Green and white variegated plants

Variegated Plants For Gardens: Tips On Using Plants With Variegated Foliage

Plant foliage is often one of the biggest attractions in the landscape. Seasonal color changes, different shapes, dramatic hues and even variegated leaves add drama and contrast. Variegated plants for gardens may be a natural mutation or engineered. It can often be difficult to keep your striped, stippled or mottled plant buddy bearing its variegation but there are a few tips to keep plants looking their best and wearing their stripes of honor proudly.

What Does Plant Variation Mean?

Variegated plants for gardens add a unique and unexpected touch to gardens populated by standard green foliage. What does plant variegation mean? It is the result of a mutated leaf cell and can be inherited or random. Gardening with variegated plants offers a host of interesting opportunities to accent and brighten regular foliage as well as provide a unique foil for flowering specimens. The result is a glorious cacophony of texture, hues and tones.

Variegation is produced when the plant cells lack pigment. It is usually a random mutation but can be propagated by using parent tissue. White coloring indicates the lack of chloroplasts, which help in photosynthesis by turning solar energy in to plant carbohydrates. This means variegated plants tend to grow more slowly

than their counterparts. The effect may exhibit as wide light patches, stripes, dots and irregular patches.

Few plants with variegated foliage occur in nature. The majority are propagated in greenhouses as the later generation of a random sport with variegated leaves. Variegated plants for gardens come in a wide range of forms, both annual and perennial, flowering or simply bushy.

Types of Variegated Plants

Most nurseries and garden centers carry at least some plants with variegated foliage. There are even rhizomous plants, such as the variegated iris, which are early spring arrivals with striped sword-like leaves or the sunset colors of Canna ‘Sunburst’.

Sweet little bushes with white and gold stippling are entrancing when woven into the landscape along with standard foliage forms. Try gardening with variegated plants like:

  • Mock Orange
  • ‘Kumson’ forsythia
  • Aucuba
  • Brunnera ‘Alexander’s Great’

Many succulents sport variegation, especially Agave. Hostas are foliage plants of renown and come in a range of variegated forms as do the Arums. Wild and native plants, such as Trillium and Epimedium, add a woodland charm to any garden.

Other examples of this exciting foliage include:

  • Heuchera
  • Fatsia
  • Holly
  • Ivy

How to Garden with Variegated Plants

With all the types of variegated plants, it may be difficult to figure out how and where to use them. Some forms will lose their variegation if in too much or too little sun. Use shade lovers like Jacob’s Ladder or variegated creeping sedge in low light areas where they will keep their markings.

The new growth may also revert to standard green after a season or two. Cut back the new green growth to below a growth node and variegated material should regenerate.

Place variegated plants as accents, not a focal point, of the entire bed. They pop out best when against a contrasting background and with brightly colored accent plants. For an elegant look, use the white and green foliage paired with white flowering plants. They will complement each other and form an area of peaceful monochromatic lushness.

Keep plants in tip-top condition with excellent cultural care and correct siting. As a rule, plants with lots of white or yellow in the leaf need more sun. Even plants in shade need some light for at least 4 hours per day to produce photosynthetic energy for good health.

Indoor Foliage Plants

It is worth bearing in mind when choosing indoor foliage plants, that when plant-growing in the home was first attempted, the plants used were the ones grown for the beauty of their leaves, the aspidistra, the tradescantias and the ferns. For a long time, the image conjured up by the word houseplant was of a green, leafy plant. Then, house-plants came to include those that flowered – short-term plants that could be kept for a few weeks only and then died-climbing plants, cacti and many others. In fact, it became apparent that a great many plants which had been thought to thrive only in the well-lit conditions of a greenhouse were quite happy in the home, provided their needs were reasonably well met.

If you live in a home which is on the dark side, perhaps a basement flat or an old house with tiny windows, or a house getting little sun because of trees, don’t think you will not be able to grow indoor plants. You can, very successfully, but you will do best to concentrate on foliage plants, and you will find that they can be extremely ornamental, and can be grown in practically any situation. They have the great advantage of being much hardier and more able to put up with conditions not tolerated by other plant groups. If neglected, they will just tick over until you remember them again, and rarely do they turn up their toes and die. Many will grow much better and be a deeper green if kept slightly shaded.

Since light is one of the two major limiting factors the other being warmth) to growing plants in the home, as opposed to a greenhouse, your choice of foliage plants will be far greater than that of other groups more dependent on these factors. There is a wide variety of form. Some may be bushy and spreading like the Fatsia, Aspidistra, Pilea or Maranta, while others are tall and sometimes narrow, such as Grevillia, the rubber plant, Dizygotheca, or Cyperus and the umbrella plant.

