The clue is in the name. These double flowering dahlias grow to the size, quite literally, of dinner plates. But where do they come from?
Dahlias arrived in Europe as seeds in the late 1700s. The first were grown in Madrid and were the single flowering type with open centres. They looked more or less exactly like your average cartoon flower: nine petals with a yellow middle.
It didn't take long for the horticultural wiz kids of the day to breed these small, simple stems into what they call “double flowered” stems in the growing game.
Skip forward 100 years and all kinds of dahlias started being produced – some labeled "fancy dahlias”, nodding to how the petals have more than one color. In 1872 dahlia tubers were once again brought over from Mexico. The horticulturalists took this tuber and developed it into the spectacular cactus-flowered dahlia, and decorative dahlia types, which produce the big, plate-sized blooms.
Other examples of spectacular dinner plate dahlias include the “Café au Lait”, which produces creamy white to peach flowers, and the “American Dream”, a variety with large pink double blooms with darker pink stripes.
Read more about the history of the dahlia here.