Taiyo nishiki

Bonsai Nut

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Very strange. I've had this tree for two years and never once has it put out a variegated leaf. And yet this spring, suddenly this leaf popped out. Supposedly the whole tree should look like this, but this is the only bud (so far) that popped variegated.

 

amkhalid

Chumono
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Hi BonsaiNut... its not unusual for a variegated plant to lose its variegation... often the variegation exists on a plant as a genetically distinct 'island' which is weaker and less competitive than the wildtype islands of the tree. Even if a variegated plant is started from a cutting, there are likely still islands of wildtype cells on that cutting.

If/when a wildtype shoot emerges on a variegated plant, it will eventually outcompete the variegation and take over the whole tree. While the island of variegation may still exist somewhere on the tree, it is not competitive enough to bounce back.

So, if you want to encourage this bit of variegation to thrive, I would consider defoliating the wildtype leaves near it and allow it to gain some strength, but as long as there are wildtype shoots on the same plant, the variegated sector will likely never take over...

Cheers
 

Brent

Mame
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Hi BonsaiNut... its not unusual for a variegated plant to lose its variegation... often the variegation exists on a plant as a genetically distinct 'island' which is weaker and less competitive than the wildtype islands of the tree. Even if a variegated plant is started from a cutting, there are likely still islands of wildtype cells on that cutting.

If/when a wildtype shoot emerges on a variegated plant, it will eventually outcompete the variegation and take over the whole tree. While the island of variegation may still exist somewhere on the tree, it is not competitive enough to bounce back.

So, if you want to encourage this bit of variegation to thrive, I would consider defoliating the wildtype leaves near it and allow it to gain some strength, but as long as there are wildtype shoots on the same plant, the variegated sector will likely never take over...

Cheers


Amkhalid

This has not been my experience with Japanese maples. I believe the existence of either green or variegated foliage is due to whichever phenotype is currently being expressed. When a tree is young and growing rapidly, the green phenotype will be dominant. When it is older and growing slowly, the variegated (or other leaf character identified in the cultivar) will be dominant. It is akin to juvenile v. adult foliage.

You can make a variegated tree such as 'Butterfly' "revert" to the green foliage simply cutting back a large branch. The resulting bud back will be all green, but after a season or two, the variegation will return.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

bisjoe

Yamadori
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How does laceleaves fit into the picture, Brent? This tree in the garden was a white variegated laceleaf when I planted it about 8 years ago. Now it's 95% plain green leaves.

Only a small area at the very top has some variegation, and slight lace. All growth below the graft I have cut off when they sprouted.
 

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