The climbing and twining kinds are good plants for dark places. Their habit of growth has been developed to make them grow upwards, either to reach light from a dark beginning, or because there is no room for them at ground level. They can only survive by getting out of the way of the crowd, and growing up and round tree trunks. The ivies, the sweetheart vine, the grape ivy and the kangaroo vine are all climbers, and are easy to grow.

Finally, there are the trailers-wandering jew (Tradescantia and Zebrina), mother of thousands (Saxifraga stolonifera), ivy, which looks just as pretty cascading down as growing up, hearts-entangled (Cerapegia woodii) and X Fatshedera lizei, to mention just a few.

The foliage plants offer a great variety of leaf shapes. Take Dizygotheca, with its extraordinary toothed, narrow leaves, elegantly poised in mid air on delicate stems; the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), whose enormous cut and holed leaves make the most dramatic of shadows and silhouettes, and the ubiquitous ivy, whose leaf shape has been used in design since the times of the Greeks and Romans, the green leaves of which hanging down a white wall have a classic simplicity of unique beauty.

An illusion which the newcomer to houseplant growing will soon have shattered is that leaves are always green. There must be just as many plants grown for their different coloured leaves as for their green ones, to say nothing of the variegated-leaved kinds.

The coloured-leaved plants now available for growing indoors are exotic and rainbow-like. They outdo the flowering plants in their dazzle and brilliance of plants like the codiaeums (croton) and dracaenas, the lovely purple-furred Gynura, Begonia rex in all its variations of rose-pink, wine-red, silvery-grey, pale green and cream, and the flame nettle (Coleus), with its really fantastic range of brilliant colours and, in the most recently produced varieties, exciting shapes.

For those who still like green in their leaves but think all-over-green a bit dull, there are many, many, foliage houseplants whose colouring is relieved with cream, white or yellow variegation-in the form of spots, blotches, edgings or centre colouring-outlining the veins, or taking up most of the leaf. Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’), the goosefoot plant (Syngonium podophyllum), Aglaonema, Peperomia magnoliaefolia and the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) all have variegations of one kind or another.

There are some general rules that can be applied to the care of foliage plants, as distinct from the other groups. For instance, nitrogen has priority as a plant food over all the others. This is the nutrient plants need rnost for strong, well”coloured leaves and stems, so ;nal<e sure that it is always contained in the compost, and use liquid fertilizers which have a high or higher percentage of nitrogen (N) than of the other foods.

The indoor foliage plants with plain green leaves will grow in places distant from the light, in some shade, and in rather dark corners. The variegated and coloured-leaved varieties need a good light, such as a window sill facing north, or one facing sww the sun which has a net curtain over it. They can be put on a table near an un-shaded sunny window sill but not in the direct sunlight. Leafy plants need more grooming than the others.

Grit and dust must be regularly wiped or sponged off the leaf surface with tepid water, or brushed off in the case of hairy leaves. Occasional polishing with a proprietary leafshine will give them a larger-than-life look for special occasions.

Slightly more water is needed in the compost than for other groups, and a humid atmosphere is especially important for those with thin papery leaves, such as Caladium (if you have the courage to attempt to grow it), Maranta and Diffenbachia.

There are other groups of indoor foliage plants grown entirely or mostly for their leaves, these include the bromeliads, the cacti and succulents, and the palms and ferns, but these are rather special groups, with special needs.

Foliage Plants For Your Home

Foliage plants that you grow indoors are mostly from tropical or arid regions and must adapt to less than ideal conditions in your home or office. Your challenge is to know the plant’s environmental needs and meet them. The environmental factors placed upon the plant and your maintenance practices will contribute to the health or decline of the plant, depending on how well you do.

Choosing Foliage Plants for Your Home

In choosing your plants, consider the location’s environment. Determine whether a particular plant will only survive or thrive in that environment. Go to your library and find references of the specific care of plants being considered for the indoor environment.

It is important to begin with good quality, healthy, pest-free plants. Make sure leaves possess good color for the species, with no brown tips or margins. Look for pests and signs of disease.

Environmental Conditions for Foliage Plants Indoors


How much or how little light in the environment often determines whether the plant will actively grow or simply survive. Characteristics of light to consider include intensity, quality and duration. Keep in mind that a southern exposure indoors typically provides the greatest light intensity, then western, eastern, and northern.

