Cafe au Lait Royal Dahlia Tubers
- Colour: pale dusky pink
- Flower size: 20-25cm
- Type: Decorative (dinnerplate)
- Cutting: Sensational
- Height/spread: 90cm x 60cm
- Flowering: July to November
- Planting months: end Feb to July
Cafe au Lait Royal: Decorative Dahlia Tubers
There's a rather sophisticated trend underway at the moment for dahlias in muted coffee and pink tones. And Cafe au Lait Royal is right there, a dusky star in a heavenly firmament of dahlias. The blooms are seriously huge, up to 25cm across, with double petals that are more strawberry milkshake than latte when they first open, but which quickly and handsomely transform to faded cappuccino, the petals gently streaked. The foliage and stems are of a fresh mid-green.
Browse our other Decorative Dahlias or our full range of Dahlias.
Like most dahlias, the flowers are perfect for bringing indoors to create fantastical arrangements. If you've a wedding planned for late summer, grow plenty of these: bouquets of dusky pink and coffee coloured dahlias are all the rage – just take a look on Pinterest! It flowers from mid to late summer right up to the first frosts. Keep picking to encourage more blooms.
- Colour: Light Pink fading to milky coffee
- Foliage: Mid-Green
- Flower Size: 25cm
- Type: Decorative Dahlia
- Cutting: Yes
- Height/Spread: To 90cm x 60cm
- Flowering: July to November
- Outdoor Planting Months: March to July
Growing Cafe au Lait Dahlias
All dahlias do best in deep rich soil with good drainage in a sunny spot. If it is windy they will need staking. They are greedy, thirsty plants so will need watering in dry spells, and they will always flower that little bit better if there is a bit of soluble food in the watering can once every couple of weeks.
It is generally more convenient to put support stakes in at planting time, rather than leaving it until there is foliage in the way.
Planting Companions for Cafe au Lait
As it grows to almost 1m in height, it is best planted towards the centre of a bed or border.
Try planting with other dahlias in similar faded colours of ivory, peach, apricot and cream to create a beautiful, serene scene. Or deep orange and bronze David Howard would make a nice contrast. At the front of the border bronzed ornamental grasses such as Anemanthele lessoniana complement dahlias beautifully. Or combine with other late-summer stars such as Japanese anemones, Verbena bonariensis and fluffy, wafting pennisetums.
Did You Know?
A relative of Cafe au Lait, apparently the most famous dahlia in the world, which goes back to 1968, when it was introduced by Dutch breeders Bruidegom. Royal has the same flower form but a slightly more intense colouring. Cafe au Lait became a sell-out dahlia a few years ago after it was featured by cult US TV personality Martha Stewart in Martha Stewart Weddings. So get it while you can!
If you ignore seed, Dahlias can be planted at three stages: as tubers, rooted cuttings and pot-grown plants.
Tubers can be planted at any time from March onwards. The hole should be at least double the diameter of the tuber laid out on the ground. Incorporate about 25% well rotted compost and if drainage is in any way doubtful then add plenty of horticultural grit as well. Plant one tuber per hole, leaving 60-80 cms between plants (depending on final size) and make sure the tuber is covered with 10-12 cms (4-5") of soil. This is important as it will insulate the tuber against frosts in March-May as they will take a couple of months to show.
Rooted cuttings, which are available from early April onwards, will need to be potted up and kept in a sunny and frost free place until they are ready to be planted out in mid May. Their treatment then is the same as for tubers except they are planted level with rather than 10 cms below the surrounding soil level.
Pot grown plants are not delivered until June, and are then planted out immediately in the same way as an established rooted cutting.
The more you deadhead, the more flowers you'll get.