Finding Great Dahlias for Your Garden

If you are just getting started growing dahlias, you will probably find
the photo illustrated, packaged dahlias at your favorite nursery or big
retailer to be almost irresistible. Well, go for it!  That’s the way
many dahlia growers get started and these dahlias are excellent

Some of the more popular of these packaged dahlia varieties are:
Kelvin Floodlight
Thomas A Edison
Bishop of Llandaff
5) Park Princess

However, once exposed to the beauty and tremendous diversity of
dahlias you will probably want to venture beyond what’s readily
available to you locally. The purpose of this article is to discuss
online resources that can help you with this adventure.

* * * Identifying Varieties to Grow * * *

The variety name is the key to identifying the varieties you may want
to grow
and then locating where to get them.

If you have attended a Dahlia Show, visited a Dahlia Garden or read
about a variety, you may already have a wish list you can work from.
Otherwise, you may want to request some supplier lists and catalogs,
visit some of the well illustrated supplier websites or check out some
online dahlia picture galleries.

One of the more spectacular catalog resources for both new and
experienced dahlia growers is the 68-page color catalog from Swan
Dahlias.  This
Dahlia Dream Book can be requested online
and Swan can ship internationally to almost anywhere in the world.

Another excellent resource is the ‘Dahlia Buyer’s Guide’ of over 500
dahlia pictures located on the website of the Colorado Dahlia Society.

Also available, but not easily found, on the Colorado DS website are
two ‘indexed’ versions of the ‘Dahlia Buyer’s Guide’.  One version is
sorted and indexed by
Variety Name and the other is sorted and
indexed by
Size & Type (American Dahlia Society Class Order).

These indexed pages can be quite helpful if you are trying to check
what a variety looks like or are trying to find a particular size or type
of dahlia

* * Locating Suppliers * * *

If you have been working from a catalog or two you may know exactly
where to get the varieties you want. If not, you can quickly search the
‘Dahlia Locator’ for a supplier.

Also known as ‘The BIGLIST’, the dahlia locator is a composite listing
of over 10000 Variety to Supplier references compiled from the listings
of about 70 North American mail-order dahlia suppliers.

The BIGLIST can be particularly helpful if you are looking for a variety
that is
only offered by one or a very few commercial sources.

* * * Contacting Suppliers * * *

Once you have the name of a supplier you can determine how to
contact them from the
‘Directory of North American Dahlia Suppliers’.

This directory includes over 70 North American mail-order dahlia
suppliers, ranging
from small suppliers dealing strictly from printed
lists through larger
suppliers offering complete online shopping with
product pictures.

The supplier directory is also a great place to go window shopping
varieties and dahlia growing information.

* * * Dahlia Tuber Sales * * *

Each spring virtually every North American Dahlia Society holds a
tuber or plant sale to raise funds for club activities.  These sales are
an opportunity to get some good deals on a wide selection of dahlias
as well as to meet some experienced dahlia growers.  The challenge
is to find out when and where these sales are being held.

To help you, a 'Directory of North American Plant & Tuber Sales' is
available online.  Or, if you are not already a member, you can join
Dahlia-Alert (see below) and receive timely email reminders of
these upcoming sales.

* * So, What’s really good? * * *

If you are new to dahlias, do not have a list of varieties you are
looking for, or are just plain bewildered and would like to know what’s
good; I suggest you link to the ‘Dahlia Gold’ picture gallery.

This page is a gallery of the top award winning dahlias in North
American Dahlia Shows and a good place to start in selecting dahlias
for your
own garden.

* * * About Dahlia Alert * * *

As you become more involved with dahlias, you will probably want to
join the dahlia email news service called
Dahlia-Alert.  The objective
of Dahlia-Alert is to provide dahlia-related news and seasonal
information to a wide audience of North American dahlia interests.
Annual traffic is less than 40 emails and membership has grown to
over 4000 subscribers indicating some success in serving this

To join the Dahlia-Alert news service, simply send a blank email to and then reply to the
confirmation email you will receive.   If you have problems with this
method, just send me an email containing your email address and
your name and I can direct add you to the emailing list

Instructions on how to ’Unsubscribe’ are included in the trailer to
every Dahlia-Alert newsletter and your email address is NOT accessible to

Don McAllister


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