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Is there a multi colored flower?

Is there a multi colored flower?

There are several flower species that exhibit multiple colors in their petals and sepals. Some common examples of multicolored flowers include pansies, petunias, roses, tulips, dahlias, and carnations. The occurrence of multicolored flowers in nature is quite fascinating from a botanical perspective.

What causes multicolored flowers?

There are a few key factors that lead to the development of multicolored flowers in certain plant species:

  • Genetics – Some plants have genes that code for the production of multiple pigments in their petals. These pigments include anthocyanins, carotenoids, and other flavonoids that impart different colors.
  • Environmental conditions – Temperature, light exposure, soil chemistry can all impact pigment production and cause color variegation.
  • Chimeras – These are rare genetic mutations that lead to the merging of two genetically distinct types of cells in a single organism, resulting in a mosaic of colors.
  • Viral infections – Certain viruses are known to disrupt pigment pathways and cause mottled or multicolored flowers.

The specific mechanisms leading to multicolored flowers can vary substantially between species. But in essence, it comes down to a disruption in uniform pigment production and deposition within the petals and sepals.

Examples of common multicolored flowers

Here are some of the most popular examples of multicolored flowers that can be commonly found in gardens and floriculture:


Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) are one of the most popular cool weather annuals grown for their beautiful five-petaled, multicolored blooms. They come in a diverse range of colors and patterns such as purple-yellow, red-yellow, white-purple, white-yellow, and many more. The blotchy, multicolored appearance is attributed to the lack of uniform deposition of anthocyanin pigments in some of the petal areas.


Petunias are prized for their trumpet-shaped flowers that exhibit an incredible diversity of solid and multicolored varieties. Bicolor petunias like ‘Purple Pirouette’ and ‘Pink Lemonade’ have strikingly different color patterns on the same flower. The Pigment Wheel series features petunias with radial color patterns. Viral infections are known to produce interesting multicolored petunias as well.


Striped and multicolored rose varieties have been cultivated for centuries. Modern hybrids like ‘Ebb Tide’ (purple and white), ‘Violet’s Pride’ (purple and white) and ‘Brindabella’ (pink and white) are sought after for their unique bicolor blooms. Chimeric mutations often lead to such color variegation in roses.


Many modern tulip hybrids exhibit multicolored blooms, especially in the fringed, parrot, and viridiflora varieties. Examples include the fiery red-yellow blooms of ‘Flaming Parrot’, the red-pink-yellow of ‘Fringed Elegance’, and the green-pink-white stripes of ‘Virichic’. The color streaking is due to transposon-induced mutations affecting pigment pathways.


Dahlias are available in a myriad of multicolored forms. Bicolor varieties like ‘Galaxy of Fire’ (red-yellow) and ‘Masai Red’ (dark red-yellow) feature stark centralized patterns. Others like ‘Hillcrest Royal’ have purple-white variegated petals. Changes in pigment and vacuole formation during development lead to such color variations.


Bicolor carnations have been around since the late 19th century. Modern cultivars like ‘Gina’ (purple-white), ‘Intense’ (dark red-white), and ‘Apollo’ (red-yellow) feature bold multicolored blooms. Controlled breeding has allowed the perpetuation of these color patterns over successive generations.

Other examples of multicolored flowers

In addition to the above commonly cultivated varieties, many wild and exotic plant species also produce multicolored blooms:

  • Orchids – Many slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum), lady’s slipper orchids (Cypripedium), and tropical orchids have multihued flowers.
  • Irises – Iris fulva and other wild irises often have bi- or tricolored blooms.
  • Columbines (Aquilegia) – Some columbine species have bicolored or variegated flowers.
  • Impatiens – Busy lizzie and other impatiens frequently exhibit multicolored blooms.
  • Begonias – Certain Rex begonia cultivars have dramatically multicolored leaves and flowers.
  • Calla lilies – Many calla lilies have richly pigmented bicolor blooms.

There are countless other unique wildflowers, tropical plants, and exotic specimens that produce naturally multicolored blooms or foliage due to genetic factors.

Cultivating multicolored flowering plants

Many multicolored flowering varieties are easily available through local nurseries, garden centers, or online plant retailers. Here are some cultivation tips for successfully growing multicolored flowering plants:

  • Select healthy, vigorous plants or bulbs that are known for producing variegated flowers.
  • Plant them in a spot that receives sufficient sunlight to support good bloom development.
  • Use a well-draining potting mix or garden soil to avoid root rot.
  • Water the plants regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer every few weeks during the active growing season.
  • Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous new blooms.
  • Monitor for pests like aphids and diseases like powdery mildew.
  • Protect delicate flowers like pansies and violas from frost damage.
  • Enjoy the unique beauty of multicolored blooms in your garden!

Are multicolored flowers rare in nature?

While not the norm, multicolored flowers are also not exceedingly rare in nature. Many common garden plants regularly produce variegated blooms. But finding flowers with striking multicolor patterns or intricate designs is less common. Here are some points on the relative rarity of multicolored flowers:

  • They occur naturally in a small percentage of wildflower species worldwide.
  • Among cultivated ornamental plants, they are bred intentionally for the novelty.
  • Truly kaleidoscopic flowers with radial or bullseye designs are still quite unusual.
  • Certain specific color combinations like green-black are extremely rare in nature.
  • Variegation tends to be more common in certain families like Iridaceae, Orchidaceae.
  • In general, solid colored blooms are produced by the majority of flowering plant species.

So while not vanishingly rare, the occurrence of flowers with striking multicolored patterns is relatively infrequent. These unique pigmentation phenomena often attract pollinators, inspire artists, and fascinate gardeners!

Significance of multicolored blooms

The ecological and aesthetic significance of multicolored flowers includes:

  • Pollinator attraction – The bold patterns and color contrasts help attract more insect pollinators.
  • Energy efficiency – Variegated flowers may require less metabolic energy investment than uniform bright blooms.
  • Novelty and aesthetics – The unique appearance makes them coveted as ornamental plants.
  • Variety and biodiversity – Multicolored flowers add to the diversity of plant life.
  • Genetic insights – They provide botanists with clues into pigment biosynthesis pathways and mutations.
  • Inspiration – These flowers have inspired art, design, fashion, and even technology innovations.

In essence, multicolored flowers represent intriguing examples of nature’s creativity that enrich ecology, science and human life in myriad ways.


Multicolored flowering plants occur in a minority of species but hold special fascination and value. Genetic factors, pigment biochemistry, and developmental processes enable their eye-catching floral displays. With cultivated varieties readily available, gardeners can easily incorporate these uniquely beautiful blooms into their landscapes. Though not exceedingly rare, multicolored flowers remain mysterious marvels of nature.