You did it—you took the plunge and got a Thai! Now you’re looking for Thai Constellation Monstera care and propagation tips. I’ve got you covered with a monster of a post all about this gorgeous plant.
Thai Constellation Monstera care and propagation
If you love trendy houseplants, then you’ve got to check out the Thai Constellation Monstera! These beauties are very popular right now and probably will be for a long time. Thai Constellations have the classic Monstera leaves, but theirs are variegated.
The leaves have cream and green marbled patterns, a mutation caused by a lack of chlorophyll. The cream-colored splatter on its green leaves resembles a starry night sky, which gave it the name “Constellation.” But because we deep dive into Thai Constellation Monstera care, let’s talk about where it came from.
Thai Constellation Monstera origins…it came from a lab!
The Thai Constellation is a yellow-to-white-variegated Monstera Deliciosa that was first developed in a laboratory. Specifically, it was developed in a tissue culture laboratory in Thailand, hence the name.
Unlike most plant origins that can be traced to several different places, this plant can be traced back to exactly one place in the world. This makes the Thai Constellation very rare and sometimes hard to get your hands on. (The tradescantia nanouk is another plant that can be traced back to a single lab, but it isn’t nearly as rare.)
The Monstera Deliciosa is the parent plant of the Thai Constellation, so its origins can give us a lot of insight into what kind of care it needs. The Monstera Deliciosa is native to tropical regions in Central America, from southern Mexico down to Panama.
Both the Thai Constellation and the Monstera Deliciosa are upward climbing shrubs that thrive on humidity, warmth, and bright, indirect light. However, while it has a lot in common with the Monstera Deliciosa, it grows much slower and is a lot more picky about some conditions.
Costa Farms Thai Constellation Monstera plants
The Thai Constellation was named the Favorite New Foliage Plant at the Tropical Plant International Expo in 2020 and is in high demand, so it might be a little difficult (and pricey!) to get your hands on one.
That might change in the future, but I don’t see it changing anytime soon. Here’s why. When Costa rolled out their Thai Constellation Monsteras, everyone assumed that would drop the price dramatically. I was one of those people. However, the release was pushed back. And pushed back. And pushed back.
The release was originally supposed to be 2021 according to Costa, but now it’s 2021 and the internet is saying 2022. (See the comments in this Costa post here.) Costa Farms DID release a few Thais in March 2021 to a couple select grocery stores in Washington and Oregon. Random, right?
Some online think it was to test shipping and of course consumer response. Shipping would make sense since that’s pretty much as far as you can get from Florida without leaving the continental United States. And I don’t think there was any doubt about what consumer response would be.
Can you find Thai Constellation Monsteras at…a grocery store?
So yeah, details are fuzzy, but I saw some pictures rolling around some of the online plant groups I’m in. And it was predictably a bloodbath. I mean, figuratively. People CAMPED OUT overnight to get them. Big gorgeous plants for $80.
No idea how the word got out like that, and employees weren’t allowed to get them unless they were off the clock. They handed out tickets to people to get in. Crazy! So when they release a few plants all around the country, I am expecting them to still be really hard to get your hands on.
Why? Because there are plants out there that aren’t nearly as rare and highly desired as Thai Constellation Monsteras, and people are still scooping them up like crazy. A few of the current Costa Farms 2021 Trending Tropicals show this—like scindapsus treubii moonlights, for example.
And then there’s the flippers…
Flippers are also a big concern when it comes to rare and trendy plants. People literally stalk stores to get these plants and then, given the desire for them, sell them online at a CRAZY markup.
Case in point—someone bought one of the Thais from the Washington/Oregon test run for $80. Popped up online for OVER ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS A FEW DAYS LATER. Here is a screen grab from it. UGH 🙁
So, yeah. I paid a lot for my Thai, and it’s pretty small. But it’s because I don’t ever expect I’ll be at a place in my life to camp out for a plant, and I have patience and can wait for it to grow. 🙂 After all, isn’t that the best part? Watching them grow?
Thai Constellation Monstera care: Let’s talk light
The Thai Constellation’s creamy green leaves are a result of a mutation in its chlorophyll, so its cream colored spots do not absorb light. Chlorophyll plays an important role in turning sunlight into chemical energy, so the Thai Constellation has to work harder than most plants to photosynthesize. That means light is a critical part of Thai Constellation Monstera care.
Its parent plant, Monstera Deliciosa, comes from the tropics where it gets lots of bright light filtered through the canopies. The Thai Constellation Monstera therefore requires the same, if not more, bright indirect light.
You should avoid low light conditions at all costs. If your Thai Constellation isn’t getting enough light, you’ll notice leaf discoloration, slower growth, and leaves not splitting properly. However, too much sun is not a good thing either as it could scorch its delicate leaves.
I currently have mine in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet under a grow light. You can see in this pic about how far it is from the grow light. This grow light does not emit heat, so the leaves aren’t in danger of being too close. I keep the light on full strength for 8 hours a day.
If you’re new to grow lights, check out my post all about how to use grow lights with houseplants. If you choose to move your plant outside for the spring and summer, make sure it is in a shaded area where it gets bright indirect light. Direct sun is a no-go.
