Why Some Daisies Have Pink Tips (The Science Explained)

Daisies belong to the family Asteraceae, which includes roughly 20,000 species and hybrids. Among these varieties, many gardeners are fascinated with the simple beauty of classic white daisies with a yellow center. Most daisy species have vivid and solid-colored petals, so seeing flowers with pink tips is exciting. 

Some daisies have pink tips naturally because of genetics. Other daisies develop pink tips as they get older or due to environmental conditions like light and soil pH. Pest resistance and selective breeding also play a role in this rare color pattern.

If your white daisies suddenly develop pink tips, you may be curious to find out why. This article will explore the reasons behind this color variation and share what species or hybrids will likely exhibit the trait.

About Daisies

The large daisy family Asteraceae consists of thousands of species, mostly originating from Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are perennial flowers often grown as annuals in the US. 

Despite the large number of varieties, daisies share many similar traits in their anatomy.

The Basics of Daisy Anatomy

The common daisy (Bellis perennis), also known as the English daisy, and ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) have a classic yellow center with a single layer of pure white and pointed petals. Each bloom is only 1-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm) wide. 

Many daisy species under the Bellis and Leucanthemum genera still possess these traits. However, centuries of cross-pollination with other daisies originating from different regions of Europe and Asia brought about color variations and multi-layered petals.

The African daisies belonging to the genus Arctotis have single-layered, vividly colored petals. The genera Dimorphotheca, Gerbera, and the Arctotis hybrids typically have larger, colorful blooms 2-4 inches (7.6-10 cm) wide with multi-layered petals.

Varieties of Daisies

Only a few daisy varieties have pink tips on their petals or rays. In such plants, the part of the petal closest to the center is usually white, creamy, or pale yellow. The pink tips can vary in length from a fifth to half of each petal.

Here are some daisy varieties with noticeable pink tips:

  • Tanacetum coccineum ‘Mrs. James Kelway’
  • Arctotis hybrids (between pink or red variants and yellow or white variants)
  • Osteospermum spp. (‘Serenity Pink Magic’, ‘Bright Lights’, and ‘Pink Eye’)
  • Gerbera ‘Pink and Yellow’

Most of these varieties readily produce blooms with pink tips. Others, such as the ‘Mrs. James Kelway’ and Bellis perennis hybrids usually show flowers with pink tips in the later blooms of the season or the second blooming year.

Tanacetum coccineum ‘Mrs. James Kelway’

Bellis perennis Hybrids

The classic Bellis perennis or English daisies have light pink or white petals and a yellow center. Some varieties of this species in different European and Asian regions come in solid pink, yellow, or red. 

Crossing them resulted in multiple hybrids that produced multi-colored petals. The petals usually have lighter, darker, or even different-colored tips (i.e., yellow petals with red tips).

If you’ve been growing a white B. perennis daisy for a few years now but only noticed the pink tips recently, it’s likely because it’s a hybrid with delayed color change. Some hybrids have a solid color during the first blooming season and eventually develop pink tips as they get older.

There’s no telling when the pink tips will come out. Most daisies are grown as annuals in the US, so they’re unlikely to show this change. However, you’ll have better chances of seeing this transition if you grow hybrid daisies as perennials.

English daisy

The Science of Color in Flowers

It’s common for flowers even of the same species to have different colors, and numerous factors affect color expressions, including:

  • Genetics
  • Soil pH
  • Light intensity
  • Temperature

We’ll discuss these items further below.

Pigmentation in Flowers

Flowers rely on pigments like flavonoids or carotenoids (or both) for color expression. 

Flavonoids, including anthocyanins, anthoxanthins, and anthocyanidins, can make flowers appear red, purple, or blue. Carotenoids, on the other hand, cause the flowers to appear yellow or orange. 

Daisies typically contain both pigments. Carotenoids are responsible for the yellow center and the species-specific yellow or orange petals. On the other hand, anthoxanthin gives white petals their characteristic color, while anthocyanins or anthocyanidins bring about touches of red, pink, or magenta.

Genetic Factors Influencing Color

Generations of trial and error or natural hybridization in a garden with mixed daisy species resulted in a large number of daisy varieties and hybrids.

Most hybrids possess genes from both parent plants. Like with most flowers, genetics can be unpredictable. 

Protein enzymes and transcription factor proteins work together to determine the color of the hybrid. The enzymes build the pigment, and the transcription factors can either switch on or switch off the gene expression for certain colors in different parts of the flowers.

Environmental Impact on Flower Color

The environment can also affect the flower color by temporarily changing the color intensity or creating a long-term effect genetically.


Pigments absorb some colors from sunlight and reflect others. The reflected colors are visible to the human eyes. 

