Has This Ever Happened to You?
Have you ever seen a variegated plant spontaneously begin growing non-variegated leaves? It’s an interesting thing to see. A perfectly good variegated Sedum can begin morphing into a nondescript green plant. When a plant reverts back to its parent form, you must act right away. As cruel as it may seem, you need to cut out all the offending sports-in-reverse before they ruin your special plant. If you don’t act soon, the new green plant, like an evil twin, will quickly overtake and cannibalize the original plant. The multi-colored look is cool, but hesitation will mean loss. The reversion shoots are much more vigorous and fast-growing. If you wait for very long to pull out the rogue stems, there will soon be a disproportionately large amount of them relative to the entire plant. Then, removing them could result in killing the original plant! Act swiftly.
The reversion can take place after just a few days of heavy rain. If left for a month, there might be no variegation left on your plant, so immediate, minor surgery is needed (see the before and after pictures).
Which plants like to revert? Typically, cultivars that were developed as a result of a spontaneous variegation sport like to revert back into their more stable, original forms. Shrub Roses, Barberries, Abelia, Hostas, Privets, Weigelas, and re-seeding annuals lose the streaks of contrasting color and send out vigorous stems as throw-backs to their humble beginnings. Eliza Doolittle did the same thing occasionally after her elocution lessons. She reverted back to her original, less-refined self sometime. Plant reversion is never an improvement, so don’t feel guilty about chopping away any rogue stem that looks suspicious. Keep your lady fair, Professor Higgins.