How often do you water a Thai Constellation Monstera?
As an epiphyte, Thai Constellations have sensitive aerial roots. They are particularly susceptible to root rot, more so than the parent Monstera Deliciosa. So watering properly is key. Always check that the top few inches of soil is dry before watering again or use a moisture meter.
You should be watering your Thai Constellation about once a week during the spring and summer months, and less in the winter. Signs of overwatering are perspiration on the leaves (drips of water on the tips) and heavy, dense soil.
Wilting leaves and slower growth, on the other hand, are signs you are under-watering. I would err on the side of underwatering, as with most plants. But the Thai is not nearly as tolerant of underwatering as other houseplants are (like snake plants, for example). So aim for that sweet spot!
Soil is an important part of the watering equation. When picking a soil for your Thai Constellation Monstera, your top priority should be good drainage. The soil should stay moist, but never soggy or mushy.
Adding bark and perlite to a high-quality indoor potting mix will help significantly improve drainage. I also like to add worm castings to my soil mixes every spring to help with nutrients. Remember that these plants are highly susceptible to root rot, so dense, heavy soil is a huge no-go.
Thai Constellation plants are epiphytic, meaning they grow on top of other plants and take nutrients from them, so you should also add organic matter to your soil for the best possible results.
A moss pole spritzed with diluted fertilizer is nice too. I didn’t have a moss pole on mine for a while because it pretty small. But I decided to add a small one after it recently pushed out a big new leaf.
My pole is actually a stick I removed the bark from and then glued jute cord around. Looking forward to seeing how this helps the plant grow!
Thai Constellation Monstera care: Temperature & humidity
Much like the Monstera Deliciosa, the Thai Constellation prefers warm weather between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower or higher than that will slow its growth. Or cause it to stop growing altogether.
Don’t worry if temperatures get above 80 degrees where you’re at and you want to have it outside, though. With a lot of humidity and the right light, you can still keep it happy. You may need to water more often because the heat will evaporate the water quickly.
Thai Constellations are not frost tolerant and do not do well in chilly places. If you live in a colder climate, be sure to keep it indoors as necessary.
Thai Constellations are tropical plants, so they absolutely love humidity. They need at least 60% or higher for the best possible growth. Drier conditions will cause this lovely plant’s leaves to brown, turn crispy, and drop.
You should be misting your Thai Constellation about two times a week, but don’t soak the plant too much. A constantly wet soil surface can attract fungus gnats. (See my post on how to get rid of fungus gnats in houseplants for more.) Ensure there are no drafts or vents nearby, especially during the winter.
Repotting a Thai Constellation Monstera
Since these Monsteras grow a bit slower, you shouldn’t need to repot often. I plan to keep my Thai in a plastic nursery pot so I can easily remove it to inspect the root system as necessary.
The best time to repot any plant is the spring. That way, the plant is actively growing and can easily rebound from any root or transplant shock. Refresh the soil when repotting, and increase the pot size by about 1 inch.
If you repot your Thai in a pot that is too much bigger than its current root ball, the soil will retain more moisture than necessary. This can lead to—you guessed it!—root rot. 🙂
How to propagate a Thai Constellation Monstera
Propagating a Thai Constellation is tricky because not all parts of the plant propagate, and the resulting propagation will not always look like the original plant since no two leaves are the same.
However, the best way to propagate a Thai is with stem cuttings. And the process is pretty much exactly the same as propagating a regular monstera deliciosa plant.
Rooting and propagating a Thai Constellation stem cutting
Cut a plant stem from your healthy, mature Thai Constellation during the growing season. Ensure the stem cutting has at least one node and leaf. If the cutting does not have a node, it will not root! Here is a picture of a node on my regular Monstera Deliciosa plant.
Now comes the tricky part. Since the Thai Constellation is prone to rot, you don’t want to use something that is too heavy. However, you also want to keep the medium moist. How do you achieve that?
Well, I would avoid a straight soil mix for sure. Many successfully use a mixture of some high-quality soil, sphagnum moss, and perlite. (I also have a post about how to propagate cuttings in sphagnum moss if you’re interested.)
So if not straight soil, what should I use?
However, I have been cautioned from experienced growers that even that mixture can lead to rot and unsuccessful propagations. And when the stakes are high, you gotta take every precaution possible! So the best option is a chunky mix like this:
Here is a picture of a mixture I got from a friend. All of these materials hold in moisture without making the medium too dense. I’m a fan! You can also use some sort of rooting hormone if you’d like. The original grower I purchased from used Noot, but you might want to check this video out first before ordering.
Make sure you don’t bury the stem too deep in the medium. Make sure to cover the node. Keep the plant in a humid environment that is warm and bright. You can put a bag over top of the plant, but make sure it’s large enough to not touch the leaves.
You could also use a plastic bin with a lid (a “prop box”). Check the medium weekly to monitor the moisture levels. The more humid the environment, the less you’ll need to add water.
All about propagating Thai Constellation Monsteras using wet sticks
Since you can’t grow Thai Constellations from seeds, and mature plants can get really pricey (up to and over $1,000!), the best way to get your hands on one is by purchasing wet sticks online. Wet sticks are stems with nodes that can be propagated and grown into your very own Thai Constellation plant at a fraction of the cost.
