How To Induce Variegation In Succulents

Any plant, including a succulent, may become entirely green for a variety of causes, including excessively high or low light, insufficient water, or extremely high or low temperatures. Therefore, remove any of your plant’s solid green growth in order to maintain the variegation of your plant. This is because if one branch or offset changes back to green, it will outperform the other leaves that are missing in pigment, causing the entire plant to finally turn a simple green tint.

Additionally, you should pay closer attention to how much light your plant receives each day, maintain the proper temperature, and manage your watering schedule.

Can plants develop variegation on their own?

I definitely collect variegated plants and am infatuated with them. Because of the pearl string’s variety, it is currently my favorite. Given that some kinds, like Variegated Monstera, cost astronomical sums of money, I had a few queries concerning plants with variegation. Here’s where my investigation led me:

A. The green pigment chlorophyll is absent from some plant cells, which causes variation in leaf color. Typically, a cell mutation causes it.

A. Plants can have genetic (inherited) or random variegation (chimeric). If the color change is hereditary, it is stable, which means that it will return to the new plant if you produce a green stem from a plant with colored leaves or plant its seed.

A variety of factors might cause variegated plants to revert or turn green. It could be a response to temperature extremes—hot or cold—or to low light levels. Some claim that since the plant grows stronger when it has more chlorophyll, it might have done so as a means of survival. When this occurs, it is preferable to remove the afflicted leaves because, if you don’t, the plain green foliage, which has more chlorophyll and vigor than the variegated foliage, may really take over the plant.

A. Variegation cannot be artificially created or done at home. To spread the variegated plant love, it is best to borrow a cutting from a friend or give your own away.

LightNot Too Much, Not Too Low

Bright light is one of the most crucial elements for variegation. It encourages healthy development and gives the leaves rich colors.

You must strike the ideal balance between light and shadow. Too much sun exposure can damage the plants’ fragile foliage.

So what might be your best option? Simple. Make sure the plant receives plenty of direct and strong light throughout the day. Keep the plant 3–4 feet away from the sunniest window in your home. You won’t have to worry about the foliage getting harmed, and it will be able to enjoy the brilliant light.

Note: If you notice that the colors on the leaf are fading, the plant is not receiving enough light. Similarly, if you see that the leaves are becoming brown or are beginning to burn, the plant is receiving too much sunlight.

Prune Non-Variegated Foliage

Plants with variegated foliage can generate leaves without colors when they are grown. You can remove the foliage with a single color to make sure your plant explodes with vibrant hues. Additionally, this will cause the plant to produce additional leaves.

Green leaves, however, help to balance and stimulate photosynthesis, therefore you need to be careful not to remove all of them or the plant will wilt and die.

You will soon have a plant full of variegated leaves if you keep the colored ones and remove the non-colored ones.

Use Low-Nitrogen Fertilizer

Nitrogen is essential for plants, but too much of it can promote chlorophyll growth, turning leaves a darker shade of green and reducing leaf variegation overall.

The ideal option is to use a premium potting mix and a balanced liquid fertilizer once every 4-6 weeks, diluted to half strength. If the plant exhibits encouraging growth, avoid feeding it too much.

Monstera Albo Borsigiana

Despite some claims to the contrary, Monstera Deliciosa and Borsigiana belong to the same species.

One of the most well-known Monstera variegata has grown in popularity as a result of Instagram.

Large white patches will appear on the foliage of M. Albo Borsigiana due to a spontaneous mutation that causes the variegation. These spots are erratic and prone to become green again.

Depending on how many leaves it has, a single Monstera Albo Borsigiana cutting is worth approximately $250, while a rooted plant can range in price from $400 to $1,000.

Monstera Thai Constellation

This common house plant was created using plant tissue culture in a lab in Thailand and has undergone artificial mutation.

It is one of the most desired plants due to its lovely variation in sectoral and marble patterns. As a plant that was grown in tissue culture, the variegation is quite stable and will be passed on to new leaves as they develop.

Although a rooted Monstera Thai Constellation can cost anywhere between $250 and $350, I’ve never seen Thai Constellation advertised as a cutting.

Monstera Deliciosa Aurea

The yellow variegation of Monstera Deliciosa Aurea, also called Monstera Marmorata, gives it the look of a Golden Pothos.

It also needs regular maintenance to keep its sectoral pattern variegation. To maintain the variegation, immediately cut any leaves that have turned green.

Because it is so uncommon, Monstera Deliciosa’s Aurea variant commands a high price. Costs for rooted plants range from $2,000 to $3,000.

Is It Possible for Regular Monstera to Develop Variegation?

Regular Monstera can eventually show variegation, though it is rare. One of my friend’s Monstera Deliciosa cuttings was fortunate enough to begin displaying Albo variegation.

