Why Variegated Plants Are So Rare

Rare Plants

Why Are Variegated Plants So Rare?

In our blog on rare, collectible plants in Melbourne, we share with you the striking prices achieved by, amongst others, variegated plants. Why is this variegation rare and therefore so expensive?

Top Of The Plant Pops

One of the most sought-after variegated plants is the breathtakingly beautiful Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo-Variegata’. The display can be jaw-dropping drama with chimera variegation. 

There are many types of variegated indoor plants, which require more care and, due to varying degrees of rarity, fetch a much higher price.

Depending on the cause of variegation it can be stable or unstable. Variegated plants are less hardy and grow slower due to their reduced ability to photosynthesise.

Types Of Variegated Indoor Plants

Variegated Monstera

Chimeral Variegation

This “common” variegation is from a genetic mutation. Only some of the plants tissue produces chlorophyll, resulting in white / yellow zones intermixed with solid green. It can be random splashes or entirely white leaves. Only certain chimeral variegated plants can be propagated from stem cuttings and tissue culture and none from seeds.

Calathea insignis
Calathea Insignis

Pigmented or Natural Variegation

This is a natural pattern that is embedded in the genes. An example is Rattlesnake Calathea (Marantaceae), with a happy patterning of purple dots on its green leaves.

Alocacia Amazonica

Blister or Reflective Variegation

These are delightful tiny air pockets between the pigmented lower and unpigmented upper leaf layers. When light enters these transparent bubbles, the leaves appear to be shimmery silver. You can see reflective variegation in some leaf veins in Anthuriums, Alocacias and Philodendrons.

Mosaic virus-infected aroid leaf showing yellow pattern via Plantophiles

Viral Variegation

Some viruses cause variegation, such as the Mosaic virus resulting in a pattern like the back of a Stradivarius violin. This can be reproduced, although not desirable!

IN Conclusion, Variegation means many things in the business of plants.

Any multi-coloured display is called variegated, from Latin (variegatus) = “made of various sorts of colours.”

When choosing plants, if you see the word variegata in the second part of the latin name, this means it is variegated in the wild. If the word ‘Variegata’ appears in single quotations, it is a cultivar.

Remember, variegated plants need nurturing to grow strong as they photosynthesise fewer sugars. The chances of variegation occurring in plants are approximately 10 percent. From that 10 percent, only the healthy ones survive. Now THAT is definitely a rarity!

Order or bid online today if you want to buy indoor plants & rare indoor plants to add to your exquisite collection.

Your rare beauty will be carefully contained in an eco-friendly package and will be delivered by 100% carbon neutral shippers within a few days in Melbourne.

Helping to save the planet one plant at a time!

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