Plants requiring more light usually have variegated foliage. This is because they have less chlorophyll and therefore, require more light to achieve the same photosynthesis as a plant with green foliage. If light is insufficient, color variegation may be lost. Flowering plants also require higher light intensity.

As winter approaches, light intensity and duration will diminish. A plant that grew well in an eastern exposure in the summer may require a southern exposure in the winter. Move plants to other locations seasonally if needed.

Quality of light refers to the spectrum or colors available; sunlight contains all colors. Plants utilize all colors in photosynthesis. An incandescent light bulb gives off limited colors and is not acceptable as an indoor lighting source for most plants. To grow plants under artificial fluorescent light, most indoor gardeners combine a cool and warm tube in a fixture to provide light of good quality for many interior plants.

Duration refers to the length of light exposure. A daily exposure to light, preferably eight to 16 hours, is needed for plant processes. Symptoms of insufficient duration are similar to those of low light intensity: small leaves, spindly stems and older leaf drop.


The best temperature range for most interior foliage plants is between 60 and 80 F. (16-27 C.) These temperatures are similar to that found in the understory of a tropical forest. Chilling injury occurs below 50 F. (10 C.) for most tropical plants.

Temperatures in the home and office can be quite variable, changing daily or seasonally. Remember that southern and western exposures are warm because of sunlight, while eastern and northern are moderate or cool. Avoid locating plants on cold window sills, or where there are cold or hot drafts from opening doors and heating or air conditioning vents.

Leaf spots, blotches, downward curled foliage and slowed growth are all signs of bad temperatures. Temperatures that are too high can cause yellowish green foliage, which may have brown, dry edges or tips and spindly growth. Insect, mite and disease problems may develop quickly under warm conditions as well. You need to be careful.


Remember that tropical foliage plants thrive in their native environments where relative humidity is often 80 percent or greater. An average home may have relative humidity as low as 35 percent up to about 60 percent; this may drop below 20 percent in heated homes during winter.

Low humidity may cause brown or scorched leaf tips. You can try to raise the humidity indoors by grouping plants together. That sometimes helps. Also, if you use a room or furnace humidifier, you can increase the humidity. Be sure to water properly and avoid drafts and high temperatures. A pebble tray may also work; layer pebbles in a tray and fill with water to just the top of the pebbles. Set pots on the pebbles, just above water level.


Root health is vital to the survival of the plant. The plant’s container and the growing mix affect the root system and the overall health of the plant. Roots serve to anchor the plant in the container and to absorb water and nutrients. A plant’s root system has to have oxygen in order to function properly. Without it, the plant will die.

Make sure to have the proper soil mix for each plant as well. A good mix won’t break down or degrade over time. Be sure to use a mixture of particle sizes so there’s good drainage and aeration for the plant’s roots. Most plants do well in a mix containing one to two parts potting soil, one to two parts moistened peat moss and one part coarse sand. Native soil from the garden can be used in a mix if it’s pasteurized.

It’s not hard to take care of foliage plants. Just remember that if they are tropical in variety, it might take a little more than just a simple watering once in a while to carry them through.

