On their own, Monstera deliciosa are already beautiful plants; even more so are their variegated specimens. Monstera albo, the variegated monstera plants are currently one of the more popular plants on the market thanks to their vivid white pattern as if they were painted on their leaves. Unfortunately, they tend to be rare and expensive since they are on everyone’s wish list.
If you decide to purchase these plants for your own caring or if someone has already gifted one rare specimen to you, then you’re definitely going to need a bit of time learning all about this plant.
Below is some necessary information for caring for your variegated monsteras, including growing conditions, propagation, troubleshooting common problems, and keeping their captivating varieties!
Monstera albo Profile
If you’re going to own a Monstera albo (or if you already own one), then the most important thing to know about it is the type of variegation it has and how it works. Variegations are simply the appearance of differently colored zones in the leaves of plants.
For the monstera albo, the part of the leaves does not contain the pigment chlorophyll. Hence their white and creamy appearance is caused by the lack of chlorophyll. This is a natural mutation. The two main variegated varieties of the Monstera albo are the Albo Borsigiana and Thai Constellation.
The Albo is more striped and white and may not always be present, while the Thai constellation variegation is more speckled, creamy, and has more stable variegations. Knowing the variegation of your particular plant is important because it will affect the light it requires in order to thrive.
This Monstera is peculiar in the way that the plant’s leaves transform dramatically as the plant matures. The juvenile leaf is different from a mature leaf due to fenestrations or leaf slots and the pinnation as the plant gets bigger. With this transformation, the juvenile stage of the plant is unrecognizable from its mature state.
The genus name “monstera” comes from the Latin word “monstrum”, meaning “monstrous” or “abnormal”. This is due to the unusual leaf characteristics of the members of the genus having natural holes and fenestrations.
“Albo” comes from the Latin of “white” due to its coloration. Altogether, Monstera albo roughly means monstrously white. Don’t let the name fool you, as it is still a gorgeous plant to look at!
Although rare, the Monstera albo can flower. Its flower is a specialized flower shaped like a spade, called a “spadix,” that is also white that can grow between 10-15cm high. Its fruits are a cluster of white berries and are edible.
Season of Interest and Purchasing
This monstera plant grows actively during the spring through fall. Hence, you may want to purchase this plant during those times so you can supplement it with the right food and requirements.
Monstera plants are usually long-lived plants that can grow 10 to 15 feet tall indoors, and their leaves can measure up to 45cm. However, Monstera albo, unlike other members of its family, has slow growth and rarely achieves those sizes indoors.
Monstera is a climber, so its growth pattern is upward rather than along the surface. Therefore, a moss or coir pole is recommended to be given to this plant to grow on. It can also creep up a wall, providing a dazzling impact on the ambiance. You can grow Monstera outdoors and make it a great outdoor plant.
Monstera albo Overview
|Scientific name||Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo Variegata’|
|Common name/s||Variegated Monstera, Monstera Albo, Borsigiana Albo Variegata, Monstera Albo Borsigiana, Variegated Swiss Cheese Plant|
|Growth Habit||Herbaceous, Epiphytic Vine|
|Height and Spread||up to 25 meters in height, and 2.5 meters in leaf length|
|Classification based on life cycle||Perennial|
|Origin and Distribution||Originated from South American rainforests|
|Climate Zone||Generally mild climate|
|USDA Plant Hardiness Zone||USDA Zone 10-13|
|Color||Glabrous and shiny evergreen leaves with prominent fenestrations and deep slits|
Your Monstera albo will need bright indirect or filtered sunlight throughout the day. Place it in an area that will avoid direct sunlight as direct light will burn its leaves. Important to note is that the variegated parts of your Monstera’s leaves are especially prone to sunburn.
Without enough light, your Monstera could revert back to its all-green color. This happens because, without enough energy from sunlight, it will start to adapt to a more efficient way of absorbing more sunlight which is to turn its white variegation parts back to green in order to help absorb more sunlight.
As a result, you will also see fewer and smaller leaves. Green leaves are also more likely to be larger than leaves with variegations.
Albo monsteras do well in an average home temperature, especially during their growing season. It does well between 18 to 26 degrees Celsius (65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). However, when winter comes, you need to bring the plant indoors since it does not tolerate frost. Do not expose your Monstera to heating or air conditioning vents regardless of what season.
Even though they may appear delicate, your Monstera albo is quite hardy and fares better in drier soil conditions than persistently moist soil. With that, it is important to allow the soil to feel dry about one to three inches down before you thoroughly water Monstera Albo.
Always remove excess water from the saucer or cachepot to avoid root disease. You may need to decrease water during winter. Do note that over-watering is one of the more common causes of root rot and can attract fungus gnats.
Since Monstera albo is a tropical plant, it means they thrive in more humid climates with warmer temperatures. Therefore, your Monstera albo should do fine in your average home environment, where humidity levels will fluctuate between 20% to 65% throughout the year. However, the more humid it is, the better your plant will be.
