Bleeding heart colors


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Okay, so a conversation elsewhere about bleeding hearts made me remember a question I wanted to ask. I have several bleeding hearts that came from two plants my mom was given years ago. One of those original plants did very well in it's home here, growing into a big bush each year. The other grew to only about 1/4 that size and I eventually transplanted it to a less noticeable part of the garden. Although it never did grow to a noteworthy size, it's been making babies ever since. Both of the original plants were bore a deep pink flower. This year I happened to notice that one of the offspring had white flowers on it!! While I love the pink shade of the original plants I thought it simply cool that all of a sudden I have white blossoms.

So...does anyone know how this happened? I don't know enough about plant genetics to know if this is normal or if I have a rogue white plant.
 
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It depends on how you've been reproducing the plant. If you've been letting them reproduce and produce seeds, then it could be either a novel mutation (less likely) or a recessive gene being expressed that was previously hidden (more likely.) If you've been taking cuttings or suckers or some other clone-like form of semi-reproduction, however, then it's more likely to be an environmental thing. Flower color is sometimes strongly influenced by things like soil acidity. I don't know enough about bleeding hearts specifically to say much more than that but those are the two basic possibilities.
 
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Wow! that is interesting. Could there be a soil PH difference in both those places where you have planted them? I have been so interested in changing the color of blooms with my Hydrangeas and African violets.
I have noticed that my hydrangeas give me different colors depending upon what is in the compost I feed the plant with. With the African violets to I have noticed that the flowers go back between pink and purple shades. However, I am unable to replicate and produce the colors I want at the moment.
 
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I haven't done anything except transplant that first plant. Everything else is just from the plants reseeding themselves. And this plant with the white blossoms is living right next to plants with the pink blossoms. It's rather stuck in a corner and I'd like to highlight it, but I'm rather paranoid to move it, for fear of killing it.
 
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Then it sounds to me like the most likely possibility is that of a recessive gene being expressed due to closely-related plants breeding with each other over and over again. This is often how interesting new traits are produced in both plants and animals. Your pink flowers, at least some of them, probably carry a recessive gene for whiteness, and after enough generations, one plant got lucky and inherited this gene from both its genetic 'parents', resulting in the expression of the gene -- and thus white flowers. :)
 
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Then it sounds to me like the most likely possibility is that of a recessive gene being expressed due to closely-related plants breeding with each other over and over again. This is often how interesting new traits are produced in both plants and animals. Your pink flowers, at least some of them, probably carry a recessive gene for whiteness, and after enough generations, one plant got lucky and inherited this gene from both its genetic 'parents', resulting in the expression of the gene -- and thus white flowers. :)


I was discussing this with my husband this evening and decided this theory makes the most sense. I remember enough from high school biology to understand what you're talking about here (was it the Punnit square?) and, all things considered, it really seems like the only logical answer. Now...I'm hoping to see more white-flowered plants in the future. It's kind of neat!!

Thanks for your help folks!!
 
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Is it possible for you to artificially pollinate the pink plants using pollen from the white plant? If this could be done it would raise the odds of more white-blooming plants growing significantly.
 
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Is it possible for you to artificially pollinate the pink plants using pollen from the white plant? If this could be done it would raise the odds of more white-blooming plants growing significantly.


Hm....I'm not nearly savvy enough to know how to do that. I might just have to do some research, though!
 
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I have seen both colors of bleeding hearts, but I have never seen one that changed the colors before. Are yours the regular Bleeding Hearts, or are they the Fernleaf Bleeding Hearts ? I have only seen the fernleaf ones come in pink, and the regular ones in both colors.
My mom had a regular one for years, but I don't remember it ever spreading, but I know the fernleaf ones spread a lot. They used to grow wild in the woods in Western Washington State.
 
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I have seen both colors of bleeding hearts, but I have never seen one that changed the colors before. Are yours the regular Bleeding Hearts, or are they the Fernleaf Bleeding Hearts ? I have only seen the fernleaf ones come in pink, and the regular ones in both colors.
My mom had a regular one for years, but I don't remember it ever spreading, but I know the fernleaf ones spread a lot. They used to grow wild in the woods in Western Washington State.


I'd never heard of a fern leaf bleeding heart so I had to do a search for it. These are definitely not that kind. The leaves look like the ones in this photo.
10823475-close-up-view-to-bleeding-heart-flowers-selective-focus.jpg
 

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