variegated/turning green, Rosa sinensis

momherb(z9AZ)June 23, 2005

I work at Tucson Botanical Gardens. We have a variegated hibiscus, Rosa sinensis that receives a good amount of filtered sunlight throughout the day. The leaves are green with splashes of white. It's in a large clay pot. I read another post related to my question but would like further information. The newer leaves are emerging green with no white splashes. The previous post said that lack of sunlight and too much nitrogen could cause this. So, right now it's 110 in the shade and I'm afraid to move this plant to a sunnier location. Full sun exposure in most places in the U.S. is entirely different than full sun here in Tucson. Also, what type of fertilizer should we be using on this plant to encourage more variegated leaves? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)

I canÂt speak to all variegated, but I can to Red Hot. It has nothing to do with nitrogen or sunlight. ItÂs a seasonal thing. I have quite a few of them in different locations on the property all under different conditions and getting fertilized at different times of the month. They all look the same. Most of the new growth now is coming out green with all the old growth from late winter and early spring the beautiful white, red, and green.

Later this fall as days grow shorter and temps start to drop, they will lose the solid green and go back to the variegation that I love to see.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 3:57PM
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brianmkerr(S/CoastQLD Aust)

Hello Momherb, Sounds like Randy has your answer, but also consider my comments in earlier variegated question about sporting back to a green variety. It does happen.
Good luck.
Regards, Brian Kerr.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 11:09PM
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Can't find that post. I did a search for variegated but had no luck. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks. Mom Herb.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 11:26AM
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Oliver_Shagnasty(East NC)
    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 10:53PM
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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)


I have a good sized "Snow Queen" that had one limb revert back to green foliage two summers ago. The limb is now about 4' long, well branched, and still very green. Looks a little odd in a pot full of variegated growth.

IÂm wondering, have you ever seen or heard of a whole plant reverting back?


    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 7:42AM
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Thanks, Brian. I found it. Now, I'm wondering about fertilizer. What would you recommend to encourage variegated as opposed to green leaves? Or is it not possible to control this with fertilizer. Here in Tucson, especially right now, it's hard to put anything in the sun without scalding it, especially if it's in a container as this plant is. Anyway, there are a few totally green branches on the plant. Would you recommend that we remove these branches?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 2:37PM
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brianmkerr(S/CoastQLD Aust)

Hello Randy and Momherb,
I have seen Snow Queen with many branches of green and many branches of variegation, but never to a point of totally going to green. I suspect this would only happen if you never pruned and the more vigorous green took over the plant system and caused the less competative variegated branches to eventually die off. One other cause may be the graft, if it was a grafted plant. Sometimes the rootstock below the graft may send out some branches or suckers and these would be green, but I would say these would have different foliage and most likely different blooms.

I advise prune off any green branches, then get your sharpest and strongest grafting knife and cut out the offending 'eye' wherever the green branch is coming from.

I understand fertilizer dose not impact greatly on variegation of Snow Queen, moreso bright light. SQ will tolerate hot sun, but needs to be accustomed to it, so a process of slow introduction to hotter spots in your garden will need to be done over time. Best time is to prune back in late winter/early spring and then put plant in full sun, water little, feed little, leave in full sun and increase food and water appropriately as plant grows and weather warms up. If weather gets overly hot, ie 37c +, put your pot in place where it will get morning sun til 10ish, then filtered sun for rest of day or filtered sun until late afternoon where full sun would be OK.

Why not find the right spot and put it in ground. Best place is facing your winter sun direction, protected from your cold winds by other plants or building.

Good luck.
Regards, Brian Kerr.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 8:29PM
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Thank you Brian! I think that's the information I've been looking for. We'll follow your advice and hope for the best. It really is a beautiful plant. If you're ever in the area, stop by Tucson Botanical Gardens.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 11:58AM
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