31 Flowers That Change Color

Kasey Spencer
31 Flowers That Change Color

As someone who’s spent over a decade nurturing gardens, I’ve come across an incredible array of flowers. Each one, with its unique charm, adds something special to the landscape. Today, I want to share something fascinating about certain flowers that seem to possess their form of magic: the ability to change colors.

Imagine walking through your garden and noticing that the hydrangeas by the walkway have shifted from a deep blue to a vibrant pink, or the morning glories climbing your fence have transformed from a rich purple to a serene blue. It’s not an illusion but a real, natural phenomenon that occurs under various conditions such as changes in soil pH, exposure to sunlight, temperature fluctuations, and even as the flowers age.

In this guide, we’ll explore 31 flowers that change color, diving into the hows and whys behind their transformations. From the well-loved hydrangeas to the less commonly known chameleon plants, this collection is a testament to the beauty and complexity of nature. So, let’s get started and discover these enchanting blooms that bring an ever-evolving palette of color to our gardens.

Flowers That Change Color with Age

In the world of gardening, the passing of time often brings about change and growth, not just in the plants themselves but in their aesthetic appeal. Some flowers, in particular, undergo remarkable transformations in color as they age, adding an element of surprise and renewal to our gardens. Let’s look at flowers known for their age-related color changes.

1. Hydrangea

Flowers That Change Color with Age
Image: Envato Elements

Hydrangeas are perhaps the most famous for their color-changing abilities. These lush blooms can shift from vibrant blues to deep pinks, influenced not only by the soil’s pH level but also by their age. The younger flowers often start with a certain hue and gradually deepen or change as they mature.

The acidity or alkalinity of the soil affects the availability of aluminum ions, which in turn influences the color of the hydrangea blooms. It’s a fascinating process that allows gardeners to “play” with the colors of their hydrangeas, creating a garden scene that evolves throughout the growing season.

2. Morning Glory

Morning Glory

Morning glories, with their heart-shaped leaves and twining vines, are a favorite among gardeners for their beautiful, trumpet-shaped flowers. These flowers are known for their striking color changes as they age, shifting from deep purples to luminous blues.

The transformation is so gradual and subtle that it invites daily observation, rewarding the attentive gardener with a visual feast of changing hues. The morning glory’s fleeting beauty, with flowers that bloom and die within a single day, becomes even more precious with this added layer of transformation.

3. Hibiscus

Hibiscus
Image: Envato Elements

Hibiscus flowers are tropical beauties that bring a splash of color to any garden. Interestingly, these blooms can change color as they age, transforming from bright yellow to pink or red. This change is not only a testament to the flower’s adaptability but also adds a dynamic visual element to the garden.

Each stage of the hibiscus flower’s life cycle brings a new shade to admire, making it a continual source of interest throughout its blooming period.

4. Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

The Rose of Sharon, a type of hibiscus, is known for its large, trumpet-shaped flowers and is a late summer bloomer that can add color to the garden when many other flowers have faded. The flowers of this hardy shrub can evolve from pristine whites to pinks or blues as they age, offering a delightful display of pastel shades. The Rose of Sharon is not only valued for its beauty and resilience but also for its ability to bring a soft, evolving palette to the landscape.

Flowers Affected by Soil pH

Here, we’ll explore three flowers that epitomize this phenomenon, showcasing how soil pH directly affects their bloom colors.

5. Lacecap Hydrangea

Lacecap Hydrangea

Lacecap Hydrangeas stand out for their distinctive flat flower heads surrounded by a ring of prominent blooms. Like their cousins, the mophead hydrangeas, lacecaps exhibit a remarkable ability to change color based on the soil’s acidity. In acidic soils (pH below 7), these hydrangeas will flaunt striking blue flowers, while in more alkaline conditions (pH above 7), the blooms turn to shades of pink.

This color variance is due to the aluminum ions in the soil, which become more available to the plant in acidic conditions, leading to blue hues. Gardeners can manipulate these colors by adjusting the soil pH, adding aluminum sulfate for bluer shades or lime to encourage pink blooms, and creating a customizable garden display.

6. Gardenia

Gardenia

Gardenias, with their creamy white flowers and intoxicating fragrance, are a staple in warm-climate gardens. Interestingly, the pristine white blooms can turn yellow as they age, particularly when exposed to certain soil conditions.

This color shift can be influenced by the pH level of the soil, with too low or too high pH levels affecting the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, thereby impacting the color intensity and health of the flowers. Maintaining an optimal pH level for gardenias (slightly acidic to neutral) is crucial for preserving their vibrant white color and overall vitality.

