Variegated houseplants are now in and very popular among plant lovers! These aesthetically pleasing and air purifying plants have become extremely trendy for spaces throughout the home.
What is variegation?
Variegation is the rare process of certain areas of leaves or plant stems appearing in different colors. Variegated plants are typically found in the underbrush of tropical rainforests. Variegation occurs because of the presence of two types of plant tissue. To preserve variegation, propagation methods such as stem clippings as well as bud and stem splicing are used. This causes growth from leaf axil buds. However, it is not simple to propagate through cuttings with complete variegation. Because the new stem tissue is taken from a specific tissue located within the root, root cuttings generally will not preserve variegation.
What causes variegation?
Plants generally do not become variegated through environmental causes, rather it is genetically caused. It usually results because of a cell mutation, or it can occur randomly. The random occurrence of variegation in plants is known as chimeric. Variegation is commonly caused by other pigments such as anthocyanins concealing the green pigment in plants. When variegation occurs because of plant genes, the color change is constant. Meaning, if you propagate a green shoot from a plant that contains colored leaves, the coloring will reemerge in the new plant. Although chimeric variegation is most common, it is more difficult to propagate and have the color reappear.
Care tips for variegated plants:
- Place your air purifying variegated Monstera in an indirectly sunny spot to ensure it is receiving everything it requires to stay healthy and grow.
- Be careful not to overfertilize your plant! While fertilizing is important for indoor plants is important, you need to be careful not to overfertilize the variegated Monstera because it can cause problems.
- Patience is key! The variegated Monstera grows slower than most similar plants because of less chlorophyll production. This causes them to have a more difficult time transforming sunlight into the food required for them to grow.
Written by: Michele Tornheim