Monsteras are beautiful big and bold tropical houseplants. The large, holey leaves make the evergreen vine absolutely stunning. And just when you think Monsteras can't get any more beautiful, you stumble upon variegated varieties. These varieties are pretty rare and unusual, and any plant enthusiasts will want to find and add one or two of these beautiful variegated specimens to their houseplant collection.
Before you add one of these aesthetic-appealing plants into your plant world, here is everything you need to know about variegated monstera plants.
What Is A Variegated Monstera?
Monstera is a genus consisting of 45 species of flowering plants in the arum family, Araceae. Also, go by the common name Swiss cheese plant. They have wide, heart-shaped leaves with various fenestrations or holes in them. Monstera is known for its monstrous size as it can reach up to 30 feet in height. With genetic mutation and other factors, variegation in Monstera plants occurs. It prohibits the plant cell from producing chlorophyll and causes the plants to produce discoloration tissues.
Variegation In Monstera
Variegation is the term used to describe plants' leaves and stems with more than one color - white, yellow, and light green.
Variegation can also be described in terms of pattern. In Monsteras, there are two main kinds of variegation - marbling and sectoral. Marbled leaves will have light and dark streaks spread over the leaf surface pretty evenly, and Sectoral leaves will have large patches of white on a leaf. A plant can exhibit both types of variegation simultaneously, although it will often tend towards one or the other.
Cause of Variegation
Variegation can happen naturally from gene expression, but most of them are created in labs through selective breeding, genetic mutation, or caused by viral infection.
You see, variegation is not particularly helpful to a plant, so it rarely happens naturally. Plants need to produce chlorophyll, which gives plants their green leaves, and less green means that there is less chlorophyll. In a variegated plant, the green leaves and the green parts of leaves have to work overtime to generate enough energy to produce plant growth.
Types Of Variegation
There are three types of variegation in terms of color:
- White variegation, referred to as albo, is simply white. With this type, you will see white patches and dots splashes around the leaves
- Yellow variegation, referred to as Aurea, offers a golden color. You will see yellow patches and dots splashed around the leaves with this type.
- Light green variegation or referred to as sport variety. It offers different shades of green.
There are two commonly found patterns:
- Marble variegation has a wavy pattern of different colors. Some may display speckled variegation.
- Half-moon or split-leaf variegation is when the leaf shows an equally split color or pattern.
How Much Do Variegated Monstera Cost?
Monstera comes with a monster price tag. Even the most common Monstera varieties can have price tags in the hundreds of dollars, and variegated Monsteras can creep up to the thousands. Acquiring one is like possessing a Picasso.
The price point is high because the demand is high, but the supply is low. Because variegated plants are working at a chlorophyll deficit, they propagate slower than plants with fully green leaves. With that being 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+
- Mature plant: $1000+
Most Popular Types of Variegated Monstera
The three variegation colors and two variegation patterns mix together to provide a wide variety of options for someone looking for a Monstera with variegated leaves. Here are some of the most popular variegated Monstera varieties.
Monstera Deliciosa Variegata
The crown jewel of variegated Monsteras, this is the name given to naturally variegated Monsteras. This stunning plant is created by a random mutation, which comes about at a rate of about 1:100,000. This means that you would need to propagate 100,000 cuttings before one would happen to become a Monstera Deliciosa Variegata.
Variegated Monstera Deliciosa Thai Constellation
Monstera Thai Constellation Variegata was created from tissue culture in a lab in Thailand. It's a variegated form of the Monstera Deliciosa, with leaves of the same shape. The variegation patterning is marbled, or even speckled, with islets of white and creamy yellow. It is considered stable variegation because it does not lose variegation as it matures or is based on growing conditions. The variegation in each plant will remain stable, although each individual plant may have more or less variegation.
Variegated Monstera Albo Borsigiana
The Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana Variegata, also known as the Monstera Deliciosa Albo, tends to mutate more often than others. It may be a nearly all-white plant, but then the next leaf it puts out has no variegation at all. It has smaller leaves than the classic Deliciosa, but it grows faster. Its leaves are heavily sectoral with green and bright white, and even the green sections will be marbled.
