Don’t Like Red Flowers? That’s Okay. Change ‘Em To White!

As a garden writer, I hear about new products all the time. I get to test some pretty cool products. I try to share things that I read about (and read) with you so that you can see and hear about the “latest and greatest” as soon as possible as well.

This time you all have the ability to influence whether this product will even occur.

And full disclosure here: this is a GMO plant, so for those of you that do not approve of this sort of thing, you can stop reading now.

Two scientists have developed a color changing petunia. For more of how this works–and to fund their campaign and to possibly obtain a plant for yourself if one becomes available in the US in the future–take a look here.

Again, a reminder–while this seems so avant garde–a flower that will change color for me any time I want it to?  Let’s think about this sensibly for a moment folks. Yes, this flower changes color much faster than many of the flowers in our gardens.

But haven’t may of us been manipulating the colors of our hydrangeas, either subtly, with natural sources, or with chemical fertilizers? That helps put things in perspective, I think.

And ethanol has been used as a ripening agent in the trade for some time. My long time readers may recall when I talk about bulbs I warn not to store them in the refrigerator near apples or onions because of ethanols. So this really is a perfectly natural process.

I will leave it up to you to decide for yourselves.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Like Red Flowers? That’s Okay. Change ‘Em To White!

  1. The Chatsworth Lady April 10, 2015 / 10:17 am

    What struck me immediately is that it reminded me of the old trick of putting food coloring in a vase to change the color of white Queen Anne’s Lace to pink, green, blue, etc.! 🙂

  2. gardendaze April 10, 2015 / 10:28 am

    Interesting! When I first read about this, I thought it was totally cool. But of course, as an organic gardener (and one who battles worms on petunias as well!) it’s not something I would probably consider–not because the method is not organic but because the ‘inputs’ I need to maintain petunias are so high as it is, I don’t grow a lot of them.

    I’ve never done the “food coloring” thing but I’ve seen it done with carnations so I know exactly what you mean.


  3. Keira April 13, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    Hey Karla,

    Thanks for sharing our flowers on your blog! You mention that petunias are a little high-maintenence. We’ve been considering other projects that focus on pest resistance and water use: If your petunias repelled worms using an organic pesticide that they made themselves, would that work for you?

    Thanks again!

    • gardendaze April 13, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      Hi Keira,
      Well, yes and no. If they could somehow repel them by taste I might be interested. But I’m not a big fan of anything that incorporates pesticides.

      Mind you, I still do grow petunias–the old fashioned ones that you have to pinch as well (talk about high maintenance!) and I do it for 2 reasons: first and primarily is the fragrance. And when they get over-run with worms by mid to late summer, I just pull them out an replace them with something else. After all, those worms are just caterpillars–and caterpillars are great little bird food after all.

      And that’s my second reason–I do let the worms stay for awhile, to feed my abundant bird population. It’s only when the petunias are completely spent that they become compost.

      I really try to do the ecosystem thing in my yard.

      Now as for water use, that might be very interesting to me!

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Keira!


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