The Urban Botanics Glossary: Variegated Leaves

Published 27th April 2017 by Michelle

Welcome to the second in our series of glossary posts, where we succinctly explain key gardening jargon so you can take your urban gardening to the next level. Armed with a few key definitions you’ll be confident in selecting plants and flowers that are most appropriate for your urban garden, and ready to look after them so they keep looking beautiful. In this glossary entry, we focus on foliage and explain what variegated leaves are.

Variegated Mint

V is for… Variegated Leaves

Variegated leaves are leaves which contain two or three different colours, most commonly combinations of green, white, red, yellow or purple. Variegated leaves often feature stripes, blotches, or are bordered by a different colour. Variegated foliage can be a very attractive feature of outdoor or indoor plants. This feature is often referred to in the common version of a plant’s name e.g golden variegated sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’), or in the latin version – look out for the words variegata, variegatum or variegtus e.g. Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’ (Pineapple Mint), Pelargonium ‘Fragrans Variegatum’ or  Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’.

Pulmonaria officinalis flower

Pulmonaria officinalis variegated leaf

Red and yellow variegated acer

Calathea lancifolia (a houseplant with variegated leaves)