The monstera albo, which is also known the Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo-Variegata’, is a kind of variegated monstera. It has become very popular on Instagram because of its large stunning-looking white patterns that cover almost have of its leaves.
It also closely resembles the Monstera borsigiana, which is another variegated monstera deliciosa variety. However, the biggest difference between them is that the borsigiana has yellow variegations whereas the monstera albo’s is white.
It is likewise worth noting that this is a another rare monstera species that is very expensive. Last one I can remember being sold at auction was at $5,000.
The Monstera Albo is Hard to Find
What makes the price so high is a combination of its beauty and rarity.
Due to the large white variegations, the plant doesn’t produce a lot of chlorophyll. This affects photosynthesis. As such, it grows fairly slowly.
Additionally, they are more difficult to care for as you’ll see below. You also can’t really afford to make any major mistakes. After all, where are you going to get a replacement plant if something goes wrong with this one. So, a lot of care goes into it.
As you’ll see below, propagation is less of a problem because growers are able to do it with good efficiency. But, the time it takes for a plant to grow plus the time it takes to start another plant is what causes the low number.
The lack of supply in the market along with the high demand pushes its price up.
Like many other monstera plants, this is a foliage plant. While it does produce flowers, the striking looks of its heart-shaped leaves with their white patterns stand out most.
It is worth noting that how their leaves look change throughout its lifetime.
As it matures, the leaves split in he middle and begin to grow in size reaching 12 to 15 inches. It is also during this time the fenestrations (holes in the leaves) start appearing.
The holes are designed to help its large foliage withstand strong winds and rain in its native habitat. Otherwise, these can easily sustain damage and ripping.
Monstera Albo Plant Care
Monstera Albo Light
The monstera albo, like other variegated monstera species are better off with more light than their solid green leaved counterparts. That’s because their variegations (in this case white) are not able to absorb light or produce chlorophyll like the green part of its foliage.
Unfortunately, chlorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis. Which in turn creates the plant’s energy.
So, in order to make up for this, it needs to receive more light.
However, bright, indirect light is best. Outdoors, it does best under some kind of shade provided that there is 70% to 85% sunlight. You can use a tree for shade or a canopy.
If you can’t use either, you can pick up a shade cover (20% to 40% works) from your local nursery. Gardening centers use these covers to protect plants that stay under the sun all day but cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
Such is the case for the monstera albo. While it rarely experiences sunburn or scorching, it isn’t immune to them. And, leaving it under direct sunlight for long periods will harm the plant.
From above, you already know that low light conditions aren’t ideal for this beautiful variegated monstera deliciosa,. Lack of light will cause it slow in growth or completely stop if dark enough. It will also lose its variegations in order to adapt to the situation. And, you’ll see fewer and smaller leaves.
Thus, you want to careful with the north if the window on that side of your home doesn’t get a lot of light. In warmer areas, the north won’t be much of a problem since these regions tend to get more sunlight as a whole.
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Monstera Albo Temperature & Humidity
The monstera albo does best in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. While it can tolerate a little lower, up to about 55 degrees, it will begin to start experiencing stress at that level. If left there, it sustain damage.
Since the plant is not frost hardy, you want to bring it indoors when the temperature drops to that level. It is not a good idea to leave it outside in the winter.
The only exception is if you live in USDA zones 9b to 11. In these areas, you can grow them outside all year round.
Although, be aware that outdoors, it lives by its “monstera” name. That is in grows into the size of a monster that’s much bigger than its indoor counterpart. As such, make sure you give it enough room to grow.
A great way to display it is by allowing it to climb up a trellis or similar vertical setup. Alternatively, you can hang it by a planter as well.
Humidity is another story. Here, it is best to keep humidity over 60%. That’s typically higher that what most homes would have (30% to 50%). As such, it is a good idea to mist the plant, group it with other plants, set it on a pebble tray or run a humidifier.