Your variegated Monstera albo prefers well-draining soil; therefore should not be left to sit in moist conditions. A potting mix that contains peat moss, perlite, sphagnum moss, coco coir, orchid bark, and worm castings is ideal. Your soil mix should be loose and light. If you find that your soil is holding more water, you can add perlite to improve the drainage. If it is draining too quickly, adding peat moss can improve water retention.
A fertilizing schedule is important to stick to since your Monstera albo is necessarily working overtime to photosynthesize. Hence, they will need the extra help they can get as this will support their growth and health.
It is not a heavy feeder, so a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) is enough. You can dilute this to 50% in order to avoid root burn. Aside from liquid fertilizer, you can also use slow-release plant foods as well as this will evenly distribute the dose across weeks. In its growing season, apply fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks and reduce this frequency during winter.
Do note that overfertilization can also harm your Monstera as it is sensitive to mineral build-up. Therefore, avoid cheap fertilizers and avoid overfertilization to mitigate this problem.
Since the Monstera albo is an epiphyte (i.e., plants that cling on to larger plants and trees), they may need a lot of space. You can put it in a statement-making spot in your guest area rather than in a tight corner or a windowsill in a home environment.
They would also benefit from some artificial support too, so you can consider placing a small trellis or moss pole near the plant.
Growing and Planting Tips
Propagating your Monstera albo is simple and straightforward. There are several ways to propagate them from seed, division, and stem cuttings. Propagation via seed takes a substantial amount of time while division is a good option if your plant is already big and you want to limit its size. However, stem cutting is the easiest way to propagate the plant.
To propagate by stem cutting:
- Select a healthy stem from a parent plant that has a minimum of 3 leaves on it and is around 4 to 6 inches long so it can stand out of water or soil.
- Look for a node that is somewhere near the stem’s bottom two-thirds. Nodes are usually found at an intersection between two stems.
- Take a sanitized and very sharp cutting instrument of your choice to make a cutting that is about 2 to 3 inches from the node below. You ideally want only one lengthy stem from a mother plant to avoid unnecessary foliage that may rot
- Place the Monstera Albo cuttings in a water-filled jar, filling it up just a few inches at the top of the lowest node. Make sure the cutting does not touch the bottom or the side of jar and is freely suspended
- Place the jar in a well-lit, sunny area, avoiding hot and direct sunlight. The brighter, the sunnier it is, the quicker the root develops.
- Change the water used at least once every week to keep the cutting healthy and in proper environmental conditions for growth
- Wait for about six weeks for the roots to extensively grow on your Monstera albo cuttings before placing it in a potting soil. You can wait up to 3 months to make sure a more robust root system for better chances of survival.
- When you first plant your cutting in soil, monitor it since it will experience mild shock from being transplanted from water to the soil
- Refer to the guide above for taking care of your newly potted Monstera albo!
Pruning is also one of the most important things to keep in mind for your Monstera albo as this will keep the variegation and prevent it from reverting to its full green color. Some tips here are to prune off stems with entirely green leaves. Almost all leaves will revert back to green when you don’t prune your Monstera.
Pruning, in a way, encourages your plant to keep sprouting captivating white and speckled leaves. However, do not over-prune your plant, as it won’t be able to photosynthesize. Hence, aim for a more balanced of white and green for your plant. Use clean pruning shears.
Potting and Repotting
Every two years or so, your Monstera albo will need to be repotted and sometimes, a little bit earlier than that. The thing to watch out for is when roots start coming out of the container, which will usually come out of the bottom holes. When this happens, it’s time for your Monstera to be repotted.
Repotting should be done during its growing seasons so as to mitigate the effects of transplant shock. To choose a pot, go up to 1 to 2 inches for smaller plants and 2 to 4 inches for larger ones. Going any larger will run the risk of letting the plant sit in water for too long.
Monstera albo Care
|Light||Bright indirect light, dappled shade|
|Temperature||Intermediate to warm, 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Water||Once a week, increased in summer, decreased in winter|
|Soil||Airy, well-draining soil; not too loose|
|Fertilization||Regular household fertilizer, once a month|
|Space||Plenty of space to climb|
|Propagation||Via stem cutting propagation|
|Blooming||Rarely blooms, enough sunlight and maturity needed|
|Potting||Regular potting mix, use of organic debris, peat, charcoal, perlite and orchid bark is recommended|
Problems and Troubleshooting
Brown tips or edges of the leaves
One of the signs of dehydration of the plant (i.e., it’s not getting enough water or humidity) is that it starts to brown along with the tips or edges of the leaves. Therefore, make sure that you water your plant when the soil is dry 1-3 inches deep. This may take anywhere from 6 to 12 days, depending on your climate.
Brown leaves that include new leaves that start brown
Leaf rot may manifest as brown leaves. This is usually caused by stagnant air, especially humid air that does not move too much at all. Move your Monstera to a spot with more air movement to solve this.
