When it comes to choosing plants, none are more coveted than the variegated variety. While their slow-growing nature has fuelled demand, Instagram has ensured they remain at the top of must-have plant lists.
This infatuation with multi-toned plants is nothing new. Plantspeople have been matching fancy foliage to their decor for decades. This New York Times
article from 1964 pays homage to their decorative attributes, which we still lust after today. "These versatile plants blend in well with the plain green “old‐timers” and are effective when placed near the solid-coloured walls and simple decor of modern interiors."
But, before you get swept up in Monstera mania, read our list on which variegated plants are best suited to which conditions. After all, if you're shelling out a small fortune on a plant you might as well do what you can to help it thrive.
The best variegated plants for shade
Give dull, dark corners an instant facelift by adding a plant with variegated leaves stippled with creamy white markings. The 'right plant, right place' mantra is as important as ever as these fussy leaves can lose their distinctive patterns if the conditions are wrong. Bear in mind that dappled shade is much preferable to full shade.
The following add interest to a partially shaded patch in your garden or a bare wall or fence that needs a green makeover.
Best variegated plants for full sun
Allow plants such as the candy cane style Porcupine Grass or Miscanthus sinensis‘Strictus to bask in the sunlight and they're bound to steal the show, particularly if placed against a deep green border. Keep in mind that for other variegated plants prolonged exposure to heat can scorch the leaves, so consider moving the plant to a shaded spot on especially hot sunny afternoons.
Best variegated plants for containers
Some, like the Agave ‘Cornelius and Canna indica do well in containers as it means you can bring them inside to overwinter. But what are their house-bound companions? Begonia rex Red Tango is a sucker for humidity, so would thrive in the moist air of a bathroom. While bedrooms are a great place to display your Monstera Deliciosa, as they can cope with you forgetting to open the curtains once in a while.
This flamboyant foliage will add drama to your interior without getting you in trouble with your landlord.
Best variegated plants for hanging baskets Running out of room on your shelves is no reason to stop bringing plants home. Especially, when they look just as fabulous strung up. These trailing beauties will create waterfalls of foliage in your home.
Want to know what makes plants variegated, why they need more light and why some go for crazy money, jump to this article.
Before you start chasing down buyers, read our tips on purchasing your first variegated plant.