There are 42 species of dahlia plant but innumerable hybrids. These Mexican flowering bushes are popular for their diversity of size and form. Dahlia plants are classed by their flower type and size. There still may be uncountable hybrids and cultivars within each class but at least it helps in grouping them in an organized system. There are totally six dahlia varieties and seven form classes. Varieties of dahlia are divided by size and classes by Dahlia flower shape. Read on to learn more to know about types of dahlia.
Types of Dahlias
If you have ever been to a county fair, one of the biggest attractions is often the dahlia plant building. Here you can see a vast array of dahlia flower plant types, represented by their flowers. Serious collectors and hobbyists breed specific forms in an attempt to outdo each other in size and shape. The results are an ocean of color of Dahlias with amazing forms across the area.
The different types of dahlia plants are astounding and mind numbing in their excess. The only way even expert growers can keep them all straight is by ordering the types of dahlia flower plants into groups. The actual appearance of a dahlia flower plant is very similar among species. Most are small to large bushes with deeply cut leaves that stem from dahlias tubers. Dahlia Plants require sun, well-drained soil, plenty of water, and good air circulation. Once you start trying to tell the difference between the hybrids and species all other similarities become more vague.
Dahlia varieties are divided into dahlia flower form classes. These indicate the shape of the dahlia flower and occasionally the character of the petals. The other method of separating the varieties of dahlia plant is by delineating by flower size. This method is a quick and fairly unsophisticated way to tell a class just by eyeballing the blooms of the Dahlia flower.
Classes of Flower Forms
This way of dividing the species of dahlia is poetic and requires observation.
- Decorative types may be informal or formal and bear blooms thick dahlias with petals that are usually flat but may be rolled.
- Pompoms and balls are just the way they sound. Round ball-shaped dahlia flowers with double flat spirally arranged petals. The ray dahlias petals are blunt and may be quill-like.
- Cactus types of dahlia flower plants are one of the showiest. These blooming flowers have incurved or rolled petals that are nearly straight. The effect of flowers is almost like a starburst.
- A broad class is the singles, collarettes, semi-doubles, and anemones. Each flower has a star-like appearance with flat petals and a distinctive disc.
- Orchid and peony are open centered dahlia flowers with one or more rows of ray flowers around a disc.
- Blooming flowers with creased petals are in the stellar class and those with a closed center and flat, broad rows of ray florets are in the waterlily designation.
Size Classification of flowers
Another way to order the different types of dahlia flowers is by using their bloom sizes.
- The biggest flowers are in the giant category and may get nearly 10 inches about 25 cm in diameter.
- The large flowered category gets just under this size at 8 inches about 20 cm.
- Medium flowered varieties are just under 8 inches about 20 cm while small flowered varieties may one grow 4 inches about 10 cm in width.
- There are also miniatures at 1 ½ to 4 inches about 4-10 cm and pompoms, which grow less than 1 ½ inch about 4 cm in diameter.
Each of these flowers is also divided into the cactus, colarette, or anemone, waterlily, orchid, stellar, and ball distinctions. In this way, the explosion of hybrids can be set into their individual class for an easier understanding of their origins and parent. This becomes extremely important for growers of dahlias and those competing in breeding competitions.
For those of us that simply enjoy the magnificent flowers, it is a fun way to describe some of the original forms of the amazing dahlia flowers.