Congratulations on your albo monstera! It’s a gorgeous plant, and monstera deliciosa albo variegata care isn’t too tricky. Learn where the plant came from, how to tell it apart from the Thai constellation monstera, how to propagate it, and how to help it thrive!
Monstera deliciosa albo variegata care & propagation
Today I am sharing a plant I can’t believe I finally acquired—the uber trendy and elusive monstera albo borsigiana, aka the monstera deliciosa albo variegata, or simply albo monstera.
That’s right, this gal got an albo! I decided I wanted to sit on this post for a bit before publishing it to make sure I didn’t kill it, lol. The albo monstera is a type of variegated monstera deliciosa plant, much like the Thai constellation monstera.
You can check out my post all about my Thai constellation monstera plants, but this post is about the albo! (Though I’ll go over some of the similarities and differences to help you determine which plant is right for you.)
Monstera genus background
First let’s go over monstera as a genus. This specific genus has 45 species of flowering plants in it, including many you’ve probably heard of: monstera peru and monstera siltepecana are two types of monstera plants that are commonly grown as houseplants.
Generally monstera plants are evergreen vines that can grow MASSIVE in nature. They grow up and climb trees, clinging to the trunks with aerial roots. The leaves can be fenestrated (aka split) and have holes in them.
These fenestrations increase the plants exposure to sunlight but letting more light through the upper leaves and allow the plant to use less energy to grow. As houseplants, monsteras stay much smaller, but they can still grow to impressive sizes! Here’s my monstera deliciosa…
So…what is a monstera deliciosa albo variegata?
A monstera deliciosa albo variegata is a variegated version of monstera deliciosa. The albo came from a natural mutation of the plant that was then propagated and reproduced. That means that each leaf on a monstera albo is different, and you don’t know what you’ll get until the leaf opens.
The leaves are generally a combination of medium jade-green and white. Leaves can be almost entirely white or simply have some white splotches, patterns, or blocks. Or leaves can be “half moon,” where exactly one half of the leaf is green and one is white.
What is variegation?
Kind of cool, right? But to fully understand monstera deliciosa albo variegata care, you need to understand variegation. It’s what makes this plant so expensive, so rare, and so finicky.
Variegation can occur on many different types of plants, and you can tell a variegated plant because it has lighter splotches, speckling, stripes, or marbling on the leaves. This variegation can be different colors, but for the albo it’s white.
These spots on the plant’s leaves are a lack of chlorophyll. But while this lack of chlorophyll might look beautiful, it actually makes caring for the plant a bit more challenging.
That’s because plants require chlorophyll to photosynthesize. Think about it this way: the green parts of the leaves have the good stuff that helps the plant grow, while the white or variegated parts don’t contribute anything toward the plant’s growth. They just look nice 🙂
So what does that mean? It means the plants grow slower and probably needs more light. So that is one thing that makes monstera deliciosa albo variegata care a bit more challenging.
Is the variegation on albo monstera plants stable?
No. And that’s a real bummer. Because the variegation is a result of a naturally occurring mutation, it isn’t stable. That means that the leaves can revert back to all green…which is a fear of nearly all albo monstera owners!
How do I keep my monstera deliciosa albo variegata variegated?
But don’t worry, there are some things you can do to help keep the plant healthy with great variegation. If your plant grows an all-green or nearly-green leaf, you should trim it off. I know! That would be painful.
But trimming it back will hopefully help prevent that pattern from continuing. I have had to do this on my philodendron birkin—another plant with an unstable variegation—and it worked like a charm.
The same goes for all-white leaves. They are unbelievably stunning—and you SHOULD take 1,000 pictures of an all-white leaf if you get one—but you’ll need to trim them off, too. That’s because they have no chlorophyll and contribute nothing to the plant.
They actually hold the plant back from having healthy new growth because the plant struggled to maintain that deadbeat leaf. If you don’t trim the leaf off, it will likely die off on its own. Or turn a gross brown and slowly die.
Why are albo monstera plants so expensive?
Because of the growth and variegation, mostly. Since these are slow growers, that keeps the number of available plants lower. They are also just trendy, so that certainly helps a lot!
I expect that while the prices of other variegated monsteras will drop in the coming years (like Thai constellation monsteras), albo monstera prices will likely stay pretty stable. Unless demand for them drops, then the price will likely drop too.
What are the differences between an albo variegata and a Thai constellation monstera?
As I mentioned, albo monsteras are a result of cultivating plants from a random, natural mutation. That means that the plant cannot be grown from a seeding, and the variegation is unpredictable and unstable.
Every albo monstera you encounter is propagated from generations of albos that all stem from one mother plant. Mother albo! She must be so proud.
The Thai constellation monstera also cannot be grown from a seed. That’s because it was developed in a lab in Thailand. So the variegation on a Thai is not naturally occurring and is therefore much more stable. Basically, don’t worry about your Thai variegation reverting!
The variegation on the plants can look very similar, especially on juvenile leaves. For example, both plants have leaves with a jade-green base. However, the variegation on an albo is marbled or blocky. It is also nearly white—if not pure white.
