Everything You Need to Know About Variegated Monstera Plant Types and Growing Tips at Home
Just when you think Monstera plants can’t get any more beautiful with their large, holey leaves you come across the stunning variegated varieties. Variegated monsteras have the shape and form you know and love, but they amp up their beauty with green leaves coupled with white, yellow, or mint green variegations. These special plants have care requirements similar to fully green Monstera deliciosa plants. However, they are a bit more sensitive and they require more light. These variegated varieties are quite rare, but with some serious searching, you can find and add one of these stunning ornamental plants to your home. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about variegated Monstera plants including the most popular types; the science behind variegation; plus essential tips on growing and caring for variegated Monstera plants at home.
- Variegated Monstera Plants – The Essentials
- About Variegated Monstera
- Popular Types of Variegated Monstera
- Variegated Monstera Care
- Variegated Monstera – Pests, Diseases, and Other Problems
- Wrapping Up
- Variegated Monstera FAQ:
Variegated Monstera Plants – The Essentials
Variegation in Monstera plants is caused by a genetic mutation that prohibits the plant’s cells from producing chlorophyll resulting in discoloration in the tissue. Variegated Monstera plants should receive at least six hours of bright yet indirect light each day. They need moderate humidity and an air temperature between 65-80ºF. Plant them in a well-draining potting mix and water only when the top one to two inches of soil is dry.
About Variegated Monstera
What Causes Variegation in Monsteras?
The discolored tissue in Monsteras is caused by a genetic mutation that prohibits some of the plant’s tissue from producing chlorophyll. In case you didn’t know, chlorophyll is the molecule that gives plants their green color. It’s also the compound that plants used to capture the sun’s energy.
Since some of the cells of Variegated Monsteras contain chlorophyll and some of the cells do not, this type of variegation is also known as chimeral variegation. A chimera is a plant that contains cells with different genetic makeups right next to each other.
Can you Make a Monstera Variegated?
Variegated Monsteras arise when a cell experiences a mutation and then produces new cells with the same DNA. While exposure to different chemicals may increase the probability that cells will mutate, don’t try this at home.
Most Variegated Monsteras simply arise after their cells mutate due to an unknown cause.
Where Can You Buy a Variegated Monstera?
Since Variegated Monsteras are quite rare, don’t expect to find them at your average plant nursery. Some specialty house plant nurseries and boutiques do acquire these plants from time to time, but they quickly fly off the shelves.
If you regularly shop at a local plant store, it doesn’t hurt to let them know you’re looking for a Variegated Monstera. Once they know you’re searching for one (and that you’re willing to pay), they can keep an eye out for you.
Another option is to head online. The easiest way to find a Variegated Monstera is to look for a cutting of a leaf and node or just a node. Some people with mature plants sell cuttings on websites such as Etsy. You can also search rare plant stores for rooted cuttings or mature plants, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny.
How Much Does a Variegated Monstera Cost?
These plants are true collectors’ items, and their cost reflects this. The exact cost depends on the variety you select, the size of the plant, as well as the seller. With that said, here are some average costs.
- Unrooted cutting with node: $150-$250
- Unrooted cutting with node + leaf: $250-$400
- Rooted cutting: $350-$700
- Rooted plant with a few leaves: $500-$1500+
Popular Types of Variegated Monstera
There’s a range of Monstera species which showcase true variegation in their leaf structure. These include:
Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’
Also known as ‘Albo Variegata’ this variety has patches of white or cream on its leaves. It can also have leaves that are half green and half white.
To grow new ‘Variegata’ plants, nurseries plant thousands of Monstera deliciosa seeds and then look for genetic mutations in the seedlings. Variegation is extremely rare; about 1 out of every 6,000 plants develop variegations.
Monstera deliciosa ‘Thai Constellation’
The ‘Thai Constellation’ Monstera is named after splotches of creamy white that resemble a stary sky. The plant was first produced via tissue culture by a lab in Thailand, hence its name.
This variety has gained attention in recent years and has become popular all over the internet. In 2020, it was chosen as the Favorite New Foliage Plant at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Florida.
Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo Borsigiana’
The ‘Borsigana’ is actually a sub-species of Monstera deliciosa. ‘Borsigiana’ plants are faster growing and have smaller leaves. The ‘Albo Borsigiana’ is the variegated form of the ‘Borsigiana.’
The Monstera deliciosa ‘Ablo Borsigiana’ has leaves that are a bit smaller than other variegated varieties of Monstera deliciosa. Its leaves are dark green with patches of white.
Monstera deliciosa ‘Aurea’ (or ‘Marmorata’)
If you love plants with yellow variegations, the ‘Aurea’ is for you. This variety is also sometimes referred to as ‘Marmorata.’
No matter what you call it, this plant has the striking color combination of dark green and yellow. Like the ‘Albo’ varieties, the yellow variegations can occur on small patches of tissue or on half of the leaf.
The Mint Monstera is perhaps the rarest of them all. Instead of white, cream, or yellow variegations, it has light mint green coloring mixed in with the Monstera’s traditional dark green.
Before you buy a Mint Monstera, make sure you find a reputable seller. It’s easy to edit photos to make Albo Monsteras appear like they are Mint Monsteras.
Variegated Monstera Care
Can You Grow a Variegated Monstera from Seed or Cutting?
