Seeing double

by Adam Pasco

One of the first dahlia blooms to open in my garden has put on more of a show than expected by producing a flower head with two faces!

Sometimes plants do the strangest things, and some of these could make you a small fortune. One of the first dahlia blooms to open in my garden has put on more of a show than expected by producing a flower head with two faces! It looks as if two flowers have been stuck together, back to back... very unusual, and hard to photograph!

Unfortunately for me, further flowers have developed quite normally, which is a great shame. For a few days I held my breath, hoping every bloom would be two faced, but no such luck. For some reason just this single flower developed in this way, but once it fades my dream of naming a new dahlia in my honour fades with it.

DahliaIt's worth keeping your eyes open for changes in garden plants, as this is often how new varieties evolve. A variegated shoot on a plain green shrub or a differently coloured bloom, for instance, could both be the beginning of a new variety. Garden centres are full of varieties discovered this way, but these characteristics must be stable in order for identical plants to be propagated from them.

I can't be the only person making unusual discoveries in their garden this summer. As I write this, there are probably gardeners all around the country stumbling across our future 'must-have' plants...

Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Seeing double
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Gardeners' World Web User 27/07/2007 at 21:14

Many dahlia varieties have just started flowering, while some dwarf bedding varieties have been in bloom for a few weeks. However, it could still take a few weeks for some dahlias to come into flower, especially tall varieties with large blooms. Dahlias started late in spring will also flower a little later. Be patient. I'm sure they will start flowering in August, and hopefully continue well into autumn. Deadhead regularly, and give a liquid feed to boost gowth.

Gardeners' World Web User 31/07/2007 at 20:25

I too have these two faced Dahlias - I thought I had something very rare as I have gardened for many, many years (I am 81 years old), and I have never seen anything like this before. So I had better just go back to my garden and do some work as it would seem my double faced Dahlia wont make me a millionaire after all!

Gardeners' World Web User 01/08/2007 at 17:54

Thanks Elizabeth. And I thought mine was unique! I wonder how common this is, and whether other people have seen it in previous years? When strange things like this happen, and flowers develop abnormally, this can be called fasciation. A shock of some sort, or damage to the growing bud, causes abnormal growth. I know for certain that no hormone weedkillers have been used in my garden, so this can't be the cause. What do you think?

Gardeners' World Web User 23/09/2007 at 19:49

you would think that having just finished a RHS level 2 certificate in horticulture that i would no what the dahlia is in my garden but i dont. but what i will say is that its a very larg plant standing in at over 5ft and the flowers are the size of dinner plates. they are of a very pale lemon yellow with a faint pink blemish on the tips of the petals. its a stunning plant and looks like a cactus variety of some sort,i just wish i could show you...

Gardeners' World Web User 12/10/2007 at 06:31

I don't have a two faced dahlia but last year I had a two faced echinacea, just one bloom on the whole plant, I put it down to damage during the bud formation.

See more comments...