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What to Plant with Dahlias (The Perfect Companion Plants)

What to Plant with Dahlias (The Perfect Companion Plants)

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Dahlias are fascinating, exotic flowers with petals that are as unusual and beautiful as the plant is. These regal flowers are perennials and complement other perennials, adding vibrant color and dimension to the garden. They grow from tubers to reach a height of several feet (0.5 to 1m). With its unique placement of petals, the flower head ranges in sizes from a saucer giant to miniatures.

When considering what to plant with dahlias, take into account that these plants require large amounts of water and growing space. Choose plants and flowers that compliment the dahlias’ height and span. Certain herbs and flowers repel insects and pests, ensuring the healthy growth of the dahlias.

You’ve chosen these beautiful and exotic flowers for your garden but need to know about other plants, flowers, and herbs that will fill up the space but also complement and enhance your dahlias. This article will help with any and all questions you have on what to plant with your dahlias.

Handy Tips for Growing Dahlias

Tall Dahlia

These tall but glorious flowers are sometimes described as a graceful ballerina standing on her toes. The dahlia species can be traced back to New Mexico and South America. They grow between late June and early December, before the first frost sets in. Dahlias are hassle-free, low maintenance, but their sheer explosion of colors is what makes these perennials a must-have in any garden.

A common mistake those new to gardening make is that dahlias grow the same as bulbs. Dahlias grow from tubers, which are similar to bulbs, in that they both serve as storage houses for food and energy. However, they differ in size, shape, and appearance.

Tubers are an extension of the stem tissue; they do not have a basal plate or papery cover, as bulbs do. Tubers can be found growing in clusters and are flat or cylindrical.

Dahlias grow well under conditions free from frost. However, if the tubers are plucked early before the frost settles and stored under cool temperatures, you can be assured of healthy growth.

Here are a few handy tips for growing dahlias:

Space Limitation

If you are limited by space, dahlias grow well in pots, patios, and even small back yards. Being tubers, these stunning plants can also grow under shade. This is useful if you decide to use a shade cloth to protect your plants or create a greenhouse effect.

Provide Sufficient Spacing Between Dahlias

Ensure there is sufficient spacing between the dahlias to avoid competition for space.


Dahlias prefer slightly acidic soil. Before planting, check the pH levels of your soil and if need be, amalgamate the soil by adding compost or manure.


Purple Dahlias Blooming In Garden

Dahlias are sun-lovers. Therefore to maintain maximum and optimum growth, ensure dahlias receive up to 8 hours of full sun.


Because dahlias are a tuber, water is stored within them. Therefore it is unnecessary for too much water. Overwatering may cause the tubers to rot. Therefore you should only water the soil once the shoots appear.


This word conjures visions of the Red Queen shouting, “OFF With Her Head!!” It is similar in that you need to remove the dried flower heads to ensure the bountiful blossoms of your dahlias.

Tips to Consider When Choosing Perennials to Grow With Dahlia

When you choose perennials to grow with your dahlias, you may consider a few tips. These will help your dahlias grow more vibrant and provide your garden with color and texture.

  • Choose clump, growing perennials that do not compete with dahlias but thrive independently.
  • Dahlias are greedy plants and cannot bear other plants encroaching on their space or food. Select perennials that know their corner and space.
  • Select dwarf-sized companion plants that grow well in the shade because dahlias reach a height of 1m.
  • Go for perennials that repel your dahlias from pests such as slugs, snails, aphids, and Japanese Beetles.

What Plants Compliment Dahlias

When planning or landscaping a garden, remember specific crucial points. Plan your garden according to plant height, taller plants lined against a wall or fence, medium-sized plants below them, and miniature or dwarf-sized plants filling up the space around.

Considering whether they are sun-loving or prefer shade plants, their water consumption, climbers, or spread on the ground.

Because dahlias grow tall, consider plants that prefer the shade or grow alongside dahlias but do not compete for food and sun energy. Here are a few suggestions for miniature plants that grow well with dahlias.



Nasturtiums are easy to grow, come in over 50 varieties, love the sun as much as dahlias do, but also prefer some afternoon shade. With their fiery, multi-colored blossoms, these stunning annuals are great to grow with dahlias for their insect repellant properties. Nasturtiums also attract butterflies, which are helpful in your garden.

