Dahlia colours - Red
A comparison of red dahlias
I’ve been looking for the perfect red dahlia to offer for Valentines Day for a while now and here are some of the varieties I have trialled in my hunt. I have also trialled a number of darker reds/burgundies however I will compare those in another post as there are a lot of those! You can find tubers for most of these varieties available in my online store (dahlia tubers are usually available from July-November). Some of the varieties listed here are not available in the online store, this could be because I don’t have many plants of that variety and am still propagating it or because it is a seedling that I am still trialling before release to the public. As a commercial cut flower farm we also discontinue varieties at times so they may only be available for one season in the online shop. I’ve listed the varieties below in alphabetical order.
I’ve grown Cherry Valentine for a number of years now. It is a lovely bright clear red with flowers that age well. The flowers hold their tight center for a long time before revealing their pollen to the bees making it a great performer for cut flowers. I find it a more challenging variety to divide the tubers though and it is slower to increase. The mother tubers are usually very large!
This variety isn’t included in the photo comparison however it is a rich red with a slight purple hue. The reverse of the petals is paler than the front. The flowers hold their shape and center well.
This is the earliest flowering red dahlia we have grown so far. It currently holds the most potential as a Valentines day bloom for us. The flowers are on the smaller side however they are larger than those in the pompon category. It is a productive plant although shorter in height. New release in 2020.
This is the brightest shade of red dahlia I have grown to date. It reminds me of a fluoro red highlighter! The shade of red leans on the orange side of the spectrum. Flowers are a miniature decorative on long dark stems. Good stems for picking. Would make a lovely addition to market or roadside bunches as they are bright and attract attention. New release in 2020.
A new release in 2020 Florelie Ponyo is a red ball leaning on the orange end of the spectrum. It is a prolific plant with flowers that age well. I have found that ball shaped blooms make excellent cut flowers and their vase life is often slightly longer than the decorative forms.
The smallest bloom in this study, Red Royal is a true pompon. Pompons are the smallest size category of dahlia flowers and plants are generally shorter than those from other groups. Red Royal boasts dark stems which contrast nicely with its coral-red round blooms. There is some colour variation in the blooms and some flowers have individual petals which are paler and others which are more saturated.
This seedling holds promise and we are continuing to evaluate its potential on the farm. It is a clearer red without the orange tone. Flowers are a ball form which age well and hold tight centers. If it continues to perform well we hope to name and release it for sale in 2021.
Tango is a later variety to start flowering in my experience however it is quite prolific towards the end of the season and I can clearly remember harvesting a whole bucket of blooms off one plant my first year growing this variety when I only had the one tuber. It is a clear red. It is too late to harvest for Valentine’s Day here on our farm. The first flowers are buried quite low in the plant and are not able to be harvested for cut flowers so you need to wait for the lateral buds to bloom.
Winkie Rhubarb is the palest shade of red I have included in this comparison. It was bred in Australia by Winkie dahlias and was named this because the colouring was similar to a bowl of rhubarb and custard.
At the end of the season blooms actually change to more of an apricot tone on our farm. It is a larger flower than the others included here which makes it a good feature flower. It is also surprisingly versatile and blends well with a number of other coloured blooms.
Below is an annotated copy of the photo from the top with the flower heads laid out to see the variance in colour, shape and size
So which red dahlia are you going to add to your garden or farm? I hope that these comparisons have helped you to see subtle differences between colour, shape and characteristics in these dahlias and identify which ones you might be most interested in growing. You can purchase tubers for most of these varieties in my online shop sometime between July-November each year.
If you have a question that I didn’t answer please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know, chances are there are others who are wondering the exact same thing and I can include it in the FAQ section below for future readers.
Frequently asked questions:
- Which reds are most suitable for growing in pots?
The pompon varieties are best suited to growing in pots as they have smaller tubers and are generally shorter plants so I’d recommend Florelie Aunty Maz or Red Royal from those listed here.