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My Decorative and Dinner Plate Dahlias

Hello Friends,

Today I wanted to share with you the rest of my beloved dahlias. As you already know from a previous blog post, I have an obsession with anemone and collarette dahlias—but I also totally adore the big boys of the dahlia world, the decorative and dinner plate dahlias too. These dahlias are the ones you'll pay big money for, and you will also have to compete with thousands of other dahlia lovers in New Zealand to buy tubers before stocks run out.

Cafe Au Lait is the most popular of all dahlias, for both home and commercial growers alike. They are the dahlia that everyone wants in their wedding bouquets. They are probably the most expensive dahlia tuber to buy, and also the hardest one to come across. It took me three years before I could buy a Cafe Au Lait tuber, and the year I finally got it, I actually ended up with two after ordering from two different suppliers.

The big players in the dahlia tuber world are Bulbs Direct, NZ Bulbs, and also Garden Post. They are online suppliers for all the plant bulbs and tubers you could ever want, and their orders are pre-orders for the up coming season. In mid to late winter if you are signed up for their newsletters, an email will arrive telling you that dahlia tubers are available for pre-order. If you're after a Cafe Au Lait Dahlia, don't hesitate, just go immediately to the website and order straight away. Popular dahlias can sell out within minutes of the email arriving in your inbox. For the first three years of trying, this is how I missed out in getting a Cafe Au Lait dahlia of my very own.

Their flowers are as big as your hand, and the flowers can vary from a delicate cream, all the way to an almost purpleish hue. I've been growing them now for a number of years, and I've discovered they aren't the easiest dahlias to grow. They aren't the strongest growers, and they require more water than other dahlias.

The next dinner plate dahlia I own is Cafe Au Lait Twist. It was released in New Zealand in 2022, and I was lucky to get one in the first season. Cafe Au Lait Twist is a sport of Cafe Au Lait, but it has curvy petals, with beautiful pink splashes through the Cafe Au Lait coffee colour. Cafe Au Lait Twist is overall a very pretty dahlia, and I actually prefer it to Cafe Au Lait.

The third dahlia in the Cafe Au Lait family that I own, is Cafe Au Lait Rosė. This dahlia was also released for the first time in New Zealand in 2022. The flowers are absolutely beautiful, a bright, but also a delicate, rose pink. The shade is darker as the flower opens, but turns into a lighter ombrė shade as the flower gets older. In all truth, Cafe Au Lait Rosė is my new favorite dahlia. I love to go out in the garden and just look at it. The plant is strong and sturdy, and definitely worth buying.

The next dinner plate dahlia I own is Dahlia Penhil Watermelon. The curved petal flowers are absolutely huge, and much bigger than your hand. The flower is a mix of peach, lavender and the tiniest hint of yellow. Because of the very large size of the flowers, the flower stalks I've found aren't strong enough to hold the flower heads upright. Dahlia Penhil Watermelon, is still a very pretty plant though.

My next dinner plate dahlia I own is Penhil Dark Monarch. Another huge dahlia, it's thin, but gently curved petals are a beautiful smoky plum colour with hints of yellow. It's another one of my favorite dahlias.

My next dahlia is a cactus dahlia called Orfeo. Although the berry red colour is quite stunning, the plant itself isn't strong enough to hold up its own flowers. It has to be staked upright, or else it falls on the ground.

And my last big dahlia in my garden is Dahlia Pink Magic. I also bought this dahlia in 2022. I love the delicate pink stripes on the cream base colour. It's probably one of my most demure dahlias in terms of colouring. Because it was a long hot summer in the garden because of drought like La Nina conditions, I didn't get many flowers, but hopefully I'll get more next year.

So that's all the big dahlias that I currently have in my garden. I don't have the space to add anymore dahlias into my garden, but you never know, if another beautiful and perfect dahlia comes along, I may have to squeeze it into one of my garden beds.

Have a wonderful day,


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