There is a lot of interest in variegated Monstera plants at the moment. One of the most talked-about is the white and green Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata. This plant is covered mostly in one color variegation. With white-green, it is a plant we all see on Pinterest and on our Insta wall.
The Monstera family is large, and many of them have variegated varieties. The 3 most common varieties of variegated Monstera plants are:
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Monstera Borsigiana
- Monstera Obliqua (a.k.a. Monstera Adansonii).
And did you know that there are multiple colors of variegation? In the three Monstera varieties, you already have many different ones. And did you know that there is a subspecies of Monstera that is variegated and a tissue-cultured Deliciosa as well? Have a look into the different Monstera plants with variegation and how easy they are to come by. Or maybe not easy to come by, is a better way of putting it.
The mutation of the Monsteras can occur in four different colors. White/cream (Albo), yellow (Aurea), Light green (Sport), and soft green (Mint). Officially you get Albo Variegata, Aurea Variegata, Sport Variegata, and Mint Variegata.
Two Types of Variegation in Monsteras
There are two major types of variegation. The marble variegation is pretty much what you probably imagine: an evenly distributed mixture of green and white leafage. And then there’s the half-moon variegation. Its leaves are a glorious, devastatingly perfect split; one emerald green, the other a milky white. These are much rarer and you can definitely find them on all collector's wish lists. In general, you can say that the more the leaf is variegated, the more it is in high demand. And so, much more expensive.
The most wanted are the Albos, but the Sports are quite interesting too, combining different shades of green within the same leaf.
1. Monstera Deliciosa Variegata
The Monstera houseplants that are variegated begin their life as green seeds. Commercial growers of the plant purchase large amounts of seed and when they are lucky some of the seedlings sprout as a variegated plant. This is how a Monstera becomes a Monstera Variegata. There are different colors in the variegation, making for different namings, like 'Albo', 'Aurea', 'Sport', 'Mint', and then there's the 'Monstera Deliciosa Thai Constellation', which is a story within itself. Below you see some Monstera Deliciosa Aurea Variegata:
Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata
This is one of the most wanted Monsteras. White is not a common occurrence and therefore, a naturally variegated true Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata is not easy to come by. The cost of the plant however is determined by the seller and how much buyers are willing to pay. They are still an expensive option and are usually sold only as a cutting, not a plant. When being sold as a plant they can be extremely expensive as you can read in this article: 'Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata – The Most Expensive Plants in the World?'
Monstera Deliciosa Mint Variegata
The variegation on this plant usually occurs if the meristem cells in the L2 layer fail to produce chlorophyll, which makes them become white on the affected area. The mint color comes from seeing the white layer through a green epidermis. In fact, the mint is really just a light vibrant shade of green achieved by the white added to the vivid green leaves. Another possible explanation for this rare color could be that it comes from a cell mutation that affects chlorophyll and other pigments usually present in leaves but either way, with the Monstera Deliciosa Mint Variegata you have something incredibly special on your hands.
Monstera Deliciosa Thai Constellation
So this plant is more popular in searches than most houseplants, but it’s not a true species. It’s actually a variety of the common Monstera Deliciosa, with striking white patterns on its leaves. The scientific name for this variety is Monstera Deliciosa ‘Thai Constellation’, and this plant is one of the most popular Monsteras. You can read more about the 'Thai Constellation'.
The cost of each plant is reasonable compared with the Variegated Monstera Borsigiana and the Variegated Deliciosa, making it a good option if you want to own a variegated Monstera Deliciosa plant. A simple rooted leaf of this plant sells for over $100 online.
The Monstera Deliciosa Thai Constellation is a tissue culture from one lab in Thailand that supplies the plant worldwide. It is a very stable variegation. This means that when the plants reach maturity, cuttings can be made, like the Borsigiana, that will maintain the ‘star-like’ speckled variegation. Like all variegated plants that hold the expression in their DNA, not their growing conditions, the Monstera Deliciosa Thai Constellation will also produce large chunks of variegation but the amount, and when, is only known to the plant. All plants will display the speckled variegation regardless of this large chunk variegation however the amount varies from plant to plant.
2. Monstera Borsigiana Variegata
Because of its magnificent variegation and prestigious reputation, this variegated Monstera is at the top of many wish lists all over the world—small plants frequently sell for several hundred dollars. It is like the well-known Monstera deliciosa and may be identified by the substantial white variegation on its split leaves. Notice that animals can't handle it, it's toxic for them.
Difference Between the Monstera Deliciosa and Borsigiana
The best way to tell if you have a true Deliciosa or if it is a Borsigiana is the distance between the leaves. Most larger Monstera plants are sold on a moss stick, and when you bought it like this, you can count on it you have a Borsigiana, as they are easy to attach to the moss stick. Deliciosas have their leaves much closer to one another and are more like ground-covering plants, not a climber. You can also check the top of the mature leaves. Where the stem meets the leaf, the true Deliciosa will have a wrinkle that the Borsigiana does not. Make sure you wait to check mature leaves, however, as the immature leaves of the true Deliciosa have not yet developed this wrinkle.
Monstera Borsigiana Albo Variegata
The Monstera Borsigiana Albo is also a rare and sought-after variety of Monstera. It occurs via rare natural chimeric mutation. The care for Monstera Borsigiana Albo is easy. Like all Monsteras it is uncommon for Monstera Borsigiana Albo to attract pests. Simply wipe the foliage once a week to keep them dust-free. Avoid having water on the foliage for a prolonged period of time as it may cause fungus rust.
3. Monstera Obliqua. (Or is it a Monstera Adansonii)?
The Obliqua is the next most popular Monstera species after the Monstera Adansonii by search traffic, but it’s much harder to find online or at plant shops. Monstera Obliqua looks like a Monstera Adansonii that got stuck in a wind tunnel - the holes are so big that some leaves are only held together by tiny filaments.
Monstera Adansonii Albo Variegata
These fragile leaves coupled with their thin stems make it very hard to ship. That means buying a real Monstera Obliqua online is almost impossible. Most of the Monstera Obliqua specimens you’ll see listed are actually Monstera Adansonii. In fact, world expert Dr. Thomas Croat claimed in 2018 that only 17 wild specimens of Monstera Obliqua have ever been found!
So what you are looking for when searching for a variegated Monstera Obliqua, is actually a Monstera Adansonii Variegata. But still, an immensely difficult plant to find. The Monstera Adansonii Albo Variegata cuttings with just one leaf are sold for almost $1,500 each!
Cuttings of Variegated Monsteras
Due to the aerial roots on the Monstera plants, propagation is easy. A new plant is created in no time. Most of the Variegated Monstera plants you find are cuttings of the Monstera Borsigiana. As explained above, this is a subspecies of the Deliciosa and comes with the advantage that it is a faster grower than the Deliciosa and therefore is relatively more easily accessible.