The Thai constellation variegation, however, is more of a creamy color, and the patterns look more like speckles and splashes. But it is possible for Thais to kick out a half moon leaf where one half is green and the other is cream.
Overall, the plants are quite similar. They both grow slowly due to the variegation, and they are both pricey. You’ll likely pay more for an albo monstera, though, given Costa Farms is shooting to begin mass producing Thai constellation monsteras in 2023.
Also keep in mind the less stable variegation on an albo monstera, meaning you need to be mindful of losing its variegation.
How much does an albo monstera cost?
In the interest of transparency, I paid $150 for mine from a local seller at a small plant show. It was listed for $175 and she gave me a $25 end-of-day discount. The roots were phenomenal, and the single leaf it had was gorgeous!
My plant is a mid-cut, which means it has an active growth point, but nothing has come out yet. It’s just the single leaf until that happens. You can get an albo that’s a top cut, meaning there is a new, full-sized leaf on the way.
But you’re gonna pay. The same lovely seller had some GORGEOUS top cut albo monsteras with several leaves for $400+. Sadly that is just more than I can pay for a plant…but I am so jealous of whoever got it.
Prices on Etsy range from $50–150 for a single node. Yes, just a stem cutting with a node on it! For cuttings, it depends on whether they are rooted or not, but it can be a few to several hundred.
If you don’t have any options locally, I have purchased several plants off Etsy and have been really happy with all of them. I do recommend checking local Facebook groups before buying online, though.
I have seen a few cuttings and nodes go for reasonable prices in my local plant groups. Then you also don’t have to deal with shipping, which is a huge relief!
How might light does a monstera deliciosa albo variegata need?
I feel like I’m beating this point over its head way too much, but the white variegation in the albo monstera’s leaves mean that those spots are not contributing to the plant’s growth. Therefore, the green parts must work in overdrive.
That means that this is not a low-light plant. It needs plenty of bright, indirect light to thrive. I currently have mine in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet under LED grow lights that stay on for about 12 hours a day. (See my guide for using grow lights with houseplants for more.)
Albos will also do just fine in front of a sunny window—just be careful you don’t burn the leaves. Too much direct sunlight will definitely burn the leaves. I’ve burned leaves on my monstera deliciosa, and it’s super sad 🙁
How often do you water Monstera Albo?
Put down the watering can! Albo monstera plants are extremely prone to root rot. Root rot occurs when the plant is overwatered and the roots suffocate. I water both of my variegated monsteras only when the soil has all but completely dried out.
I have seen others recommend watering when the top few inches of soil dries out, but I tend to err on the drier side. Monitor your plant and see how it does.
Monstera deliciosa albo variegata care and soil
Water is one part of preventing root rot, while soil is the other. Monsteras in general, but especially albo monsteras, like a light, well-draining soil. Mine come growing in moss but was ready for soil.
To plant it, I mixed up some high-quality indoor potting soil premixed with additives to encourage good drainage. Then I added in another handful or coco coir (similar to peat moss) and coarse perlite. (Read more about soil additives in my houseplant soil 101 post.)
These additives help to encourage air flow to the roots and facilitate good drainage. This way, when I water my plant, I can let all of the water flow through the soil, and the extra drains away immediately. Only give this plant what it needs—no more!
Fertilizer, temperature, & humidity
I will be honest, I don’t really fertilize my plants. I might give this slow grower a bit of a boost next spring, but I generally just rely on the fertilizer that comes pre-mixed in high-quality plant soils.
I also like to mix in organic worm castings (worm poop), which is super nutrient-dense. PLants love this, and there is no risk of burning the plant from over-fertilizing. I usually just throw in a spoonful or two depending on the plant’s size.
Albos enjoy warm, wet conditions since they are tropical plants. They are NOT cold hardy. They do well in a variety of household temperatures and humidity levels, but they benefit from additional humidity.
I have my plant next to my little Thai constellation in the Ikea greenhouse cabinet with a little humidity gauge. The humidity levels always stay a bit higher in there form the ambient moisture and wet LECA propagations.
You can also set a humidifier right next to your plant to help with moisture in the air. Especially in the winter when it is so dry in many homes! And speaking of winter, expect growth to slow even more when temperatures drop outside and the days get shorter.
Monstera deliciosa albo variegata growth patterns, repotting, and leaf size
If you’re giving your albo monstera what it needs to be happy, you’ll eventually see new growth. And that is the happiest day ever! I remember when the first leaf on my Thai constellation plant unfurled. I think I took about 100 pictures of it.
One thing to know about albos is that their leafs stay a bit smaller than non-variegated deliciosa leaves. And they stay way smaller than Thai leaves, which get HUGE! Albo leaves grow to a max size of about a foot wide.
When compared to monstera deliciosa and Thai constellation monstera plants, albo monsteras also have more of a draping, vining growth pattern. THat’s because the space between albo monstera leaves is longer.
Because of this, they really benefit from having some sort of structure to climb like a moss pole. Check out my DIY jute pole tutorial using rope and a PVC pipe for a good moss pole alternative, too.
