At A Glance: Cafe Au Lait Dahlia

cafe au lait
In early June, I published an essay about the garden to come in the front yard of Detroit Garden Works called “Color Scheming”.  A dahlia named cafe au lait I had read about on Gardenista had gotten my attention. It did not take long for me to decide to organize and design the entire garden around that coffee infused with cream colored dahlia.  My grower managed to obtain and grow on 30 of them for me.

cafe au lait Dahlia (33)The dahlias got planted in the big garden beds in front of the shop, along with a white dinnerplate dahlia, white and lime nicotiana, and lots of purple and bicolor angelonia.  The window boxes were planted with lots of different flowers that I imagined would feature the color and form of that extraordinary dahlia. cafe au lait dahlia (16)The first cafe au lait bloomed today.  The color is everything I had imagined-smoky, creamy, a beige based utterly pale pink .  I cut that stem, and set it in lots of different places in the window boxes – just to see how and if the colors I had chosen for those boxes would compliment a dahlia that I had never seen before.  The following ridiculously large number of pictures is a sign of how pleased I was.

cafe au lait dahlia (17)The coffee and white dahlias are just coming on now-there are buds showing all over the big in ground planting. As I have said before, any response to color is a highly individual and emotional response.  I am delighted with what I am seeing. The excitement over the coming of the dahlias is one of many reasons why I enjoy gardening.  Some days, everything going on in the garden is all good.

cafe au lait dahlia (6)
cafe au lait Dahlia (29)

cafe au lait dahlia (4)


cafe au lait dahlia (26)


cafe au lait dahlia (18)Today was a very good day to be a gardener.


  1. I love your excitement! Is it the color or the plant? (I’m worried you may fall into a dahlia addiction)
    Your mix of colors is fantastic.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Frank, it was the color. Apparently there is a lot of variation in the color. The plants-quite statuesque! Best, Deborah

  2. Karen Kramer says

    It is lovely isn’t it! I grew this on a whim last year when I saw it on the picture attached to the dahlia tuber I bought at my local nursery. It was so gorgeous I decided I didn’t want to be without it. I broke my ankle last October and couldn’t get to the garden to dig them up. I was so happy to see it back in stock this year. I got mine planted late but that’s ok I have something to look forward to! I grow my dahlias in my vegetable garden for cut flowers but I am rethinking that as they are so beautiful in borders and bloom for so long and at such a good time. Your color combo is stunning!

  3. Annette Eberhardt says

    Oh how I wish that dahlia had been in bloom when I was in town recently and on my annual visit to DGW! I share your enthusiasm for you color combination! I was also thrilled to find Ruellia brittoniana in stock in your store. I was mesmerized by them on a recent visit to Longwood Gardens and do happy to be able to bring them home to my Virginia garden.

  4. Jody Costello says

    This dahlia is all the rage in the cut flower industry as well. From now until the fall nearly every bride wants this beauty. The color is the perfect “blush” which is trending strongly right now in the wedding and event world. I love that you grew them and I promise to keep my clippers at home when I come to visit the shop.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Jody, once they get going, I would be more than happy to cut some-just for you! best, Deborah

  5. Linda H. says

    Yesterday was also a very good day to be a gardener! The Cruise was wonderful.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Linda, a lot of people enjoyed the tour. It was a pleasure to see you that day-thanks for your support. Deborah

  6. Hi Deborah,
    I realize this wasn’t a post about nicotiana, but because of your frequent use of it, I’m quickly becoming a fan. I’ve never planted it before. I’d enjoy reading a post from you where you share your ‘words of wisdom’ on this plant as well!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Alan, if you type “nicotiana” into the blog search line, a number of posts I have written about them will come up. Thanks, Deborah

  7. I just saw this Dahlia here at a show–here it is a pale yellow with a beige-y overlay–different from yours but just as beautiful. It’s a wonderful cultivar.

  8. Oh it looks fabulous with all the contents of your window boxes. I just blogged about this dahlia too. It’s my first year growing it as well but I am for sure digging & overwintering the tuber. It’s the essence of loveliness. btw, love your blog.

Leave a Comment