Monstera Albo Variegata Care Guide: How to Care for One of the Most Expensive, Exotic Plants on the Market
Monstera is a genus of 49 species within the family of Araceae. They are tropical plants native to Central America that are often found in nature using their aerial roots to climb up forest trees, and can reach heights exceeding 60 feet in their natural habitats. The most common species of Monstera, the Monstera Deliciosa, is one of the most commonly kept indoor plants, due to its lush, tropical foliage.
The variegated form of the Monstera Deliciosa - the Monstera Albo, has risen in popularity and demand within the past few years, due to the unique white marbling upon the foliage.
Replicating the Monsteras natural, tropical environment is key to keeping them thriving in your home!
Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in the leaves of a plant, which the plant uses to photosynthesize - the process in which a plant uses sunlight to create energy. The white variegation on the leaves on the Monstera Albo do not contain chlorophyll, and therefore cannot produce energy for the plant to grow. The greens of the leaves have to work twice as hard to photosynthesize, making the Monstera Albo a slow grower, compared to the non- variegated Monstera Deliciosa.
If your Monstera Albo does not receive enough light, this can result in the plant reverting back to green. To maintain the variegation, place your Monstera in an area where it will receive bright, filtered light throughout the day. Too much direct sunlight can result in burnt leaves, especially on the variegated portions of the leaf. Keep your Monstera a few feet away from a south or west facing window, behind a sheer, light filtering curtain.
Use an LED full spectrum grow light if you do not receive enough natural light in your home. Keep your Monstera at least 12 inches away from the grow light, and set a timer on the lights for 6-8 hours. As your Monstera grows bigger, make sure to rotate the plant so that it receives even amounts of light throughout the plant, to ensure even growth. If you notice brown spots on the edges of the leaves, increase the distance between your Monstera and the grow light.
Wipe down the leaves at least once a week, to remove any dust buildup. This will promote photosynthesis, so your plant can absorb sunlight properly. Wipe down the leaves with a microfiber cloth and lukewarm water.
Allow the soil to dry out completely in between waterings. Feel the top 1-2 inches of soil before watering, to see if the soil is still moist. On average, you will need to water a Monstera Albo once a week.
Use distilled or rain water and abstain from using tap water. Tap water contains minerals and salts that can be potentially harmful for the plant if built up overtime. If you’re in a pinch, you can leave some tap water sitting out uncovered for 24 hours before watering your plant, to allow salts and minerals in the water to evaporate.
Water your plant with room temperature water. Watering your plant with cold water can shock the roots, and may cause damage to the plant.
SOILMonstera Albo’s can be prone to root rot, so it’s imperative to use a well-draining soil mixture, to ensure airflow to the roots. An ideal potting mix will contain:
- 1 part coconut coir: A great growing medium for water retention, while also providing good drainage and aeration.
- 1 part perlite: Prevents soil from being compacted and encourages aeration.
- 1 part orchid bark: The chunks of bark prevents the soil from being compacted and allows plenty of air circulation for the roots
- Adding a 2 inch layer of LECA or cinder to the bottom of the pot will provide an additional layer of drainage for the plant!
- Optional: worm castings (great for water retention, aeration, and providing and anchoring plant nutrients), sphagnum moss (water retentive), and vermiculite (similar to perlite, but is larger and retains more water).
TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY
Monstera's are tropical plants, so in order to keep them thriving in your home, you have to replicate their natural environment. These plants thrive in higher humidity (60% or above), and require a warm environment (between 65-80℉). Drops in temperature can result in the plant dropping its leaves, due to shock.
You can increase the humidity in your home by investing in a humidifier. To increase the humidity around your plant without a humidifier, you can place a tray filled with pebbles and a layer of water under your plant, or group your plants together in close proximity.
There are so many fertilizers on the market, that choosing one for your plant can seem overwhelming. It’s important to note that whichever fertilizer you choose, to follow the instructions on how often to apply it to your plant, and how much to use. One of our favorite fertilizers that is perfect for Monsteras is Joyful Dirt - an organic and all purpose 9-1-5 fertilizer. To use, dash to the soil or mix 1 tbsp to 1 gallon of water and apply the solution immediately.
In future blog posts, we will write more in depth about the different types of fertilizers on the market, what they do for your plants, and which types are the best for your plant babies! So stay tuned 😊
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why are Variegated Monsteras so expensive?