All of these work. It just depends on how much you need to increase humidity. The more natural means are not able to push humidity up by as much as a humidifier. So, if your home’s RH is in the 30s, then a humidifier is a good idea.
Without enough humidity, you’ll notice the white variegations begin to turn brown.
Monstera Albo Watering
The monstera albo is not a thirsty plant. As long as you keep the soil slightly moist and well-draining, it will be happy. This comes out to about once a week watering on average.
But, do expect to water more during the spring and summer as the plant is actively growing. During this time it will need more resources, including food and water.
On the other hand, in the cold months, growth slows down and it rests through the winter. As such, allow the soil to dry a bit more.
In general, it is a good idea to allow the soil to dry or almost dry between waterings. Thus, only water when the top 2 inches of soil gets dry. If you feel some moisture there, wait a little longer.
The one thing you want to stay away from is overwatering. Even allowing it to stay in muddy or soggy soil is a no-no. Your monstera albo cannot tolerate wet conditions for long periods of time.
Once in a while, you’ll be able to get away this this. But, do if often enough and it can lead to root rot.
Another thing worth knowing is that the plant is sensitive to minerals. As such, you don’t want to use tap water unless you’re sure your municipality doesn’t add a lot of chemicals including fluoride or chlorine in the water.
Otherwise, always let tap water sit for at least overnight, better for 24 hours, before pouring on your plant. You can likewise collect rainwater and use that. Or, use filtered or distilled water.
The monstera albo along with other variegated monstera deliciosa varieties are epiphytes. As such, in their native habitats, they don’t live in soil or in the ground. Instead, they cling onto larger plants and trees. They also get their nutrients from the air and debris that fall from the bigger plants.
Why is this important?
It is important because of 2 things.
- Soil is not necessary. It means you can grow your monstera albo in soil or allow it to hang from a mounted piece of wood.
- Loose and airy soil that quickly drains water is crucial. While it rains a lot in rainforests, the plant, being in air quickly dries. As such, you want to use a substrate that mimics this kind of conditions – enough moisture but doesn’t hold on to water for too long.
So how do you apply this?
Use well draining soil that is loose and light. You can use regular potting mix but add perlite to improve drainage. If you find it is draining too quickly, add peat moss to improve water retention so the plant can stay hydrated.
Similarly, to satisfy its climbing habit, set up a moss pole or some kind of vertical structure for it to climb.
The monstera albo isn’t a heavy feeder. So, you can use a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) once a month during spring and summer which is its growing season. Make sure to dilute it to 50% the recommended strength to avoid root or leaf burn.
You don’t need to fee the plant in the fall or winter.
Besides liquid fertilizer, you can use slow release plant foods as well. This allows you to distribute the dose across weeks and months instead of applying the entire concentration at once. Doing so gives a steady stream of nutrients for optimum growth, with the least risk of fertilizer burn.
Since it is sensitive to mineral buildup, the plant is likewise susceptible to root burn from too much fertilizer. You also want to avoid cheap fertilizer which leaves lots of salt that builds up in the soil.
Monstera Albo Pruning
Over time, the plant will grow. And, at some point, it can get unruly. Thus, it is a good idea to trim it to keep these in check. The plant will get big indoors. So size and shape control is essential.
On average, you can expect 1 to 2 feet of growth annually. Staking it or using a moss pole will allow it to grow vertically. That way it doesn’t go all over the place.
When you prune, you don’t have to be too gentle with it. Your monstera albo can take a good trimming so you can go to town.
Remove dead or discolored leaves. And also trim off any leggy portions. Pruning will promote new growth which helps more even variegation.
There are a few ways to propagate monstera albo including seed, division and stem cuttings. Seed takes a very long time. And, division is a good option if you’re plant is already big and you want to limit the size.
However, the easiest way to propagate the plant is via stem cuttings. This is fairly straightforward. And, you don’t have to disturb the mother plant.
Additionally, unlike growing from seed, you’re sure that the new plant will be a clone of the parent plant.
