There are many plant phenomena out there that would make you squeal with excitement. Codariocalyx motorius, for example, is named the ‘dancing plant’ because its rapid movements are actually visible to humans. Meanwhile, Pleopeltis polypodioides is known as the ‘resurrection fern’ because it can go for 100 years without water and spring to life when it is rehydrated. But what about plant phenomena that you can grow in your back garden?…
Colour changing flowers are very much available to the everyday gardener. And no, I’m not talking about that experiment you did in primary school where you put a cut flower in inky water to see its petals change. The colour changing flowers I’m talking about actually change colour throughout the seasons while they’re happily growing in your flower beds!
Check out Dianthus Million Kisses for amazing colour changing power – more on this collection further down!
Why do some flowers change colour?
If you get bored with routine and like to change up the colours in your garden every so often, colour-changing flowers will actually do the work for you! But why do some plants change colour? There are several reasons:
- Maturation – Some plants will change colours to tell pollinators that they are past the pollination stage. Hibiscus mutabilis, Viburnum opulus and Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ all exhibit this behaviour.
- Environment – The type of nutrition used and the pH of the soil can affect the colour of flowers. For example, hydrangeas can grow blue, pink or purple flowers depending on how acidic or alkaline the soil is.
- Viral infections – Certain infections in certain plants can actually cause aesthetically pleasing results! This is especially notable in tulips, which are famed for their stunning colour palettes and patterns.
- Seed/genetic variability – Depending on the breeding that leads to a certain plant’s creation, it can produce different coloured plants from its seeds. For example, a brown pansy could produce yellow or even purple offspring.
- Season – Repeat flowering plants will often produce a different colour flower in summer to the ones produced in spring. This is the plant’s reaction to the temperature of the season.
Colour changing Dianthus
Looking for a unique plant to create a colour changing effect in your garden throughout the year? There are many varieties of Dianthus that have this characteristic, bringing joy to your yard all summer long! One collection in particular – Dianthus Million Kisses – features five perennial cultivars displaying a range of single and double blooms, bi-colour and colour-changing flowers.
The cultivars are:
- Pink Kisses – lightly scented deep pink double blooms which fade to softer pink around the edges with age to create a two-tone effect
- Early Love – double blooms in raspberry red with a deep burgundy centre and a sweet, spicy fragrance
- Purple Wedding – strongly scented semi-double pink and red two-tone flowers
- Peach Party – scented soft peach flowers that develop a dark red eye with age
- I Love You – sweetly fragranced colour-changing double blooms with wavy edges, that turn from pink to pale pink and finally to white
Can you detect a theme?!
This fabulously floriferous collection delivers a colour-splash of pinks and purples year after year. With a small, neat habitat, these Dianthus are perfect for displaying in pots and containers.
Caring for Dianthus Million Kisses
- Flowering period: May – September
- Plant position: full sun
- Soil type: moist, well-drained
- Key wildlife attracted: bees and butterflies
- Mature size (h x w): 40cm x 40cm (15.7″ x 15.7″)
Plant your Dianthus out upon receipt and water well until they’ve become established in your garden. After they’ve finished flowering, taking care not to cut into old wood, cut them back to enjoy more blooms next season!
Which colour changing plants catch your eye? Let me know in the comments section below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.
Hi Michael, I got 2 sets of the Dianthus Million Kisses that were the TSV on QVC. They were planted out the day after they arrived. I’m sad to say that 3 of the plants seem to be dying off. When they arrived I took them out of the packaging immediately and placed them in plant saucers with water; I planted them out next day into my flower bed in a mix of new soil and multi purpose compost and followed up with Richard Jackson’s flower power. Within 2 days two of the plants showed signs that things weren’t good, a third has since joined them. We have had some light rain since they were planted, but I’ve kept a close check on their moisture level and fed again on several occasions with flower power. Is there anything else I can do to save them? Thank you