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  • Jane Westoby

The Dahlia Unicorn List

Dahlias have become so popular in recent years due to the many variations in colours and sizes available now available to the home grower. Not so many years ago they were considered vulgar and only grown for a show bench. Now they are a florists and gardeners dream providing late summer colour and beautiful shades due to recent breeding by growers specially for the cut flower market.

They are so easy to grow for the home gardener even without any specialist equipment. They are most commonly grown from tubers which can be planted in pots from March through to May ready for planting out once the risk of frost has passed, but they can also be grown from seed and propagated by taking cuttings. Tubers and cuttings will be identical/ true to the mother plant but seeds will not. Dahlias are octoploids so they have 8 sets of chromosomes. The seed will inherit chromosomes from both parents so will never be identical to either. This allows for large variants from seed. You can check out how to grow Dahlias in our growing Guides

Due to this variation breeders have developed many new and beautiful variants, some of which are quite rare and exclusive to certain countries due to imports restrictions. Here are a few of my rare and unobtainable favourites for anyone in the UK, I call these the unicorn Dahlias:

Kelgai Anne, originally from Australia can be found in pockets around the world but is rather limited. A few tubers become available in the UK each year through online charity auctions and there are a few larger breeders who are building up stocks but to date none are sufficient for general sale. With a beautiful pinky, beige, light coral coloring and dreamy waterlilly shape. (Photo taken from Esty)

KA's Mocha Maya is anther favourite with each bloom slightly different but all of them in ombre shades of pale yellow and peachy pink. It has been bred by the most talented Dahlia Hybridizer Kristine Albrecht of Santa Cruz Dahlias over in the USA. So far not available in the UK due to imports restrictions.

Cosytown Bermuda Pink , a total stunner with THE most perfect pink petals. Produced by LeeAnn Huber of Cosytown flowers an independent Hybridizer in the USA.

Dahlia Fawn is another beauty available in the USA from various growers. The most beautiful peach waterlilly, darker in the centre and pale on the outside

Szarny Characher originally from Europe but difficult to get hold of is also available in the USA. With almost black petals it is an elusive as it is striking.

There are also many small growers across the globe who are hybridizing the most beautiful blooms which are not even named yet, and are worth mentioning and following on instagram;

Serenade Dahlias - Australia

Cornwall Blooms - UK

Kamillesflowers - USA

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