Dahlia Breeding Lesson

Some of the best dahlia breeders will generously share their process with anyone aching to learn.

Learn how dahlia enthusiasts arrange their dahlia stock beds, and which dahlias are good breeding parents, or good-seed-producing parents. This is what every dahlia lover/grower wants to know as some dahlias are not good seed producers at all.

Sit down (if you are not standing on a subway) and have a nice visit with these enjoyable, dahlia growers and breeders through a video here. A little of their line breeding (a seedling bred back to a parent plant or another plant) is explained towards the end of the video. How they get from A to Z and they show the results along the way.

The video is around thirty minutes so you can grab your coffee and notebook and enjoy this lesson for free. Steve and Sandy Boley of Birch Bay Dahlias narrate. Sandy states that dahlia breeding is just too fun not to share and I’m glad they did.

Some suggested good seed parents from other growers follow.

Ball Dahlias

  • Cornell
  • Mary’s Jomanda
  • Snoho Doris
  • Ms. Kennedy
  • Ginger Willo
  • Brookside Snowball
  • Odyssey
  • Tahoma Eli
  • Suncrest
  • Mi Wong
  • Hillcrest Margaret
  • Martina
  • Bitsa
  • Senior Ball
  • Red Admiral
  • Nettie

Other Dahlias

  • Wyn’s Moonlight Sonata
  • Wyn’s Farmer John
  • Zorro
  • Braken Sarah
  • Kenora Jubilee
  • Kenora Clyde
  • Hollyhill Electra
  • Alfred C
  • Wildman
  • Gay Triumph
  • Formby Caitlin

This is only a handful of suggested dahlias that have been proven to set seed. There are many others to be sure. I am interested in ball dahlias and their near rounded form so it’s always helpful to hear other dahlia parent suggestions to use.

What was really helpful to me is Sandy saying the white dahlias seem to work like a prism and throw out the colors, and she has the proof in the rainbow-of-colors in their seedlings.

For the record, Cafe Au Lait Dahlia will also set seed as we’ve collected it. So there are many other dahlias out there waiting for you to let them blow open and set seed this Fall, after you’ve cut many for others and yourself first, of course.

Cafe au Lait coloring variation.

Try your hand at Plant breeding. It may be from your garden the next most-sought-after dahlia is introduced down the road. The thrill of the possibilities.

Nature will be on your side helping with your dahlia breeding program. Sometimes I feel it’s working against me (as a farmer) with flooding, drought and storms, but when it comes to dahlia breeding, nature is working for you and me.

Until tomorrow…Work some, garden some, and get a notebook ready to record your dahlia breeding program notes.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Joe Owens says:

    Well now that is a new idea, breeding dahlias. Last summer our niece and son got married and we grew, cut and arranged several bouquets for the events. Then. Again this summer we did the same for an anniversary party and it gave me an idea to have a flower farm of my own to supply events. Breeding dahlias could be another component.


    1. It is an exciting adventure and you won’t look back.


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