Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Plant Reversions - Brunnera macrophylla 'variegata'

New plant cultivars are being introduced every season.  Once plants bear "sports" (which means the parent plant will have a portion grow in slight variations from the original), nursery growers pounce on them, multiplying their numbers.  After a test run of  propagation success, they allow them to grow to true form and introduce them as new varieties..

But what happens when a strain or sport starts to revert back to the parent form?

This is happening to my Brunnera macrophylla 'variegata' (Siberian Bugloss). It's happened before at my old house, but I was surprised to see it happening again, since it doubled in size from last year.

You have to be careful and pay close attention to this reversion. The original parent plant is always stronger, more vigorous in nature and can choke out the sport. I don't want to lose its variegated leaves. It's one of the main reasons I bought it.

How to get rid of the reversion:  2 ways:

1. You can simply remove any reverted leaves whenever they emerge. This will eventually weaken its presence and will stunt its attempts to take over.

2. Dig up the entire reverting section, so that you don't sever too many feeder roots of the remaining plant, or gently wedge out the portion of the crown that is reverting. I waited a few weeks to pin-point the segment reverting. Here I teased it away (almost as though you are dividing it) from the variegata portion.

I generally replant the reverted section if roots remain - it's another plant (as I did years before) and quite lovely as plain green.
Planting in pot.

Removing the sport is best in early spring. This way the plant has time to recover and not be stressed during the heat of the summer.

Ways to insure it won't reoccur is hard to say. However, when a plant is under stress it has this tendency - greater risk of reverting back. I will be giving it a little more TLC in the future and keeping a close eye on it.

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