Monday, 6 August 2012

Cut it out, it's reverting!


When a variegated plant produces an all green shoot it must be pruned out. 

I could not resist showing you the chimaeral variegation in this lovely Eryngium I planted recently.
I often see reverting variegated plants in private gardens. I want to knock on the door and tell them that the green will take over!

This all white shoot in 
Sedum spectabilis variegata 
looks rather nice.
There is a wonderful botanic word - chimaera. (Shades of an Ancient Greek hybrid monster). It describes how, in many variegated plants, two tissues grow together as one. Some cells, as a result of a common mutation, lose their ability to make chlorophyl and are white. They continue to intermingle with the green as every new shoot grows. Sometimes a new bud forms in a single tissue. The result is a completely green shoot or, less commonly, an all-white one. The green will grow aggressively and take over. A white shoot will soon go brown and die. You may enjoy it for a little while, but both will have to go!

Ivies are particularly liable to revert. Reverted growth can be pruned out at any time. Note, the ivy reverting white as well as green.
Spot the green shoot infiltrating my Acer ‘Flamingo’. 

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