It’s very likely that you’ve already seen a Variegated monstera plant. This gorgeous plant species took the online world up by a storm. This sculptural plant became trendy because of the distinct split-colored leaves that are dominantly white instead of the usual green.
Want to know more about this exciting plant? Consult this comprehensive beginner’s guide to getting started.
What Is Variegated Monstera?
Variegation is present among numerous plants, not just monsteras. Variegation means the appearance of different colors on the plant, whether it’s the fruits, flowers, stems, or leaves.
These colored zones may be caused by a number of things, from genetic mutations to the uneven distribution of sunlight.
The variegated monstera is a special type of monstera plant that has variegations on the leaves. This is special because it takes a certain level of expertise to retain the variegations. Additionally, monstera plants cannot be grown from seed so it’s essential to chop off a portion, with a root system and healthy node, so that it will grow into a healthy plant.
Uses of Variegated Monstera
This is not a benefit that is exclusive to this plant because almost all types of plants purify the air. The way this works is that they take carbon dioxide as it is the main ingredient in photosynthesis. They release oxygen molecules as a by-product of this process.
The leaves of this plant are very large which means that they are more efficient at purifying the air.
Varieties of Variegated Indoor Plants
There are various types of variegated plants that are best identified by the distinct patterns on the leaves. These may come in the form of spots, stripes, or solid color blocking.
This is also known as natural or pigmented variegation. That’s because the plants that have this do not have genetic mutations. It’s just a natural part of their genetic makeup to produce such unique patterns. That means that this trait will also be passed down from generation to generation no matter how much you propagate the plant.
What growers do is that they select the plants with the patterns that they like and then they manipulate and accentuate this through cross-breeding. These cultivars are created through selective breeding processes.
This is a genetic mutation and it is the most common type of variegation among plants. What happens is that some chromosomes can create chlorophyll while others cannot. Chlorophyll is the green pigment that allows the plant leaves to photosynthesize. The chimera is the white or yellow zones that are mixed with green shades.
This type of variegation may appear as a solid color or in splashes. There are leaves that are completely white or completely green and normal. It really varies and it is rarely predictable. You may also notice the symmetry in most leaves.
Blister or Reflective Variegation
This type of variegation occurs when there are tiny air pockets that form between the upper and lower layers of the leaves of the plants. So, whenever sunlight enters these air pockets, the light is reflected and it makes the leaves appear silver in color. This reflective variegation appears in dots or circles, hence the name blisters.
Another special future about this type of pattern is that it looks very attractive along the veins of the leaves. You can see this in aroid plants like Alocasias, Philodendrons, and Anthuriums.
There are certain types of plant variegations that are caused by different viruses. The most popular virus is the Mosaic virus. This is not very common but this unique virus has the ability to materialize patterns on the leaves to the point that some cultivars deliberately reproduce this because of the desired pattern on the leaves.
Why Are Variegated Monsteras So Expensive?
With its recent rise to popularity online, the variegated monstera plant remains to be one of the most expensive types of plants on the market. This tall and tropical plant has very unique features and vibrant green leaves that make it one of the most coveted indoor plants.
The primary reason why this type of plant is so expensive is that it is very rare. The current demand is higher than the available supply so the price is inevitably jacked up.
The available supply is low because this plant is quite hard to grow. As aforementioned, its unique pattern causes areas on the leaves that appear yellow or white. While this looks very attractive, that actually means that these areas do not have chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the green pigment of the plant that allows it to photosynthesize, generate energy, and basically live. Because of the areas that do not have chlorophyll, growth is slower which means that every plant is harder to propagate compared to the other species on the market.
This plant requires more sunlight and more care compared to the normal plant. It also requires a certain level of skill to successfully propagate and grow this plant.
If you’re wondering how much this plant costs, the answer is that the average plant ranges from $700 to $5000.
What To Know When Buying A Variegated Monstera
It’s very tempting to purchase a variegated monstera to add to your plant collection. However, there are certain things that you should know before making that purchase because this special plant likewise requires special treatment for it to fully thrive.
As aforementioned, the variegated monstera has different colored areas that represent the amount of chlorophyll in them. When buying this type of plant, make sure to go for a plant with equal parts of white and green on the leaves.
You may be tempted to purchase a plant that is mostly white, but that type of plant is very difficult to care for because it very has very little chlorophyll in it. It is advisable to go for a plant that has equal parts of green and white.
Since this plant is so expensive, another alternative is to purchase it by cutting. This means buying a portion of a whole plant and then propagating that section so that you can grow it into an entire plant on your own.
Make sure that the cutting your purchase has three main parts: node, top cutting, and leaf potential. The node is a brown structure that is very similar to a root system. This typically grows under the leaf and this is an essential part because, without a node, the cutting will not grow into a full plant.
A top cutting is advisable because it is statistically the part with the highest chance to grow into a full plant. This is better than a middle-cutting.
Lastly, the leaf potential refers to sprouted or small leaves that may potentially grow into healthy leaves in the future.
