Whilst the golden yellow daffodil is synonymous with spring, its cheerful blooms also come in a number of other colors.
You can find white, pink and orange daffodils in all kinds of intensities and shades.
But can daffodils change color?
That is what we are going to look at in our blog post today.
So let’s dive in.
Can Daffodils Change Color?
Daffodils can change color, in fact there are some varieties specifically bred to change color as they bloom. Others simply fade back to their original white after many years of growing and sometimes lots of sun can wash the color from a daffodil.
Some Daffodils Naturally Change Color
There are actually a number of daffodils you can buy that will change color as they mature.
So if you want a bit of variety in your garden you might want to consider any of these varieties:
The name says it all!
The Changing Colors variety of daffodil has large lemon yellow cups that transition to light yellow and then a pale apricot as it matures.
It gives you a veritable kaleidoscope of color in your garden.
The Narcissus Salome opens with a pretty white perianth and yellow trumpet that matures to subtle pink peach and apricot colors.
It is pretty big too, the flowers can grow up to 9cm across.
Rainbow of Colors
The name of this daffodil is another that hints at what lies in store for you.
And it certainly doesn’t disappoint!
The petals change from a delicate yellow-orange color to a distinctive salmon pink color as they bloom.
What makes it doubly interesting is the fact this daffodil has a unique split cup that flares outward and is flattened against the outer petals.
The petals of Narcissus Curlew are cream white and contrast against the soft pale yellow of the trumpet.
But as the plant ages, the trumpet changes color to match that of the petals.
It also delivers multiple flowers per stem and smells gorgeous.
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The split cup of the Cassata is almost all white, punctuated by a hint of yellow in its elegant trumpet.
But initially when it opens it is bright yellow, something that fades to white after a couple of days.
This relatively short daffodil blooms in early spring, and opens with milky-white petals and a yellow trumpet. It gradually fades to a creamy white.
Mount Hood is a mainstay of the white daffodil scene! It has been around since the 1930s.
It has a long trumpet and grows up to 16 inches tall. Flowers start a very pale yellow, but gently fade to white, especially when in the sun.
This daffodil is especially notable for its broad flattened cup with crinkled edges.
It also sports creamy, lemon-color petals that gradually fade to white.
A double form of Ice Follies, Ice King has the same pure white perianth but a double lemon-yellow trumpet.
As with Ice Follies, the trumpet also changes color, fading to a creamy white over time.
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Mrs R.O. Backhouse
This daffodil was introduced in 1921 by Englishman Robert O. Backhouse and named after his wife Sarah, who was also a daffodil breeder.
It has a delicate peachy pink cup that fades over time to a gorgeous blush.
This eye-catching variety has a double ruffled trumpet with intriguing salmony-pink splotches on it.
It starts out with yellow-orange hues and softens to an elegant rose-pink color.
Some Daffodils Change Color As They Mature
If your daffodils have been growing happily and displaying their customary yellow blooms for years, and then suddenly turn white, it might just be old age at play.
Many flowers, including daffodils, were once white, and only gained their yellow color as breeders crossed them.
Sometimes, as plants age, they revert to their original genetic make-up, ie white.
So think of it in a way like human aging. But whilst our hair might turn white as we get older, it occasionally happens to daffodils petals.
The Weather Can Affect a Daffodil’s Color
Weather and temperature can affect the color of a daffodil’s blooms from year to year.
Pink daffodils are especially susceptible to this.
Whilst daffodils love lots of sun, it can also wash out their colors at times, so they appear noticeably paler.
If you live in an area with a variable climate, where consistent summers are not guaranteed, then the changing conditions can disturb the natural balance of a daffodil and you might see it changing color.
Do Daffodils Fade?
Daffodils definitely do fade, both with age and as their blooms mature each season.
If you grow daffodils annually then don’t be surprised to see them fading to white, after a number of years.
The vibrant yellow color of a daffodil’s bloom will also usually fade gradually at the end of the growing season.
Why Do Daffodils Turn White?
If you are noticing the yellow trumpet of your daffodil turning white again it is most simply a matter of aging.
In fact, it has been scientifically documented in an article published in the Virology Journal:
“In reverse bicolour daffodils, the yellow flower trumpet fades to white with age. The flowers of this type of daffodil are particularly prone to colour break whereby, upon opening, the yellow colour of the perianth is observed to be ‘broken’ into patches of white.“
In short, many daffodils genetically were white before they were crossed to give them color. So often it is a daffodil returning to its natural color.
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Why Are My Pink Daffodils Yellow?
If you have bought some pink daffodils and are eagerly anticipating their blush blooms, you might have to be patient.
When most pink daffodils first open they are actually yellow, white or orange.
Then as the blooms mature the colors intensify to pink or fade to shades of salmon.
They most probably won’t be pink right away.
Also I would always treat pink daffodils with a touch of caution.
The flowers might look a beautiful bright pink in photos, but often there is an element of creative license (and photo retouching) in the advertising.
Many are actually more of a peach or apricot in color. They are still a nice color, but might not quite be the vivid pink you are hoping for.
Pink daffodils actually tend to do better in slightly more shade than their yellow siblings, so try planting them on the shady side of the house or in the dappled shade of trees or evergreen plants.
Daffodils do change color and there are a handful of reasons why they might do so.
There are some varieties that have been specifically bred to change color as the bloom, whilst on other occasions, it may simply be the daffodil returning to its natural genetic color if you have been growing it for a number of years.
Also weather conditions, in particular lots of sun, can sometimes wash out the color from a daffodil and cause it to fade.
Either way, they still remain beautiful plants and a bright heralder of the start of spring.