Variegated leaves

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JTh

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Variegated leaves
« on: November 21, 2019, 12:13:41 PM »
My first impression when I see plants with variegated leaves is almost always that there must be something wrong with them, like the Pandorea jasminoides I saw here in the Alicante region, Spain.  I know that many people are collecting such plants, and I wonder if I am the only one who doesn't particularly like them?


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by Jorun Tharaldsen, on Flickr
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Variegated leaves
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 12:37:58 PM »
Jorun, you are not alone as I don't really like them either. We do possess one plant with variegated leaves, a Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Cooperi'. I cannot now remember where we got it from, or why. On the plus side it does have a very delicate bright red flower, but against that it has a tendency to attempt to revert to the more natural green and these need to be clipped out when they appear.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

David Dickinson

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Re: Variegated leaves
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2019, 12:56:54 PM »
I confess that I too am not a fan. I have a few spider plants and some Vincas and that is about it. The splashes of colour in the foliage of these brightens the shady places where they grow.

I was thinking of getting some kind of Caryopteris for next year. Looking online I saw some variegated plants and the blue flowers just didn't go well with the foliage. At least not for me. But then again, I don't like Cypress trees. So it must be me who is odd, as I'm often told! :-)
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.

Umbrian

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Re: Variegated leaves
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2019, 08:24:56 AM »
In many cases I too  dislike variegated leaves especially on plants with beautiful flowers where the variegation seems to detract from that  beauty. However some plants, such as Euonymus fortunei cultivars, that are grown mainly for their foliage, can make an interesting, year long contribution to the garden.
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

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Alisdair

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Re: Variegated leaves
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2019, 10:15:26 AM »
I'm not a fan, either - though we did plant a Cornus controversa 'Variegata' in our Sussex garden several years ago, which did always seem "right" (it eventually died, alas)
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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JTh

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Re: Variegated leaves
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2019, 04:48:53 PM »
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one not beeing so fond of variegated leaves, thank you for your response!
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

David Dickinson

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Re: Variegated leaves
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2019, 12:15:29 AM »
Here are 2 of my culprits. The Vinca major 'Maculata' has only ever produced one or two flowers for me over the 3 years that I have had it, It really is in deep shade and gets about an hour of direct sun in summer but nothing for the other 9 months of the year.  Does Saxifraga stolonifera count as variegated? It grows in the shade of the dreaded Cypress and gets no sun at all.
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.

Umbrian

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Re: Variegated leaves
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2019, 08:55:54 AM »
Don't mind either of those David as the leaves definitely have something to add the the garden when the plant is not in flower and they do not seem artificial. Some varieties of Brunnera come into this category too. My particular hates are flowering shrubs, such as Weigela for example, where variegated leaves only detract from the beauty of it when in flower- too much confusion
Good topic Jorun - nice to hear member's views on things 😊
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

David Dickinson

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Re: Variegated leaves
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2019, 01:26:51 AM »
Ooops! Forgot to say that the second photo in my last posting is of Vinca minor 'Illumination'. It is the first that is Vinca major 'Maculata'. Sorry folks.
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.