The variegation on the leaves of the Monstera Albo is what makes this one of the most sought after plants on the market. Variegation is a naturally occurring genetic mutation, and the chances of a plant developing this mutation is 1 in 100,000 - whether it be from seed or propagation. In short, there is an extremely high demand for these rare, slow growing plants, which is why the price tag is so high!
How can I make my Albo grow faster?
There are a number of things you can do to promote new plant growth. Overall, you want to mimic the plant's natural environment, and ensure that your plant is receiving proper amounts of light, water and nutrients.
Providing your Albo with a moss pole or trellis will not only help to keep your plant standing upright, but it will also encourage growth! Monsteras are climbing plants, and use their aerial roots in nature to climb up surfaces (like trees) to have better access to sunlight. Monsteras will also develop fenestrations, or holes, in the leaves as they climb, to allow harsh winds to flow through each leaf, and to allow water to better come into contact with the roots of the plant.
Use plant twist ties or velcro straps to attach the stems to the pole or trellis. Make sure the aerial roots are touching the pole/trellis, this will trick your plant into thinking it’s growing up a tree, and will produce new growth! Misting the aerial roots every so often can also increase humidity to this area, and will increase the overall health of the plant.
How do I propagate my Monstera Albo?
Watch our reel below on how to propagate a Monstera!
How often should I re-pot my Monstera Albo?Signs that your Albo may need a larger pot:
- The roots are outgrowing the pot (you may be able to see roots growing out of the bottom drainage holes of the pot or the top of the soil).
- Your plant has suddenly stopped showing signs of new growth.
- If the soil dries out quicker than usual. If your plant's root to soil ratio is off, it may become difficult for the soil to retain water, and the water will flow quickly out of the bottom drainage holes of the pot.
When it’s time to re-pot your Albo, choose a pot that is between 2-4” larger in diameter than its current pot size to make room for new growth. Choosing a pot that is too large for the plant may eventually lead to root rot! For larger, more mature Monstera Albo’s, you may only have to re-pot every 12-24 months.
Why are the leaves of my Monstera Albo turning yellow?
Yellowing leaves could be due to many different factors.
First, ensure that your plant is receiving appropriate amounts of light, water and nutrients.
Over watering. If you are watering your plant too frequently (before the soil completely dries out), or if the soil is staying moist for longer periods of time, this may be the cause of the yellow leaves.
Under watering. If you’re allowing the soil to dry out in between waterings, but sometimes forget to water, or you are watering your plant on an inconsistent basis, the yellowing of leaves may be a result of under watering.
It needs a larger pot. A root bound Monstera Albo may also be the cause of yellowing leaves. If you think your Albo is root bound and the leaves are turning yellow, it may be time for a larger pot for your Albo.
Why are my Albo’s leaves turning brown?
To determine why the leaves of your plant are turning brown, identify which parts of the leaves are being affected, and if your plant is receiving the appropriate amounts of light, water and nutrients.
Too much light. If the edges of the leaves are crispy in texture and are turning brown, your plant is most likely burning as a result of harsh lighting. Monstera’s are tropical plants, and the jungle canopy prevents direct sunlight from touching the plant's leaves for most parts of the day. Read the light section of this post to determine where you should place your plant in your home, so that it receives appropriate amounts of light throughout the day!
Lack of humidity. Low air moisture may also lead to browning at the tips of the leaves, so make sure your plant is receiving higher levels of humidity.
Under watering. If you are allowing the plant's soil to stay dry, or sometimes have trouble remembering to water your plants, under watering may be the cause of browning at the edges of the leaves. Moisture meters are a great way to tell when your plants are thirsty, and establishing a watering schedule may be beneficial to the health of your plant!
Over watering. If the edges and middle of the leaves are turning brown, and this is accompanied with wilting leaves, your Monstera has most likely been overwatered. Monsteras can be susceptible to root rot, so it's important to use a well-draining soil mix, and to make sure the soil is drying out in between waterings. Prune off affected leaves, place your plant in a shaded area for a few days, and allow the soil to completely dry out in order to save an overwatered plant.
Pests or disease. If the leaves have brown spots paired with yellow rings or halos, your plant may have a disease, fungal infection, or a pest issue, likely due to excess moisture in the soil or lack of air circulation.
In future blog posts, we will discuss how to identify common issues you may face in your journey to plant parenthood, such as how to identify common pests and how to get rid of them. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay tuned! 😊