Some of the most spectacular dahlias are cactus and semi-cactus types. With their spiky blooms, they can trace their lineage back to a single surviving plant grown from a crate of tubers imported into the Netherlands in 1872.
Cactus and semi-cactus dahlias are some of the most eye-catching dahlias you can grow. Their star-like form means they stand up well to inclement weather, because they’re less prone to being weighed down by heavy rain than other dahlia types. They also need less staking than other varieties, which tend to have dense, heavy heads of petals. They also make excellent cut flowers.
Cactus dahlias have fully double blooms, with very narrow petals from the tip to the base, that often curve inwards. They range in size from miniature to giant.
Semi-cactus dahlias have fully double, fluffy-looking flowers. The petals have a broader base at the bottom than cactus dahlias and are rolled in for about half of their length.
Discover some of the best cactus and semi-cactus dahlias to grow.
Dahlia ‘Doris Day’
Dahlia ‘Doris Day’ is a small-flowered cactus dahlia, which blooms from July to October. It makes an excellent cut flower.
Red ‘Doris Day’ cactus dahlia
Dahlia ‘Frigoulet’ is a semi-cactus variety, producing dramatic bi-coloured red and white spiky petals. It’s a good variety for exhibiting.
Magenta and white semi-cactus dahlia ‘Frigoulet’
Dahlia ‘Weston Miss’
Dahlia ‘Weston Miss’ is a miniature-flowered semi-cactus type, with pale petals that stand out well at dusk.
Pale-lemon semi-cactus dahlia ‘Weston Miss’
Dahlia ‘Pink Preference’
Dahlia ‘Pink Preference’ is a small flowered semi-cactus dahlia, with yellowy pink blooms.
Yellow centered, pink bloom of semi-cactus dahlia ‘Pink Preference’
A large-flowered cactus type, Dahlia ‘Reputation’ has showy magenta flowers. It needs staking to support its stems.
Dark-pink, large flowers of cactus dahlia ‘Reputation’
Dahlia ‘Reverend P. Holian’
Dahlia ‘Reverend P. Holian’ is a giant-flowered semi-cactus dahlia. Grow in rich soil for best results.
Red-pink, giant bloom of semi-cactus dahlia ‘Reverend P. Holian’
Dahlia ‘Yellow Galator’
A medium-flowered cactus dahlia, ‘Yellow Galator’ has sunny yellow flowers.
Yellow cactus dahlia ‘Yellow Galator’
Dahlia ‘Pianella’ is a small-flowered semi-cactus dahlia, with white-tipped pinky red petals.
Salmon pink blooms of semi-cactus dahlia ‘Pianella’