Color and Texture in Your Garden: Variegated Plants


Color and Texture in Your Garden: Variegated Plants

Introduction Variegated plants are an excellent opportunity to add visual interest and unique texture to your garden. These plants can transform any outdoor space into a vibrant landscape with their multicolored leaves and striking patterns. This article explores the world of variegated plants’ benefits, how to care for them, and tips for incorporating them into your garden.

What Does Variegated Plants Mean?

Variegated plants are those whose leaves have two or more colors, often featuring combinations of green, white, yellow, pink, or even purple. Variegation can appear as stripes, spots, edges, or patches. This distinct appearance is because of the lack of chlorophyll in some parts of the leaves, allowing other pigments to show through.

Why Variegated Plants Are Good

Gardeners adore variegated plants because of their one-of-a-kind and captivating appearance. They break the monotony of green foliage and add splashes of color to any garden.

  • Contrast and Highlight: Variegated plants can create contrast and highlight specific areas of the garden. They work well as focal points or to accentuate other plants.
  • Shade Tolerance: Many variegated plants thrive in shaded areas where other plants might struggle, making them ideal for brightening up darker corners of your garden.

Popular Variegated Plants

Beautiful leaves are a gardener’s favorite; add many colors and patterns of variegation, and you have something to brighten up a room. Here are a few of the most popular variegated plants:

Monstera deliciosa ‘Thai Constellation’

This striking Monstera cultivar features large, glossy leaves with creamy white variegation. It’s a climbing plant that can grow quite large, perfect for a spacious room.

Philodendron Birkin

This special Philodendron has variegated leaves in shades of cream, white, and green. Easy care makes this a great plant for beginners.

Calathea Orbifolia

These Calatheas have round, velvet-like leaves, amazing in their patterns. They are best brought up in partial shade and with relatively high humidity, hence the bathroom or kitchen is their favorite.

Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese Evergreen boasts the ability to tolerate even minimal light. It comes in many colors and forms and includes variegated varieties.


Classic low-fuss houseplant breeders have also developed many color variations—from solid greens to a variegated variety.

Here are just a few of the tested variegated plants that are selling in the horticultural market. There are so many to choose from; you are going to find one to bring that beauty to your home.


Known for their lush foliage and shade tolerance, variegated hostas come in various sizes and color patterns, making them a versatile choice for any garden.


With vibrant and varied leaf colors, coleus plants are perfect for adding a bold statement to garden beds or containers.

Variegated Japanese Aralia

This plant features large, glossy leaves with striking white edges, adding a tropical feel to gardens.

Variegated English Ivy

Ideal for ground cover or climbing, this ivy’s green and white leaves can brighten up garden walls and trellises.


These plants have heart-shaped leaves in stunning color combinations, perfect for shaded garden areas.

Caring for Variegated Plants

Variegated plants bring stunning pops of color and unique patterns to any indoor space, but keeping them thriving requires a slightly different approach than their all-green counterparts. Here’s the key to caring for variegated plants:

Light is king:

  • More light, generally: Since the variegated parts have less chlorophyll for photosynthesis, variegated plants need more light than solid-colored ones. Aim for bright, indirect sunlight. A south-facing window with sheer curtains is ideal.
  • Beware of extremes: Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves. Too little light will cause the plant to stretch and lose variegation. Rotate your plant regularly for even growth.

Watering wisely:

  • Moderate moisture is key: These plants don’t like constantly wet soil, but they also dislike drying out completely. Water deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, then allow excess water to drain.

Feeding for success:

  • Less is more: Variegated plants are generally slower growers than all-green varieties. They don’t need frequent fertilization. A diluted fertilizer solution once a month during the growing season is sufficient.

Maintaining variegation:

  • Pruning for prominence: Regularly remove all green leaves that sprout. These leaves steal energy from the variegated parts. This encourages the plant to focus on producing the beautiful variegated foliage you love.

Temperature and humidity:

  • Average room conditions: Most variegated plants prefer comfortable room temperatures (around 65-75°F) and moderate humidity levels. If your home is dry, consider using a pebble tray or humidifier.

Special considerations:

  • Observe and adapt: Pay attention to your plant’s growth. If leaves are losing variegation, it might need more light. Conversely, if leaves are scorching, provide more shade.
  • Not all variegation is equal: Plants with more white or colored variegation need even brighter light than those with minimal variegation.

Incorporating Plants Variegated into Your Garden

Incorporating Plants Variegated into Your Garden

Variegated plants are a wonderful way to add interest and dimension to your garden. Their leaves come in a stunning array of colors and patterns, from creamy white and soft yellow to deep burgundy and bright pink. Here are some tips on how to incorporate variegated plants into your garden:

  • Focal Points: Use variegated plants as focal points to draw attention to specific areas of your garden.
  • Mixed Borders: Combine variegated plants with other perennials and annuals to create mixed borders with contrasting textures and colors.
  • Container Gardens: Variegated plants work well in containers, allowing you to move them around to find the perfect spot for their light and aesthetic needs.
  • Shady Areas: Brighten up shaded garden spots with shade-tolerant variegated plants, adding color where other plants might not thrive.
  • Pathways and Edges: Plant variegated species along garden pathways and edges to create a visually appealing and defined garden layout.


Variegated plants are a delightful addition to any garden, offering a unique blend of colors and patterns that can enhance your garden space’s overall beauty and diversity. By understanding their care requirements and incorporating them thoughtfully, you can enjoy the vibrant and dynamic appeal of variegated plants year-round. Embrace the charm of these plants and transform your garden into a stunning landscape full of visual interest and color.