It’s very important to take a look into the history of the seller because it’s very likely to get scammed especially on the internet. Make sure to purchase this plant from reputable sellers that have good reviews from previous clients and possess enough proof that they’ve had satisfied customers.
Don’t be tempted by deals that are too good to be true. You may expect in cutting to cost around 200 to 300 dollars. A small plant with a root system may cost around $400 and up.
Do not believe sellers that are trying to sell you seeds for variegated monsteras because there is no such thing. This type of plant is strictly propagated and you cannot achieve its unique variation by simply planting a seed.
This type of plant is very delicate which means extra care must be taken when shipping it from the supplier to the client. Reputable sellers will have connections with courier services that are familiar with transporting rare plants. That’s why it’s advisable to purchase from local sellers instead of international ones because the transportation process may severely stress out the plant.
If your plant comes in with a couple of bruises and dried leaves, don’t worry because you still have the chance to revive it. Plants are naturally resilient and if you take the necessary steps to ensure that these issues won’t exacerbate, then you can still grow your plant into a healthy one.
How to Care for Variegated monstera
Proper Care And Maintenance
One of the most standard care procedures for the variegated monstera is to water it periodically. There is no specific schedule for this but the best way to assess if your plant is thirsty is to feel the soil for any moisture. Make sure to dig your fingers into the soil to feel if the sub-layer is no longer moist.
It is also advisable to keep your plant in a well-ventilated area and to loosely packed the soil so that the root system won’t get crushed and won’t get drowned with excessive water.
Variegated monsteras thrive better in warm and humid environments due to their tropical origin. You may adjust the humidity for your plant by using a humidifier. You may also place your plant in the bathroom window where there are humidity and indirect sunlight.
Avoid placing your plant in areas with lots of draft and heat, like vents. This can dry out the leaves and cause the plant to die due to dehydration.
How to Propagate Variegated Monstera
The most popular and efficient way to propagate variegated monsteras is through stem cuttings. This allows you to capture all the patterns and ensures that you can replicate the unique variegations.
Simply take the sections with three main parts: node, leaf potential, and top cutting. This may be propagated in water or in soil. After repotting, make sure to stabilize it by monitoring it closely so that it will grow into a healthy plant.
Common Issues With Variegated Monstera
Like any other type of plant, the variegated monstera is susceptible to a couple of issues. Don’t worry because you can easily remedy these. All you need to do is to be fully aware of the symptoms you should watch out for so that you can take action as soon as possible.
When you see yellowing leaves on your plant, this may be due to overwatering. This is a fairly common issue among houseplants and first-timer plant parents because so many people don’t even realize they are overwatering.
Moreover, this overwatering issue doesn’t necessarily mean that you are watering your plant too frequently. It may be due to the plant suddenly slowing down or increasing the rate of water absorption. It may also be due to pots without holes or chunky roots that retain too much moisture.
The best thing to do is to be attentive to your plant by looking at the leaves. If there are only one or two yellow leaves, that may be because the leaf is about to turn brown and fall off.
Brown leafings signify dry air and lack of humidity. This is common among pot-bound indoor plants with a tropical origin. The best thing to do is to adjust the humidity level to something that will make your plant thrive.
You may do this by using a humidifier, transferring the plant to a humid area, or misting the leaves more often. You may also use a pebble tray or switch to a bigger pot with more soil.
Scale Infection And Mites
Scale insects are insects that can compromise your plant’s health. These are brown to black in color and they are relatively easy to spot when they become mature. They may also be color white, depending on the type.
Mites suck the sap out of your plants and you may find these located on the underside of the leaves. The
best solution for both scale and mites is to spray the plant with some diluted alcohol, soap, or neem oil. If these organic methods won’t work, try a bug spray.
Toxicity: Is Your Variegated Monstera Safe for Pets?
The variegated monstera is only toxic in excessive amounts. A bite won’t hurt your pet but too much can cause an upset stomach, skin issues, and stinging in the mouth, throat, and digestive system.
To air on the safe side, keep this plant out of reach of pets and children.
Is Variegated Monstera Right for You?
There’s always the question of whether or not this type of plant is a good plant choice for beginner plant parents. The answer is yes, first-timers can handle this with no issue. Caring for this plant is all about being attentive to its needs so that you can keep it as healthy as possible.
Another major consideration is whether or not you live in a humid area. As aforementioned, this plant thrives best when placed in a humid location. It can survive in cold areas but it will need a humidifier and frequent misting just to keep the leaves from drying out.
Can you grow variegated monstera from the seed?
This is very unlikely because the main way through which you can retain the variegations is by stem cutting. In this manner, you can clone the exact patterns from your desired plant to the offspring.
Where can I buy this type of plant?
Aside from legitimate plant suppliers, you may also purchase from eBay, Facebook, and Etsy.
Will the price of this plant decrease over time?
As with anything, economics will also apply in the plant industry. The main factor that will affect the price is the virtue of supply and demand. For as long as this plant is still considered rare, then you may expect it to be more expensive than the rest of the readily available types of plants.