True Colors

“True Colors”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

I have often been puzzled why certain flowers change color with the temperature.  This happens to the Knockout roses, and some camellias I have in the garden.  I find the colors the flowers are in cooler temperatures to be the ones I like best.  The change is not dramatic but noticeable, for example dark pink to a lighter pink.  I finally looked up the reason this happens and found that flower color is dependent on color pigments that can be affected by temperature and can change depending on that temperature.  This is one reason why flowers with vibrant colors in northern gardens tend to pale in southern ones.

Since we have been having unseasonably cooler weather here lately, I have noticed the Knockout roses have started blooming in what I think of as their original colors.  The original Knockout has returned to its more cherry red color.

The Pink Knockout has shown up its darker pink color rather than the paler pink it displayed in the summer heat.

And, Blushing Knockout has its lovely soft shell pink color.  This one changes the least in the hotter temperatures.

In this post of late summer roses, I showed how these roses’ colors looked so similar.  Now, I am glad with the arrival of cooler weather that these flowers have returned to their true colors.


  1. Racquel said,

    September 27, 2008 at 10:30 am

    The heat probably fades them out is my only suggestion. The ‘Blushing’ Knockout is a beautiful shade of shell pink.

  2. Brenda Kula said,

    September 27, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Lovely blooms. I don’t have much at all blooming right now. Can’t wait for the pansies to be put out at the nurseries.

  3. Jan said,

    September 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Yes, Racquel, like I wrote, my research showed that the color pigments react to temperature changes. Blushing knockout is my favorite, but it is a little harder to find than the other ones. I can’t wait for the growers to release the yellow and the white Knockouts next year.

    Brenda, most of the new plants that are starting to bloom in my garden now are ones that bloom in the fall. In the next few weeks, I will be putting in the pansies and petunias. Now, that should bring some good color and brighten things up a bit.

  4. tina said,

    September 28, 2008 at 9:08 am

    So that must be why colors up north always seem so much more vibrant than down here-we are too hot!

  5. Alexandra said,

    September 28, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Where do you find all of these flowers that I have never heard of? I must be lost somewhere…The pink knockout is very pretty. 🙂

  6. Jan said,

    September 28, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Yep, Tina, that’s the reason according to my research. This also explains why southern gardens can look so great in the fall and early spring – cooler temperatures bring about better color in some flowers.

    Alexandra, I am a plant junkie. I go to nurseries, look on the internet, read books, and magazines just to look at plants. If I find one I like, I try and find it. Unfortunately, many of the plants I have fallen in love with don’t like the heat down here. If you keep your eyes open, you will find all kinds of plants to add to your garden, too.

  7. nancybond said,

    September 28, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Whatever their color at any given time, they’re beautiful. I, too, love that delicate shell pink. 🙂

  8. Phillip said,

    September 29, 2008 at 7:27 am

    The original Knockouts are so colorful here and I’ve been curious as to how the Blushing and Pink Knockouts look. I haven’t seen many growing around here but I have seen them in the nurseries. I like the color of the Double Knockout the best.

  9. Jan said,

    September 29, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Nancy, I agree that these roses are great performers. They are esp. good for the humid area where I live. Blackspot can be a major problem.

    Phillip, while I like Blushing the best, I still like the original cherry red. It is such a pretty red color.

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