Flowers have so many beautiful colors, but other than just to make us humans happy, why are flower colors so diverse?
Pollinators have the important job of transferring genetics from one flower to another to allow for fertilization and ultimately growth of future generations of flowers and plants. In order to attract the most effective pollinator, flowers have a very specific shape and color (see my blog about pollinators and their relationship to flowers here!).
Flowers get their colors from various pigments, similarly to how humans all have different skin and eye colors. Anthocyanins, Carotenoids, Chlorophyll, and Xanthophylls are all different types of pigments that, when combined in different amounts, creates the beautiful colors that we see in our gardens and in the wild! (Click here for my post about pigments and the science behind their function)
As gardeners, we often have our favorite colors that we try to garden with, personally, I love vibrant yellows. One way that I can make sure that both myself and the pollinators/wildlife that I plant the garden to care for are happy, is to make sure that I have a wide variety of shapes and flower sizes. For example, butterflies like flat-topped flowers, hummingbirds like tubes, and bees like flowers they can crawl around on and in. By including flowers like Sunflowers (birds love), Zinnias (butterflies love), and Goldenrod (bees love), I am making sure that a wide variety of pollinators are happy, yet also ensuring that smile on my face when a sunny yellow garden greets me each day!
Did you know that the Royal Horticultural Society has actually developed a color chart by which horticulturalists, botanists, and other ecologists have a standard of color measurement? Personally, I find this fascinating that each of these little color swatches can be specifically matched to pigments displayed in nature.
Below, view some of my favorite flowers (each with a unique shape to attract diverse pollinators and wildlife), displayed in their rainbow of colors! Which color is your favorite for your garden? Let me know in the comments below!
Bring these vibrant colors home. Each image is available in my shop or let me know if there’s a specific flower you’d like to see as a print. Immerse yourself in color today! A portion of all proceeds goes back towards habitat preservation to ensure that pollinators thrive for years to come.