The variegated Monstera Deliciosa, also known as a Monstera Albo, is a Monstera Deliciosa that has white spots and patches on its leaves that resemble marbling or, in some cases, is even half green and half white.
The variegated Monstera comes in a large and a small form. The variegation also has several distinct variations, such as Sport, Albo, Thai Constellation, Aurea, and Mint. However, the care is mostly the same, if not identical.
This article will focus on the Monstera Deliciosa Albo since this is the plant I have.
If you are looking to buy a Monstera Albo, you need to know what it looks like! I have seen many people being scammed online. They bought Monstera Albo cuttings but received Golden Pothos cuttings.
If you look at a node of an Albo, it is a smooth cylindrical shape that should have white “candy striping” throughout the stem. A strong pattern of candy striping usually indicates that future leaves will have strong variegation in them.
The standard Monstera Deliciosa is native to Southern Mexico. Still, these days, you will find it growing in the wild in most countries with a relatively warm climate.
So, how does a normal Monstera Deliciosa become variegated?
Variegation in Monstera plants and many other tropical plants occurs naturally as a genetic defect where certain parts of the leaf lack chlorophyll, making those parts appear white, cream, light green, or even a combination of these colors. Yes – the reason your Albo is 3 – 5 times the price of a normal one is because of a genetic defect!
Types of Variegated Monsteras
- Monstera Sport Variegated: Sport variegation occurs naturally and usually appears with a light patch on one of the leaves. This type of variegation is extremely unstable and will most likely not show up on future leaves.
- Monstera Albo: This variation has large patches of white on its leaves, usually surrounded by white spots.
- Thai Constellation: A Thai Constellation gets its name from the white or cream spots on its leaves. A good specimen will have spots all over its leaves, making it look like a galaxy or constellation. It will usually have one or two white or cream patches as well.
- Monstera Aurea: An aurea is very similar to the Albo, but instead of having white spots and patches, it will have a mixture of cream and light green.
- Monstera Mint: A Mint has few areas of solid green. It usually is mostly cream or white with a lot of green speckling on its leaves, giving it a mint appearance.
I find Monstera Deliciosa to be quite a resilient plant! They can handle underwatering and lower temperatures quite well. However, things to watch out for are overwatering your plant and repotting stress.
Monsteras will grow in almost any substrate, such as water, moss, and soil. But I found that they will throw a fit if you move them from one substrate to another. If you have propagated a cutting in water, take it slow when moving it to soil. I suggest first planting it in moss and, after a few months, moving it to soil.
Lighting and placement
Monstera Deliciosas can produce new leaves that will acclimate to full sun. However, I suggest avoiding full sun at all costs when it comes to Monsteras with any variegation.
The white parts of the leaves are extra sensitive and will most likely burn and go crispy under full sun.
Ideally, you want to place your plant in a room with bright, indirect light. 1 – 2m away from a sun-facing window will be a good spot for it.
If you feel your chosen plant room is not bright enough, you can also add artificial lighting to help your Albo. A simple grow light or even just an LED bulb will do.
Keep in mind that the variegation on a Monstera Albo is unstable and can potentially revert and lose its variegation.
From my experience and from what I have been told by other plant parents, if you want to ensure your Albo keeps and produces more variegation, you need to make sure it gets as much bright, indirect light as possible. So, adding artificial lighting is a good idea for cloudy days.
Albos can handle a bit of under-watering. But if left too long without watering, you might notice some browning on the edges of your plant’s leaves. What you need to watch out for is overwatering!
Water your plant every 7-10 days during the warmer months and every 10 – 14 days during the cooler months. Only water when the top 3 cm of the soil is dry. You can easily check this by sticking your finger into the soil and checking.
If you water your plant too often and the soil remains waterlogged, you may run the risk of getting root rot. Some easy signs to recognize that your Albo has root rot are if the older leaves start yellowing one by one or if the pot has a strange smell.
My preferred soil mix for an Albo is a standard Aroid mix:
- 30% Leca/pumice
- 30% Bark
- 30% Perlite
- 10% Coco peat
Once you have put together this soil mix, I suggest adding two or three handfuls of worm castings or coco peat. This will help retain water for longer, which helps make plant maintenance easier.
