The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

Q: Are there any variegated carnivorous plants?

A: "Variegation" is a feature very popular with some horticulturists. The term is applied to a plant that has leaves that display a pattern of colors not normally seen. The most common example of this is a plant that has big patches of white on otherwise normally green leaves.

As far as I know, variegation in carnivorous plants has only been reported in Sarracenia purpurea, Dionaea muscipula, and Nepenthes.

I have grown two different variegated Nepenthes---one is a variegated Nepenthes alata, and the other is a hybrid that looks akin to Nepenthes ×wrigleyana. (Although the person who registered the cultivar name thinks it looks more like Nepenthes ×coccinea--I do not quite agree.) This plant is called Nepenthes 'Scarlet Splash'. It is really beautiful, with several layers of variegation. In both plants, the variegation extends into the pitcher. Unfortunately, the variegated Nepenthes alata clone is a very weak grower.

Recently I observed an odd event. The shoots on my Nepenthes 'Scarlet Splash' plants all lost their variegation! It now looks like just a regular hybrid! Just what happened, I do not know. I went to the internet to find someone with the plant, so I could share notes, and must to my astonishment I discovered that several other variegated Nepenthes clones have been developed in cultivation. Very cool

Variegation in Dionaea muscipula is also becoming more frequent. These cases, though, usually involve plants fresh out of tissue culture. I have heard, but not necessarily authoritatively, that this variegation is only temporary, and that in time the plants lose it. Too bad, as the striped traps are very pretty.

Page citations: Hinkson, S.J. 2001; reader contributions; personal observation.

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Revised: January 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005