Ask a Question forum: Forget-me-not color change

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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Apr 28, 2016 8:39 PM CST
I'm curious as to why my forget-me-nots have changed color. Two years ago I bought Victoria Pink and it has reseeded for me. The first year this cultivar had blue flowers that quickly changed to pink. Last year was the same. This year I have many more plants (I spread the seed around). Some are normal but several have had just pink flowers from the start. Here's a picture:
Thumb of 2016-04-29/bxncbx/03d290

But I also have one plant with just blue flowers.



Thumb of 2016-04-29/bxncbx/9fafa6

I know there had to be genes for blue flowers in the original plant but I never expected to get a plant with no pink flowers. Does this mean that next year I'll most likely only get plants with blue flowers? I really like the pink flowers and would like to keep some pink ones but how would I go about doing that? I will say that I'd bet my life savings that nobody in a one mile radius is growing these plants so I doubt it's cross-pollination with a blue variety. Any ideas besides buying seeds of a pink cultivar?

Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 28, 2016 9:41 PM CST
Forget Me Not, Myosotis sylvatica, is considered a short lived perennial or biennial, meaning the plant's life expectancy is only two years. It is also a hybrid. The seed will not come true to the parent plant. The seed may all revert to blue in a couple years. To get the pink back, you will have to plant pink seeds but every year you let your plants reseed, you will probably see more and more blue.

Daisy
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
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kniphofia
Apr 28, 2016 10:24 PM CST
The normal blue forget me not flowers turn pink as they age. It's completely natural. The buds will often start off pink as well.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
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cwhitt
Apr 29, 2016 9:58 AM CST
You might also try adding some Aluminum Sulfate to the soil. Crossing Fingers!
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Apr 29, 2016 1:33 PM CST
That's strange Daisy because it acts as an annual for me. The plants die back in the summer and have never come back in the same place.

I'll have to see if the blue flowers eventually turn pink Sue. This is my first year seeing them. But all the plants have purple buds. Some just open to pink and the one to blue. The first two years the flower started off blue or purple but in a day changed to pink.

I'm not sure about adding aluminum sulphate cwhitt. I have them next to daylilies, lilies and crocosmia and I'm not sure how that would impact the other plants.

I guess I'll have to stop giving the seeds away in swaps saying the flowers are going to be pink! I'm tempted to try and dig up and pot a pink one and keep it inside to try and keep the color. I'm just not sure how well they would do indoors.

Thanks for the great advice everyone!
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 29, 2016 1:50 PM CST
Elena is talking about a particular cultivator "Victoria Pink". Its a hybrid that blooms pink so pink the first year, no bets taken in subsequent years. You would have to just let them re-seed every year on their own to see where they go. I am betting eventually, all blue.

One year would certainly qualify as a short lived perennial. Smiling Mine never come back either but according to information on them, they should come back for at least one year. I only plant blue ones so I don't have to worry about color changes. Maybe I'll get a pink one someday.

Daisy
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
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William
Apr 30, 2016 4:33 AM CST
Not familiar with "Victoria Pink and don't know how the seed is produced commercially, but what you are trying to create or maintain is an open pollinated seed strain and within them there will always be some variations. Forget-me-nots grow naturalized here and there are sometimes a few paler, almost white blooms and a few pinks occurring, but they are rare. I bet the blue is very dominant and I suspect that what you need to do if you want to keep your flowers (almost) all pink is to rogue out every single blue, before they bloom, or do the pollination by hand and protect the flowers. In time with more inbreeding you theoretically should get a more stabile strain with hopefully less and less blue.

Never noticed Myosotis sylvatica to be perennial, but I have grown Myosotis scorpioides and that one was perennial. I had a variegated one that I propagated with cuttings growing in the pond for many years. Here Myosotis sylvatica normally is biennial, self seeding in the autumn and blooming in spring.
[Last edited by William - Apr 30, 2016 4:33 AM (+)]
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Apr 30, 2016 5:32 AM CST
Thanks William! I guess I thought that the seed producer had already created a strain that was consistently pink but I guess not.

I'm not sure how I would tell which plants would bloom pink or blue. They all appear identical to me with purple buds. Plus they all seem to open their flowers in the very early morning. I check them before I go to work and the flowers have already opened.

Instead of spreading the seed this year I may collect it and start plants indoors next year. This way I can wait until they bloom before deciding which to plant outside. I can also pollinate a few myself and collect those seeds specifically. Thanks for the advice!

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