7. Azalea

pink azaleas
Image: Envato Elements

Azaleas are a spectacle of color in the spring, with blossoms that can significantly vary in hue depending on the soil’s pH level. These vibrant flowers thrive in acidic soils, where they are more likely to exhibit deeper, more vivid colors. The soil acidity affects the azalea’s uptake of minerals and nutrients, which in turn influences the shade of the blossoms.

By adjusting the soil pH, gardeners can subtly alter the bloom colors, making azaleas a versatile choice for those looking to experiment with the impact of soil chemistry on plant coloration.

Sunlight-Responsive Flowers

Among the myriad interactions within a garden, certain flowers exhibit a unique response to sunlight, changing colors in a display that feels almost like nature’s own mood ring. Let’s take a closer look at sunlight-responsive flowers: tulips, the chameleon plant, and sunrose.

8. Tulip

Tulips
Image: Envato Elements

Tulips are synonymous with spring, offering a dazzling array of colors to gardens and landscapes. Interestingly, some tulip varieties possess the remarkable ability to change colors as they mature and are exposed to more sunlight. This phenomenon can result in blooms that start in one shade and then transition to another, providing an evolving splash of color throughout their blooming period.

This change can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the variety and environmental conditions, making tulips even more of a treasure for gardeners and flower enthusiasts alike.

9. Chameleon Plant

Houttuynia cordata

True to its name, the chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata) is a master of change, with leaves and flowers that adapt their colors based on sunlight exposure. In shadier spots, its leaves maintain a more subdued green hue, but with increased sunlight, they transform, displaying vibrant shades of yellow, red, and even pink.

This plant’s ability to shift its color palette not only makes it a fascinating subject for gardens but also serves as a natural indicator of the plant’s light exposure, adding both beauty and utility to its environment.

10. Sunrose

Sunrose

The sun rose (Helianthemum), a ground-covering plant known for its drought tolerance and sunny disposition, has flowers that can change color throughout the day in response to sunlight exposure. These blooms typically open up in the morning to reveal their brightest colors and, as the day progresses and they receive more sunlight, can shift in hue, often becoming more intense or changing slightly to reflect their interaction with light.

This unique characteristic makes the sun rose a delightful addition to rock gardens, borders, or any garden space that receives ample sunlight, providing a dynamic display that evolves from dawn to dusk.

These sunlight-responsive flowers remind us of the intricate relationships within the natural world, where even the angle of the sun’s rays can play a role in the color and life of a garden. For those who nurture these plants, it’s a daily reminder of nature’s capacity for change and adaptation, offering a living palette that responds to the rhythms of the day.

Temperature-Dependent Flowers

Certain flowers have the remarkable ability to change colors with temperature shifts, offering a vivid display of nature’s responsiveness to its environment. Let’s explore these temperature-dependent flowers: chrysanthemums, pansies, and snapdragons.

11. Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums, often simply called mums, are renowned for their vibrant colors and abundant fall blooms. Interestingly, the color of chrysanthemum flowers can change with temperature variations. Cooler temperatures can intensify the colors of the blooms, making them more vivid and striking.

Conversely, when the weather is unusually warm, the colors may become lighter or more muted. This temperature sensitivity allows chrysanthemums to offer a dynamic display of color as the seasons change, making them a favorite among gardeners for adding late-season color to the garden.

12. Pansy

Pansy
Image: Envato Elements

Pansies are cherished for their charming faces and wide range of colors. They are particularly noted for their ability to thrive in cooler weather, making them a popular choice for early spring and fall gardens. The cool weather not only supports their growth but can also enhance the depth and richness of their bloom colors.

As temperatures drop, pansies often display deeper, more saturated shades, adding a vibrant burst of color to the garden during times when other plants may be fading or have yet to emerge.

13. Snapdragon

Snapdragon

Snapdragons add height and color to the garden with their tall spikes of brightly colored flowers. These flowers are known for their ability to change color in response to warmer temperatures. As the weather heats up, snapdragons can undergo subtle shifts in hue, offering a different visual experience as the season progresses.

This ability to adapt to temperature changes makes snapdragons a versatile choice for gardeners, providing interest and color from spring through fall, depending on the local climate.

Unique and Rare Color-Changing Flowers

Next is the captivating world of these extraordinary blooms, highlighting the African Daisy, Four O’Clock Flower, and Osiria Rose, along with other lesser-known flowers that change color under specific conditions.

