Devils Ivy: Why Do The Leaves Change Pattern?

Devil’s Ivy Raphidophora aurea and Epipremnum aureum

img 1977 1024x768 Devils Ivy: Why Do The Leaves Change Pattern?

Wondered why your multi-colored Devil’s Ivy Leaves have changed their color permanently?

The leaves of this plant will change from a bright green and yellow spotted leaf designs to a solid green color if the plant is not getting enough light.  It’s just that simple!  Although this office plant does well  in many situations and isn’t something to thrust into bright light, with minimal lighting it will actually produce only solid green leaves, and literally change it’s spots.

As more office buildings are opting to leave their lights off all weekend long, or install motion sensitive lights to conserve energy, plants that enjoy 7 day per week light are adapting to far less light per week.  While Devil’s Ivy is not damaged by less light, if the color change bothers you it may be time to move the plant to a location underneath an emergency light that is on 24 hours per day – 7 days per week, or nearer a window.

It may take a few months, but with a little more light, your plant will return it’s leaf pattern to what it was when you purchased it.

img 1974 1024x768 Devils Ivy: Why Do The Leaves Change Pattern?

How To: Diagnose and Heal Sun Damaged Home Or Office Plants

chinese evergreen 001 225x300 How To: Diagnose and Heal Sun Damaged Home Or Office PlantsCan plants get sunburn? The answer is yes! Most plants are not susceptible to sun damage, but many common home and office plants can suffer from sunburn because they are specifically suited to shadier locations – a leading reason they have earned a place in artificially lit environments.

Pictured here are a few leaves on a Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum) plant, that was accidentally left outdoors on a sunny ledge during an office cleaning spree. The plant was brought back indoors two days after it was set outside, and was already showing signs of burn damage.

How can you tell if leaf damage is sun related?

  1. The most immediate symptom displayed by a sun damaged plant is muted leaf color, and an overall greyish tone to the previously green plant.
  2. There will be an obvious difference in color between the leaves exposed to more light on the top of the plant, and the leaves deeper into the interior of the plant, which have been kept shaded. Yellowing will occur in the leaves that follows straight lines, such as above, denoting the areas of the plant that have been shaded by overlapping leaves. Unlike fertilizer burn, and plants suffering from a lack of water, which display irregular yellowing patterns (developing at the tips of the leaves), this yellowing does not turn into brown leaves that curl, or dry up.
  3. Burned leaves remain on the plant looking off color, or yellowed slightly, without falling off. Often the color of the burned area will soften to a transparent hue, where you will be able to see through the leaf, or the leaf will develop irregular bumps on the yellowing area that will look much like a reaction to sun-poisoning in people.

What to do with sun-damaged plants:

  1. Place the plant in an area away from direct sunlight, drafts, and excessive heat.
  2. Water the plant to keep the soil moist, but not wet.
  3. Monitor the amount of leaves damaged by the sun, and remove burned leaves by pruning back.  I generally prune off the leaves in groups over a gradual period of time (several days to weeks), to give a plant that may have a serious case of sunburn a chance to send out new leaves to take over the photosynthesizing, since a badly damaged plant may need most of it’s leaves eventually trimmed off. Trimming all the damaged leaves at once could place the plant into additional shock.

Remember, any shade loving plant can suffer from sunburn, it’s what you do with the plant afterward that will assure the plant’s full recovery.  Err on the side of caution with office plants, when exposing them to direct sunlight, and you may be able to prevent problems like this from ever occurring with your green office companions.

Your thoughts: Have you had plants with sun damage? What tips and tricks have you tried to bring them back to health? Please share any ideas you have with everyone!