How to Propagate Monstera Albo from Stem Cuttings
- Choose a healthy stem. You want it to have at least 2 or 3 leaves on it and be around 4 to 6 inches long so it can stand out of water or soil.
- Make the cut just below a leaf node. You want to include at least one node because that’s where the new plant will grow from. Without it, the cutting won’t grow. Make sure to use a sterilized pair of scissors or pruning shears.
- Remove the lower leaves as they will go into water or soil.
- Allow the cutting to dry. A thin stem will take faster to dry because the cut is smaller. A bigger one will take at least a day or more.
- Now, you can choose between rooting in water or directly into potting soil. The former has a higher success rate and will root faster. Plus, you can see the roots grow. But, going into water is an extra step. After which, you’ll transfer it to soil. As such, soil jumps the extra step. It is also harder because you won’t know if it is rooting or not, and if there are any problems happening (since it is under the soil).
- If you grow in water, place the stem end into a glass or jar of water. Change the water daily to keep it clean.
- After about 3 to 6 weeks you should see some roots growing from the end of the cutting.
- Once the roots grow to an inch or longer, you can transfer it to a pot with fresh, well-draining soil.
- If you decide to go directly to potting mix, fill a small pot with fast draining soil.
- Make a small hole then insert the stem into and pack it.
- After about a month or so, lightly tug on the plant. Ideally, it should resist which is a sign that roots have developed and set their initial foundation. Don’t tug hard since the roots are not well developed yet nor are they established.
- Keep watering and keep in a bright, slightly shaded area away from direct sunlight.
- In the next few months it should start growing leaves.
- And, when it outgrows the small pot move it to a standard sized one.
Monstera Albo Transplanting & Repotting
The monstera albo will need to be reotted once every 2 years. At times, a little earlier than that.
You want to watch out for roots that are coming out from the container. Usually the start from the bottom holes since that’s the path of least resistance.
So, once that happens, it is time to move it to a bigger container. However, if this happens around fall or winter, wait till spring before repotting.
You want the right temperature and during its growing season (so summer works too as long as it is not too hot that day). This allows the plant to recover from the shock of being transplanted faster.
And, start growing after that with the extra space provided.
When choosing a pot go up 1 to 2 inches for a smaller plant and maximum of 2 to 4 inches for larger ones. Don’t go up more than that. Otherwise, you run the risk of letting it sit it water for too long when wet.
In case, you don’t want to move it to a larger pot, you have a few options. This is possible if the plant has grown quite big. Or, you feel the size is just right for where you’re putting it at home.
- Repot the plant in the same container. Here, you’ll need to trim the roots and some of the foliage. Then refresh the potting soil. The smaller root system will let you use the same container.
- Separate the plant. Last I heard, a monstera albo sold for $5,000 at auction. This is a valuable plant because of its beauty and rarity. So, you can separate the plant to get two instead of one. Then decide if you want to keep it, gift it or sell it for profit. All you need to do is separate part of the root ball. But, do trace where the stems and roots come from so you know which sections to take out. Then replant the mother plant in its pot with fresh soil. By now, it will be smaller in size. Then pot the new plant as well in its own container.
Like other monstera plants, the albo is toxic to both people and animals. So, keep young kids, dogs, cats and horses away from it. Ingesting the plant can cause mild to serious side effects including vomiting and difficulty breathing in addition to swelling.
Pests and Diseases
Your monstera albo can be attacked by pests. The most common of them being spider mites and scale.
Both are bothersome creatures because they suck on the sap of the plant causing damage. This also robs the plant of valuable nutrients.
Mites are harder to spot. Often, you’ll see damage in the leaves. Scale are more visible to the human eye.
Either way, when you spot these pets, immediately spray with insecticidal soap. This will take about 3 to 4 weeks to resolve so you need to stay consistent. Another option is neem oil.
Besides pests, root rot is another problem, albeit rare for this plant. That said, you always want to be warry about it because once it spreads enough, there’s no saving your plant.