Variegated Leaves Turn Green

Variegated Leaves Turn Green

Want to learn more about Symptoms: Green leaves (variegated leaves turn green)

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Why does the variegated leaves turn green?

Variegated leaves make for attractive and eye-catching foliage, often forming unusual patterns that make for a great display piece. Plants with this unique foliage patterning require some extra care in order to keep them healthy. This is because variegated sections are more sensitive than 'normal' green ones, and can be more susceptible to damage.

Variegated Leaves

Common causes


It's when your variegated plant start to produce new growth which lacks the variegated parts or when variegation reverts back to green. This usually occurs as a result of the plant not receiving enough sunlight. Many forms of variegation may also revert independently from care and growing conditions― so called spontaneous reversion.

Species that aren't naturally variegated might try to revert back to being fully green as it will be more beneficial to them in the long-term. It's just their nature!

Variegated leaves can revert back to green in response to being kept somewhere too dark because variegation affects your plant's ability to photosynthesize.

The reason that variegated areas appear light in color is because they lack the green pigment chlorophyll, which is an integral part of the process of photosynthesis. This means that variegated plants are less efficient at photosynthesizing than green plants, and therefore need extra light in order to stay healthy.

Variegated leaves damage

What to think about

If your variegated plant isn't getting enough light, it will start turning green again in order to increase its chances of survival. If it isn't then moved somewhere bright to help it recover, it will likely revert completely over time until there are no variegated parts left. Note, however, that it's still important to protect your plant from particularly harsh or hot sun - variegated leaves can be extra sensitive to burning. Try to provide plenty of bright, indirect light.

If one of your variegated plants start to produce fully green growth, you might consider pruning it back to remove the green growth which will (hopefully) promote new variegated growth.

Some plants have chemically-induced variegation (i.e. their variegation does not occur naturally), which means that they eventually grow out of it. This is totally normal for these types of plants and doesn't affect their health - it just means your plant will look a bit different to when you first got it! The Philodendron 'Pink Congo' is a good example of this.