How to Reduce The Chances of Your Syngonium Albo Reverting

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Syngonium albo is the variegated form of the Syngonium podophyllum. There are a few different cultivars, such as the mojito or mottled – we’re mainly talking about the albo here, but the advice works for most if not all cultivars.

syngonium albo

Syngomium albos are a great choice if you want to get into variegated plants but you don’t want to spend an absolute fortune. They’ve come down a lot in price over the last couple of years, and you can pick up a small plant for under £50.

A quick peruse on Etsy does show a few chancers selling Golden Pothos wet sticks as Albos, so be careful. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Is Syngonium albo variegation stable?

No, it’s pretty variable from plant to plant.

I’ve seen a lot of chatter about the reversion rates of Syngonium albos – some people claim they’re as unstable as variegated Alocasia, others claim they don’t revert at all.

In my experience, the variegation is pretty similar to that of a Philodendron Pink Princess – i.e. it likes to keep you on your toes.

The rule is there are no rules.

The variegation ebbs and flows, and just because one leaf is completely green doesn’t mean that the variegation is gone forever.

My Syngonium Mojito is currently producing one totally green leaf and one totally variegated one.

I’m trying out one of those Kratiste poles – you can see it above the leaf on the left

…And whilst variegation is desirable it’s pretty obvious that the green one looks WAY healthier and less droopy. The mottled ones always look like they’ve been screwed up like an old tissue.

Still, I prefer the mottled one, and good news! The next one coming up after the all-green one seems to be variegated:

She’s here! A totally variegated leaf succeeding an all-green one!

variegated leaf after green leaf on a syngonium mottled

Is Syngonium albo likely to revert?

I’ve seen people online saying that they have completely reverted Syngonium albos and I have no reason not to believe them.

HOWEVER

There’s also a more niche group of people that purposely scour the internet for reverted plants who then nurse them back to (variegated) health.

As you saw in the photo above, my variegated Syngonium produced a 100% green leaf, and then a variegated one. My PPP does the same:

On the left we have the second to last leaf. It has a bit of variegation but nothing startling. Then the newest one is nearly a half moon. They don’t follow patterns! They do what they like!

How do I get variegation back on my Syngonium albo?

I can’t find anything to suggest that any one factor will increase the amount of variegation on a Syngonium albo.

Instead, try your best to balance the light, temperature and humidity.

Mine didn't do well in my bright, humid kitchen because it was too cold, but the slightly darker, slightly less humid but warmer living suits it really well. 

The leaves were slow to come in, the stems were leggy, and the variegation waned until there was barely any at all.

Syngoniums are known for their chill, easy-going nature HOWEVER if you treat it like it’s really picky I’ve found they grow faster and with more variegation.

What does this involve?

  1. Don’t let it dry out too much – check the soil every few days rather than waiting until it wilts
  2. Grow it up a moss poleSyngoniums are climbers; they love to feel secure, but like they’re headed in the right direction. Don’t we all?
  3. Whilst they don’t need direct sun, good light is a must. Mine is about a metre from a south-facing window, but there are other plants shielding it. I bet it feels like it’s back in the rainforest.
  4. Keep it clean – I spray mine with castile soap and water first, just in case there were any pests waiting in the wings
  5. Feed it. I add nutrients to my Syngonium about every other time I water.

Does light affect the variegation on Syngoniums?

Yes and no.

Good light will help your Syngonium grow bigger and faster, which seems to lead to more variegation, presumably because the plant has the variegation gene but it only turns it on when it can afford to be fancy - i.e. in times of plenty (light, humidity, warmth, water, food). 

However, you can’t just whack an unhealthy Syngonium in bright light and expect miracles.

Trust me, I tried. It ended up with thrips because I stressed it out.

I bought my variegated Syngonium on sale. It was very leggy, with tiny leaves and looked…sad. I put it in good light and it freaked out. I ended up soil layering it, because I wasn’t sure that taking cuttings would help it. It’s since bounced back.

Good light is crucial for retaining variegation but it’s not the silver bullet. Good all-round care is key.

Does warmth affect the variegation on Syngonium albo?

I actually think warmth is more important when it comes to growing great Syngoniums than light.

Plants need light, but syngoniums are wasted in bright light and are more than happy in medium light. However, they won’t grow well in cold weather, and they’ll become irresistible to thrips and spider mites.

Obviously don’t put them somewhere dark, but if it’s a toss-up between a bright, cold spot, or a less bright, warmer spot, go for the warmer one.

I think this is the reason I’ve never had a Syngonium do well in the bathroom. They can sense that it’s gonna be cold in winter. Jokes. But also not.

Final thoughts

I don’t want to mislead you and tell you I can guarantee that your Syngonium Albo won’t revert permanently. It might – that’s the risk you run with variegated plants. However, just because your albo has produced one fully green leaf doesn’t mean it’ll never produce a variegated leaf again.

Before you go, you may find this helpful (especially if you bought your Albo on a whim and have no idea what you’re doing):

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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