If you prefer to avoid any risk of over-watering, leave this step out. Make sure to stay on top of your watering schedule.
Temperature and humidity
Like most tropical plants, the Monstera Albo enjoys temperatures between 18°C and 27°C. This plant can withstand cooler temperatures but would rather stay warm. So, if you live in an area that can get quite cold, keep your plant away from breezes and windows.
The Albo enjoys and will thrive in higher humidity but still survive in environments as low as 40% humidity.
It isn’t as important to give your plant high humidity as it is to give it constant humidity. The Albo would be much happier at a constant 50% humidity than going from 30% to 80% sporadically.
If your plant doesn’t get constant humidity of at least 50%, you may start to see the white parts of leaves suffer, go brown, and crisp up.
FURTHER READING: How To Increase Humidity for Houseplants (Complete Guide)
The Albo Monstera is not a heavy feeder, so you can feed it once a month. During the growing season, you can increase fertilizing to once every 3 weeks by adding a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer during your watering schedule.
Growth rate and repotting
Monstera Albos are slower growers than normal Monstera Deliciosas due to their variegation. The white patches on an Albo have no chlorophyll, which means there is less surface area to photosynthesize the energy the plant needs to grow.
I have found my Monstera’s growth rates to be very inconsistent. Sometimes, they put out a new leaf every month or so. Other times, it will take several months to put out a new leaf.
Your Monstera plant should put out a new leaf in ideal conditions every 4 – 6 weeks. Monsteras will not put out new growth if you have an inconsistent care schedule.
The Monstera Albo will also start to grow aerial roots at each node which will grow longer and longer, looking for soil to grow into. You can either let these grow, trim them, or plant them back into the pot.
I recommend planting the aerial roots back into the soil; this will make propagation easier if you decide to do so later.
Monstera Albos are climbers, so I would definitely suggest finding something to support your plant as it grows.
A simple wooden rod will be enough to keep your plant stable, but I suggest getting a wooden plank about 10 – 15cm wide to support your plant. The thickness of the plank will help guide aerial roots back down into the soil.
It is not necessary, but you can also put your Albo on a moss pole. Albos do not need their roots to grow into a moss pole to make larger leaves, but a moss pole will be helpful if you decide to propagate it later.
There are two main ways to propagate Monstera Albos: cutting and air layering. We highly recommend the air layering method. Here is a step-by-step guide on this propagation method.
- Locate a healthy node that has started to create an aerial root.
- Fill a pot with soil. Put the pot under the aerial roots. Let the aerial roots contact with soil surface. Attach the pot using cling wrap or tape. The closer, the better.
- Allow the aerial root to grow into the attached pot of soil and water it during your watering routine.
- Using a clear pot is recommended so that you can monitor root growth. Once the plant has established a healthy root system, you can make a stem cutting.
- Using a clean knife or scissors, make a cut about 1-2cm above and below its node and apply cinnamon or growth hormone to the exposed cuttings to prevent stem rot.
Stem rot is one of the biggest killers of Monstera Albo cuttings, so keep a close eye on your cutting. If you notice any black spots forming on the cut, immediately cut it off and reapply the growth hormone.
- Once you have separated the cutting from the mother plant, you can use a wooden rod to stick into the soil and attach the cutting to it. This will give the plant stability until it has grown enough to support itself. Make sure not to bury the node in the soil, as this will create an unnecessary risk of stem rot.
Crispy leaf edges
This is a very common problem with Monstera Albos. This usually occurs due to under watering, inconsistent and low humidity levels. You can help fix this by staying on top of your watering schedule and adding a humidifier close to your plant.
While a Monstera Albo can lose older leaves as it matures, this does not occur often. Check your plant for root rot if you see one or two leaves starting to yellow.
If you suspect root rot, I suggest taking your plant out of its soil and inspecting its roots.
Full moon leaves
Full moon leaves are leaves that come out completely white. While this might be quite pretty, its beauty is fleeting. Fully white leaves tend to die quite quickly.
Try moving your plant away from its light source, and if the next leaf is still completely white, it may be time to try your hand at propagation.
Find a leaf that does not have too much variegation and make a cutting above this node. New growth will start near this cutting and hopefully put out new leaves that do not have the full white trait.