Dark ‘Staining’ or Mottling on Leaves

Question:  Our club is growing ‘Rob’s Sunspot’ as our project plant.  Many members are experiencing “red staining” on the plant leaves, though the variety description doesn’t mention this.  Is this a genetic condition?

Answer:  Yes, this is a genetic condition.  This registered variety is described as a “double white star with bright red mottling”.  Multicolored varieties, such as this one, often exhibit mottling in their leaves–the “red staining” described in the question.  Many varieties with such multicolored blooms will also sometimes show mottling in their leaves. 

By their nature, multicolor blossomed varieties are more genetically unstable.  This is the small price we pay for the beauty of the flowers.  Personally, we’ve found those plants with mottling in the foliage make the prettiest plants, since the coloring in the foliage usually means more coloring in the blooms.  We tend to set these aside as our showplants.  We’ve also found that many of these varieties tend to mottle more (in blooms and foliage) as the plants mature.


  • Cool! Glad to hear the mottling is not due to my care. Two leaves on my Lyn Ly Angel Fluff showed this “lizard” marking; one new leaf has it, too. Angel Fluff has yellowing outer leaves. I’ve read a lack of fertilizer is the culprit. Are mottled & yellow leaves on the same plant contradictory?? Lu

    • Not familiar with this variety, so can’t give an informed answer. Yellowing leaves can be due to lack of fertilizer, the wrong fertilizer (too little nitrogen) or issues with the soil or water (like pH), as well as lighting (too much). If you can rule out all of the other possible problems, you’ll be left with the answer (this all assumes this isn’t variegation or something genetic with the variety).

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