7 Variegated Houseplants to Consider Growing

Variegated plants are unique and beautiful. Which ones should you consider growing in your house?

Most houseplants have rich green leaves. However, there are some that follow a different set of standards. These plants lack the rich green pigment because of strange genetic abnormalities that result in delayed development but unexpected color palettes and patterns.

Variegation adds brilliance and pizazz to houseplant collections. Variegated houseplants come in a variety of colors, including cream, yellow, light green, pink, purple, and red to mention a few. Some plants even have a striking white variegation that makes them stand out.

We’ve compiled a list of seven variegated houseplants to consider if you want to add some distinctive brightness to your home!

1. Monstera Borsigiana Albo Variegata

Monstera Borsigiana Albo Variegata is distinctive with its white variegation. This houseplant is more delicate than plants with green variegation. They photosynthesize less, and as a result, they produce far less chlorophyll.

The leaves of a variegated Monstera Borsigiana are green with off-white or white streaks. In some cases, the white streaks on the leaves create a marbling effect, and in others, the leaves are covered with large white blocks, crescents, or the entire leaf may appear white. This is because the variegations are created by spontaneous cell mutations in the leaf that make some of the plant’s leaves turn green while others either create the popular white streaks or turn leaves completely white. No two leaves will ever be identical to one another.

Monstera Borsigiana Albo Variegata plants require minimal maintenance and care. Simply ensure it gets plenty of indirect bright light and place it in a room with a humidity level of 60% or more. This houseplant thrives in warmer temperatures, so make sure to keep it in a space that maintains a temperature between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit or between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.

You should also avoid placing this houseplant in excessively warm, cold, or drafty spaces such as near fireplaces, radiators, or air vents because a sudden drop or surge in temperature can create a stressful environment for your plant.

A hand showing a full white leaf of a houseplant

2. Hypoestes Phyllostachya

Hypoestes phyllostachya, or “polka dot plants,” are popular houseplants that have colorful foliage. They are herbaceous perennial shrubs that have been extensively modified to produce a wide range of hues and spotted leaf patterns. 

Pink polka dot plants are a must-have for any indoor plant collection. They’re not only beautiful, but they are also easy to grow and maintain. You’ll have to be patient with this houseplant because it takes a while to acclimate to the climate indoors. But, with proper care, a Hypoestes phyllostachya plant can thrive.

Pink polka dot plants grow best in bright, indirect light. Although they require constant moisture, polka dot plants are prone to root rot if they receive too much water. To avoid this, only add water after the top 12 – 14 inches of soil has dried out. Also keep in mind that it will dry out faster if its container is too small, so ensure its roots have lots of room to grow.

Polka dot plants thrive in humid environments at temperatures of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can create additional humidity for your plant by placing your indoor plants close together and spraying them with water throughout the day.

colorful and pink hypoestes plant

3. Polyscias Scutellaria’ Balfourii’

Polyscias scutellaria ‘Balfourii,’ is also known as the “dinner plate plant” thanks to its glossy, thick, lace-shaped leaves. This tree-like variegated plant is often found in households and, if the conditions are favorable, it can produce greenish-yellow flowers in during the summer months.

Balfourii thrive in highly humid environments, so it’s a good idea to increase the humidity in the room by placing its pot on a pebble tray in a room or space that remains at or around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Expect the plant to lose a lot of leaves when you first bring your Balfourii plant indoors and allow plenty of time for the plant to adjust to its new surroundings, lighting, and humidity conditions. These are lovely houseplants once they’ve acclimated to their new surroundings. 

polyscias leaves with white colors tracing the leaf

4. Tradescantia Tricolor Fluminensis 

Tradescantia tricolor fluminensis has several other names, including Inch plant, the Wandering Jew, and Spiderwort. This plant spreads quickly and wildly, and its variegated leaves can be a deep purple color or a rich green. This plant also adds lush greenery or a subtle splash of color in outdoor flowerbeds, flowerpots, and hanging flower baskets, but they are even more attractive indoors.

Make sure your plant receives enough indirect bright light to maintain its color and bloom. Direct sunlight should be avoided because it can burn the plant’s delicate leaves. Placing tradescantias in a window that gets indirect sunlight throughout the day should be enough to help this plant thrive.

Tradescantia fluminensis plants are one of the easiest Tradescantia species to care for, especially if you reside in a tropical climate, because this plant grows best in humid environments. Don’t let the plant’s soil remain dry for too long. Add enough water to moisten the soil but be careful not to overwater.

For best results, use quick-draining soil and a container with drainage holes. Wet crowns are harmful to Tradescantia plants, so pour water directly on the soil instead of the top of the plant.

tricolor houseplant on an orange background

5. Peperomia Argyreia 

The Peperomia Argyreia plant is also called “Watermelon Peperomia” because of its resemblance to a watermelon rind. The plant’s large peltate (centrally connected stem) leaves are large and oval-shaped with eye-catching green and silver stripes and connected to crimson stalks. Watermelon Peperomia plants are ideal for grouping with other indoor plants because of they are compact despite their bushy rosette appearance. They’re also great for tabletops and shelves.

This plant is fairly simple to maintain, making it ideal for a gardening novice. All it needs is light, minimal watering, and to live in an environment with temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. When caring for a Watemelon Peperomia, allow the soil to dry to the touch at the top before watering. Overwatering can induce root decay and underwatering can cause wilting. 

Also ensure the plant is placed in a space with sufficient humidity. If the air where you live is dry during summer months, spray the leaves every now and again to increase humidity levels. Having other indoor plants is a plus because they help increase humidity indoors. Make sure the plant doesn’t get direct sunlight to best mimic its normal habitat. 

little peperomia argyreia watermelon plant

6. Calathea Warscewiczii 

Calathea Warscewiczii, or “Prayer Plants,” are evergreen herbaceous perennials with variegated lanceolate leaves that have a vivid maroon-purple colored underside. This plant can grow to between 20 – 40 inches tall and 20 – 40 inches wide, making it a very attractive and popular Calathea. It also boasts magnificent white cone-like inflorescences that turn yellow or pink when they mature. 

Prayer Plants like bright, indirect sunshine or filtered light with intermittent shade. Avoid putting this plant in direct sunlight since it might burn the plant’s leaves and diminish its distinctive color. In addition, ensure room temperatures remain between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round and that it’s planted in well-drained organic soil with a sand mix, which will help maintain a consistent moisture level in the soil while avoiding waterlogging. Water often, particularly during the plant’s growing season, but be mindful that overwater. Only add water when the top inch of soil dries out, especially in colder winter months.

Calathea Warscewiczii should be repotted every two years in the spring. A peat-based potting mix will help the plant retain moisture and humidity. It is easy to propagate the plant once it has been repotted.

calathea warscewiczii with a beautiful green patterned leaves

7. Philodendron Erubescens 

Philodendron Erubescens plants are known for their large, glossy, reddish leaves with multicolored undersides. In its native environment, this plant can grow has high as 60 feet. However, as a houseplant, your plant will most likely only grow to 12 feet tall or less. 

The Philodendron Erubescens is a fairly easy houseplant to grow and maintain since it doesn’t need direct sunlight. In fact, this plant loves shade and should not be placed outdoors. Minimize the amount of sun the plant gets. Allow sunlight to travel through the foliage, but if parts of the leaves turn yellow, it’s an indication that the plant may be getting too much light.

This type of plant is drought-tolerant, so only water when its surface soil is dry. As with other plants, overwatering could result in root rot and yellow leaves. They also need a lot of humidity and temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to grow.

A healthy looking philodendron plant
Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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