All hail the rare and elusive Monstera albo (Monstera deliciosa 'Albo Borsigiana'). You have likely seen this Monstera gracing the Instagram pages of some of your favorite plant influencers and collectors. This variegated Monstera is at the top of many wish lists around the world thanks to its stunning variegation and prestige reputation—with small plants often selling for several hundred dollars. It is a subspecies of the popular Monstera deliciosa, characterized by large patches of white, naturally occurring variegation. While it can flower, it is uncommon when grown indoors and its bloom is relatively insignificant compared to its magnificent foliage. Note that it is toxic to pets.
|Botanical Name||Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo Borsigiana’|
|Common Name||Monstera albo, variegated monstera|
|Mature Size||10 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide (indoors) 30 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide (outdoors)|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-draining|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Hardiness Zones||9-11, USA|
|Native Area||Central America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets|
Monstera Albo Care
Native to the tropical rainforests of Central America, these popular, showy houseplants grow well in most indoor conditions. If you’ve cared for a Monstera deliciosa before, then you already have a great head start since caring for the albo is pretty similar. Monstera albo are known for being a bit high-maintenance, so there are a few differences to keep in mind.
To keep its variegation bright and plentiful, provide your Monstera albo with lots of bright, indirect light. At least six to seven hours of filtered light is recommended. It is important to keep these plants out of direct sunlight as the variegated parts of their leaves are extra sensitive to sunburn. If Monstera albos do not get enough light, they will start to lose their variegation, so they are not good low light plants.
A rich, well-draining soil mix is important. A combination of equal parts perlite, orchid bark, coco peat, and coco coir will provide the drainage and nutrients that Monstera albos require. Mixing in some natural fertilizers like worm castings is also a good idea and will provide an extra boost.
These tropical plants are susceptible to root rot if overwatered, so it's important to let the soil dry slightly between waterings. Allow the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry and then water well, allowing the excess water to drain from the pot’s drainage holes.
Temperature and Humidity
As with other plants in the Monstera genus, the albo does best in warm temperatures, ideally between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it well-suited to indoor growing, although it can also be grown outdoors during the summer or year-round in USDA zones 9 to 11.
They do best with at least 60% humidity which is generally higher than most household humidity levels. That means you will likely need to provide added humidity,which can be done by placing a humidifer nearby, grouping it with other plants, or moving it to a naturally humid room like a bathroom or kitchen.
To produce their variegated foliage albos require more diligent feeding than regular Monstera deliciosas. That being said, these monsteras are also susceptible to over-fertilizing, so getting it just right is important. In addition to a potting mix that is enriched with natural fertilizers, feed your plant once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Stop feeding altogether during the fall and winter months when the plant is no longer actively growing.
Propagating Monstera Albo
Since their stunning white variegation is naturally occurring, propagating Monstera albo is the only way to produce more of these amazing plants and is very popular as a result. It is pretty simple to do and is nearly identical to propagating regular Monstera deliciosa. However, propagating variegated Monsteras takes much longer than regular Monsteras, so be patient. It is also common to purchase these variegated monsteras as new or established stem cuttings, so if you are looking for tips on how to care for your new Monstera albo cutting, you can also follow these steps.
Before you begin, it’s important to note that Monstera albo are propagated by stem cuttings only. In order to succeed, the stem cutting must have at least one node on the stem, preferably more.
- Using a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors, take a stem cutting from a healthy Monstera albo. Ideally, the stem cutting should contain at least 1 to 3 nodes along the stem with at least as many leaves.
- Remove the bottom 1 to 2 leaves from the cutting to expose the nodes at the bottom of the stem, leave at least one leaf at the top of the cutting.
- Next, you will need to decide which medium you will root your cutting in. You can choose sphagnum moss, water, leca, or perlite.
- Prepare a small container with your chosen medium. Note that sphagnum moss, leca, and perlite should all be pre-moistened and remain consistently damp throughout the whole rooting process.
- Add your cutting to your prepared medium, ensuring that the exposed nodes at the bottom of the cutting are submerged in the medium and the remaining leaves are not.
- Place your cutting in a location that receives bright, indirect light. Roots should begin to start growing over the next few weeks. Keep your rooting medium stays consistently moist, or if you are rooting in water, change the water once a week.
- Once roots are at least 2 to 3 inches long you can transfer your rooted cutting to a rich and well-draining potting mix. Pre-moisten the soil and plant your cutting.
- Return your potted cutting to bright, indirect light and keep the soil evenly moist for the first one to two weeks to help the plant acclimate..
Potting and Repotting Monstera Albo
These Monsteras are slow-growing and will likely only need to be repotted every two to three years. It is best to repot your Monstera albo in the early to late spring, or in the summer. Avoid repotting in the fall or winter months as the plant enters dormancy. Choose a pot that is one size larger than the previous pot, or 2 to 3 inches larger in diameter.
The first step is to carefully remove the plant from its old pot and loosen the rootball as much as you can without breaking any roots. You want to remove as much of the old soil as possible. Next, place the root ball of the plant in the new pot and cover it with fresh potting mix, and then water it well. Return it to its original location and resume its regular watering schedule.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
Keep an eye out for common houseplant pests like spider mites, scale, mealybugs, fungus gnats, and thrips. Regularly inspecting your plant is the best way to catch any potential infestations early. You can also regularly apply insecticide to the plant as a preventative measure.
Common Problems With Monstera Albo
Monstera albo are generally easy to care for, especially if you have experience growing other types of Monsteras. However, as with any houseplant, there are a few common issues that you may run into while growing these tropical plants indoors.
If your Monstera albo is displaying limp, drooping leaves, there are a few possible reasons. First, the plant may be in shock, especially if you just brought it home. Sensitive to changes in their environment, it may take a while to acclimate to a new space. Provide it with plenty of humidity and warm temperatures, which is likely what it's accustomed to. If your plant is established in your home and is still exhibiting signs of drooping leaves, then it may be underwatered, or has developed root rot.
Yellow leaves are an indication that something in your plant’s growing environment is not right. Usually, it is a sign of overwatering, underwatering, lack of light, or improper fertilization. You will need to assess your plant’s growing environment in order to find the most likely cause.
If you notice that your plant is losing variegation, it is likely not receiving enough light. Give it at least 6 to 7 hours of bright, indirect light. Consider adding a grow light to your set up if you cannot provide your albo with adequate natural light.
The most common causes of browning leaves are lack of humidity, underwatering, and sunburn. Monstera albo are particularly susceptible to brown patches on their leaves compared to the all green Monstera deliciosa, especially in their white variegation.
Why are Monstera albo so expensive?
These Monsteras are rare, hard to come by, slow to propagate, and extremely popular—all of which have increased their prices to nearly astronomical levels. To put it simply, it's an issue of supply and demand—and these trendy plants are certainly in demand.
What’s the difference between a Monstera albo and Monstera Thai Constellation?
Both of these Monsteras are variegated, but the main difference between the two is that the albo’s variegation is naturally occurring while the Thai Constellation is lab-created. In addition, their variegation patterns are different. The albo is characterized by large patches of stark white variegation while the Thai Constellation is characterized by smaller splatters of white/cream variegation.
Is Monstera albo a fast grower?
Due to the variegation on its leaves which impacts photosynthesis, the Monstera albo is slow-growing, especially compared to the regular Monstera deliciosa.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Cutleaf Philodendron.” Aspca.org. N.p., n.d. Web.