Yellowing of leaves on your Monstera may be a sign of overwatering for too long. This is also a sign of root rot. You must pull the plant out of its pot and remove as much dirt as possible from the root ball to solve this. Next, cut off any yellow, brown, black, and mushy roots. Allow the roots to dry for a few days before repotting with new soil.
As earlier discussed above, root rot is another problem to watch out for in this Monstera, although it is rare. Once root rot spreads enough, there is no saving your plant. Refer to the section on Brown Leaves in order to detect early signs of root rot and how to solve them.
The most common pests of the Monstera albo are spider mites and scale. They suck the sap of your plant and can cause damage. Mites may be harder to spot while scales are more visible. Once you spot these pests, you can spray them with the insecticidal soap of your choice. This might take 3 to 4 weeks to resolve. Another option is neem oil.
Monstera albo Pests and Diseases
|Common Pests/Diseases||Symptoms||Treatment and Prevention|
Common diseases include crown rot, stem rot, root rot, leaf spot, fungal diseases, and Xanthomonas infection
|Yellowish rimming around black or dark brown spots on leaves||Avoid overwatering. Keep soil dry. Avoid too high humidity.Proper ventilation is needed around the plant. Remove infected parts of fungal infections to avoid spreading|
Common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scales
|Visible insects on the surface||Spray plant with warm, soapy water. If infestation is present, use insecticide or neem oil. Use diatomaceous earth.|
Problems with People and Animals
The Monstera albo is toxic to both people and animals, so it is important to keep them out of reach of young children, dogs, cats, and other domestic pets. In addition, ingestion can cause mild to deleterious side effects from vomiting and swelling to difficulty breathing.
Monstera Plants Meaning and Symbolism
Monsteras symbolize long life and honor and respect for elders and respected people. Therefore, they would make an ideal gift for the elderly and people we owe respect to. More so, in the language of flowers, the inflorescences of Monsteras represent grandiose plans, deep relationships, and glad tidings.
Depending on your region, Monstera albo can be lucky or unlucky. It is a symbol of longevity, respect, and honor in the east. In Feng Shui, they can be used to bring luck or growth in certain aspects of life. In the west, they represent suffocation because of their fast-growing vines and aerial roots.
|General Meaning||Longevity of life, flowers – grandiose plans, deep relationships, glad tidings|
|Symbolism||Honor and respect for elders and respectable people, suffocation|
Landscaping and Gardening Ideas
Other tropical plants go well with Monstera albo. Some of the plants you may consider include pothos, philodendron, Schefflera, and peace lily. It is important to note that these plants should not be planted in the same pot as your Monstera. However, adding these plants will provide a textural contrast and some variation in foliage.
Medium-sized Monstera goes well as the main piece in a receiving room for guests to be captivated by or by a cozy deck or patio. A full plant can also be placed in the corner of the house or along the entryway as long as enough air and sunlight are going around. It can shine in your garden as long as it is kept under some foliage like under your taller trees or shrubs.
|What to plant with||Other Aroids, Bird of Paradise, Areca Palms, Fire Spike, Heliconia, Variegated Arboricola, Croton, Chenille Plant, Pentas|
|What NOT to plant with||Basically nothing|
The Monstera albo is one of the most coveted plants that you will come across for a good reason! Its price is driven by its beauty, rarity, high demand, and miniscule supply. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these beauties, then it is important to keep them in top shape as much as possible and to never let it go!
This plant is hardy enough, even for a beginner. Take good care of it, and it will take good care of you too. It can be the pièce de résistance that your home might be needing.
- Is Monstera albo a fast grower and how do you keep the variegations?
The Monstera deliciosa albo variegata is a slow-grower. Its growth rate depends on the light conditions it receives. If your Monstera receives a good amount of bright indirect light, it will surely actively grow.
However, if it is placed in a darker environment, your plant will grow slowly and will lose its variegation. Remember that although the variegation is naturally occurring, it is not a stable variegation. Light affects the intensity of coloration.
- How do you propagate Monstera albo?
The Monstera albo borsigiana plants are easy to propagate. They can be propagated using stem cuttings. Choose a stem with at least one node. If aerial roots are present, then that is a perfect choice. Dip the cutting into a proper growing medium and wait for the roots to grow extensively.
- Is Monstera albo a rare plant?
The Monstera deliciosa albo is somewhat a rare plant. Although, with the advent of tissue culture cultivation, the plant’s availability in the market has improved.
- Is Monstera albo hard to grow?
Definitely not. The variegated variety of Monsteras are relatively easy to grow and care for. They can thrive in a suitable room condition provided that the optimum care and attention are given. Beginners can grow this Monstera.
- Does Monstera albo go dormant?
No. Monstera plants do not go into dormancy because they do not produce bulbs or storage organs that plants utilize during the winter season for energy and sustenance, like your Alocasias and other Lilies.
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