Tips to keep multicolored home decor plants alive for a long time

Paying attention to relapse and keeping the leaves dust-free are important measures for the care of the plants

The popularity of colorful houseplants will almost certainly lead to greater outdoor use. Image: iStock

Fads and fashion have always influenced the plants we care for. It is the same with colorful plants, which are very popular among houseplant lovers these days.

Variegated plants possess multiple colors, typically on their leaves but in some cases on the stems, flowers, and fruit. Their patterns include stripes, dots, edges and patches. They are usually green with either white or yellow, but can also feature red, pink, silver, and other colors.

Colorful plants can share opinions. I remember a great aunt many years ago telling me of her great fondness for the colorful Aspidistra elatier that grew in her garden. But I’ve also heard gardeners and garden designers reject variegated foliage because it doesn’t fit their design or color themes.

Colorful houseplants now seem to be considered an indispensable home accessory. But before you go out and buy one, make sure you know how to make him happy.


Understand colorful plants

Most plant species are entirely green, but occasionally a variegated individual makes an appearance. Some catch the eye of a dedicated plant collector or gardener and become popular strains.

Plant stains can occur for a number of reasons.

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In some plants, such as tulip flowers, it is due to a viral infection. The resulting streaks of different colors can be cursed or appreciated depending on the aesthetic effect.

Other plants, such as those of the genus Coleus, are naturally patterned. Groups of cells produce different color combinations, causing leaves with attractive markings to grow.

Plant variations can also result from genetic mutation.

When growing colorful plants, it’s important to understand how the different colors affect how they work.

The green part of plants contains chlorophyll, a pigment essential for photosynthesis. (Photosynthesis, of course, is the process by which leaves convert sunlight into oxygen and carbohydrates, which provide energy for plant growth.)

In variegated plants, the white parts of the leaves contain no chlorophyll and therefore do not carry out photosynthesis.

Yellow leaf parts can help send energy to the chlorophyll, but cannot photosynthesize themselves. The same goes for some red, orange, and pink tissue stains.

But all the cells in the leaf green or not consume the plant energy. This means variegated plants are less efficient energy producers than their all-green counterparts, causing them to grow more slowly.

Some plants have mutated into albinos that do not contain chlorophyll. These usually die within a few days or weeks of germination.

Caring for your plant indoors

It is no coincidence that many popular houseplants such as coleus, philodendrons, monsteras, dracaenas and calatheas are colorful. Because they’re usually far less vigorous than all-green versions of the species, they won’t be pressing against the ceiling for weeks.

The decorative color and pattern of a variegated houseplant is an added bonus.

Variegated plants can take longer than others to reach a size suitable for sale in a nursery and can therefore be comparatively more expensive. But there are ways to protect your diverse investments.

First, notice the reversal. This can happen when a variegated plant sends out an all green shoot. The sprout grows quickly compared to the colorful parts and may eventually take over, causing the entire plant to turn green again.

To avoid this, carefully remove all green shoots before they get big.

You don’t want variegated plants to outgrow their space quickly, but remember that they are low in chlorophyll and therefore need good light.

And as with any houseplant, you should make sure that its leaves are free of fine dust and that you neither give it too much nor too little water.

Colorful plants in the garden

The popularity of colorful houseplants will almost certainly lead to greater outdoor use.

Their slow growing nature means that variegated outdoor plants are usually much less weedy and spread where they are not wanted.

This can be an advantage if you have avoided planting one species as it will take over the garden. The variegated versions of Pittosporum, Ficus, and Nerium oleander, for example, are far less intent on global dominance than their all-green counterparts.

If you plant a variegated plant outdoors, make sure it isn’t shaded by other faster-growing plants. Many brightly colored plants are already struggling to carry out sufficient photosynthesis. A little more shadow can damage or even kill them.

So make sure they get enough light and help them out from time to time by cutting back nearby plants.

Grow with flying colors

Colorful plants have their moment in the sun. But their interesting biology is always in fashion!

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These plants can beautify your interior and create attractive colors and patterns in the garden.

By learning how variegated plants work and considering their specific needs, you can enjoy them for years to come. (The conversation)

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