How To Variegate A Succulent

You might assume that a plant with multiple colors would require more sunlight to compensate for its lack of chlorophyll. Actually, exposing a variegated succulent to intense sunlight will burn it since its leaves are smaller and more delicate. They can also conclude from this that greater chlorophyll production is required to develop greener leaves.

Due to their low levels of chlorophyll, which may cause slower development, a shaded or semi-shady region is not also advised for your variegated succulents.

Find a location where they can receive bright, indirect light during the warmest portion of the day to provide them with just the correct amount of light they require. And don’t forget to rotate it so that each side receives an equal amount of sunlight.


In comparison to their green-colored relatives, variegated succulents are also more susceptible to damage from high temperatures. Additionally, they don’t thrive in cold temperatures, so it’s best to maintain the area around your variegated plant between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.


Variegated succulents, like certain other succulents, require their soil to be adequately moistened until the water drips out of the pot’s drainage hole, allowing the soil to completely dry out in between waterings. In the summer, do this once per week, and in the winter, every three to four weeks.

Pot & Soil

Choose a pot made of terracotta or another material with good drainage pores, and use well-draining cactus and succulent soil that contains 50–70% mineral grit in the form of coarse sand, pumice, or perlite to reduce the danger of rot.

What causes variegation in succulents?

Any plant’s leaves contain the pigment chlorophyll, which enables it to absorb light and use it to generate energy for photosynthesis. Variation, on the other hand, results from an unequal distribution of this chlorophyll and other pigments.

Chlorophyll is the substance that gives leaves their characteristic green color. When you notice varying shades of green, white, or yellow borders or lines, it is because there is a lower concentration of chlorophyll in those regions than there is in the leaf’s greener regions. Because they don’t have an even distribution of chlorophyll to shield them from the sun, plants with this type of variegation are more susceptible to sunburn. For this reason, a lot of plants with green/white or green/yellow leaves are excellent choices for shadow gardens. However, you’ll want to aim for bright but indirect light rather than complete shade with this variety of variegated succulent.

made especially for succulents:

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.

How can I induce variegation in my plants?

Taking cuttings from branches with more blotchy variegation in the leaf—as opposed to the all-white type (which lacks chlorophyll)—and simply increasing the number of plants will result in a more traditional and stable variegation. Volume production in this approach takes a lot longer.

Can a succulent develop different colors?

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!

Where can I find pink succulents?

Some succulents may undergo changes or lose the vivid hues they had when they were first purchased. Some plants may gradually turn green in a few months, especially if they are planted in the shade or in locations with poor natural lighting. For succulents to “stress” and show off their vibrant hues, they require intense sunlight all day long or at least six hours every day. To ensure that your succulent plants receive adequate sunlight, thrive indoors, and keep their brilliant red/pink hue, you must have windows that face south. Make sure there are no obstructions to natural sunlight for your succulents, such as trees or structures. &nbsp

How are succulents crossbred?

Cross-pollination is therefore required using a plant that has already blossomed. The best part is that every variety of succulent you’re trying to cross-pollinate will be subject to the following restrictions and recommendations.

The succulent of your choice must first be crossed with another succulent of your choice. This method is rather straightforward.

Take one blossom’s pollen and transfer it to the flower of another succulent by using a soft, little brush (like a paintbrush) or Q-tip inside the first flower. Additionally, this should result in a cross-pollinated seed pod from which you can plant the seeds. You can repeat this for every blossom on your succulents if they have more than one.

To prevent it from becoming infected with pollen from other plants, you should maintain your “new” plant in semi-isolation (unless you’re feeling very adventurous!).

Sadly, you won’t be able to know whether the cross-breeding was successful straight away. You’ll need to wait till the plant has some maturity before you can judge your success by how it appears.

How are a string of hearts variegated?

Temperatures between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit are required for Variegated String of Hearts, as well as strong, indirect sunlight (18 to 32 degrees Celsius). It should be planted in a cactus soil mixture with perlite and gritty sand. Maintain the indoor humidity at near to 50% since it does not require excessive humidity. When 90% of the growth media is dry, water. Use typical houseplant fertilizer to fertilize this plant once or twice a year between March and August.

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.