Dahlia Islander: large, pink, loud, showy. What’s not to like?

Image by kind permission of the National Dahlia Society

Dahlia Islander is a large, striking, heat tolerant dahlia featuring mid to dark pink flowers, with apricot tones. If you’re looking for a way to make a statement in your garden, consider introducing this showstopper into your collection. With its massive 8-10 inch flowers Dahlia Islander is sure to capture the attention of your visitors.

Dahlia Islander is a large flowered decorative dahlia (also know as a dinner-plate dahlia, given the flower size). This means it has fully double flowers with no central disc florets visible. The ray florets are involute (turning inwards) for most of their lengths and, unlike some decorative dahlias, the ends are quite pointed.

The overall effect of the flower is loose and somewhat blowsy, but certainly impressive.

This dahlia variety was introduced by the US growers Wickey in 1983.

The flowers of Dahlia Islander sit on top of straight and sturdy dark green stems, with the flowers nicely set off by the green foliage.

Dahlia Islander is a tall dahlia, reaching about 44-48 inches tall (1.5m). It is a free-flowering plant that will bloom well throughout the summer. Of course, frequent deadheading will prolong the flowering season. You can read more about how to deadhead dahlias in this post.

Dahlia Islander
Dahlia Islander (AI-enhanced image)

Where to buy Dahlia Islander

In the US, try the suppliers listed by dahliaaddict.com, Swan Island Dahlias or the Amazon suppliers below.

In the UK, Dahlia Islander is often available at Halls of Heddon, Rose Cottage Plants or Farmer Gracy.

No products found.

Garden Uses for Dahlia Islander

Like all dahlias, Dahlia Islander will flower from mid-summer until cut down by the first frosts. Because of the height of the plant and its large flowers, it is important to stake Dahlia Islander well so that it remains upright throughout the growing season.

Grow Dahlia Islander as a cut flower

Dahlia Islander can be grown as a cut flower. The strong stems mean that it does well in the vase, but you need to cut it soon after the flower has bloomed because the large flowers can get rain and wind damaged.

If you are growing it as a cut flower, it might be a good idea to grow Dahlia Islander in a raised bed for easy access to the plants for cutting.

If you do grow it as a cut flower, remember that when you are cutting it you should immediately place it in clean water to prevent air pockets from forming in the stem.

Dahlia Islander, image by kind permission of the National Dahlia Society

Grow Dahlia Islander in borders and containers

Dahlia Islander is a medium to large sized dahlia, so you’ll need to plant it in the middle to the rear of the border so that you can grow smaller plants in front.

Islander is strong plant, but the problem with the larger blooms is that they can easily start to look ragged if subject to much wind or rain.

The mid-pink colouring of Dahlia Islander means it will go well with plants of contrasting lighter or darker colours – pale yellows, pale pinks (like Dahlia Wizard of Oz) or white dahlias can work with it it, as can darker varieties, like Night Silence. It might also be worth trying with the multi-hued Dahlia Wine Eyed Jill.

In a mixed border, Islander looks good with hardy geraniums in front and maybe some of the tall grasses behind.

The height of Dahlia Islander means that if it is to do well in a container, the container needs to be large and deep, capable of supporting the necessary staking you will need to put in place to keep the plant upright.

Dahlia Islander
Dahlia Islander (AI-enhanced image)

Plant Notes: Dahlia Islander

Dahlia Islander Plant family icon


Dahlias belong to the Asteraceae family of plants.

Dahlia Islander plant type icon

Plant Type

Dahlias are tuberous herbaceous perennials.

Dahlia Islander soil type icon

Soil Type

Moist well-drained loamy soil.

Dahlia Islander plant aspect icon


Dahlias prefer full sun, but can cope with partial shade.

Dahlia Islander plant size icon

Eventual Size

Height approx 1 to 1.5m (44-48 inches). Width approx 50cm to 90cm (20 to 38 inches)

Dahlia Islander plant hardiness icon


Foliage cut down by frost. Tubers may survive down to -5C (23F). US Hardiness Zones 8+, UK Zone H3

Plant Calendar: Dahlia Islander

Dahlia seedsSow SeedsFeb, March, April (under cover)
pot up dahlia tubersPot up TubersMarch, April
plant out dahliasPlant Out**May, June
dahlia flowersFlowering TimeJuly, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov.

These timings assume a last frost in May. Adjust timings earlier or later according to last frost where you live.

**In areas of extreme summer heat, plant out in September.

Caring for Dahlia Islander

Take care of Dahlia Islander just as you would for any dahlia. Note in particular:

Planting and position dahlias

  • Dahlias prefer to be positioned full sun in moist, retentive, but well drained soil.
  • Improve the soil with organic matter before planting, preferably in the autumn.
  • Plant out your Dahlia tubers or sprouts after the risk of frost has passed.
  • Plant non-sprouting tubers 4 to 5 inches deep. Plant more deeply if a risk of frost remains, or you live in an area with extreme heat – but only if drainage is good. Otherwise there is a risk of the tubers rotting.

Watering and feeding dahlias

  • Keep the plant well-watered, but don’t let it get waterlogged for any prolonged period.
  • Feed with a well balanced fertiliser whilst its leaves and stems are developing, but switch to a regular phosphate rich fertiliser (e.g. tomato feed) to encourage flowering.

Stopping dahlias and increasing flower numbers

  • If you pinch out the growing tips of the main stems when they have two or three sets of leaves, you can create a bushier plant which will produce more blooms.
  • Remember to deadhead your flowers regularly to keep the plant flowering for as long as possible.

End of growing season care

  • If you live in an area that suffers from hard frosts or prolonged waterlogging, lift and store the tubers over winter. Follow the guidance in this post on overwintering dahlias.
  • If you do not get temperatures below freezing, you can leave your dahlia tubers in position. But it is best to cut back the old stems and mulch well.
Dahlia Islander in a mixed dahlia border. Image by kind permission of the National Dahlia Society

More on Growing Dahlias

You can also get much more guidance on growing dahlias in these posts:

Love Dahlias?I've written the book on them

Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.

Leave a Comment