When purchasing wet sticks, you can tell if they are variegated or not by the cream colored markings on the stem cutting. If they are spotted or splashed, then your propagated plant will adopt that same variegation, if not, then chances are you aren’t buying a variegated Monstera. Make sure you buy from a reputable seller that posts plenty of pictures!
The best way to propagate wet sticks is using sphagnum moss and perlite. So a mixture similar to the one you use for stem propagation. Sphagnum moss keeps the soil warm and retains moisture very well, while the perlite helps to prevent the mixture from being too dense. Perfect for sprouting roots.
I would take the following steps:
- Make a mixture of about 75% sphagnum moss and 25% chunky perlite. Wet the mixture and squeeze out all excess water.
- Add the mixture to a container and set the wet stick on top of it, node down.
- Cover the container to retain heat and create more humidity; you can use a plastic bag for this. Cut a few slits in the plastic bag for air circulation. It will also air out a bit naturally when you remove the bag to check on it.
- Put the container in a warm, bright place.
- Make sure the mixture stays moist but not too wet.
- It can take anywhere from a month to several months to notice root growth and, eventually, a tiny new baby leaf.
Questions about wet sticks
Here are a few things to ask a seller before buying a wet stick.
- If you can, ask your seller where on the plant the stem and node stick came from. Closer to the top of the plant is usually better, which is why people usually specify whether a plant is a “top cut” or “mid cut” on sales pages.
- If you can get a wet stick that is a few inches on either side of the node, that’s great! That way, if you deal with any rot on either side of the stem, you can trim it off and try to save it before it reaches the point of no return—the node.
- Ask how long ago the seller took the stem cutting. The more recent the cutting was taken, the better. Make sure each end is calloused over.
- The thicker the wet stick, the better.
What are the differences between an Albo Variegata and a Thai Constellation Monstera?
The Monstera genus has 45 different species of plants, most of which are tropical and have beautiful leaves with swiss-cheese-like holes in them. Only three Monsteras have variegated varieties, one of which is the Monstera Deliciosa.
Variegated Monsteras can only happen through random mutations—or intentional mutations created in a lab. There are two main kinds of variegated Monstera Deliciosa: the Thai Constellation and the Borsigiana Albo Variegata.
The Monstera Albo is a unique mutation that cannot be grown as a seedling. Therefore, every single one that exists is a clone from the original mother plant. That is kind of cool to think about, isn’t it?
Its leaves have large bright creamish-white spots and splotches all over. The fact that its chlorophyll mutation is more prominent means that they are weaker and more difficult to care for.
It is also not very stable, meaning it can lose its variegation as it grows or through propagation. The Monstera Albo is very expensive and rare, and because of its unique variegation, it’s in high demand from plant lovers everywhere.
The Thai Constellation also cannot be grown from a seed because it was developed in a laboratory. Thai Constellations have creamy-yellow speckles and splotches, almost like someone flicked cream colored paint on them.
This variegation is very stable, which means it won’t lose its coloring, and you can take cuttings from a mature Thai Constellation and the propagated plants will maintain the constellation-like variegation. Because of its stability and slightly lower cost, I opted for a Thai.
How to tell if your Monstera is variegated
Now that you know the two main types of variegations of Monstera Deliciosas, how do you tell if yours is variegated? Variegation is rare, but it is very easy to spot. Variegation means there is some discoloration in the leaves that resulted from a mutation, either randomly or artificially.
Random variegation is extremely rare. It only happens to one in every 100,000 Monsteras. So your best chance of getting a variegated Monstera is to buy one. (Side note, someone in my town randomly found a variegated Monstera Deliciosa at a LOWES! I could not believe it.)
You can tell if your Monstera is variegated if the leaves, stems, and petioles (where the leaf connects to the stem) have white, cream, or yellow splashes. If a monstera only has variegation on its leaves and not any of its stems, that’s not a good sign at all.
Not to freak you out, but sometimes pest infestations can look a bit like variegation as well. Check out this spot that popped up on my Monstera Deliciosa when it had thrips. Talk about a let down—it’s not variegation, it’s one of the most annoying houseplant pests IN THE WORLD.
How to keep your Monstera variegated
If your Monstera Deliciosa is truly variegated, you can increase variegation by pruning your plants to where it has more variegation, which ideally will increase variegation growth. So if you cut your stem back to the last variegated leaf, the next few leaves it grows are likely to be variegated as well. (Same method for a Philodendron Birkin that is reverting.)
Too much variegation is not a good thing, however. The more variegated a plant is, the more mutations it has, and the weaker it is. Leaves that are mostly white or yellow will not photosynthesize as well as a regular leaf because they are missing too much chlorophyll. They also might die off, like the one below.
Additionally, variegated plants grow slower because of slower photosynthesis, and they are more sensitive to the sun. All of this might make variegated Monstera Deliciosas like the Thai Constellation a bit of a challenge, but is it worth it? Yes ma’am it is. 🙂 Good luck with yours!