An added advantage to having them grow in your garden are the edible flowers which give your salads a color boost.

Bee Balm

Bee Balm, commonly known as `wild bergamot,’ is another sun-loving plant. They are part of the mint family, and their colorful blossoms of red, pink, purple or white, and fragrant leaves are ideal for any garden.

They compliment dahlias very well due to the colorful flowers they attract bees and butterflies to the garden, which are needed for pollination.

Pollinators Like Roses, Geraniums, and Peonies

Pink Peonies

For pollination to occur, plants require bees and butterflies, which transfer pollen from one plant to another. When considering what to plant with dahlias, consider mixing up annuals and some perennials such as roses, geraniums, peonies, and salvia.

These stunning, colorful, sun-loving perennials are a great addition to any garden because they attract bees and butterflies and repel insects and pests.

Because dahlias are scent-free, having the fragrant geranium growing makes it a good companion plant. Geraniums are also known as “trap” crops because their flowers are toxic to aphids and attract the Japanese Beetles, which spares the dahlias from the beetles.


Cosmos and dahlias are a classic pair to any garden. Cosmos are unusual in that the delicate flowers sit atop a thin, slender stem. They belong to the sunflower family.

Having them in your garden will attract bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators.


These fragrant flowers lend their sweet aromas to any garden. Since dahlias are unscented, the nicotianas are an excellent addition to a fragrant display. However, please check with your local nursery as not all nicotianas are scented.

Varieties to consider are the “Perfume Purple,” “Only the Lonely,” and the “Grandiflora.”

What Herbs Grow with Dahlias

Having herbs grow in the garden is suitable for cooking, and because the herbs contain pungent aromas and oils that repel pests and insects, they are an all-around hit in any garden. You need these herbs to keep the nasty pests away from your dahlias. Some beneficial herbs are listed below,

Coriander and Anise


Having these herbs is a great combination to plant with dahlias. Coriander repels aphids, and anise attracts predatory wasps, which feed on the aphids. A strange relationship, but in nature, it works.

Mint, Thyme, and Rosemary

These sweet-scented herbs are good companions to dahlias. They make an excellent ground cover and lend their fragrance to your garden, attracting other pollinators.


This hardy herb is from Asia but grows worldwide now, with many medicinal and health benefits. You can add these silvery leaves to any vase or bouquet, but their most significant advantage is their ability to repel snails and slugs in the garden.


The creeping comfrey makes a good ground cover for your garden. Comfrey prefers sunlight but also enjoys some afternoon shade. They make good companions to your dahlias because they detract and repel slugs and snails.

Ornamental Grasses


Ornamental grasses are popular amongst the colder climate countries and are known for their resistance to colder temperatures. They are good as companions as they add an exciting contrast to the dahlias. The thin, reed-like foliage offset the color burst of dahlias.

“Pennisetum,” also known as `Red Head’ reach their peak just as dahlias are blooming; therefore, these two are good partners. The Pennisetum is also good to add to any vase or bouquet.

“Stipa Gigantea” is another type of ornamental grass that compliments and grows well with dahlias.

Final Thoughts

Dahlias are perennials that grow to a height around 1m, bright, colorful blooms, with petals arranged in an engaging, captivating way. Plants and herbs such as thyme, mint, roses, and nasturtiums grow well with dahlias. Certain plants and herbs add fragrance, while others repel pests and insects from destroying the dahlias.

Try growing dahlias with some of these suggestions; you will be happy with the results.

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Sunday 7th of May 2023

Thank you for this helpful post! I just planted several dahlia tubers in my small backyard after a lot of success with a dinnerplate variety I've had for a few years now. The dahlias I planted took up a sizable space in my bed and I'm now left with a blank patch of soil where the tubers are. I know the space will be filled soon once the dahlias start to grow, but I'd love to get some companion plants to add interest and get more growing seasons from my space. However, I'm worried that I don't have enough space for companion plants with my dahlias. If my dahlias are equally spaced (12-18") is it okay to plant between the tubers or would that be too crowded?