Variegated plants are loved and requested by most of collectors. Their mutations in colours make these plants unique and very appreciated. They always find a central spot in gardens or grown as potted plants. That's why gardeners and nurseries are always keeping an eye on their plants, trying to spot any variation!
To better understand the processes involved in these mutations, it is necessary to start by describing these plants: variegated is any plant whose leaves, stem or flowers present a variable coloration (usually yellow or white).
Variegated leaves are a product of clorophyll-producing cells that produce more or less of this pygment: in fact, lighter stripes are caused by a lack of clorophylle. But mutations include many forms like spots, shadings, blotches etc.
One of our favourite variegated succulent is Euphorbia meloformis variegated!
Sometimes, variegation is caused not by a lack of clorophylle, but due to the presence of other pygments covering it. Blue, purple, red, orange or even pinkish leaves are a product of this mutation: additional pygments as anthocyanin and carotenoid can truly make succulents even more beautiful!
This is the case of Chimera Variegated
Variegated succulents are usually caused by genetic variation. That means that their offspring will inherit their parents' colorful mutations: that's how breeders and growers produce even more sofisticated varieties of succulents!
However, many plants cannot their colour's variation to the offspring genetically because the own two different types of chromosomes: these plants are called “chimeras”. They can be propagated in different ways, but the only one that allows the grower to maintain the variegation in the offspring is through stem cuttings or leaf propagation (but only from an already variegated leaf).
Scientists have even suggested that many of these may be a defensive adaptation!
Another colorful variegation can be caused by a virus!Some of these viruses were isolated and used to make beautiful variegated plants.
And while this is an appreciated characteristic among collectors, in the wild variegated plants would probably be eliminated, as they are weaker and tend to get sunburned easily. However, with the necessary attention, they will grow healthy and beautiful!
Usually, variegated plants don't tolerate heat or cold or sunlight as much as solid green succulents: that's because clorophylle not only protect succulents from sunburns, but also mitigates stress coming from extreme temperatures. Provide them a half shade spot in the hottest hours of the day and protect them from frost and heat.