The Mysteries of the Black Dahlia Flower, Revealed

5 min read

The dahlia is one of the most popular and appreciated plants in the garden: its generous flowering lasts all summer. The flowers offer an impressive diversity of shapes and colors, including dwarf varieties. Dahlias can even be grown in pots and planters!

In this article, we are going to learn and discover more about the black dahlia flower, including the following:

  • Description of the flower
  • Origin of the flower
  • Varieties
  • Symbolism
  • Planting
  • Tips for care
  • Black Dahlia
  • Diseases and pests

Description of the Flower

The dahlia is a perennial tuberous plant and widely regarded as a summer bulb. The flower belongs to the family Asteraceae. The flower blooms continuously from June to October, and it can be placed in beds (tall varieties, some of which reach 1.80m high), in borders (ranges of medium height), or even in the planters and pots that bloom on balconies and terraces (dwarf varieties: the most compact do not exceed 30 cm in height). Of course, dahlia flowers, which sometimes reach an impressive diameter, are perfect in summer bouquets, thanks to their long stems and beautiful looks.

 Origin of the Flower

The dahlia is native mainly to Mexico, Colombia, and Central America. The Aztec people called this flower “Cocoxochitl,” which means “cane of water,” in reference to its hollow stem. Initially, the dahlia was used to feed animals on its foliage and stems, despite their strong bitterness.

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The dahlia was introduced to France in 1802 by a botanist, Doctor Thibaus. The Swedish botanist, Andreas Dahl, gave a name to this flower, hence the name, “dahlia.”

The first species introduced were the dahlia coccinea and dahlia pinnata. When crossing these two species, we quickly realized that this flower allowed for many genetic combinations, which promptly widened the range, and thus, created new varieties of dahlias. We can, therefore, consider the dahlia as being one of the most prolific plants in terms of colors and shapes.


There are thousands of varieties of dahlias thanks to hybrids. The flowers offer a considerable variability of colors and shapes. There are small, large, single, double, flat petals, curved, and curled shapes.

There are many groups of dahlias, with new varieties arriving every year on the market, such as cactus dahlias and frill dahlias.

Depending on the variety, the petals can be broad or thin like thorns, open, or in the shape of small pipes.

Some dahlias look like large daisies, others look like pompoms, and yet others resemble blooming peonies or anemones.

Some varieties are tall, too, and reach a meter and a half in height, while other dwarf varieties do not exceed 30 cm. In terms of colors, the entire palette is represented, except for blue. There are yellow, red, salmon, orange, white, dark purple, Indian pink, or even multicolored dahlias.


In the Victorian era, the “language of flowers” was a way for women and men to send messages to each other. At that time, expressing feelings of love and affection was taboo. Thus, a bouquet of specific flowers was a way of saying what you feel, without really saying it.

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The dahlia symbolizes the commitment and the eternal bond between two people. Used to express intimate, personal feelings, they represent elegance and dignity. The dahlia is also a symbol of loyalty and happiness for your loved ones.

The dahlia is a symbol of change, which can also represent betrayal. It is also a symbol of lush beauty, power, and many gifts.


You can cultivate the dahlia in all regions, provided that it is exposed to the sun and watered regularly. It would be best if you plant it in clay soil from late April until early May at a depth ranging from 3 to 10 centimeters, depending on the size of the bulb.

You should space each bulb about a meter apart for large varieties, and 50 centimeters if it is a dwarf dahlia. We strongly recommend you use a stake to support the plant in the case of a gust of wind.

Tips for Care

If you want a beautiful flower, you must bring it fertilizer, compost, or well-decomposed manure, especially if your soil is light. In a pot, liquid fertilizer for flowering plants can do the trick.

Watering should also be very regular throughout the season to keep the soil fresh. Thus, in hot and dry weather, plan daily watering (or opt for drip watering, which is less restrictive, very useful and avoids wetting the foliage: wet foliage promotes the development of cryptogamic diseases).

Water is the prerequisite for having well-flowered dahlias. To stimulate flowering, cut the wilted flowers as you go. It is sometimes advisable to remove the secondary stems and the first flower buds in spring to obtain more abundant flowers (but fewer in number).

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Black Dahlia

Black flowers are not among the most common in the garden, probably because they evoke darkness, opacity, death, and mourning. However, flowering is supposed to be cheerful, colorful, and lively. On the contrary, the color black does not imply happiness.

There is the novel “The Black Dahlia,” which has been made into a film, also called “The Black Dahlia,” both based on a famous Hollywood murder case in 1947. Most of the black dahlias we see in gardens are more red than black.

Diseases and Pests

The dahlia is subject to a certain number of diseases including verticillium wilt, botrytis, the mosaic of the dahlia, anthrax of the dahlia, and oidium. Speaking of parasites, watch carefully for slugs that devour leaves and young shoots, as well as aphids (in spring) and red spiders (especially in summer).

This flower is beautiful for its astonishing diversity of varieties, colors, and shapes. It can be dwarf (20 cm) or giant (1.80 m) and is available in multiple tones, lively or pastel, plain or two-tone. Easy to cultivate, dahlias create superb, dense and generous beds, and give back the sparkle in the garden at the end of summer. Above all, the dahlia is a fabulous flower in a bouquet that “holds well” in a vase – more than 15 days.