It’s easy to see why Dahlias are some of the world's most beloved plants. Here at Dutch Grown, we’ve got an enormous collection of weird, wonderful, and wacky Dahlia tubers available in a kaleidoscope of colors, textures, and flower forms. There really is a Dahlia to suit every garden and every gardener! But we wanted to shine a spotlight on one of the most dramatic Dahlias that we have to offer - the Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’! We’re sure you’ll be as just as enchanted as we are with this most extravagant and evocative Dahlia flower.
What are Dahlias?
Dahlias make up a huge and varied genus of perennial flowering plants. Once native to South and Central America, they are now one of the most popular plants on the planet and a regular and beloved feature in gardens all over the world. The main reason for Dahlia's incredible desirability is the sheer diversity that they display. Extensive cultivation and experimental breeding over three centuries has resulted in over 57,000 individual types of Dahlia flowers spread across 42 species!
The reason for such dazzling displays of diversity is in the Dahlia's DNA. Whilst most living things (humans included) are diploids possessing just two sets of chromosomes, Dahlias are octoploids, with a total of eight sets of chromosomes! These additional chromosome sets allow for far greater variability, irregularity, and reproductive outcomes than we would find in diploids. It’s the reason that botanists and breeders have worked so extensively with Dahlias over the years to create the unique markings, colorings, and flower forms that we have come to know and adore in our Dahlias.
What is the Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’?
Celebrating its 72nd birthday this year is the multi award winning Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’. It’s certainly one the most spectacular Dahlias that we have to offer, and we think it's definitely a birthday worth celebrating!
A relatively new addition to the ever-expanding Dahlia family, ‘Arabian Night’ was first created in The Netherlands in 1951. As a member of the decorative Dahlia family, the ‘Arabian Night' offers fully-double inflorescences made up of many protruding florets without any central disk, which creates an almost perfectly spherical flowerhead. The ‘Arabian Night’ has the classic uniformity, symmetry, and glamour that many Dahlia growers delight in.
But what really sets Dahlia Arabian Night apart from the rest is its rich, deep, coloring, coupled with the opulent, velvety texture of its flowers. Whilst the outer tips of its petals are a resplendent red-wine color, the innermost petals really ramp up the drama as they fade to a dark, dusky, maroon.
In fact, the Arabian Night’s central petals are so dark that they are often included in that most illustrious and sought-after category of ‘Black Dahlias’. Although no true black dahlias exist, the deep, inky tones of the Arabian Night mean it’s one of the darkest Dahlia varieties you can buy. This makes the ‘Arabian Night’ quite the spectacle, and bold gardeners are sure to be enchanted by its unusually ostentatious coloring.
Each individual Arabian Night flower measures about four inches in diameter, and they sit proudly atop slender but sturdy stems which can reach anywhere between three and four feet tall. And yet despite its perfectly generously sized flower heads and respectable height, the Arabian Night Dahlia is actually classed as a miniature Dahlia! Some Dahlia varieties can reach towering heights of over six feet tall, with flowers of ten inches wide, so the Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ is a petite and perfectly formed alternative to its more rambunctious, dinner plate-sized cousins.
The breathtaking blooms of ‘Arabian Night’ are long-lasting, too! They’re a relatively early bloomer, bursting in life in the early summer and their flowers should easily endure well into fall and right up until the first frost with the correct care.
How to style your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ in the garden
The compact growth habit and modest height of the Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ means they’re more versatile than the larger Dahlia varieties. They have a modest spread with a clumping growth habit that won’t stifle or overshadow other, more delicate plants in a mixed border. Alternatively, they’re petite enough to thrive in pots or containers, so they’re perfect for gardeners with smaller spaces too!
The unusually deep color of Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ makes it a natural centerpiece for the border, especially when planted amongst lighter-colored flowers that really highlight its swarthy tones and bring a sense of depth to the garden. Or if you prefer to make an altogether bolder statement in your garden, why not group them together with other, equally dramatic flowers, such as our ‘Queen of Night’ Tulips or our Echinacea ‘Black Beauty’? The sultry red and smoky black tones will bring a gothic yet elegant edge to your garden.
Displaying Your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ as Cuttings
Dahlia flowers are as beloved by florists as they are by gardeners, and they often feature in opulent flower arrangements and wedding bouquets. The sturdy stems of ‘Arabian Night’ lend themselves perfectly to cut flower arrangements, so you may want to grow yours in a cutting garden, where the flowers can be easily snipped off and brought inside to create a beautiful display. Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ are fragrance-free too, so they won’t overpower your home with perfume as some other cut flowers do.
Unfortunately, Dahlias have a relatively short lifespan once cut, usually lasting around four or five days. You can extend the life of your ‘Arabian Night’ cuttings by snipping them just before the flower bud opens, right as the petals are beginning to uncurl. Don’t cut them too early though, as a prematurely removed bud may never open. It’s also best to take your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ cuttings early in the morning or later in the evening, as the cooler temperatures will help to preserve your cuttings.
There’s no need to worry about getting too scissor-happy with the shears since the more flowers you cut, the more flowers your ‘Arabian Night’ plant will produce! Make each cut just above a set of leaf nodes or young buds, since this is where any new flowers will grow from.
What Does Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ Symbolise?
Dahlia flowers are highly symbolic and have been used throughout history to symbolize significant feelings of devotion, dignity, and everlasting love. But did you know that different Dahlia colors also hold different meanings?
Red Dahlia flowers like the ‘Arabian Night’ are often used to symbolize strength, resilience, perseverance, and power. A bouquet of ‘Arabian Night’ will make a great gift for a friend or family member who is going through a tough time or suffering from ill health.
Top Tips for Taking care of your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’
Your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ tubers will arrive ready to plant as soon as the last frost has passed. There's no need to soak them before planting as you might with other bulbs. Simply place them pointed end up and cover them with soil, but remember to leave the very tip of the tuber protruding just above the soil line.
Grow your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ in a sheltered position. Although they aren’t as top-heavy as some Dahlia varieties, their stems may still struggle to support the weight of their impressive flowers in strong winds.
Dahlias thrive in fertile, rich, and slightly acidic soil. Work plenty of organic acidic material such as sphagnum moss or ericaceous compost into the soil before planting, and mulch regularly with pine needles to increase the soil acidity and boost nutrients.
Your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ will perform best in a full-sun position, with at least six hours of sunshine each day. Water regularly throughout the growing season, especially in droughts or extremely high summer temperatures.
Deadheading your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ regularly throughout the flowering season will help to promote an abundance of long-lasting flowers. Feeding regularly with a high potash fertilizer will also encourage bigger, showier flower displays.
Although they’re perennial, Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ isn’t keen on temperatures below freezing, so you’ll need to lift your tubers in late fall and store them somewhere cool, dark, and dry over winter, before replanting the following spring.
For glamorous gardens (and glamorous gardeners of course!) there’s really no more impressive flower than the Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’. Sultry, symmetrical, and sumptuous, its immaculate shape and dramatic coloring will captivate anyone who gazes upon it!You can order your Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ bulbs here, or you can check out our colossal collection of other Dahlia bulbs right here!