14. African Daisy (Osteospermum)

African daisy
Image: Envato Elements

The African Daisy is a marvel of the garden, known for its ability to display a range of colors based on light conditions. Throughout the day, as the intensity and angle of sunlight change, so do the hues of the African Daisy’s petals. This stunning transformation can result in a single plant showcasing a variety of colors, adding a dynamic and vibrant element to any garden space.

The African Daisy’s adaptability to light conditions makes it a fascinating subject for gardeners looking to add a touch of whimsy and wonder to their landscapes.

15. Four O’Clock Flower (Mirabilis jalapa)

Four O'Clock Flower
Image: Envato Elements

The Four O’Clock Flower is aptly named for its unique blooming pattern, with flowers that open in the late afternoon around 4 PM and close the following morning. What makes this plant even more remarkable is its ability to change colors throughout the day and from one day to the next.

The flowers can be multicolored, featuring swirls of pink, yellow, white, and red, often on the same petal or within the same cluster. This daily transformation creates a captivating display that enchants onlookers and adds a sense of mystery and enchantment to the garden at dusk.

16. Osiria Rose

Osiria Rose
Image: Envato Elements

The Osiria Rose is a stunning hybrid tea rose known for its striking coloration, with petals that exhibit a dramatic contrast between their velvety red interiors and white or silvery reverse sides. As the flower matures, the intensity of the red deepens, creating a dynamic play of colors that seems to change from the edges to the base of each petal.

The Osiria Rose’s unique beauty and color-changing ability make it a sought-after variety for rose enthusiasts and gardeners seeking to add a touch of elegance and drama to their gardens.

17. Blue Witch (Solanum umbelliferum)

Bluewitch nightshade
Image: Envato Elements

The Blue Witch, a native Californian shrub, is a hidden gem among garden plants, celebrated for its delicate blue flowers that possess a rare ability to shift to shades of purple as the temperature changes. This subtle transformation is a beautiful demonstration of nature’s sensitivity to environmental conditions.

Thriving in the wild landscapes and gardens of California, the Blue Witch prefers the dappled sunlight of oak woodlands, where the cool nights and warm days encourage the color transition of its blooms. The flowers, star-shaped and clustered, serve as a vibrant attraction for pollinators, including bees and butterflies, making this plant not only a visual delight but also an important contributor to the local ecosystem.

18. Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi)

Physalis alkekengi
Image: Envato Elements

The Chinese Lantern plant is renowned for its vivid, papery husks that encase its fruit, resembling miniature, glowing lanterns. The husks start as a soft green in summer, gradually shifting to a bright orange or red in the fall, creating a striking visual effect in the garden. This color change is influenced by sunlight exposure, with the husks developing their most intense colors as they receive more light.

Beyond its ornamental appeal, the Chinese Lantern has a rich history in traditional medicine and is often used in decorative arrangements, where its dried husks retain their color and shape long after being picked.

19. Blushing Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae)

Bromeliad
Image: Envato Elements

The Blushing Bromeliad offers a stunning display of color change within its foliage. As this bromeliad approaches its blooming period, the central leaves, or “cup,” begin to change color, typically transforming into a vibrant red or pink. This dramatic shift serves as a natural indicator of the plant’s readiness to flower, with the bright colors attracting pollinators to its small, less conspicuous flowers nestled within the cup.

20. Peacock Flower (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

Peacock Flower
Image: Envato Elements

The Peacock Flower, with its flamboyant blooms, is a tropical marvel that mirrors the vibrant colors of a peacock’s feathers. This plant produces flowers that can change color as they mature, transitioning from yellow to orange and finally to red, creating a dynamic display of fiery hues.

The color change is not only a visual spectacle but also serves to attract various pollinators, ensuring the plant’s reproductive success. Native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas, the Peacock Flower is a resilient and drought-tolerant plant, making it an ideal choice for warm-climate gardens seeking a burst of color and exuberance.

Seasonal Flowers With Changing Hues

Exploring the realm of color-changing flowers reveals an even broader array of botanical wonders, each with its unique characteristics and mechanisms for changing hues. Here are more fascinating flowers that exhibit this intriguing phenomenon:

21. Magic Carpet Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

Magic Carpet Snapdragon

The Magic Carpet Snapdragon is a dwarf variety known for its wide range of colors and the ability to shift hues as it matures. Initially, the flowers may start in shades of yellow, pink, or white, and as they age, they can deepen into richer tones or change colors entirely. This compact plant is perfect for borders, and containers, and as a colorful ground cover, offering a dynamic visual display throughout its blooming season.

22. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis)

Witch Hazel
Image: Envato Elements

Witch Hazel is a deciduous shrub or small tree that produces fragrant, ribbon-like flowers in late fall to early spring. The blooms are initially bright yellow, but as they age, they can shift to a burnt orange or reddish hue. Witch Hazel is not only admired for its unique flowers and color-changing abilities but also for its medicinal properties, as it’s commonly used in skin care and herbal remedies.

23. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

Japanese Maple
Image: Envato Elements

While not a flower, the Japanese Maple deserves mention for its remarkable foliage that changes color with the seasons. In spring, the leaves may emerge in shades of green or red, transforming into deep reds, purples, or vibrant oranges in the fall. This tree provides a stunning visual interest in any garden, with its color-changing leaves mimicking the ephemeral beauty of flowers.

24. Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana)

Pretty Princess-Flowers.
Pretty Princess-Flowers.

The Princess Flower, native to Brazil, is a tropical shrub that boasts velvety flowers with vibrant purple hues. Under certain sunlight conditions, the flowers can appear to change color, shifting shades throughout the day. The intense purple of the blooms, set against the plant’s silvery-green foliage, makes it a striking addition to tropical and subtropical gardens.

25. Bottlebrush (Callistemon)

Bottlebrush
Image: Envato Elements

The Bottlebrush plant is named for its cylindrical, brush-like flowers, which can change color from red to yellow as they age, depending on the species. Native to Australia, this plant is highly attractive to birds and bees, adding not only a splash of color to the garden but also supporting local wildlife.

26. Ice Plant (Delosperma)

Ice Plant

The Ice Plant is a succulent ground cover known for its daisy-like flowers that can change color from yellow to pink to purple, depending on the variety and environmental conditions. Its vibrant blooms and succulent leaves add texture and color to rock gardens, borders, and dry, sunny spots.

Flowers With Unique Charm

Delving deeper into the fascinating world of flowers with changing hues, here are five more entrancing species. Each possesses a unique charm, capable of transforming their colors under specific conditions, creating a living tapestry in gardens and landscapes.

27. Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)

Globe Amaranth

Globe Amaranth, with its vibrant, clover-like blooms, is a steadfast presence in the summer garden. The flowers start with deep purples, pinks, or whites and, as they age, can fade to softer shades, providing a delicate contrast against the fresh, newer blooms.

This hardy annual thrives in the heat and is drought-tolerant, making it an excellent choice for gardeners in search of resilience and beauty. Its dried flowers, which retain much of their color, are perfect for everlasting arrangements, bringing the beauty of the garden indoors.

28. Heavenly Blue (Ipomoea tricolor)

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory

The Heavenly Blue Morning Glory is celebrated for its large, sky-blue flowers that greet the morning with a burst of color. As the day progresses, the intense blue fades to a softer hue, reflecting the transient beauty of the morning sky.

This vine is vigorous and can quickly cover fences, trellises, and other supports, creating a cascading display of changing blues. It’s a reminder of the fleeting nature of beauty, encouraging gardeners to appreciate the here and now.

29. Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Coral Bells
Image: Envato Elements

Coral Bells are a foliage favorite among gardeners, not just for their delicate bell-shaped flowers but for their vibrant leaves that change color with the seasons. From deep purples and reds to fiery oranges and greens, the leaves of Heuchera transform throughout the year, offering a long-lasting display of color even when the plant is not in bloom.

This perennial is remarkably versatile, thriving in both sun and shade, making it a staple in many landscape designs.

30. Bat-Faced Cuphea (Cuphea llavea)

Bat-Faced Cuphea

The Bat-Faced Cuphea is as intriguing as its name suggests, with unique flowers that resemble a bat’s face. The petals, typically deep purple with contrasting red centers, can change in intensity and shade depending on light exposure and temperature.

This tropical perennial is a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies, adding not only dynamic color but also lively activity to the garden. Its drought tolerance and love for the sun make it an excellent choice for warm-climate gardens or as a distinctive container plant.

31. Sulfur Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)

Sulfur Cosmos
Image: Envato Elements

Sulfur Cosmos brighten the garden with their cheerful, daisy-like flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red. As the flowers age, they undergo subtle shifts in hue, often becoming deeper and richer before they fade.

This easy-to-grow annual seeds prolifically, ensuring a succession of blooms and changing colors from early summer until the first frost. Its towering height and vibrant flowers are excellent for adding vertical interest and a splash of late-season color to borders and wildflower gardens.

Each of these plants, with their unique color-changing abilities, adds an element of surprise and fascination to the garden. From the shifting hues of snapdragons and witch hazel to the seasonal transformations of Japanese maple leaves, these botanical wonders highlight the dynamic and ever-changing beauty of the natural world.

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