Only one in 100,000 plants will randomly produce a variegated Monstera. This means that in order to obtain a variegated Monstera, you would need to propagate 100,000 cuttings and hope that one of them would show the trait.

Can ethanol plants variegate?

Utilizing convenient promoters, phenotypic control: For instance, using an alcohol-inducible promoter, plant leaves can be sprayed with ethanol to cause variegation.

Does light lead to more variation?

A: I purchased a houseplant with multicolored or variegated leaves last year. All of the fresh leaves that it has produced are gradually solid green. Why? Does it require special fertilizer or has it undergone a mutation?

A: Plant forms with variegated leaves are a mutation of those with plain green leaves, and they occasionally revert.

It is doubtful that fertilizer or a lack of fertilizer led to the situation you are experiencing.

Whether or not a plant is receiving the right amount of light directly affects how well it performs. A plant may grow poorly, not blossom, and be more vulnerable to pest and disease attacks due to inadequate light. Additionally, it can make plants with patterned leaves produce only plain green leaves. It’s crucial to pick houseplants that are suitable for the environment in which they will live.

The foliage plants with green leaves need the least amount of light. Most of the time, ambient light levels will be adequate. Because two-toned leaves contain less chlorophyll, which is necessary for growth, foliage plants with variegated leaves need stronger light. The plant will produce all-green leaves to produce more chlorophyll if it does not receive enough light. Variegated plants should be put next to a window or an artificial light source.

Even more light is needed for indoor flowers. They should not be in direct sunlight, but they should be placed close to a sunny window.

The most demanding plants in terms of light are the cactus and succulents, which may even need direct sunshine to thrive.

If a lack of light is the issue, moving your plant to a position with more light will probably cause it to start generating variegated leaves once more.

Try cutting the non-variegated parts of the plant if that doesn’t work and only a portion of it has returned to solid green leaves. Ideally, the plant’s remaining variegated areas will produce new variegated leaves.

If neither of these methods is successful, you should presume that the plant has returned to its previous state, which was one with green leaves, and that it is unlikely to change again.

Even common outdoor shrubs with variegated leaves, such California privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) and evergreen euonymus (Euonymus japinicus), can generate non-variegated shoots. To keep the desired variegated leaf appearance of the shrub, these non-variegated branches should be removed through pruning.

The optimal conditions for Bermuda grass seed germination are nights with temperatures over 65 degrees.

The ideal nighttime temperatures could not come until May for homeowners in coastal or inland valleys, compared to the desert, where that is typically in April.

How can I create multicolored pothos?

By increasing the quantity of sunlight your pothos receives, you can increase the amount of variegation. If you do this, be cautious to add more light gradually.

The leaves will scorch from too much sun. For instance, a Golden Pothos can have all yellow leaves under the right lighting circumstances.

Another option is to try to develop a totally new plant by propagating a few stems with different colors.

You have a better chance of making sure the new plant develops largely variegated leaves if you decide to propagate node-bearing stems that are predominantly variegated.

Can You Regain Lost Variegation?

By relocating your pothos to a more sunny location and removing stems that are mostly green or have minimal variegation, you can try to restore lost variegation.

By doing this, there will be less pressure for the green leaves to take over, which can encourage your plant to continue generating variegated leaves.

Take the green leaf you wish to get rid of and trace it back to the soil until you find the spot where it first started to produce variegated leaves. Where you want to prune is here.

Your plant will remain healthy enough to continue producing variegated leaves if you keep it in the right size container (one with drainage holes), give it occasional fertilizer, and make sure it receives the right quantity of water.

Do succulents with different colors require more light?

Any plant with a variegated leaf, including variegated succulents, can develop in a number of ways. Genetic mutations are the main cause of variation. It is a genetic accident rather than a response to the environment of the plant. Some of these colorful mutations will be passed on to the progeny of these mutant plants. These are hereditary variations, thus whether the kids come from seeds or cuttings, they will acquire the coloration of their parents. Many will not genetically pass on the variation to their progeny. As they have two different chromosome types, they are referred to as “chimerashave. In this situation, stem cuttings or leaf propagation from a variegated leaf are the only ways to keep the variegation in the progeny.

The distinct colour will frequently not persist when variegation mutation occurs in the wild. It will either not be able to produce enough chlorophyll to support itself, or the solidly green parts of the plant will perform better than the variegated ones. However, when cultivating a plant, growers will choose a variegated plant for extra attention and breeding. While some variegated succulents do need extra attention, many are already well-cared for just by being in your yard.

A fatal virus is another factor that might contribute to vivid variegation. To create stable variegates for sale, hybridizers have worked hard to isolate some viruses, such as the canna mosaic virus.