Variegated Leaves Plant Stock Photos and Images

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  • variegated leaves growing in a bunch, green and off white
  • Iris Pallida, variegated iris plant leaves pattern
  • Cordyline australis ‘Sundance’, Cordyline, Close up of leaves with frost.
  • Close up of a Euphorbia plant on a white background Fleshy green leaves
  • A hosta plant with variegated leaves
  • Close up of striped leaves of plant
  • Maryland USA containers jugs variety of green leaves Studio
  • Echeveria Plant Leaves Variegated
  • Maryland USA jugs vases green leaves and foliage Studio shot
  • Hibanobambusa Tranquillans Shiroshima. Variegated Bamboo leaf
  • Chlorophytum comosum, Spider plant
  • Hosta ‘Risky Business’, Variegated leaves plant
  • Hibanobambusa Tranquillans Shiroshima. Variegated Bamboo leaf
  • Chlorophytum comosum, Spider plant
  • Acer palmatum Marlo . Japanese maple tree leaves
  • Variegated English Holly (Ilex aquifolium – Argentea Marginata) leaves
  • Isolated Dracaena potted plant in generic white pot, a popular houseplant with its ornamental variegated leaves
  • Acer palmatum Marlo . Japanese maple tree leaves
  • Texture of fresh green and white leaves
  • Variegated leaves and flower on yellow flag iris, Iris pseudocorus variegata, marginal rhizomatous plant, Berkshire, June
  • Acer palmatum Marlo . Japanese maple tree leaves
  • Young Pieris Little Heath plants in 9cm pots. These have pink leaves turning to light green edged with white is an evergreen shrub and fully hardy
  • Pale orange flower and yellow spotted variegated leaves of the tender wall shrub, Abutilon pictum ‘Thompsonii’
  • Variegated hosta leaves
  • Variegated Leaves Of Copper Leaf (aka Beefsteak Plant) Acalypha wilkesiana Taken In Karatu, Tanzania
  • Variegated leaf, extreme close-up
  • Echeveria Plant Variegated
  • Close-up of variegated foliage in soft focus
  • Fuchsia leaves of tropical Ti plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
  • chlorophytum comosum variegatum,spider plant,variegated,leaves,foliage,houseplant, houseplants,RM Floral
  • Hosta halcyon, plant for the shade parts of the garden
  • Variegated leaf, extreme close-up
  • reversion of variegated leaves to green leaves – lysimachia punctata golden alexander
  • Colourful variegated leaves of Cordyline fruticosa ‘Kiwi’ – an attractive drought tolerant foliage plant
  • Plant with prickly foliage, close-up
  • Lorrel the plant – Variegated leaves
  • A bed of green and yellow variegated hosta plant leaves
  • Variegated mint (Mentha variegata) plant in a garden
  • Variegated leaves and flower on yellow flag iris, Iris pseudocorus variegata, marginal rhizomatous plant, Berkshire, June
  • Variegated hosta plant leaves at RHS Harlow Carr gardens, Harrogate, England
  • nasturtium flower with variegated leaves
  • Pale orange flower and yellow spotted variegated leaves of the tender wall shrub, Abutilon pictum ‘Thompsonii’
  • Close-up of variegated leaves of a nerve plant
  • Variegated Coleus Leaves
  • Close up background view of variegated holly plant leaves in full sun
  • Echeveria Leaves Variegated
  • Beautiful Poinsettia plant lit from above – variegated leaves of green & yellow & vivid red flora leaves ideal at christmas
  • Plant with purple leaves
  • hosta,variegated,epimedium,marbled,leaves,foliage,structural,groundcover,plant,plants,planting,garden,RM Floral
  • Hosta ‘Color Glory’ plants in a shady part of the garden
  • Variegated horseradish plant growing at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire UK KATHY DEWITT
  • Large leaves variegated in scarlet and plum shades of red in Dominica West Indies
  • Brightly coloured bromeliad, Neoregelia cultivar Amazing Grace with bright red & green variegated leaves & vivid magenta centre
  • Coleus Leaves
  • A beuatiful large leafed Hosta forming part of the British National collection with its bright multi coloured ribbed leaves delicately edged.
  • Coleus plant with variegated pink leaves
  • Bright variegated leaves of a Brunnera plant closeup
  • Variegated yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. argentatum ‘Variegatum’) flowering non-native invasive garden plant.
  • Thick lush green leaves of the Hosta plant a garden favorite
  • Zebra Heliconian Longwing butterfly camouflaged on a Sanchezia Nobilis variegated tropical plant
  • Broad, white edged variegated leaves of the hardy perennial garden plant, Hosta ‘Francee’
  • Rosette of variegated yucca. Tropical decorativ plant foliage, Macro photo of leaf, natural pattern, exotic botanical background
  • Red And Brown Variegated Leaves
  • Close up background view of variegated holly plant leaves in full sun
  • Zebra iris or Iris pallida or Dalmatian iris or Variegated iris garden plant with clumps of bicolor sword like leaves growing in local garden
  • Epipremnum aureum. Ceylon creeper / devils ivy plant leaves inside the glasshouse at RHS Wisley gardens, Surrey, UK
  • Spiky dessert plant with variegated leaves in clay plant pot on pebbles next to garden wall
  • luma apiculata glanleam gold plant portraits green yellow variegated leaves foliage evergreens shrubs leaf
  • Holly Olive, Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Tricolor’
  • Variegated horseradish plant growing at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire UK KATHY DEWITT
  • Common holly / English holly / European holly (Ilex aquifolium) close up of variegated cultivar leaves against white background
  • Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’, perennial plant with attractive red, cream and green variegated leaves growing in decorative container
  • variegated leaves
  • Closeup of coleus plant leaves
  • Red berries on aucuba japonica variegata japanese laurel female plant in early spring. Large long evergreen leathery glossy leaves spotted with cream.
  • Closeup of the strikingly colourful variegated leaves of a Heucherella plant in a garden
  • Variegated yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. argentatum ‘Variegatum’) flowering non-native invasive garden plant.
  • Close up of morning dew on the leaves of a Yucca gloriosa Variegata plant. Dorset garden.UK
  • nasturtium flower with variegated leaves
  • White edged foliage and large white trumpet flower of the tender exotic garden plant, Brugmansia x candida ‘Variegata’
  • Garden croton plant leaves background
  • Variegated Plant Foliage In Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Close up background view of variegated holly plant leaves in full sun
  • Colorful leaves of the croton plant on sale at Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
  • Epipremnum aureum. Ceylon creeper / devils ivy plant leaves inside the glasshouse at RHS Wisley gardens, Surrey, UK
  • Typical English garden plants flowers close detail of variegated leaves hosta plant
  • luma apiculata glanleam gold plant portraits green yellow variegated leaves foliage evergreens shrubs leaf
  • Hosta Queen Josephine
  • Variegated potted Dieffenbachia plant with its ornamental tropical leaves popular as a houseplant isolated on white
  • Hairy variegated leafed begonia species sizemoreae
  • Tropical Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) plant in pot. © Myrleen Pearson
  • variegated leaves
  • Colorful leaves of an ornamental geranium garden plant.
  • evergreen variegated plant
  • Berries of a Japanese dogwood with variegated leaves
  • Variegated yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. argentatum ‘Variegatum’) flowering non-native invasive garden plant.
  • Variegated green yellow ginger leaves
  • Red Postman Heliconius Erato butterfly on Sanchezia nobilis tropical plant leaf
  • White edged foliage and large white trumpet flower of the tender exotic garden plant, Brugmansia x candida ‘Variegata’
  • Ornamental variegated Agave americana marginata, or Variegated Century Plant, growing in the garden on San Servolo Island, Venice, Veneto, Italy

