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It must be Winter - My Tree Dahlias are in Bloom

Updated on October 15, 2014
Big Pink Dahlia
Big Pink Dahlia | Source

When the Tree Dahlias bloom you know it's Winter

I always know when Winter starts. When I wake up to see the fat pink blossoms of my tree dahlias in their full splendour.

Winter is a lovely time of year in Melbourne. Time for scarves and woollen caps outdoors, for lighting a fire in the evenings and settling down with a basket for the knitting, and a basket for the cat.

Winter is time to admire once again, the big wobbly flowers of the tree dahlias.

Lovely Tree Dahlias
Lovely Tree Dahlias

Photos, year by year

My old tree dahlia now has a taproot that stretches across my whole garden.

It's a wonderful plant, never once have I watered, or fed, it.

Tree dahlia canes are like bamboo canes, they can be broken off easily and a high wind will bring them down.

Of course, where they hit the earth, they can begin to grow from that spot without any help from me. If I didn't cut them back, almost to the ground, after all the flowering has finished, I would soon have a jungle!

Have a look at my blooms, year after year.

Aren't they gorgeous?

First Bloom 2014

Tree Dahlias May 2014
Tree Dahlias May 2014

The first flower has appeared! This one was in full flower on 19 May

There are buds a-plenty with the promise of a bumper crop of blooms for Winter 2014


Tree Dahlias June 2013
Tree Dahlias June 2013

The Tree Dahlias are late again this year!

They used to always bloom in May, but every year it's a little later. This year, they weren't in full flower until June 15


First flower on the Tree Dahlia, May 2012
First flower on the Tree Dahlia, May 2012

The first flower is out!

May 17, 2012


Tree Dahlias on Mothers Day 2011
Tree Dahlias on Mothers Day 2011

It may not be the arbitrary date for Winter but my tree dahlias are in bloom again. I could see the buds had swollen on Friday 6 May and when I woke up on Mothers' Day the flowers had opened.

Tree Dahlias, June 2010
Tree Dahlias, June 2010


It's exactly one year since I put pictures of my tree dahlias into this page. Now they're in full bloom again.

When the fat purple flowers open it's a signal to prepare my garden for the colder months. It's time to get the mulch down, put in the broadbeans and radish and to cut back some of my plants.

It's time to fold away the lightest of my Summer clothes, to stow my sandals, to bring out my Winter jacket and unearth my warm scarves.

And time to take some new pictures of my tree dahlias


I love May and early June. The searing heat of the Summer has gone and Winter still hasn't started to bite. It's hardly got its teeth in. A great time to be outdoors in Melbourne!

My blooms arrived in Mid-May this year, the weather has been mild, but they've finally arrived, making the garden bright and cheerful.

All the photos are mine - Susanna Duffy

Tree Dahlias over 5 metres tall
Tree Dahlias over 5 metres tall

I Love my Tree Dahlias

Tree Dahlias will flourish most anywhere in Australia apart from the deserts, but you can find them up in sub-tropical regions and right down the south in the colder climate of Tasmania.

My Dahlia imperialis or, as they're commonly known, tree dahlias, are very similar to regular garden dahlias, and have similar growing habits. There's one big difference though, tree dahlias shoot up to towering heights in a very short time.

Some years, I've had tree dahlias over five metres high - that's more than 16 feet. (It depends how you cut them back).

These dramatic plants bear huge leaves and shaggy pink-purple flowers with yellow centres. The stems are tall, straight and thin, much like bamboo stems. They look so delicate, and make a startling splash in the winter sunlight.

Just like the bamboo which they resemble, the stems are slender and easily broken, but they grow fast from where they have fallen. Unlike bamboo, the tree dahlia has no big system of roots at all. So it won't get under your paving or lift up your brickwork!

Tree Dahlias grow really fast too. You can put a cane in the ground and in 3 months time it will be up past your waist.

Beautiful Blossoms on my Tree Dahlias

Click thumbnail to view full-size

How to Grow Tree Dahlias

Take a stem cutting with two or more segments.

Plant horizontally about ten cms deep in winter.

Cut right back close to halfway down after flowering (or if burned by frost).

If I remember, I trim mine back in early summer too, to encourage them to bush out.

My Winter Garden - There's more than Tree Dahlias in my Winter Garden

How about you?

Are Tree Dahlias the Bees' Knees?

See results

Leave a Doodle for the Dahlias

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    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      4 years ago from Canada

      So the dahlias have blooms all year long? I would love to have them in my yard. I wonder if they would be suitable for our climate here in southern B.C.?

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I don't know if we can do these up here. I have never seen one. They are beautiful though....."sigh"

    • SusannaDuffy profile imageAUTHOR

      Susanna Duffy 

      5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @Virginia Allain: You were a little too far north for tree dahlias :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      I don't remember seeing these when we lived in Alice Springs. We went to Cairns, Sydney, Broome, Darwin, etc. but maybe I just didn't know what they were.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Your tree dahlias are gorgeous! I had no idea there even was such a dahlia tree!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I've learned something new and lovely from this lens. I'd never heard of tree dahlias before, so thank you for enlightening me.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      7 years ago

      Always have loved trees, splendid things, but, do admit, I have never seen these, until now that is.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      I love this lens. The photos are so lovely I can almost smell the fragrance.

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image


      7 years ago from Rhode Island

      Beautiful lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I wish they would grow in Colorado - absolutely beautiful! Thanks for this great lens.

    • annieangel1 profile image


      7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      lovely lens - angel blessed and featured

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely. I've never seen these!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I don't think I have ever seen a Tree Dahlia and Dahlias are my hubby's favorite flower. I will have to find out if we can grow them here. Lovely.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 

      8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Wow, I love Dahlias, but have never seen anything like your tree dahlias. I've just been examing mine saved from last year to plant them out and they've all rotted- ah well!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Very beautiful tree dahlias.

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      Er, wouldn't say that they're like other dahlias, especially since those we have here are so small! What a huge tree! I want one like this in my garden, however, I'm sure it would die here as quickly as it grows in your country ;)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      8 years ago from UK

      I'm one who voted that I've never seen a tree dahlia. I would certainly love to though -- they look so beautiful! Another ~*~* Angel blessing *~*~ for this very attractive lens.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Pretty Dahlias. My parents plant dahlias but I haven't seen tree ones before now. Your tree dahlia is a very pretty color and the flowers are a nice shape. We are at the end of Spring here but it is still cold, 58 degrees. Hubby planted some flowers in the beds today and I hope we don't have frost. Thanks for sharing your pretty dahlias. :)

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Beautiful blossoms on those trees! Melbourne sounds vry inviting!

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 

      8 years ago

      This is beautiful lens and your winters sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Blessed!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      8 years ago

      What lovely blooms!

      Thanks for sharing


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      My morning read too - but I gave it more than 1 star, I enjoyed it

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      This was my wake-up lens of the day. I get out of bed, shuffle into my office, sit in my comfy chair and read something for a few minutes to get rid of the sleepies. This was a lovely way to start my day.


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