Your albo monstera will likely not need repotted for a while. It is a slow grower and doesn’t like drowning in too much soil. When you see roots emerging from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, it’s probably time to size up an inch!
Common variegated monstera problems
No houseplant is without its problems. Here are some of the common variegated monstera issues you might encounter and how to address them.
1. Yellowing leaves
If your albo monstera is developing yellow leaves, it’s likely due to overwatering or root rot. Make sure you are letting the soil mostly dry out before watering it again. Also check to make sure your soil is light and airy, providing plenty of good drainage.
2. Browning leaves
If your monstera’s leaves have brown on the tips, it’s likely a result of either underwatering or lack of humidity. If the leaves have brown patches on them, it might be sunburn.
3. Solid leaves
If a leaf is losing variegation and turning all green or all white, you’ll need to cut it off. This will help encourage new growth to have variegation.
4. Spider mites
If you notice year leaves dying off and some fine webbing on them, you likely have spider mites. Use an over-the-counter insecticide spray and try to avoid conditions that are too hot and dry. Spider mites love that!
How to propagate an albo monstera plant
There are a few different ways to propagate an albo monstera plant. Chances are that you will be propagating one, too, since it’s much easier to get your hands on a cutting than it is a full plant. (And full plants are EXPENSIVE.)
How to make sure you get a good monstera deliciosa albo variegata cutting
If you are buying your cutting online, make sure you see plenty of pictures. Even if a leaf is beautiful, it won’t grow without a node—so make sure it has at least one node. An aerial root is even better, too!
Check the stem and node area for variegation. True variegated monsteras (including Thai constellations) have variegated stems. Not just leaves. If the stems are solid green, run far away.
I’d also ask if the seller knows where on the plant the cutting came from. The general rule of thumb is that the higher on the plant the cutting came from, the better it is. That said, my albo monstera cutting was a mid-cut, meaning it was not cut from the top of the plant.
As I mentioned, the top-cut plants were just too expensive, so I settled for a mid. Its stem has great variegation though, and the roots were already looking really nice!
If you are buying a “wet stick” or stem cutting without a leaf, take a good look at the node and the stem variegation. This is the only way you can estimate how the plant will grow since it has no foliage.
Method #1: Rooting an albo monstera cutting in water
You can choose to water-root your albo monstera cutting, and plenty do. If you choose this method, wait until the main roots begin branching out into smaller roots that are several inches long. The better the roots, the more likely your albo will be to survive the move to soil.
To help encourage a successful water propagation, I recommend using filtered water with either rooting hormone or something like a bit of SuperThrive to help encourage faster and stronger root development. Keep in a warm, bright spot.
However, I do not personally recommend water rooting for plants that I am deathly afraid of losing. That’s because the shock from water to soil can be dicey.
Method #2: Rooting an albo monstera cutting in sphagnum moss
Instead, I recommend using a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite. Occasionally I also add in some organic worm castings for nutrients—and also rooting hormone!
I love using sphagnum moss because it encourages strong root development. And there is less of a shock when transplanting it to soil. When I purchased my cutting it was already in sphagnum moss.
Keep the moss mixture moist but not wet—and keep humidity high. I have mine in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet where ambient humidity levels are a bit higher.
Once roots are nice and long, you can transplant the cutting to soil just as I described in the water rooting process. Water the soil as normal, and use a really well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. Don’t overwater! Eventually you’ll notice new growth, but remember, it takes a while.
Method #3: Rooting an albo monstera wet stick in moss
If all you can get your hands on is a little stick piece with a node—often called a “wet stick”—don’t worry—you can handle this! You can propagate this into a plant. I’ve very much wanted to try my hand at this!
To root your wet stick, put sphagnum moss and perlite into a small container. Keep the moss moist but not wet. Add the wet stick with the node facing down into the moss. And keep a clear plastic bag over it to maintain humidity.
You can also try using a DIY plant propagation box instead of a plastic bag. I love this method because you can throw a bunch of cuttings into one tiny makeshift greenhouse.
Eventually your plant will root and sprout new growth. I’d keep it in moss until one full new leaf unfurls and then transition to a small pot with soil.
How to avoid stem rot when propagating an albo
To avoid stem rot when propagating an albo monstera, make sure you don’t bury the cutting too deep, and make sure that soil isn’t too wet. Albos are prone to rot, which is another reason why water propagation scares me!
Make sure to take off whatever humidity cover you are using to ensure the cutting is exposed to some air flow. And, most of all…good luck! This isn’t the easiest plant to grow, but with these tips, the odds are in your favor!
Albo update—chopping my first baby off my albo!
I am updating this post by adding a few pics to show the first baby my albo has produced! Once the plant had two leaves, I took the mom and baby out of the pot and gently removed the soil. Then I used a clean knife to remove the baby and potted it up separately.
As you can see from the pics below, mom was pretty rootbound as well. So she was due for a pot up and some fresh soil for spring. Here’s to hoping we get another baby soon! 🙂