Reflective Variegation

Another type of variegation is when certain portions of the leaf reflect more light than other parts of the leaf, causing the color to shift rather than distinct pigments in the leaf’s flesh. These reflective variegates could contain air bubbles or “leaf windows just below the leaf’s surface give the foliage a silvery appearance. Or the surface of the leaf may develop fine white or silver hairs or patterns, giving it a multicolored appearance. Amazing Agave victoriae-reginae, “A beautiful illustration of a reflected variegated succulent is the Queen Victoria Agave. A chalky white material on the leaf surface creates the detailed white tracings on the leaves. These plants are genetic variegates, which means that their offspring inherit their appearance.

Possible Defensive Value to Variegation?

Some scientists hypothesize that some variegated succulents’ elaborate tracings may constitute a protective mechanism. It is thought that these tracings may imitate the work of leaf miners or other equally destructive pests and persuade the territorial insects to ignore these plants. Undoubtedly, it is feasible. Definitely more scientific than the notion that this amazing Echeveria nodulosa is merely for display. You can understand why some people could believe this and how this plant came to be known as “painted echeveria.”

Sue Morton has my appreciation for sharing this picture. Visit Sue’s Facebook page, Succulents by Sue, to see her lovely succulent arrangements.

Caring for Variegated Succulents

A plant with variegated leaves may seem to require more sunlight to make up for the absence of chlorophyll. Actually, most variegated succulents require a little bit extra protection from direct sunlight because chlorophyll also shields the leaf from sunburn. They are less tolerant of shadow than their greener relatives, though, perhaps because to their lesser synthesis of photosynthesizing chlorophyll. Your yellow and white variegated plants require bright, indirect light during the hottest time of the day and year. The best conditions for this remarkable variegated Haworthia cymbiformis are indoors. I appreciate Carol Piner allowing me to use her picture. She cultivates and arranges succulents, and she is an amazing artist. Visit Carol Piner’s Facebook page to view her lovely creations!

Succulents that are variegated because of a lack of chlorophyll are also a little more sensitive to temperature fluctuations than solid-green varieties. The green pigment reduces the effects of heat and cold stress in the same way as it shields the plant from sunburn. the plant’s variegated variety. Variegated leaf plants frequently have a smaller range of cold resistance than solid green species.

Unlike its more cold-hardy, full sun cousins, the beautiful variegated Agave lonphantha ‘Quadricolor’ thrives in zones 8 to 10 and in partial sun. Isn’t it remarkable?

Growing Variegated Succulents

Succulents with genetically stable variegation thrive when grown from seeds, division, cuttings, or leaves (so long as the plant can be propagated by each means). Compared to their brothers with solid colors, variegated plants typically develop more slowly and mature at a smaller size. When choosing plants for your garden or containers, keep this in mind.

Encouraging Variegation in Succulents

Some plants with variegation have very precise variegation patterns. They follow a particular pattern, just like the Queen Victoria Agave up top. The variegated leaf, however, can vary significantly from one twig or branch to the next in most plants, as can be seen on this Crassula ovata ‘Tricolor’. A variegated succulent’s branch or pup will frequently “revert” or lose its variegation. On a variegated plant, you would notice the development of solid green leaves. Succulent pups are the tiny succulents that sprout at the base. If the green branches or pups are left intact, they will eventually outgrow the variegated mother plant and can turn the entire plant green.

If your succulent with multiple colors starts to revert, you can take action to preserve it vibrant. Remove any growth that is solidly pigmented. Reduce the branch to a side branch with different colors. Remove any puppies with solid colors. Give the plant a little more love. Protect the plant if it was growing in full sun, a lot of shadow, unusually high or low temperatures, or if it has been too dry for an extended period of time. Even though I like to stress succulents to bring out more color, doing so can make a variegated succulent go back to its original hue. In this instance, the plant produces more chlorophyll to meet its requirement for more resources, losing the lovely color diversity you adore in the process.

On the other hand, a solid-colored succulent might sporadically display variegation. As mentioned above, this could be a virus or an indication of difficulty caused by insects. Keep a keen eye out for insect activity and the state of the plant in general. If pathology has been ruled out and your solid-colored succulent displays a leaf, branch, or pup with attractive variegation, by all means, propagate it! Give a stem cutting special attention. Once it has taken root, provide it with bright, indirect light and watch for any symptoms of stress.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know variegated succulents a little better. They are one of my personal favorites. Never be hesitant to increase them! In general, there is no need to baby them; they only require a little more attention than other varieties. Simply leave a comment on this post if you have any queries or suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you, and I’ll reply straight away!

P.P.S. Would you consider joining my Facebook group for cactus lovers? We discuss design, identification, propagation, and care of succulents. They’re a friendly bunch who would love to meet you!