Learning how to variegate plants is an interesting promoted by many gardening experts for home-growing and commercial reasons. If you are new to this journey, then you might need to learn what variegation means, in which case you should know that it means increasing the color saturation of your preferred plants.

How to Variegate Plants 1

When attempting to variegate the chosen plants in a commercial environment, chemical agents and mutations may be extensive; however, when trying to do this at home, you will need to practice safer methods. In either case, you can learn all you need about good variegation by studying the detailed sections below!

How Can I Variegate My Plants? Exclusively Explained

You can variegate your plants by giving them adequate light and temperature, clipping away the non-variegated foliage, using low nitrogen in fertilizers, keeping to a proper watering schedule, and cloning previously variegated plants. You can also use chemical agents or viruses if you prefer.

1. Giving an Appropriate Amount of Light

To variegate your plant, you must provide it with the appropriate light. You need to give a bright light to your plant so that the plant has suitable growth and reduces the dark spots on the leaves. It is essential to keep your plant at the right level of brightness. If you keep your plant in the sunlight for too long, it can damage the foliage.

Giving an Appropriate Amount of Light

It is best if your indoor plants get bright light that reaches them indirectly most of the time. You first need to find the ideal spot in your house that receives the most sunlight. After that, you must place the chosen plant at least two to three feet away from that window. By doing this, the plant will get sufficient light and not get damaged in any way through direct sunlight.

You must remember that the plant is getting very little light if you ever notice the colors on the foliage blurring away. On the other hand, if you see the leaves of the plant turning brown or looking burned, it means that the plant is getting excessive sunshine, which is having consequences on the plant’s health.

2. Pruning the Non-Variegated Leaves

The plants that you grow with variegated foliage sometimes produce leaves with no color. If you want your plant to have bright colors, you should cut out the foliage with a single color. Doing this will allow the plant to produce more leaves than before. It is important to remember that only some of the leaves have to be cut.

Since green leaves are a crucial part of the plant and help in photosynthesis, you cannot cut all the green leaves because it will cause the plant to die. It is best to snip out the leaves that are not colored and keep the variegated ones. Now, you can wait to see your plant filled with many variegated leaves.

3. Utilizing Fertilizers With Low Nitrogen Levels

All plants must have nitrogen; however, if they get too much nitrogen, it can be harmful. Excessive nitrogen can lead to the outgrowth of chlorophyll; when that happens, the leaves get very green, and the amount of the overall variegated plant decreases.

Utilizing Fertilizers With Low Nitrogen Levels

The solution to this is to use a good quality potting mix that won’t break, and you need a balanced liquid fertilizer. The liquid fertilizer has to be weakened to half of its original strength, and it has to be used only once every four or six weeks. It is important to remember that if the plant shows signs of growth, it is best not to feed it too much.

4. Maintaining a Constant Temperature

It is essential to maintain a constant temperature. By protecting the plant from the changes in the temperature, you can finish the loss of variegation that you are receiving. The temperature changes are dangerous for the plant’s health since they repeatedly shock the plants. When this happens to the plants, they lose their color and shine from all over.

Plants need to receive the same kind of temperature for variegation. It is also much easier to handle the temperature inside a house, unlike outside. To maintain the temperature, keep your plants from heating vents and ACs. You have to ensure that the plants aren’t put in any place where the temperature will rise and drop at any time, as it can be very harmful.

5. Using Variegated Foliage for Planting

To use variegated foliage for planting, you have to start by cutting out a variegated stem. Make sure that you do not cut a green one for planting. Now, if you want your plant to be more variegated, you must do as told. Firstly, you have to take at least two to three cuttings.

Then, you must put all of them in one large pot. Doing this will make them seem to be colorful, and they will look quite bushy. It is guaranteed that if you follow the methods given, there will be a new plant with the same variegation as the leaves had.

6. Keeping the Plants Clean

As you must be aware of the fact that all the plants must remain clean. One of the main tasks of leaves is to absorb light that comes onto the plant’s leaves. Unlike non-variegated plants, the variegated plants usually have exceptionally clean and glossy foliage, and a lot of dirt is likely to fall onto them. The dirt can come from anywhere: the air or the dirt in your surroundings.

Keeping the Plants Clean

Now, as the days pass, the plant leaves start showing a thin layer of dust on the top. This dust is dangerous as it stops the leaves from adequately absorbing the light. In addition, it affects the plant’s growth and doesn’t let it grow as it should.

In addition to that, this dirt can also make the leaves’ colors look dimmer and less lively. Due to that reason, you must take a piece of cotton to overcome this issue.

After that, you have to wet the cotton in some water. Now, you softly have to clean up the dust from the leaves. Make sure that no dirt remains on the surface of the leaves. This has to be done once every week to keep the dirt from accumulating.

7. Maintaining a Proper Watering Schedule

It is incredibly vital to maintain a proper schedule for watering both your non-variegated and variegated plants. All plants need the right amount of water so that the plant can stay healthy and live longer.

The right amount of water also helps to form chlorophyll for the plant. On the other hand, if you provide the plant with too much water, its result will not be good since it will manipulate the plant to produce more chlorophyll.

Once the plant provides more chlorophyll, it will fade away the non-green colors of the plant. You must remember that if you give the plant too little water that does not meet its need, the foliage will get crisp. It could also cause the plant to lose a lot of its color; when it loses its color, it will get fragile.

If you want to make a proper schedule for your plant, it depends on what type of plant you are looking after. You can make your schedule and ensure that you keep up with it. If you find it troublesome to follow a plan, then you should keep an eye on the top layer of the soil. When you touch it and feel it is dry, you can know that you have to water your plant at that time.

8. Via Chemical Mutagens

You can also variegate your plants by using chemical mutagens. To use this method, you have to start by taking the seeds of the plant you are planting. Then, you will have to soak the preferred seeds in the ethyl methanesulfonate chemical. People usually call it “EMS” to speak it more easily.

You must remember that it is hazardous to get this chemical since it is also a very well-known poison. This method is only to be used if you can follow all of the instructions given. Following the instructions will ensure your safety when doing anything related to the mentioned Chemical.

9. Through a Virus

Another method you can use if you want to variegate your plants is a virus. To start with, firstly, you have to detach a virus. It can be extremely tough to separate a virus like the “mosaic virus”. However, if you can detach the mosaic virus, you have to give it to your plant.

Variegate Through a Virus

You must remember that there is no going back once you do this. It could also lead to decreasing the productivity of your plant. When the plant’s productivity gets less than the average, it results in the leaves being smaller than before since the leaf productivity also decreases. It could also cause the leaves to lose their green color and get slightly dimmer.


Variegated plants are a big thing in the commercial gardening sector because who doesn’t want their plants to look fresh, saturated, and robust? However, if you want to know how to variegate plants at home, you can do so in several ways, some of them mentioned in the following points:

  • You may variegate your preferred plants by providing them with proper light and temperature levels.
  • Another thing you can do is clip away the non-variegated foliage, or you use fertilizers that have low nitrogen.
  • Sticking to a proper watering schedule when you want to variegate your plants is also advisable.
  • While chemical agents and specific viruses are more commercial methods of variegation, you can also try them if you want.

It is good to remember that it is ideal for variegating some plants earlier in their lives, while others variegate when they are more mature. Once you follow the techniques in the article, you are sure to find one that suits you most, and you can use that to variegate your plants easily!

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