The Monstera Albo is tricky to grow, with so much white variegation, and it can only be grown from cuttings from a mother plant, as it doesn't produce functional seeds.
Monstera Adansonii Variegata
The Monstera Adansonii is a vining plant with distinct holes, and the variegated pattern options are wide. Some will have sectoral patterns where the leaf is nearly split in half, with white on one side and a very pale speckled yellow on the other. The green veining on that particular pattern is what keeps the plant alive. Others have a nice marbling of green with light yellow.
Monstera Borsigiana Aurea
Monstera Borsigiana Aurea, also known as Marmorata yellow variegated Monstera, is eye-catching yellow variegation. This variegation is rare and expensive, with large split leaves and a unique golden yellow and green color combination. Like the 'Albo' varieties, the yellow variegation can occur in small patches or half the leaf. Due to high demand and low supply, the price of this beautiful plant variegation can be costly.
Variegata Mint Monstera
Mint Monstera may be one of the rarest varieties of variegated Monstera! With a light mint green coloring mixed with traditional Monstera deliciosa's dark green, this plant has unique light green variegations. Unique and rare, this Monstera mint can cost you up to seven figures!
Caring For Variegated Monstera Plants
Variegated Monstera care isn't much different than their counterparts. Monsteras aren't particularly fussy, but with less chlorophyll, variegated Monstera will need some help with light.
Variegated Monsteras like to dry out between waterings, and overwatering will cause more issues than forgetting about it for a week or two. Wait until the top 2 inches of soil are dry, then give it a solid soaking.
Variegated Monsteras are jungle plants and like their environment to be moist. The typical range of indoor temperatures will be fine, but you'll need to either place a humidifier near your plant or mist it weekly.
A standard potting mix is just fine, but it does need extra nutrients with such large leaves. Sprinkle a half-inch of compost on the soil each month.
This is where variegated Monstera needs help. Large, sectoral white patches are prone to burn in direct sunlight, but a variegated Monstera needs lots of light. Remember, the white parts of the leaves are essentially dead weight! Place your plant in indirect sunlight and supplement it with grow lights.
Those large, waxy leaves need to be wiped down regularly with soapy water to remove dust. This is particularly important in variegated Monstera, because the dust will inhibit the plant's ability to photosynthesize, and variegated Monstera is already working at a disadvantage in that department.
Monstera Albo will have unstable variegation, so you will need to watch the pattern of new leaves carefully. The variegation on each new leaf is dependent on the number of mutated cells in each node. To keep a Monstera Albo from turning green, prune away all leaves without any mutation. You'll also need to cut back leaves that are all white. They are lovely, but they will stress your plant and could kill it.
Variegated Monstera can propagate from stem cuttings. Make sure to cut a part of the stem that contains a node or aerial roots. It doesn't need to contain any leaves, but you can leave 1-2 leaves if there are.
Then place the cutting in a jar filled with filtered, room temperature water. Place the jar in a location that receives indirect sunlight. You should change the water every week, and roots will start to form anywhere between a week to a few months.
Pests, Disease, And Other Problems
Just like regular Monstera deliciosa, variegated Monsteras faces the same problems.
Variegated Monstera can't sit in wet soil, or you will run into root rot. Signs that your plant may have root rot include yellow leaves and stunted growth.
To prevent root rot, use a well-draining potting mix and pot that allow excess water to escape.
If the green leaves are turning yellow, there could be a number of factors that cause this: overwatering, not enough sunlight, or not enough humidity.
Common pests you may see on variegated Monstera include mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. If you spot them, treat the plant as soon as possible using neem oil or insecticidal soap.
How Do You Get Variegated In Monstera?
Variegated Monstera is quite rare, and most likely, you wouldn't be able to find them from your local nurseries. Unless there is a rare plant shop near you, your best bet is online.
Etsy offers a great selection of variegated Monstera plants cuttings. Not only will you be happy with your exotic plants, but you are also supporting small businesses.