Variegated Monstera: The Ultimate Guide to Types and Care
March 03, 20224 min read
Photo by Huy Phan from Pexels
A variegated Monstera in your home will make you the envy of plant collectors the world over. These cream or white-marked tropical delights are the indoor gardening trend of the moment, with plant-fluencers falling over themselves to get one for their Instagram snaps. Tiny cuttings sell for high prices and mature variegated Monsteras fetch nearly $900 on Etsy.
Variegated Monsteras refer to any variety of Monstera adansonii or Monstera deliciosa with cream, white, or yellow markings. Known for their glossy green tropical leaves, the Monstera adansonii and Monstera deliciosa have been popular houseplants for decades. Variegated Monsteras however only started attracting attention the last couple of years. There are quite a few on the market so here’s how to tell them apart.
First, we look at all the variegated cultivars of Monstera deliciosa.
The albo borsigiana leaves feature white splotches rather than the delicate star-like formations on the thai constellation. Watching the leaves unfurl on this plant is exciting because some turn out completely white. This variegated cultivar of the Monstera deliciosa is one of the more compact monstera vareities.
Monstera deliciosa ‘Aurea’ (or ‘Marmorata’)
This interesting variety has yellow rather than white or cream variegation. The yellow is patterned in wide patches or marbled streaks. Like the albo Monstera this is also a more compact type with smaller leaves than the thai constellation.
This delightful variety has mint green markings. This is probably the newest and rarest of the variegated Monsteras out there. Get one and you’ll truly be on your way to becoming a bona fide houseplant collector.
This cultivar features truly huge white patches that loom large against the deep green coloration. Some leaves are split almost perfectly in half between the white and green. This is a truly striking collector’s item with markings that look like they might’ve been painted by hand.
Monstera Adansonii Archipelago
Most variegated Monsteras retain the same leaf shape as the original Monstera species they were cultivated from. The archipelago variety is different. The leaves are also much more elongated than on the ordinary Monstera adansonii. The variegation here is not cream or white but a pale yellow.
This is an incredibly rare variant of an already uncommon variant (the monstera adansonii laniata) and is not widely available on the mass market yet. Because we haven't figured out a way of producing the vareigation on the Laniata reliably, they can only be grown using cuttings from existing plants which happen to display the rare mutation.
Variegated Monstera care
Once you have your precious new variegated Monstera, you may be wondering how to keep it alive.
Let’s start with the lighting conditions. All of these plants are much less effective at photosynthesis than your average green-leaved plant. The cells in the white patches do not contain chlorophyll, the molecule that transforms light into energy.
You will need to place your variegated Monstera in a place that gets lots of bright but indirect light. Never place your variegated Monstera in direct light. This is crucial since direct sunlight will scorch and kill the plant.
The ideal position for your variegated Monstera is next to an east or west-facing window that gets plenty of sun for at least six hours a day. The glass should be frosted or be covered by net curtains. This will filter and moderate the amount of sunlight hitting the leaves.
Make sure the air around your plant has lots of humidity. Because Monstera are native to tropical rainforests, they enjoy high humidity year round. You can boost air humidity around your plant in three ways:
Place a group of plants on a tray of pebbles with water halfway up the depth of the pebbles. Make sure the bottom of the pot doesn't touch the water as this will make the soil too soggy. The idea behind the pebble tray is that the pebbles give a larger surface area for water to evaporate off of. Grouping plants together also increases humidity in their immediate surroundings.
Mist with a bottle spray several times a day. If you have a busy schedule and are likely to forget, opt for the pebble tray.
Get a humidifier. This is one of the most effective ways of raising air humidity, especially if you have a large number of humid-loving plants indoors.
During the spring and summer only, fertilize your variegated Monstera with a balanced indoor plant fertilizer. Do this every 4-6 weeks but don’t give too much. Dilute the fertilizer that you use to half the amount recommended by the packaging instructions. It's very easy to over-fertilize and you don’t want to take any chances with your rare plant.
Sooner or later, you will have to repot your plant with new soil. This is a dangerous time for your prized plant since any sudden environmental change might shock its system. When repotting, give your variegated Monstera the best of the best with an aroid soil mix. Monstera belong to the aroid family and you can’t go wrong with a premium formulation like this if you want to keep your valuable Monsteras alive. Mix two parts aroid mix with one part bark (used for planting orchids) and perlite. These materials will keep your soil super well-draining and stave off waterlogging and root rot.
Another essential thing to bear in mind is your watering regime. Only water your variegated monsters once the top two inches of the soil are completely dry. These plants are sensitive to over-watering. You’ll need to cut back the water a lot in the fall and autumn when the plants aren’t growing.
Once you have the basics of lighting, soil, watering, and fertilizer, you can encourage your variegated Monstera to produce larger leaves with a moss pole. Here's why moss poles help your plant growand how to make one.