Soils and flower color

Diana Chapman
Tue, 12 May 2015 08:44:59 PDT
Hi Jane:

I don't know about soil, but some of my bulbs definitely change color 
from year to year, and I am certain it is not from stray seedlings 
finding their way into the pots.  Color intensity of Triteleia laxa 
changes, but the most dramatic color differences have been in 
Rhodophiala.  I have a pot of R. chilensis grown from seed that were 
clear red, and were identified as such when I got the seed from Flores 
and Watson.  The original bulbs are still with me, but this year and 
last year they are yellow diffused with red throughout.  There is no 
sign of virus or any other problem. Oxalis flower color can change quite 
a bit.  At first I thought it was from seeding from adjacent pots 
producing new colors, but I now see that they actually change, not just 
in intensity, but also hue.  The soil is not a factor here, I have them 
in the same mix, but temperature varies from year to year, and that 
could be a factor.  Some colors seem to have 'evolved', changing 
gradually each year until they hardly resemble the original picture I 
have of them (Oxalis obtusa Peaches & Cream, is, unfortunately, one of 


> Moving many mature plants from one garden to another three and 
> one-half years ago seems to have altered the flower color in some. 
> Soil in the first garden is very well drained. rocky,  volcanic "shot 
> clay" with high iron and potassium levels. That in the new garden is 
> fairly heavy clay (also of volcanic origin but at lower elevation), 
> now well amended with organic matter, with none of the red color seen 
> in the former. Two species of Paeonia, both grown from wild-collected 
> seed in the mid-1990s, are particularly different. Paeonia 
> mlokosewitschii was cream with a pink flush, mostly from pink veins; 
> now it is clear pale yellow. Paeonia officinalis was a beautiful 
> blood-red; now I would call it rose-red, a less striking color.
> Have you noticed other geophytes that vary in flower color in 
> different soils?
> Jane McGary
> Portland, Oregon, USA
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