Dahlia cutting patch

What to grow with dahlias

Show off dahlias to their best effect by pairing them with other border favourites.

Few border plants can match dahlias for sheer exuberance.

Advertisement

The incredible range of available colours and forms can be overwhelming – you could easily fill a border with dahlias alone. However, they really come into their own when paired with contrasting and complimentary border plants.

Related content:

Remember, to keep your dahlias flowering until the first frosts, you’ll need to keep on top of deadheading and feed them regularly with a potash-rich feed to encourage further blooms.

Discover some of the best dahlia planting combinations to try, below.


Cosmos

Dahlia and Cosmos

Cosmos and dahlias are a classic pairing, and if you opt for single-flowered varieties of both, you’ll attract an abundance of bees and other pollinators. Pictured here is orange Dahlia ‘Happy Single Kiss’ and pink Cosmos ‘Dazzler’.


Nicotianas

Dahlia 'Arabian Night' and purple nicotiana

While eye-catching, dahlia flowers aren’t scented, so combining them with nicotianas is an ideal solution for a fragrant display. Not all nicotianas are scented, though, so check this before buying – varieties to consider include ‘Perfume Purple’, ‘Only The Lonely’ and ‘Grandiflora’.


Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis

Airy Verbena bonariensis is perfect for blending with dahlias in borders. The loose stems blend well without competing with the dahlias too much and help to break up areas of dense planting. It’s also popular with pollinators, so makes a great choice for wildlife-friendly planting schemes.


Achilleas

Dahlias and achillea

Achilleas come in lots of colours, but this fiery pairing is ideal for a hot-toned border. Achilleas, like dahlias, tolerate a wide range of conditions as long as they’re not waterlogged.


Ornamental grasses

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Red Head' and Dahlia 'Bishop of Canterbury'
Advertisement

Many ornamental grasses like this Pennisetum ‘Red Head’ are reaching their peak just as dahlias burst into flower, so the two make natural partners. They look lovely in a vase, too. Other grasses, such as Stipa giganteawould also work well.


Secateurs