Dahlia 'Sunshine'

Dark-leaved dahlias to grow

Dramatic and intense – we pick some of the best dark-leaved dahlias to grow.

Dark-leaved dahlias offer a break from the standard green-leaved varieties with their intensely coloured foliage.


Not only do these dark leaves provide good contrast with green leaves nearby, but they also serve as a dramatic backdrop for the flowers, helping them to catch the eye.

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Discover seven of the best dark-leaved dahlias to grow, below.

‘Magenta Star’

Dahlia 'Magenta Star'

This cheery variety has single, pink flowers set against deep bronze foliage. With no extra petals or other parts to block the nectar and pollen, ‘Magenta Star’ will prove popular with pollinators.

Height x spread: 150cm x 100cm.

‘David Howard’

Dahlia 'David Howard'

Atop the deep green-bronze foliage of ‘David Howard’ are held fiery orange double flowers. This compact variety is well-suited to large pots and containers.

H x S: 75 x 50cm.

‘Happy Single Romeo’

Dahlia 'Happy Single Romeo'

‘Happy Single Romeo’ is part of the Happy Single series, all of which are dwarf cultivars with dark foliage and single flowers. This member of the series has rich red blooms that are highly attractive to pollinators.

H x S: 60cm x 60cm.

‘Wishes n Dreams’

Dahlia 'Wishes n Dreams'

‘Wishes n Dreams’ is a dwarf variety with exquisite bicoloured flowers – the petals are pale pink flushed with a plum tone. Each bloom is studded with yellow centre comprised of many tiny florets. Very dark purple foliage provides excellent contrast.

H x S: 70cm x 30cm.

‘Yellow Hammer’

Dahlia 'Yellow Hammer'

Named after the brightly-coloured yellowhammer bird, ‘Yellow Hammer’ has bright, banana-coloured blooms held above incredibly dark, almost black foliage.

H x S: 85cm x 40cm.

‘Joe Swift’

Dahlia 'Joe Swift'

‘Joe Swift’ is a single, white-flowered variety named after the Gardeners’ World programme presenter. The pale flowers have a lovely, starry quality that’s particularly effective when viewed against the dark foliage.

H x S: 150cm x 40cm.


Dahlia 'Sunshine'

Also known as ‘Moonfire’, ‘Sunshine’ is an attractive single variety with apricot-coloured blooms and coral red centres. Green-leaved calendulas and nasturtiums nearby provide extra contrast.


H x S: 70cm x 40cm.

Don’t forget to feed

Dahlias are hungry plants and to get the best floral performance from them they’ll need plenty of potash. Go for a potash-rich feed – a tomato feed is ideal – and regularly deadhead blooms as they go over.

Watering can