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Two examples of variegated leaf plants

The common name of sodium compound used to soften the hard watera. caustic soda b. baking sodac. washind sodad. goli soda​ Why does the Moon orbit Earth instead of the Sun? Group of answer choices Gravity depends on distance and the Moon is closer to Earth. Only large obje cts orbit around the Sun and the Moon is too small. The Moon used to be part of Earth so it must orbit Earth. The Moon is moving too fast and cannot change its orbit. What are the advantages and disadvantages of frictionHow can we increase or decrease friction? Why is it essential to apply oil to the hinges and latc hes of demafter certain interval of time?Write a short note on fluid friction​ Which part is use to produce a baby explanation​ Explain the statement “Friction always opposes the motion”​ The part which help in transpiration in planta, xylemb. parenchymac. collwnchymad. stomata​ Magnetic field at the centre of a circular coil of radius r, through which a current I flows is(A) Directly proportional tor(B) Inversely proportional to 1(C) Directly proportional to(D) Directly proportional to PWITH EXPLAINATION​ From the following halogen is a. hydrogen b. chlorine c. sodium d. none f these​ What are the advantage and disadvantage of friction ​ The Sun’s gravity holds each planet in its orbit. Pluto is farther away from the Sun than Earth is. How does the effect of the Sun’s gravity on Pluto compare with the effect of the Sun’s gravity on Earth? Group of answer choices The Sun has the same gravitational pull on all planets that are in orbit. The Sun has more gravitational pull on Pluto because it is smaller. The Sun has less gravitational pull on Earth because it is closer. The Sun has less gravitational pull on Pluto because it is farther away.

I’m obsessed with variegated plants and a collector for sure. My recent favourite because variegated string of pearls. I had a few questions about variegated plants as some varieties such as Variegated Monstera come at monster prices. Here’s where my research took me:

Q. Why are some plants variegated?

A. Variation in leaf colour occurs because of a lack of the green pigment chlorophyll in some of the plant cells. It is usually the result of a cell mutation.

Q. Can I propagate a variegated plant?

A. The plants variegation can be inherited (genetic) or occur randomly (chimeric). If genetic, the colour change is stable, this means that if you propagate a green shoot from a plant with colored leaves or sow its seed, the colouring will reappear in the new plant.

Q. Why does variegation sometimes revert?

A. Variegated plants can revert or turn green for a number of reasons. It can be a reaction to extremes of hot and cold or a reaction to low-light levels. Some say it could also be caused as a survival technique, as the plant is stronger when it has more chlorophyll. When this happens, the best thing to do is prune out the affected leaves because if you don’t, the plain green can actually take over the plant because it’s got more chlorophyll and vigour than the variegated foliage.

Q. Can I create a variegated plant from a normal plant?

A. Variegation is not easily induced and can’t be done so at home. Best to get a cutting of a variegated plant from a friend or pass your’s on in order to keep the variegated plant love flowing.

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