The amount of sunlight present in the area can also affect the brightness or lightness of flower colors. Low-light conditions result in paler flowers because of the reduced concentration of pigments. On the other hand, adequate light gives flowers vivid colors.

Depending on the light intensity, flowers will show different shades of colors based on their gene-expressed pigments:

  • Anthocyanins reflect red, purple, or blue
  • Anthoxanthins reflect yellow (or non-expression appears white)
  • Carotenoids reflect yellow and orange

That said, one reason why some white daisies lack pink tips is due to lower sunlight levels. Those exposed to brighter light will likely show pink tips if all other conditions (genes, soil pH, and temperature) are met.


Proteins are temperature-dependent. Each protein has different optimum temperatures at which it works, so the inactivity of some enzymes and transcription factor proteins will result in a non-coding or non-expression of a certain pigment.

Higher temperatures also affect flavonoid and carotenoid pigments. Research shows that flowers showed lighter colors in areas with dramatic increases in temperatures. This can be attributed to changes in the activities of proteins that control gene expression.

Soil pH

Flower colors are often influenced by soil pH, which affects enzyme and transcription factor protein activities at the time of pollination and seed production. The resulting seeds will grow and produce flowers depending on the chemical reactions and biosynthetic pathways for pigments that occur during the seed development.

Alkaline soils typically turn anthocyanin expression blue, while acidic soils turn it red. Some pigments can still deviate largely from this general rule. 

For instance, the flavonoid delphinidin in pink hydrangeas turns the flower blue in acidic soils (pH less than 5.5) where aluminum is very accessible. The aluminum reconfigures the pigment’s chemical structure, resulting in blue flowers. 


Pink Tips in Daisies: The Reasons

The pink tips on your daisy flowers may be fascinating to behold, but they hold more value than just aesthetics. 

Here are some factors that cause them to appear in some daisies:

Natural Genetic Mutation

Daisies under the same genus and species that grow in different regions will eventually show differences in their color patterns due to environmental factors present in their respective areas. 

The change isn’t immediate and can take hundreds of years to show a significant difference. Once they do, this change is inscribed in their genes as mutation or evolution. This is how nature works and produces new plant varieties.

Daisy hybrids come about from cross-pollination between different varieties of the same species growing together in the same garden. The varieties that come from different regions bring along their genetic evolution and affect the appearance of the hybrid flowers.

That said, there’s no guarantee what colors and patterns will come out from cross-pollination between classic and evolved daisies. 

Although the hybrid daughter seeds share the same genes, the color pattern of mature plants can vary, and you’ll sometimes see daisies with striped petals or those with different-colored tips.

Selective Breeding

Many plant scientists employ selective breeding to put together plant hybrids with desirable traits, such as pest resistance and unique color patterns like pink tips. To retain the pink tips in future daisy generations, the hybrid should be self-fertile.

Note: Only daisies belonging to the same genus or species can cross-pollinate and produce fertile plants.

Pest Resistance

Most pests are attracted to yellow, which is typically in the middle of the daisy flower. The pink is less attractive because bichromatic insects can’t see red, keeping crawling pests away from the blooms.

Daisy flowers are generally pest-resistant because they grow on tall stalks 3-6 inches (7.6-15 cm) above the rosette leaves that are typically near the plant’s crown. The pink or red tips or red petals usually keep the pests from climbing the stalk to reach the flowers.

Environmental Stresses

Daisies need to be in full sun or receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily to be in their best condition. The temperature should also be between 65 and 80 °F (18 and 27 °C) during the blooming season.

Low sunlight levels and high temperatures can result in paler daisy flowers. Some pink or red flowers may have pale or almost white petals closer to the center because this area receives less light and more warmth during unsuitable weather conditions.


Significance of Pink-Tipped Daisies

The pink tips on daisies also have ecological and cultural impacts.

Here’s how:

Ecological Implications

The color of the daisy rays (or pointed petals) helps the plant reproduce and survive in its given environment. White petals provide an excellent background against the bright yellow center to invite insect pollinators.

Vividly colored petals, on the other hand, provide a great contrast against the green leaves, helping trichromatic insects like honeybees distinguish the flowers from the foliage.

This diversity in daisies, especially when you grow varieties with different colors, can reinvigorate your garden and support beneficial insect or pollinator populations.

Aesthetic and Cultural Impact

In an outdoor garden filled with solid-colored flowers, growing pale daisies with pink tips provide an exciting contrast. 

In addition, daisies make perfect cut flowers for bouquets and vases. White daisies typically symbolize purity and innocence. The pink tips add a hint of love, romance, and feminine energy. This is perfect for people who value the meaning behind flower colors.


