All-green leaves are starting to poke through the variegated ones ('Reversion')

All-green leaves are starting to poke through the variegated ones (‘Reversion’)

Don’t let Green shoots dominate variegated trees or shrubs

Variegated trees and shrubs – those whose leaves are attractively streaked, striped, edged or splashed with another colour, such as white or yellow-  usually originate as a variegated shoot on a normal green plant. They have to be propagated from cuttings to keep the variegation.

Variegated plants are not always stable, and some shoots can revert to the original green. This often occurs, for instance, with the popular evergreen shrub Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ and with variegated box elders (Acer negundo). the green reverting shoots contain more green colouring (chlorophyll) and produce more food for growth. this makes them more vigourous than variegated ones, so green shoots will eventually overtake variegated growth in size and vigour if they are not removed.

Remove reverting shoots as soon as they arr seen by cutting them back to wood with the variegated foliage. This often means removing entire shoots.

Occasionally shoots will change to entirely cream or yellow leaves, but because of the lack of green colouring they often grow weakly and so are less of a problem.

Source: ‘RHS Wisley Experts Gardeners’ Advice’- Dorling Kindersley 2004

Old School Gardener

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