Can You Change the Color of a Plant?

Blue roses are possible by altering the flavonoids
Blue roses are possible by altering the flavonoids

Plants and flowers are often thought to always be in traditional colors. Red for roses, white and yellow for daisies. Scientists and people with a curiosity for the new and different, are experimenting with ways in which plant color can be altered, bringing about a whole new variety altogether.

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Change pigment and change colors

Scientists have discovered when pigments in plants are changed in the lab, colors of the blooms can also be changed, creating a whole new variety. The color-producing pigments include Flavonoids, which produce reds or blues; Carotenoids, creating yellows and oranges; and Chlorophyll, which dictates the green colors of plants. Tweaking these elements, can create new colors for floral and plant specimens.

Blue roses are possible by altering the flavonoids
Blue roses are possible by altering the flavonoids

A Change of pH changes colors

Changing the pH or acidity level of the soil in which a specimen is planted, can also alter the color of the plant or flower. pH measures the acidity of a solution, in this case, soil. The number seven is the pH level in pure water, which is neither acidic nor basic. Hydrangeas turn blue with acidic soil and can be changed to pink when placed in a more alkaline or basic soil environment.

Hydrangeas turn pink from a more alkaline soil.
Hydrangeas turn pink from a more alkaline soil.

It's all in the genes

Scientists can also scientifically alter the genes of a plant, which will create a new array of colors. In one example, a scientist took a gene (the DNA which decides traits, such as in the human or animal race, eye color) from a corn plant and stuck it into the cells of a petunia plant. The DNA implantation of the corn plant instructs the petunia plant to change its traits, and in turn, it changes colors. In this case, switching from blue to orange.

Experimentation with water

Experiments have been done by dyeing waters with food coloring. A white flower such as a daisy or carnation is placed in dyed water. Through capillary action, water climbs up through the root, into the stem, and eventually into the bloom, altering its color to the dye in the water.

A white carnation can be altered in color by placing it in dyed water.
A white carnation can be altered in color by placing it in dyed water.

Change color with light

Light can affect the color change of a plant. A cyclamen is an example in which colors may change, based on its exposure to sunlight. The temperature it's exposed to and the soil can be secondary factors.

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