Variegated indoor plants are a popular choice for plant lovers who want to add a unique and colourful touch to their indoor space.
These plants have leaves that feature patterns of different colours, usually in shades of green, white, and yellow. Additionally, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them a versatile option for any home or office.
Types of variegation found in indoor plants
There are three fundamental varieties of variegation found in variegated indoor plants, each of which has a distinct appearance. The variegation of the leaves is also brought on by a different catalyst:
The most common kind of variegation seen in plants is chimeral variegation. It is brought on by a particular genetic mutation that results in two distinct chromosomal arrangements in a single plant. This kind of variegation reduces the production of chlorophyll in specific plant tissues.
If a plant is variegated and the variegation appears glossy or shimmering, the plant displays reflected variegation. The distinctive colouration is also known as “blister” variegation. It develops when little air pockets appear between the layers of the leaf. The leaves shine because of how the light bounces off those pockets.
Pattern-gene variegation plants are naturally patterned plants. Breeders and growers may readily manipulate this attribute since it is inherited via the plant’s DNA.
It is crucial to keep in mind that each variegated plant has a unique genetic code. The variation may become stable or unstable as a result. Without sufficient light, unstable variegation leads the variegated leaf to revert to plain green.
How to care for variegated indoor plants?
Variegated indoor plants require a balance of light and shade. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn, while too little light can cause the plant to lose its variegation. Your variegated plant will need greater light exposure since the variegation in these leaves has less chlorophyll than a non-variegated leaf.
The plant will produce completely green leaves in response if it doesn’t get enough light and the variegation isn’t stable so that it can carry out the necessary quantity of photosynthesis.
We recommend that you place your plant in a spot where it can receive bright, indirect sunlight for a few hours a day, and shade for the rest of the time. Be sure to avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight for extended periods.
Watering a plant is essential for its growthVariegated plants require regular watering, but overwatering can be detrimental to their health. Make sure that the soil is well-draining and that the plant is not sitting in standing water. Water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch, and avoid letting the soil dry out completely.
Additionally, Variegated plants thrive in a humid environment, and low humidity can cause the leaves to become dry and crispy.
To increase the humidity around your plant, you can use a humidifier, mist the leaves with water, or place a tray of water near the plant. However, be careful not to overwater the plant, as this can lead to root rot.
Fertilisers help plants stay healthy but too much of its use can be detrimental. Variegated plants require regular fertilisation to maintain their vibrant colour and promote healthy growth. However, the plants are also very sensitive to fertiliser, much as they are to tap water. Even a little over-fertilisation might cause your plant to suddenly up and die. The additional nitrogen that the fertiliser supplies cannot be absorbed by variegated plants.
The nitrogen in fertilisers doesn’t aid the plant. Instead, it sticks to its roots and prevents it from taking in water. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser once a month during the growing season. You can reduce the frequency during the winter months when the plant is dormant.
Beware of pests
Throughout the course of owning a variegated plant, you’ll discover that your plant is particularly vulnerable to pests, notably spider mites. These pests find the variegation extremely appetising. They’ll take over your plant if you don’t take precautions.
Weekly insect inspections of your plants are a good idea. Additionally, you can buy a reliable pesticide to be ready when the time comes.
Variegated plants require periodic pruning to remove dead or damaged leaves and promote healthy growth. Prune the plant in the spring or summer to encourage new growth and maintain its shape. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts, and avoid leaving stubs or tearing the leaves.
Variegated plants require occasional repotting to provide them with fresh soil and room for growth. Repot the plant every two to three years or when you notice that the roots are beginning to outgrow the pot.
Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one, and fill it with fresh, well-draining potting soil. When repotting, be sure to carefully remove the plant from its current pot, and avoid damaging the roots.
Common variegated indoor plants in Australia
Here are some of the most common variegated plants you can find in Australia:
Variegated Monstera (Monstera deliciosa)
This plant, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, is a popular houseplant due to its striking foliage. The leaves are large, with irregular holes and deep green veins, and are beautifully variegated with creamy white stripes. It thrives in bright, indirect light and humid conditions.
Variegated Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
The rubber plant is a hardy indoor plant that can grow up to 2 meters tall. Its large, glossy leaves are often variegated with shades of white, cream, or yellow, making it a great accent piece in any room.
Variegated Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
This elegant plant is a popular choice for its stunning white flowers and glossy green leaves. Some peace lily varieties have variegated leaves, featuring creamy white streaks or splashes. It prefers low-light conditions and thrives in humid environments.
Variegated indoor plants are known for their attractive foliage, which is usually marked with patches or stripes of a different colour than the rest of the leaf. These plants are a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardening.
With proper care, they can thrive and grow to their full potential. We hope our guide has helped you gain some essential tips for caring for variegated plants.