Dahlia 'Star Elite'

Star Elite Cactus Dahlia: A Burst of Summer Brilliance

Dahlia ‘Star Elite’ or Star Elite Cactus Dahlia, a dazzling member of the Asteraceae family, stands out in any garden with its striking two-tone petals. The petals, which transition from sweet pink tips to sunny yellow centers, create a vibrant 6-inch bloom that explodes with color during the summer and continues to bloom until the first frosts. With deep green foliage providing a contrasting backdrop, this dahlia cultivar is a showstopper in both beds and large containers, attracting pollinators and making excellent cut flowers.

Botanical Background

The genus Dahlia is named after the 18th-century Swedish botanist Anders Dahl. Dahlias are native to Mexico and Central America and were introduced to Europe in the late 18th century. The diverse forms and colors of dahlias have made them a favorite among gardeners and breeders, resulting in a wide variety of cultivars, including the cactus type.

The Star Elite cultivar belongs to the cactus dahlias, characterized by their long, tubular petals that roll back and taper to points, resembling the quills of a cactus. This unique form adds a dynamic and striking element to any garden.


Height and Spread: The Star Elite Cactus Dahlia grows to a height of 30 to 42 inches and spreads about 24 inches. The plant’s mounding habit and dense foliage provide a lush, green base for the vibrant blooms.

Flower Color and Form: The flowers of Star Elite are a captivating blend of pink and yellow. The petals are rolled and pointed, creating a starburst effect that is both eye-catching and elegant.

Bloom Time: This dahlia blooms from late summer until the first frost, providing continuous color and interest in the garden.

Growing Conditions for Dahlia ‘Star Elite’

Hardiness Zones: Suitable for USDA hardiness zones 4 to 10, though, in zones 8 to 10, dahlias can be left in the ground over winter. In colder zones, the tubers need to be lifted and stored to survive the winter.

Light Requirements: Full sun is essential for optimal growth and flowering. Dahlias need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Soil Requirements: Well-drained, nutrient-rich soil is crucial for dahlias. They thrive in loamy or sandy soil but can also adapt to slightly acidic conditions. The key is to ensure good drainage to prevent tuber rot.

Watering: Dahlia ‘Star Elite’ requires regular watering, especially during dry spells. Water deeply once a week, ensuring the soil dries out between watering to avoid soggy conditions. Newly planted tubers should be watered sparingly until they sprout.

Fertilizing: Use a fertilizer high in potassium and phosphorus but low in nitrogen, such as a 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 formula. Fertilize when planting and then monthly until the plants start flowering.

Planting and Care for Dahlia ‘Star Elite’:

Planting Time: Plant dahlia tubers in the spring after the danger of frost has passed, typically around the same time you would plant tomatoes. In cooler climates, tubers can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost.

Planting Depth and Spacing: Plant tubers 2-3 inches deep with the crown (where the tubers connect) a few inches below the soil surface. Space plants 18-24 inches apart to allow for ample air circulation and growth.

Staking: Taller varieties, including Star Elite, benefit from staking to support the heavy blooms. Place stakes at planting time to avoid damaging the tubers later.

Deadheading and Pruning: Regularly deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. Pinch back early growth to promote bushier plants with more flowers.


Division: Dahlias are typically propagated by dividing tubers. Each division must have at least one “eye” or growth point. Divide tubers in early spring before planting.

Cuttings: Cuttings can be taken from sprouting tubers in spring. Root the cuttings in a moist, well-draining medium until new growth appears.

End-of-Season Care

Overwintering: In zones 8-10, dahlias can overwinter in the garden with proper mulch and protection from excessive moisture. In colder zones, dig up the tubers after the first frost, clean them, and store them in a cool, dry place over the winter. Replant in the spring.

Storage: Store tubers in peat moss, sawdust, or sand to prevent them from drying out. Keep them in a dark, cool place with good air circulation.


The Star Elite Cactus Dahlia is a stunning addition to any garden, offering vibrant blooms and a unique form that stands out among other flowers. With proper care, these dahlias can provide a breathtaking display from late summer to the first frost. Whether grown in beds, borders, or containers, the Star Elite Cactus Dahlia is sure to bring a burst of color and life to your garden. By following the outlined care instructions and propagation methods, you can enjoy these beautiful flowers year after year.

Dahlia 'Star Elite'
Dahlia ‘Star Elite’ at St. James’s Park, London UK

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