Growing Pink-Tipped Daisies

Pink-tipped daisies typically require the same growing conditions as their parents. Daisies are widespread with various species available in tropical, subtropical, Mediterranean, and temperate climates. In the US, daisies are easy to grow as annuals or short-lived perennials. 

Here are some care requirements to ensure your plant grows and blooms optimally: 

Temperature and Climate

Daisies grow as annuals in hardiness zones 4-8. As annuals, you must sow the seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost in an area where temperatures remain around 75 °F (24 °C). 

They can grow as tender biennials or short-lived perennials in zones 9-11 when moved indoors in winter. They can stay outdoors over winter as long as the temperatures don’t fall below 45 °F (7 °C).

Planting them in spring when soil temperatures are steadily above 60 °F (15.6 °C) will ensure the seeds germinate within 10-20 days. The plant will collect energy and spend time growing during the first year and bloom in spring the following year.

Soil Quality

Ensure the substrate is well-draining and rich in organic matter. Daisies can tolerate pH levels ranging from 6.0-8.0 but the optimum is 6.5-7.0.

For potted daisies, you can mix equal parts potting soil, compost, and perlite in a pot with drainage holes. 

In-ground, you can amend heavy soils with coarse sand and compost. Work about 2-3 inches (5-7.6 cm) of the amendments in the upper 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) of topsoil.

Planting Depth and Spacing

Seeds can be spread over the soil surface or lightly covered with ⅛ inches (3.2 mm) of soil. They need sunlight to germinate, so ensure they’re not planted too deep. After 6-8 weeks, thin the seedlings down to a space of 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) between plants. 

For container gardening, you can grow one daisy plant in a 3 or 5-gallon (11.4-19-liter) or 10-12-inch (25-30 cm) pot. Daisies are fast-growing, so they should be planted in a large pot that can accommodate their mature size.


Daisies need bright light for at least 6 hours daily. They can tolerate partial sun (4 hours of sunlight), but the blooms will not be as vibrant and the characteristic pink tips might not appear.

It’s best to grow them in an eastern garden or next to an eastern window. During hot and dry days, place a shade cover over the plants at midday.

Water and Humidity

Seeds and seedlings need the upper inch (2.5 cm) of the soil to be constantly moist as they establish their roots. This requires watering every 1-2 days, depending on the light intensity, air temperatures, and humidity. 

Water in the morning to allow the young plant to soak in the moisture and dry out a bit by nightfall. Daisies thrive in low to moderate humidity (30-50%). The young plants will be at risk of root rot if kept moist in a highly humid area.

As the plant becomes established, you can deeply water it and wait until the upper 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) is dry before watering again.

Challenges and Considerations

The main challenge with growing pink-tipped daisies is ensuring that future generations also possess the same color pattern. 

Growing them outdoors alongside other daisy varieties (or if your neighbors have different varieties) will encourage cross-pollination. As a result, the seeds will likely grow with different traits.

Although growing them indoors may seem like a good idea, the absence of natural pollinators will require you to hand-pollinate the flowers.

To hand-pollinate pink-tipped daisies, follow the steps below:

  1. Locate a fully opened flower and cut it at the base.
  2. Remove the petals until only the center remains.
  3. Gently rub the center of the cut flower with that of a fully opened one still attached to the plant. Alternatively, you can use a soft brush and gently sweep pollen from the cut flower to the pistil at the center of the other flower.

Gardening Tips

As beautiful as they are, daisies with pink tips are not so easy to come by. The best way to ensure your plants grow with pink-tipped blooms is to acquire seeds from self-pollinated pink-tipped daisies from fellow collectors or reputable sellers.

If you want to experiment and try to develop your own daisies with pink tips, here are some tips you can try:

  • Grow at least three varieties of the same species. Ideally, you should have white or yellow and red or pink daisies.
  • Encourage insect pollinators to visit your garden by growing flowers with different blooming times year-round. Avoid using insecticides to keep the pollinators safe.
  • Hand-pollinate the flowers in the absence of pollinators. You can brush the pollen of pink flowers over the center of the white flowers or vice versa.

These tips won’t guarantee that you’ll have flowers with pink tips. You wouldn’t know you’ve succeeded until the seeds mature and produce flowers with pink tips.

Either way, the successful pollination of two varieties will produce a hybrid. Who knows? You might end up with something better!

African daisies

Final Thoughts

Having pink tips is rare in daisies. It can happen as a result of genetic mutation, environment, and human influence through selective breeding. Sometimes, it’s a combination of two or more of these factors.

Nature is complex and unpredictable, yet it has a way of producing unique species that make life even more exciting. 

Have you ever witnessed a fascinating plant like the pink-tipped daisies?

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