Chlorophyll is responsible for the green we see in plants, but what causes the red? In times of seasonal change, plants reveal pigments that are otherwise hidden, and anthocyanin is one of these. In Florida, as the days get shorter and overnight temperatures drop, sugars accumulate in the plants’ leaf tissue. This kicks off a storm of anthocyanin production and many of my tropicals are seeing red! 😉
The Kalanchoe luciae (above) is particularly vibrant. The offset (in the pot’s foreground) illustrates this succulent’s typical chalky green-ness, visible 9 months of the year.
The Euphorbia Tirucalli (below) has been slower to brighten due to living on the back patio under partial shade. Placed in full sun during the change of seasons, these succulents are known to turn a deep, bright orange.
In the Ranchero garden live some of my best loved species, acquired in crazy ways. One day, I admired a plant in a garden adjacent to a yardsale..the homeowner overheard me and gave me a little teeny (variegated green) cutting of Pedilanthus tithymaloides. Fast forward two years and this euphorbia is MUCH bigger…and seeing red…well…ok… pink, really 😉
Now we’ve come full circle: this post started with a Kalanchoe and so too, ends with one ❗
K. Gastonis Bonnieri may be one of the most stunning kalanchoes, ever! Right now, my yard has several in full bloom AND coloration. Note how the plants along the perimeter experience the full anthocyanin response, while the more protected ones behind them do not.
For a well written, layman’s term explanation of the science behind this post, I recommend this link.
Until next time…….
🙂 🙂 🙂
- The Interesting & Unusual Succulent Plants (botanicart-blog.com)
- A Succulent Medley for the Novice Gardener (vnasrikanth.wordpress.com)
- Flora Inspiration (thesoundofraspberries.wordpress.com)
- How Rare Black Dahlias Get Their Color (livescience.com)