixture of flower colors.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil

Special locations:

  • outdoor containers
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1 to 1.5 feet

Spread: 0.5 to 1 feet

Bloom time:

  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall
  • mid-fall

Flower color:

  • red
  • orange
  • yellow
  • violet
  • white
  • pink

Seeds produce a mixture of flower colors.

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • other

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: upright

Shape in flower: same as above

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to tropical Mexico.
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed - Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost.

Germination temperature: 70 F to 85 F

Days to emergence: 7 to 14

Maintenance and care:
Keep moist. Do not allow the plants to dry out.

Plants do not need staking. Pinch back when seedlings have 3 sets of leaves to keep the plants bushy.

Dahlias are heavy feeders (dwarf varieties less so than standard varieties) and perform best in rich, well-drained soil. They usually benefit from high nitrogen fertilizer early in the season until flower buds form, and high potassium fertilizer from midsummer to early fall. Over-fertilization with nitrogen can produce lush foliage but poor blooms, and may encourage the tuberous roots to rot in storage overwinter.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

Spider mites
Tarnished plant bug
Powdery mildew
Parasitic nematodes
Botrytis blight
Stem rot and wilt
Viral diseases

‘Diablo’ mix - Reddish bronze foliage on dwarf, compact plants (1 to 1.5 feet tall) with double flowers. Seven different flower colors.

‘Fresco’ mix - Very dwarf, compact plants (1 foot tall), with a variety of flower colors in double blooms. Very reliable.

‘Harlequin’ mix - Single flowering plants with inner ruffs of petals (collarete type) in color contrast to outer petals. Variations on yellow, orange, and and white. Very dwarf plants (1 foot tall). Early bloomers.

‘Mignon’ mix - Dwarf plants (14 inches tall) with single flowers in a variety of colors.

‘Figaro’ Series - Very dwarf plants (1 foot tall) with double flowers in a variety of colors. Very compact and showy.

‘Redskin’ - Various color double flowers on 1- to 1.5-foot tall plants with bronzed foliage tinged with red or brown.

More information: American Dahlia Society