This Isn't the Color It Was Supposed To Be

By LarryR
May 1, 2012

You buy a young potted plant at your local garden center that is not yet in bloom. The tag in the pot pictures a beautiful blue-colored flower. Much to your later dismay, the flowers aren't blue at all, but a purplish lavender. What gives?

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Avatar for Dutchlady1
Apr 30, 2012 6:16 PM CST

Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator
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I deal with this all the time in Plumeria growing circles. 'Why is my flower not as orange as the picture?' - well because you live in Oregon and the picture was taken in Thailand.... the climates are 'just slightly' different.... and at different times of the year we can have vast differences too. I'll save this article and point people to it the next time they wonder what happened!
Thanks for posting.
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Apr 30, 2012 6:55 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
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Hi Hetty, great to hear from you! Glad you enjoyed the article. It was a good exercise for me to think about what the reasons might be for my frustration with plants that flowered a different color than I expected. And thanks for adding yet another factor (same plant growing in different parts of the world) that contributes to color discrepancies.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
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Apr 30, 2012 7:03 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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A fun and informative article, Larry, makes us think before we plant. Thank you.

You forgot about those of us who look at things through rose colored glasses, however.
That always makes a difference you know. Smiling
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Apr 30, 2012 7:34 PM CST
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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great read Larry.. thanks!!
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Apr 30, 2012 8:56 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
Thanks for the compliments, Sharon and Allison.

Sharon, I see that you're finally willing to divulge the source of your rosy outlook. Whistling Hilarious!
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
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Apr 30, 2012 9:50 PM CST
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
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Great article. I always laugh when a customer asks for purple petunias since 9 times out of 10 they want "Blue Petunias", which to our eyes is dark purple and the "Purple Petunia" is actually a Magenta colour.

Last year I bought the Black Velvet petunia. Very different and really looked like black velvet. One hot day we had a short down-pour which cooled things off very quickly. All the open flowers of the Black Velvet turned a wine colour. I had to wait for new blooms to see the black velvet colour again.

I put Epsom Salts around all my roses once a month throughout the growing season. It is amazing how strong the colours become in comparison to what my gardening pals say about their same roses. The cool night temps do play a factor and the colours are always stronger with cool temps. This is Folklore Rose
Thumb of 2012-05-01/Joannabanana/a9a892
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Apr 30, 2012 10:07 PM CST
Name: Marilyn
Kentucky (Zone 6a)
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Onewish1 said:great read Larry.. thanks!!


I agree nodding Thumbs up
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May 1, 2012 12:03 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
Thanks for the compliment, Joanne, and for your perspective. And for the additional conditions that can affect flower color. I'm going to try Epsom salts on our roses this year!
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
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May 1, 2012 12:06 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
Thanks for your enthusiastic concurrence, Marilyn! Smiling
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Image
May 1, 2012 12:08 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
What a gorgeous rose photo, Joanne!
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Last edited by LarryR May 1, 2012 12:09 AM Icon for preview
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May 1, 2012 9:10 AM CST
Name: Brenda
Dolores, Colorado
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Interesting article, Larry! Thanks for further educating us!
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May 1, 2012 10:04 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
Thanks, Brenda! I tip my hat to you.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Image
May 1, 2012 11:20 AM CST
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Bulbs Winter Sowing Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Charter ATP Member
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Last year, I had the ugliest planters!
It was because I went by the catalogue descriptions of the plant colours.
A lime bicolour petunia turned out to be magenta with odd blotches of yellow green.
Another petunia described as white with salmon, turned out to be salmon red with flecks of white.
Blue flowers often turn out to be mauve or purple, and the word salmon means different things to different people.

Thanks for a great article!
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May 1, 2012 1:11 PM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Region: United States of America
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Fun article Larry! Thank you!
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May 1, 2012 2:39 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
Thanks for sharing your experience with blossom colors, Caroline.

And thanks, Caroline and Vicki for the compliment. I'm glad you both enjoyed the article.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Image
May 7, 2012 6:09 PM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Region: Ukraine Region: Florida Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Great article Larry! It's very interesting how the effect of different climates and growing conditions etc. etc. can have on flower color! I relate to your disappointment with the Rosa Knockout 'Sunny' ... first opening a beautiful deep yellow ... but very quickly fading to a pale, bland cream color. The photo's below are not photoshopped (I don't know how to do that) and I love the color when it first opens but it fades to something not so pretty (my opinion):
Thumb of 2012-05-08/plantladylin/441fcc



By the way ... I laughed out loud when I got to the very bottom of your article and saw that color chart ... it certainly is true in my husbands case! Everything in the peach, salmon, tangerine color range is all ORANGE to him ... same for everything in the maroon, brick, etc. range ... all RED in his eyes. Smiling
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


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May 7, 2012 11:16 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
Thanks for your comments, Lin. I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one who is disappointed in Sunny Knockout. I'm also glad that your husband validated my claim about male color perception! Big Grin
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Image
May 8, 2012 6:46 AM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Region: Ukraine Region: Florida Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener Houseplants
Green Grin!
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


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Jun 2, 2012 6:21 PM CST
7A (Zone 7a)
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
I agree re: Sunny knockout. I gave away 2 and can't find a taker for the 3rd. Larry - Thanks for all your work on this informative article.
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Last edited by dormantsrule Jun 2, 2012 6:24 PM Icon for preview
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Feb 10, 2015 10:58 AM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
Great article. My sister and I regularly share plants and often note differences in color and/or size. We are on opposite sides of a mountain range with a significant difference in both weather and soil composition. Sometimes they will seem like totally different plants, other times just kissin cousins. Always a fun observation.
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