I have a spider plant. Some of the leaves appear variegated (photo 1) and some of the leaves do not (photo 2, maybe some of the leaves are lighter in the middle, but nothing like the stark green-white contrast on the leaves in photo 1). Both photos are from the same plant. Is this normal? Is it because of genetics or some other thing, like that I recently started giving the plants plant food?

Note that I also have two other spider plants; all three are parents/children of each other (I am not sure of which came from which). The other two appear much more like those in photo 2.

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  • 1
    It looks like the plain green part is just one side - if you want to get rid of it or separate it out, you could probably cut off that side - turn it out of its pot, and extract by pulling apart the rootball to leave just the roots and topgrowth of the variegated one behind. The green version of this plant grows more slowly than the variegated ones and will cope with lower light levels better.
    – Bamboo
    Nov 4, 2019 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


You are correct it is genetics. Genetics make most plants green, some other factor, sometimes its a virus causes them to become variegate. Sometimes it is in the plants genes like blue eyes, but not all the time. When a variegated plant is starting to show solid green leaves it's called reversion. The chances are the green parts will grow faster and bigger than the variegated part, to a point that there is very little left that is variegated after many many months or years. The parts that are variegated will stay variegated. That will not change. If you take a baby from the green side the chances are that baby will be solid green and always be green. In some cases they will grow at the same speed or perhaps the variegated on a rare chance might grow faster, but odds are really against this. The solid green leaf has more green to capture more light to grow bigger. The white part lacks chlorophyll, so it is unable to absorb the sun's rays. Many variegated plants would never survive in the wild. The next time you are near a natural area, you will probably not find any plants that are actually variegated. Humans like variegated plants, so we breed lots of plants with variegation. Reversion article

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