Blue Delphinium Reverting to White

Amanda33(z4 MN)August 12, 2004

I planted a 'Blue Butterfly' delphinium last year and the flowers were royal blue. This year, the plant is very healthy but the flowers are pure white. I've never had this happen before. Does anybody know specifically why this happened? Is the plant genetically unstable for flower color?

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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

I have had delphs do the same. Don't know if flower color is unstable or not in the species or your cultivar. But it is not particularly unusual for blue, purple and pink flowered plants to throw white sports.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 7:21PM
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MAD4U

I have had the same problem with a rose. It was yellow and I moved it to a different location and it turned white. Really can't figure what happened,I think it could be the soil although I use the same manure,fertilize etc. on all the beds...Mystery to me!!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 10:39PM
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deanie(z5QC)

Same thing is happening to my blue monkshood!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 4:29PM
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kms4me

I read several years ago that severe cold damage to roots can cause genetic changes in plants. Someone wrote into Fine Gardening, I think, that their previously pink mums had changed color, and that was the answer they were given. I myself have had Oriental lilies change from pink to white after severe winters. Interesting, isn't it, that white seems to be what they revert to? My veronicastrum virginiana rosea bloomed white after a severe winter 2 years ago, but then bloomed with pink flowers last year. Puzzling, to say the least.

Kate

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 2:28AM
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cdnbacons(z3Alta)

Hi,

I've read about some plant that has different colored blooms (blooms pink or blue) that change depending on the type of soil you have. Alkaline soil from what I recall would result in a pink bloom and a more acidic soil, blue. Could this be the reason?

Joanne

    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 12:14PM
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abgardeneer(Z3, Calgary)

cdnbacons,
I believe the plant you are thinking of is hydrangea... For that circumstance to apply here, i.e. for flower color to change from one year to the next with the plant remaining in the same place, would require a fairly significant change in soil pH from one year to the next, apparently without the gardener having done anything to the soil to cause it. Sounds very unlikely, as it is really not easy to change soil pH!
The root damage theory is very interesting, and one I had not heard before.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 2:44PM
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kms4me

ABgardeneer is right about hydrangeas and other pH sensitive plants blooming blue or pink, depending on pH. There are short term things one can do to change pH, but a long term commitment to the soil (I have an acid compost pile I keep especially for those that need that pH) is paramount to keeping hydrangeas blue and blueberries healthy.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2005 at 4:44AM
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cdnbacons(z3Alta)

Thanks AB and KM!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2005 at 2:35PM
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ninamarie(4Ont.)

I think the 'Blue Butterfly' delphinium is not always hardy. But it reseeds easily and blooms very early from seed. I think yours is just the variability of a seed-raised plant.
That said, I've grown a number of these and never seen a white one. So I do hope you hang on to the seed.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 3:30PM
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abgardeneer(Z3, Calgary)

I've also found a fair bit of variability from reseeding in another Delphinium grandiflorum variety - 'Blue Elf'.
Some of the variants are:
- pure white,
- purple, and
- the original blue, but with or without darker purplish "dots" close to where the corners of the petals meet (or at least that's how I remember their placement).

However, assuming the plant in question is really the same plant and not a re-seeded replacement, the root damage theory is an interesting and possibly plausible explanation.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 9:22PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

"Interesting, isn't it, that white seems to be what they revert to?"

Very, especially since white is most often not the dominant gene in these colored flowers. I had never heard of the damaged root theory either, but to extend it a bit farther: maybe there are many stress factors that can turn off color expression, temperarily or perminently. Alternatively, it could be turning on a color suppressor gene or gene complex.

As a bit of trivia, does anyone know the most dominant color in impatiens?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 8:31AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

It's orange.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 8:32AM
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mysteryrose(z5)

Amanda: I agree with ninamarie that the plant is probably not the same plant but rather a new plant after the blue one reseeded. Delphiniums, unfortunately, do not come true from seed; they are not exact duplicates of their parents.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 2:55PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

My 3rd year "Connecticut Pride" delphinium is also reverting to white.

Its right next to a huge stand of Shasta daisy's so thats a lot of white! I guess I've got a moon garden starting.

If it is a sport, would it help to pull out the sports to let the blue have a better chance in the future? There is some blue too now that is much shorter. If it is reseeding, I guess there would be no point in pulling it out. Will just go with the moon garden thing...

I've had trouble getting delphiniums to hang around in the past, so I'm kinda bummed about losing the blue.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 8:16AM
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kiranmul

def not reseeded plants...... i plantedtwo last year in a sheltered spot right outside my kitchen window, they flowered a beautiful inky blue. they didn't fully die back so i know they are the same plants this year and out of 12 spikes oneis showing a pale blue, all the otherswhite ??

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 6:47PM
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friendlydane

I moved a blue Delphinium from one side of a bed to another this year. Because it got broken by another plant and it turned White. se photos

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 12:17PM
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friendlydane

Same plant earlier this year.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 12:20PM
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