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Dwarf Peppermint Heuchera (Coral Bells) Variegation is GONE!

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:42 pm
by telelle
I planted three Dwarf Peppermint Heuchera this last fall and they were happy beautiful plants. They survived the winter no problem and started pushing new growth this spring. I'm in the Pacific Northwest so our spring comes early.

Anyway, the new growth has no variegation at all.

The old growth is still there with all of its lovely variegation which makes the plant look a little strange. I've been watching it for a while now and the plants seem perfectly happy. They get sun and shade and water isn't an issue. They all changed at the same time and look the same. They are all now putting up new buds and will bloom soon. Did they all revert at the same time? I'm at a loss. Anyone have an insight here?

Here are some photos showing what they looked like, when I noticed the new growth wasn't variegated, and what they look like currently.

It is the plant on the far left of the pot.
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The new growth with the old growth.
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This is what it looks like currently.
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And you can see that the old variegated leaves are still hiding down in there under all of the new leaves.
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Anyone have any ideas?

Re: Dwarf Peppermint Heuchera (Coral Bells) Variegation is G

Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:42 pm
by skiingjeff
While I'm not familiar with this particular plant, I have had many variegated leaved plants. Since they are a hybrid type plant there is always the danger that they will revert to their normal state - non-variegated.

I've been told to cut out the shoots that are reverting in order to keep the plant variegated but sometimes that would mean practically the entire plant! :shock:

So I've just settled it in my mind that if the plant wants to revert, its going to, and I'm just going to enjoy it as nature intends. :)

Good luck with yours, you can try the "cut it out" method. Maybe it will work on your type of plant. :)

Re: Dwarf Peppermint Heuchera (Coral Bells) Variegation is G

Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:15 pm
by rainbowgardener
Yes, variegations like this mean that the plant has both kinds of genetic material. But the light parts are just plant tissue without chloroplasts. That means it does not have chlorophyll and does not have the ability to capture solar energy as green plants do. So it is weaker than the green tissues and always tends to die out. As you noticed, you can work against this by keeping it shadier. Since the light parts aren't using solar energy, they don't care so much but being in the shade will weaken the green parts.

Re: Dwarf Peppermint Heuchera (Coral Bells) Variegation is G

Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:53 pm
by telelle
Thanks for your input!

I think I will just leave them alone and let them do their thing since besides their lack of variegation they look really nice and they are about to bloom.

I do wonder if since the dwarf varieties just recently became available if they all have this problem and aren't reliable... Is it common for Coral Bells to revert?

Re: Dwarf Peppermint Heuchera (Coral Bells) Variegation is G

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:47 pm
by telelle
I wanted to post a follow up and mention that even though the new growth lacked the variegation that once it matured the variegation returned. And apparently I didn't save any photos from last year to show it. :?

Re: Dwarf Peppermint Heuchera (Coral Bells) Variegation is G

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:00 pm
by pinksand
Very interesting! Thank you for the follow up.

Re: Dwarf Peppermint Heuchera (Coral Bells) Variegation is G

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:27 pm
by telelle
Ah Ha! I dug around and managed to find a photo from earlier this year before it put out new growth. I live in Seattle and they didn't go dormant this winter.

This is from February 2015.

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These next two were taken today, April 20th, 2015. In the first photo you can see one of the old leaves at the bottom right under all of the bright green non variegated leaves. I think the leaves are starting to get some variegation going finally. The plants are super happy.

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Why did I take a top-down photo of these two? I don't know but here they are anyway.

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I'm really glad I kept them. They all display the same growth habit of the new growth being non-variegated and just a plain bright green and then slowly developing the variegation as the leaves mature. I don't know if this is normal or not but it seems to be normal for my trio.