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Unlocking the Secrets of Houseplant Variegation: A Comprehensive Guide

 Variegated Houseplants:

Variegated houseplants are a popular choice for plant enthusiasts due to their unique and eye-catching foliage. These plants have leaves that are patterned with a combination of two or more colors, creating a striking visual effect. In this blog post, we will explore everything you need to know about variegated houseplants, including their pros and cons, descriptions, and scientific information.

Below we will explain all you need to know before buying 'variegated' houseplants.

What is Variegation in Indoor Plants?

What is Variegation in Houseplants?

Variegation is a mutation that occurs in plants that causes them to have multiple colors on their leaves. This occurs due to a change in the chlorophyll production of the plant, leading to different pigments being produced in different parts of the plant. This results in a beautiful and unique pattern of colors on the plant’s leaves. These plants come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a popular choice for home decor.

However, variegation can be unstable and may change over time due to environmental factors or genetic reversion. Environmental factors such as changes in light or temperature can cause variegation to become more or less pronounced. Additionally, genetic reversion can occur when the plant reverts back to its original non-variegated form due to genetic instability.

It can also affect the plant's growth and ability to photosynthesize. Variegated leaves have less chlorophyll, which can make it more difficult for the plant to produce energy through photosynthesis. As a result, variegated plants may grow slower and require more light to compensate for their reduced ability to photosynthesize.

Variegated Thai Constillation

Types of variegation

Sectorial variegation:

This type of variegation occurs when a specific area of the leaf has lost the ability to produce chlorophyll, creating a distinct pattern on the leaf, such as a white or yellow stripe or blotch.

Marginate variegation:

Marginate variegation occurs when the edges of the leaf are a different color than the center. This creates a border-like effect on the leaf, with a different color outlining the edge of the leaf.

Mosaic variegation:

Mosaic variegation occurs when the leaf has irregular patterns of variegation throughout the leaf surface, which causes unique and intricate patterns on the leaf.

Viral variegation:

Is caused by a virus infecting the plant. The virus can cause a loss of chlorophyll production in certain areas of the leaf, resulting in variegation. While viral variegation can be visually stunning, it can also weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to disease.

Reflective variegation:

Is a rare and unique type of variegation that occurs in plants growing in areas with high light intensity. The leaves of these plants reflect light, causing a variegated effect on the leaf surface. This type of variegation is not genetic and can occur in non-variegated plants growing in the right conditions.

Genetic variegation:

Usually shows up as a characteristic pattern, similar on each leaf. Maranta, Sansevieria, and Coleus are all examples of this form of variegation. The cells that make up the leaves create different pigments according to their chromosomal makeup, making this a stable form of variegation.

Chlorophyll Deficiency:

This is the most common cause of variegation and is caused by a mutation in the plant's DNA that affects the production of chlorophyll. This mutation can cause a reduction or complete loss of chlorophyll production in certain areas of the leaf, leading to variegation.

Lateral Inhibition:

This occurs when neighboring cells in the leaf compete for resources, causing some cells to grow more slowly than others. This can create a variegated effect on the leaf surface.


Chimeric variegation is a fascinating genetic mutation that occurs spontaneously when two different types of plant tissue combine to form a single plant. This results in leaves with distinct patterns of variegated and non-variegated tissue. These unique patterns make chimeric variegated plants highly desirable, particularly in the world of aroid varieties.

However, it's important to note that the genes responsible for chimeric variegation are not stable and can revert to an all-green state. Because of this, it's challenging to reproduce these plants through traditional means of reproduction. Cloning or propagating through vegetative cuttings is the only reliable method of reproducing chimeric variegated plants.

Mutation Reversion:

Mutant variegation in plants is a rare genetic mutation that causes leaves to have varying pigmentation due to the absence or altered expression of certain pigments. This type of variegation is caused by mutations that affect the chloroplasts, the organelles responsible for photosynthesis in plant cells. This can result in unique and striking visual patterns that make certain plant varieties highly sought after.

Mutant variegation is a rare occurrence and is not always desirable as it can have negative effects on the plant's growth and survival.


Viral variegation is a phenomenon in plants where a viral infection causes leaves to have variegated patterns. This type of variegation is caused by the virus interfering with the production of chlorophyll or other pigments in plant cells.

Viral variegation can have a significant impact on plant growth and yield, and can also affect the spread of the virus. Some plant viruses that cause variegation include the tomato mosaic virus, the cucumber mosaic virus, and the tobacco etch virus. 

Variegated Hoya Obovata

How to Care for Variegated Houseplants


Variegated houseplants require bright, indirect light to maintain their variegation. However, some variegated plants, such as the Calathea 'Fusion White', may need to be kept in lower light conditions to prevent the variegation from fading.


It's important to not overwater variegated houseplants, as this can cause root rot. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings, and ensure proper drainage to prevent water from sitting in the pot.


Variegated houseplants prefer higher humidity levels, so consider using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant to increase humidity. Misting the leaves regularly can also help.


Variegated houseplants benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season (spring and summer). Use a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.


Variegated houseplants can be propagated through stem cuttings or division. Take stem cuttings with several nodes and propagate in water or well-draining soil. Dividing the plant involves separating the root ball into multiple plants and repotting each one separately.

Variegated Epipremnum Albo

 Pros of Variegated Houseplants


  • Variegated houseplants add a unique and eye-catching element to any indoor space.
  • They are easy to care for and require minimal attention.
  • Variegated houseplants have been shown to improve indoor air quality by filtering out toxins.
  • They are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, making them suitable for any room or space.
  • Variegated houseplants are easy to propagate, making them an ideal plant for sharing with friends and family.
Scindapsus Pictus Satin Pothos Variegated

Cons of Variegated Houseplants


  • Some variegated houseplants can be quite expensive due to their unique and rare characteristics.
  • They may require more light than other indoor plants, which can be a challenge in darker indoor spaces.
  • Some variegated houseplants are prone to reverting back to their original non-variegated form, which can be disappointing for plant owners.

Variegated Pothos

Be cautious of plant scams. Make sure to do your own research on reputable sellers like us! We ensure our plants come from reliable sources and ensure each plant we sell that's 'variegated' is real. 

Variegated Picasso Peace Lily For Sale


If you're looking to add a touch of color and vibrancy to your indoor space, variegated houseplants are an excellent option. Their unique foliage patterns can add visual interest and complement any home decor style. With proper care, these plants can thrive and bring joy to your home for years to come.

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