Monday, February 4, 2013

FAQ: If planted in full shade will Variegated Liriope revert to all green?

If planted in full shade, will Variegated Liriope revert to all green?

Planting in full shade won't cause Liriope muscari 'Variegata' to revert to green. It can revert to green, but it doesn't happen often. Variegation can be caused by several factors. It can be caused by virus. It can be communicated mechanically. Viral variegation tends to develop in irregular patterns, and it often affects the growth habit of the plant.

Genetic variegation occurs when cells produce little or no green pigment. This can be hereditary or occur as random mutations. Sections of plants that have randomly mutated are called "sports." The accompanying photo shows a section of Trachelospermum jasminoides that is "sporting." "Sports" can be propagated vegetatively. Random mutation appears in new growth, and tends to be regular and consistent in appearance. "Sporting" will not proceed into old tissue and change the appearance of the parent plant. Random genetic variegation can reverse itself in subsequent new tissue. The non-pigmented cells may or may not be sensitive to sun exposure.

Variegation can appear when air pockets develop under the outer layers of leaf tissue. This is actually a form of genetic variegation.

Liriope muscari 'Variegata' is a result of random genetic mutation. Since the genetic factor that caused variegation in the first place can reverse itself, new shoots from a variegated liriope parent can come out green, but that's not a sun/shade exposure issue.



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