Are pretty yellow variegations cultivated unhealhty chlorophyll deficiencies?

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by jason9v, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. jason9v

    jason9v Active Member

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    Hi plant experts:

    I'm getting some pothos / devil's ivy ( Epipremnum aureum ), and also some heartleaf philodendron ( Philodendron cordatum / oxycardium / scandens ) to cover some walls in my home, . I noticed at the plant store that both plants come in ones that have green leaves, and ones that have green leaves with yellow variegation accents. Please see pictures:


    Now the yellow variegation accents certainly look pretty - but I was wondering if they are actually healthy? On closer inspection of the actual plants, the parts of the leaf that are yellow seem to be yellow simply because these areas have less chlorophyll. Is this natural for the plants?

    Did people cultivate these plants to have a chlorophyll deficiency for aesthetic effect, at the expense of making these plants less healthy?

    Thank you,


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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2017
  2. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member 10 Years

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    Jacksonville, FL USA USDA Zone 9
    Good question. My thinking, and observations, are that the variegated leaves all need more sun to maintain their coloration so that indicates that they don't have adequate chlorophyll. They don't seem inherently sickly, though. If kept without sufficient light the leaves will eventually emerge all green. Once that happens, (again it's my observations) they will not recover the variegation even with increased lighting. Well, mostly that's the case. Variegation appears to be a recessive trait that is not harmful, but maybe not all that productive. Sort of like blue eyes.

    These variations in coloring do occur in the wild throughout the botanical world. They are rarely if ever the rule. While discoloration will often indicate deficiencies or disease, this is not the case here.

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