Monday, February 26, 2024

Green leaf producing white plants

Question:  I know very little about African violets, so this question might seem silly.  Recently, I started a plant from a normal-looking, green, leaf.  When the plantlet appeared, all of its leaves were white in color.  How common is an African violet with white leaves?

Answer:  This isn’t a silly question at all, especially from someone still new to our hobby.  A violet with white in its leaves is called ‘variegated’.  Depending upon the variety, the amount of variegation can be scarcely visible or may be so great as to make a leaf nearly entirely white.  Unfortunately, many of these varieties can lose their variegation as they age, or when grown under warm conditions.  I suspect that the leaf that you rooted was taken from a plant that was originally variegated but had lost its variegation and turned green.  Genetically, however, that leaf is still variegated and will produce variegated plantlets when used for propagation.  In fact, it’s usually wise to use the “greener” leaves of a variegated variety for propagation, since these leaves are often more vigorous than the very white ones from the same plant and will produce more plantlets more quickly.  These white plantlets will likely also eventually turn green if grown under the same conditions as the original.

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