Variegated Monstera Deliciosa
This rare, yet beautiful houseplant is becoming the trend of indoor tropicals. With white speckles and splashes its leaves and sometimes on their petioles - the stem that holds the leaves to the stalk - and stems.
These plants are extremely rare and hard to find making these plants very expensive. They are no doubt beautiful and unique and the chances of randomly producing one is 1:100,000.
Recently, we were lucky enough to have brought one of these gems in from Florida. In the image below, you can see the white speckle across the bottom of the leaf. This can be replanted and potentially grown to a more full size variegated monstera with the white splashed across the plant head to toe.
How does a Monstera become "Variegated"?
The spectacular white splash effect is cause by a mutation in chlorophyll which is the green pigment found in plants. This is called chimera variegated which is the result of the mixture of the chlorophyll with less tissue than other areas it causing the shades of white to speckle across the plant.
Variegation can occur in 3 ways:
Randomly, which is the least stable type of variegation, occurring from seed and the white spots could disappear.
Genetically, the most common, where these plants will show two different chromosomal make-ups, where some tissue can produce chlorophyll while some cannot.
Viral, in which will often occur in flowers and not leaves, but can destroy the colour in the entire plant. This can be transplanted from cuttings of the original plant, not through seeds and is considered a viral infection that is very difficult to get rid of.
It is common for Monstera Deliciosa to lose its variegation altogether or show more/less as it is growing. This will occur if the Monstera is unstable.
*Note: a completely white stem Monstera can be unhealthy, since as we know it has less tissue on these white areas which can therefore compromise the strength. Look for an even mix of green and white in order to get the best outcome of the mixture.
How to take care of Variegated Monstera's.
Taking care of a Variegated Monstera is not all that different from other tropical household plants. The biggest difference we will stress is that it needs more light since it has a lack of chlorophyll!
It should be between 18-27 degrees Celsius or 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the plant is left in temperatures below this for long periods of time, it can damage the plant and stop growing.
These plants thrive under high humidity levels above 60%. Some people spray their plant every day, but this isn't necessary.
Keep in mind that for variegated tropicals, humidity levels are higher than straight green Monstera's.
Watering once a week is usually enough for most conditions the plant is in. You can check to see that the soil is dry in order to know if you should water it again.
Check that the soil is damp, not soggy, and is draining quickly as these plants should not stay wet for long periods of time.
Indirect bright light is best for this kind of tropical. Direct sunlight/light for long periods of time can damage and burn the leaves of the plant. Variegated Monstera's do require more light than regular Monstera's do however, so direct morning sunlight for a few hours is fine, but be careful that it is not in direct light all day. Dim light is not ideal, more so indirect light from the sun is best throughout the day in order for these plants to thrive!
The soil needs to be able to drain well in order to allow excess water to escape the plant when necessary. The soil should be moist, but never soggy. Adding some orchid bark or perlite can add extra drainage for this plant to make sure it is never soaking for too long!
Only fertilize during the Spring and Summer months with 20-20-20 NPK-Fertilizer. In the Winter and Fall months, the plant is not in growth mode and therefore does not need to be fertilized.
Variegated Monstera's can get up to 10 feet tall, with white and/or yellow splashes across its leaves and stem, and is unique as its variegation varies among all plants. The roots can produce aerial roots that help the plant fixate itself onto other plants or a tree, so if you provide the plant with a pole to link onto it can grow bigger and the stems can grow stronger and thicker!
Make sure your pot has a drainage hole at the bottom to allow excess water to escape (since we have the soil that allows the water to escape too!).
Browning Leaves: this is an indication that the plant has been overwatered and that it may have a lack of proper light. It needs a proper ratio of water to light, therefore check that the soil is moist and not soggy (and with that, water the plant less if the soil is soggy) and see that the plant has sufficient indirect light throughout the day.
Yellowing Leaves: There is one common solution to this and that is that the leaves are simply old and are ready to fall off. No sweat, this is common and usually will be a single leaf that will first turn yellow, then wilt, and then fall off. However, this is also common from overwatering the tropical. Make sure that you are only watering it once a week and the plant has proper drainage from the soil and pot so that the plant is not wet for a long period of time.
Brown Leaf Tips: This can be from lack of humidity or dry air. Remember, these plants thrive in 60% humidity, so make sure it is being sprayed with water daily or in proper humid conditions.
Infections of Mites or Scales: This is when there appears to be tiny insects on your Monstera's leaves. Mites are small insects that suck the sap from the underside of the plants leaves. Scale insects are brown, black, or white and suck on the sap on the plant, but these are easier to spot as they grow. Both can harm your plant! Spray your plant with dish soap or an alcohol solution such as neem oil, or even try bug spray if all else does not work.
Variegated Monstera Facts
Every one of the plants are different. That is one of the things that make this plant so special! No two are exactly alike, with different variations of white speckles on the stem, leaves, and petioles.
The variegation can occur in white, yellow or golden variegated, and venal, which is white and yellow veins in the leaves.
Variegation occurs more often in other tropicals such as Alocasias and Philodendrons, but it is un-noticed because it appears more common. For these tropicals, it can be seen from the attractive green leaves with the white veins within the leaves.
It is extremely hard to propagate this type of plant, which is why they are so costly. So if you ever get your hands on one, take great care of it!
If the Variegated Monstera is half white and half green it is considered to be EVEN MORE rare and is called a "half moon variegation".
Pistils Nursery, May 31, 2018
The Absurd Word, May 21, 2019