What Gives Flowers Their Color?

We take colors for granted. They enrich our world and provide beauty every day.  Colors come from pigments and most flower colors come from the pigments known as anthocyanins.  These are classified as chemicals called flavonoids and result in pink, red, blue and purple coloring in flowers. Oranges and yellows are from a type of pigment called carotenoids.  The next pigment you’ll probably recognize— Chlorophyll. It is the most commonly known because of all the greenery we see in our world—this abundant chemical puts the green in leaves, foliage and flowers.

A genom Is an organism’s genetic material. Chloroplasts are fixed in the genoms of every flower and plant. These are responsible for color. So what is a chloroplast? Dictionary definition: A plastid containing chlorophyll and other pigments, occurring in plants and algae that carry out photosynthesis.

You may wonder why some flowers are brightly colored and others are pale or dull? Well, think about those flowers and flowering plants who need the help of the birds and the bees to pollinate and reproduce. In order to attract bees, birds and other insects they typically have bright, bold, noticeable colors. They will also have fruits that taste sweet and probably smell nice, too. But for plants and flowers whose pollination is handled by the wind, they don’t need bright colors and their fruit tastes bad or has no taste at all. They may smell bad or have no scent – they aren’t trying to attract anyone!

Essentially, the amount of anthocyanin pigments produced by a flower determine its color, as well as its genetics and the location of the flower. Weather and soil conditions can affect the brightness or dullness of any certain flower or plant. If you want a beautiful flowering garden, you probably want to use bright, colorful flowers. Which flowers you choose to grow should depend on where you live. The Northeast United States can be harsh but summer can bring a beautiful array of colorful blooms. Ask your landscaping professional to recommend flowers for the space that you have available for planting. Certain flowers require more sun or more shade than others so explaining or showing your lawn and garden area to your landscaper will help them make the best selections for you.

Your landscaper will also consider what type of soil you have or are using. Here’s an example of a flower easily affected by soil. The hydrangea blooms in shades of pink and purple when the soil pH is higher. If the pH is 5.5 or lower and aluminum is present in the soil, these flowers produce a bright blue bloom.

Flowers brighten our day and bring cheer to our home. When choosing flowers to plant in the ground or in pots, you will probably consider both color and scent—or maybe you’ll choose them just for looks. But be advised that the flower that looks the prettiest may not grow the best in your home. This is why garden professionals are a great source of information. The other thing you should tell them when asking for recommendations of what to grow is whether or not you want to attract birds, butterflies, bees or even specifically hummingbirds. They can advise you on which flowers will attract which critters. Enjoy your flowering world this spring and summer!

 

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