If you want to add a Variegated Monstera plant to your home, you’ll need to purchase a cutting or a mature plant.
While these plants can be grown from seed, you won’t know if a seed will grow into a variegated plant until it sprouts. Therefore, don’t trust seeds being sold as Variegated Monsteras.
Variegated Monsteras have growth habits that are similar to those of their non-variegated family members. However, the variegated varieties are a bit slower growing.
The Best Soil for Variegated Monstera Plants
One important thing to know about Variegated Monsteras is that they’re a bit more susceptible to root rot than traditional Monstera deliciosa plants. This means that well-draining soil is especially important for variegated varieties.
Variegated Monsteras like a well-draining poting soil that’s also high in organic matter.
To make a mix that your plants will love, combine the following:
- one part peat moss
- one part perlite
- one part pine bark fines
Temperature & Humidity
All varieties of Variegated Monstera require an environment that resembles the tropics. Keep the temperature between 65-80°F. Additionally, place your plant away from any areas the experience hot or cold drafts.
You should keep the humidity at a medium to high level to keep your plants happy. If your house or apartment is very dry, consider buying a humidifier.
Light Considerations for Variegated Monstera
Since these plants don’t have as much chlorophyll as other Monsteras, they have a harder time taking in the light they need. That means it’s crucial that you provide them with enough light.
While these plants need a lot of light, they don’t do well in direct light. When you’re looking for a spot for them, try to find an area that receives at least 8 hours of bright yet indirect light. One great option is in front of a south-facing window covered with sheer curtains.
For more – see our comprehensive guide to Monstera Plant Light Requirements.
Like all Monsteras, these plants like their soil moist but not soaking wet. They can handle soil becoming a bit dry, but they can’t tolerate extreme drought.
A good rule of thumb is to water when the top one to two inches of the soil is dry. To check the moisture level, gently stick your finger into the soil near the base of the plant.
The frequency you’ll need to water depends on a variety of factors. As humidity decreases and temperature increases, you will need to water more often. Another thing to take note of is the time of year. As plants slow their growth in the winter, they won’t require as much water.
Feeding & Fertilizing Variegated Monstera Plants
These plants aren’t heavy feeders, but they will benefit from regular doses of houseplant fertilizer. Apply a general houseplant fertilizer once a month in the late spring through early fall. You don’t need to fertilize outside of this time frame.
Varigated Monsteras are slow growers, so you don’t need to repot them very often. If they do outgrow their current container, you can move them to a new container that is a few inches bigger than their current container.
Monsteras can put on some serious growth. While the variegated varieties grow more slowly than others, they can still become quite large.
You can prune away the leaves of your plant using a pair of sharp and sanitized shears. If you do prune, you can propagate new plants from the material you cut away.
Propagating Variegated Monstera
If you want to propagate a Variegated Monstera, you can do so by taking a cutting of a part of the stem that contains a node or aerial roots. You don’t need the cutting to contain a leaf, only a node.
Once you have your cutting, trim any leaves so you are left with 1-2 leaves. Make sure you don’t trim away the node.
At this point, your cutting is ready to root. Place it in a jar with filtered, room temperature water, and place the jar in a location that receives indirect light. Replace the water every week. The cutting should begin forming roots after anywhere from a week to a few months.
After the cutting has formed roots, you can plant and care for it like any other Variegated Monstera.
Variegated Monstera – Pests, Diseases, and Other Problems
Variegated Monsteras are susceptible to many of the problems that regular Monstera deliciosa plants face.
Varigated Monsteras hate sitting in wet soil. If they do, they can develop root rot.
If you were to dig up your plant, you would notice the roots are soft and rotten. However, this isn’t always practical, and at this point the rot is serious.
Some signs that your plant may have root rot are yellowing leaves and stunted growth. If the roots are rotten, your plant cannot take up the nutrients, water, and oxygen it needs to grow, which results in these symptoms.
To prevent root rot, water only when the top inch or two of your soil is dry. Additionally, use a well-draining potting mix that allows excess water to escape.
If the green portions of your leaves are becoming yellow, there could be a number of causes.
Another possible cause is that your plant is not receiving enough sun. Try moving your plant to a sunnier location.
With stunning markings and a beautiful form, who wouldn’t want a Variegated Monstera? Now that you know a little more about these plants, you can add them to your plant wish list!
Variegated Monstera FAQ:
What causes variegation in Monstera?
Variegation in Monstera plants is caused by a genetic mutation that prohibits some of the plant’s tissue from producing chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the molecule that gives plants their green color.
Can you make a monstera variegated?
Variegation in Monstera plants arises when a cell experiences a mutation and then produces new cells with the same DNA. Whilst exposure to different chemicals may increase the probability that cells will mutate, don’t try this at home.
Why is variegated Monstera so expensive?
Due to the complexity in producing variegated Monstera plants and the rarity of these botanical characteristics these plants are often in short supply which pushes up the price relative to a regular Monstera plant.
How much do variegated Monstera cost?
Expect to pay anywhere up to $1500 for a mature variegated Monstera plant.
How much light do variegated Monstera need?
Since these plants don’t have as much chlorophyll as other Monsteras, they have a harder time taking in the light they need. That means it’s crucial that you provide them with enough light. Aim for a spot in your home that receives bright, indirect light throughout the majority of the day.