Have you ever walked around your garden and noticed flowers of different colors growing on the same plant? Or maybe you’re fascinated by the thought of multi-colored flowers adorning your single houseplant.
Different flower colors from the same plant can bring extra glamour to your living space. But what causes different colored flowers on the same plant?
This blog post will help you understand different colored flowers on same plant and the science behind this beautiful phenomenon.
Why are there Different Colored Flowers on the Same Plant?
Different colors of flowers may appear on one plant due to genetic variations. A plant with mixed genomes may develop flowers of different colors. Different colors may also occur due to the distribution of coloring pigments.
The growth environment is another contributing factor. The amount of light they receive, the temperatures, and the soil pH can make a plant develop different colors of flowers.
Additionally, the phenomenon can occur due to stress from the environment.
Why do Flowers Have Different Colors?
Flowers have different colors due to their varying coloring pigments. There are two main coloring pigments in plants: Anthocyanins and carotenoids.
Anthocyanins make flowers develop purple, red, blue, and white petals. Conversely, Carotenoids make flowers produce orange, red, pink, and yellow blooms.
Most flowers have either carotenoids or anthocyanins. However, some derive their colors from a combination of both.
Different species have adopted distinct colors to attract different pollinators. For instance, some bees are specifically attracted to yellow and blue flowers. Butterflies often prefer brighter pink and purple flowers.
Where do Flower Colors Come From?
Flowers get their colors from a variety of pigments. These pigments are formed in the plant’s cells and help to absorb light and reflect color.
They also help the flower attract insects for pollination. As mentioned, Carotenoids and anthocyanins are the major coloring pigments in plants.
- Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments that produce red, purple, and blue colors. They also act as sunscreens to protect plants from harmful UV rays.
- Carotenoids are lipid-soluble pigments that produce orange, red, and yellow flowers.
Other pigments that occur in smaller quantities include:
- Flavonoids are water-soluble pigments that produce cream, blue, and white plants.
- Xanthophylls produce yellow and orange colors
- Phaeophytins produce brownish-green colors
- Betalains produce reddish-purple colors
- Chalcones produce yellowish-orange colors
Environmental factors also play a role in determining flower color. If a flower is exposed to too much sunlight or heat, its pigments may bleach out over time. This will result in faded or washed-out petals.
Insufficient amounts of sunlight can also prevent certain pigments from developing properly. This may lead to paler hues or completely white blooms. This phenomenon is often known as chlorosis.
Pigmentation is the process by which plants produce color. The colors in flowers are generated by pigments. These are the compounds responsible for the range of beautiful hues found in flowers and other parts of plants.
Pigments work by absorbing some wavelengths of light while reflecting others. For instance, carotenoids absorb blue and green light while reflecting red and yellow wavelengths. This is why carotenoids produce yellow, orange, or red flowers.
The type and amount of pigments in each flower will vary based on species, age, location, and even genetics.
The amount of pigment determines how deep or light in color the flower appears.
Color Changes from Mutations
Sometimes, you may notice the flowers in your plants changing color over time. This is usually a result of natural mutation.
Mutations are changes in an organism’s DNA. They are spontaneous changes that happen during cell division.
Mutations occur due to environmental factors like exposure to UV light or chemicals. These changes can make a plant develop other flowers with a different color than what is considered “normal” for that species.
Usually, these mutations are harmless and will correct themselves over time. However, it can be a sign or a more serious problem in some rare cases.
Mutations can also make plants susceptible to diseases like fungal and bacterial infections.
How Genetics Affect the Color of Flowers
The color of a flower depends on its genetic makeup. This starts with the chromosomes that are found inside the cells of the plant.
A chromosome is made up of DNA and genes, which contain information about what traits the plant will have. These traits include the flower color. Plant genes are often passed down through generations and determine the traits of each plant.
When it comes to flower color, dominant genes determine which color appears more often from one generation to the next. However, when two plants cross-pollinate, they produce offspring with unique combinations of chromosomes and dominant genes. This can result in unexpected color variations.
For instance, if two yellow roses breed, they may produce pink roses due to dominant gene combinations.
How Growth Conditions Affect Flower Color
Sometimes, you’ll notice plants of the same species grown in different locations having different color shades. This is often due to different growth conditions.
Flower color is also affected by growth conditions like light, temperature, and soil.
1. Light Conditions
Flowers that receive lots of sunlight tend to be brighter and more vibrant than those that don’t. Sunlight has ultraviolet light, which makes flowers appear brighter. However, too much sunlight can cause flowers to fade or turn brown.
Flowers that grow under warm temperatures tend to have more vibrant colors than those in cooler temperatures. This is because warm temperatures cause the cells to expand, making the pigments appear brighter.
3. Soil type
Plants that are grown in alkaline soils produce flowers that are more pink or purple. This is because alkaline soils are rich in magnesium. On the other hand, plants grown in acidic soils produce yellow or white flowers due to their high iron content.
Soil rich in nitrogen also produces yellow flowers since nitrogen promotes the production of carotenoids.
Grafting a New Color
While strolling around your garden, you may wish your flowers had a different color than their natural color. Well, with grafting, you can make that possible!
Grafting is a gardening technique that involves cutting one plant and attaching it to another plant. However, you can only do that with plants of the same species.
For instance, you can graft white and red roses to produce pink roses.
Here are the steps to follow if you want to graft a new plant color from different plants:
- Make a clean cut on the stem of the plant you want to use as your graft donor.
- Make a diagonal cut on the stem of your houseplant. The two cuts should be about the same size. If the cuts are different sizes, the graft may not work.
- Insert the stem from the graft donor plant into the cut on your houseplant. Make sure that the two layers are lined up.
- Once the two layers are lined up, tie them together using a string, tape, or twist ties.
- You can then pot your new plant in a small pot or container using a clean potting mix and water it well after potting. Since the pot is small, go for the right plant for shallow pots.
- You can also add rooting hormone to accelerate root growth.
- Place your grafted plant in an area with bright, indirect light and keep an eye on it for signs of new growth.
- Once new growth appears, you can remove the string or twist ties and transplant the grafted plant into a larger pot or outdoor garden. You can now enjoy your grafted plants with a new color.
Can one plant have different colors of flowers?
Yes, one plant can have different colors of flowers! This is due to a phenomenon called chimerism— when two different plant genes merge, causing the plant to produce two sets of genes. This can cause the plant to produce two different colored flower sets.
Why are the flowers on the same plant different colors?
Flowers on the same plant can have different colors due to genetic variation. This is when there is a change in the genetic makeup of a plant. Genetic variation can occur naturally or due to environmental factors like sunlight and temperature.
Can a plant have two different flowers?
Yes, a single plant can have two different flowers. A mutation causes a change in the genetic code of the plant. This can cause changes in flower shape, size, and color.
Where do flowers get their color from?
Flowers get their color from natural pigments in their petals. The most common pigment is anthocyanin, which gives flowers red, purple, and blue hues. Carotenoids are responsible for yellow, orange, and pink blooms, while chlorophyll produces green hues.
Final Thought: Different Colored Flowers On Same Plant
If you’re looking for a particular color for your houseplant collection, it pays to research first. Knowing how genetics affects flower color can help you select the most desirable traits. As a result, you can get exactly what you want for your indoor or outdoor garden.
It also helps to know which environmental conditions will change the color of your flowers. If you want flowers of different colors on one plant, you can always achieve that through grafting.
With this knowledge, you can confidently build the perfect garden with your most desired color blooms.