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Monstera Variegata, Deliciosa Albo

by Max Gustafsson
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Is it a spell? It sounds a bit magical with the strange words. But magical things should have magical names, of course, and a plant that glows with strange white patterns on its unusual leaves should of course have a worthy name. However, the meaning of the words becomes clear when you get an explanation of what they stand for.

Small Latin lesson about Monstera Variegata:

MonsteraThe Monstera plant is an epiphyte, i.e. a plant that lives on other plants without taking nourishment from them. The monstrosity can grow very tall where it grows naturally in South and Central America. There, it uses other plants as support to reach the sunlight. But it is also very decorative and in the home it makes a nice houseplant.
DeliciosaDeliciosa is the Latin name for the type of Monstera most often seen in Swedish homes.
Alba/AlboMeans “white”.
VariegataVariegata is the name given to plants with different coloured leaves, so called because the plant is brocade. White-brown spots are caused by a mutation that creates a lack of chlorophyll in parts of the leaf. Much like pigment spots in human skin.

A Monstera with white variegated leaves

Monstera is an impressive plant, it has special leaves that are kind of cut out or hollow. It can grow huge where it grows naturally in the rainforests of Central and South America, in fact over 10 metres tall. But even as a houseplant, it can be enormous and make its unmistakable mark on the room where it stands. Most commonly, the leaves are shiny and completely green, but there is also a variety that is particularly desirable: the white-speckled ‘white monstera deliciosa variegata’. The white parts of the leaves take on different shapes, creating a plant unlike any other.

Monstera with nickname: Adam’s rib

Yes, that’s Monstera Deliciosa by another name. Not surprising, since the shape of the leaves resembles ribs or a ribcage. Did you know that the leaf’s characteristic shape is due to the fact that it is less sensitive to wind? The huge leaves could easily be torn apart by the wind if evolution hadn’t been so clever.

Care instructions for Monstera variegata

Such a special potted plant obviously needs careful management to develop optimally. In the case of plants with whitish-brown leaves, they are particularly sensitive to sunlight, much like a person with very fair skin. Things to consider:

  • Many people water their Monstera too much. It is more likely to die from overwatering than from drought. A couple of times a week is enough. It should dry out between waterings.
  • Nutrition is good to add a couple of times a month. But check the dosage!
  • The monster likes high humidity. Its native habitat is in the rainforest environment. It therefore benefits from frequent showering, a spray bottle is a good investment for a Monstera owner.
  • Coming from warmer climates, the Monster doesn’t like it when the temperature gets too low. Below 18° it does not like.
  • If your Monstera Variegata becomes frayed at the edges, it may have received too much sunlight. If so, move it a bit into the room, it is beneficial and gives whiter leaves. The white-spotted one is particularly sensitive, because the lack of chlorophyll in the white parts prevents photosynthesis.
  • It happens that a Monstera develops aerial roots. Stick them in the soil, it will do the plant good.
  • Place your Monstera where it has room to develop – it can grow quite large. It may also need support of some kind, either in the pot or by tying it up against something.

Why is Monstera Variegata so expensive?

A Monstera with white spots on the leaves is more expensive than the regular variety. This is not surprising, as the white-brown variant requires a lot of care and there is a small chance that the mutation that causes the white-brownness will also show up in new specimens.

Monstera Variegata has quickly become popular because you see them in interior design magazines and various reports where they are a great focal point. Growers are therefore simply unable to meet demand, which of course contributes to price levels. However, it is perfectly possible to take cuttings if you know someone who already has a specimen, they are relatively easy to root.

Where can I buy Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata?

If you’ve got a hankering for this mighty plant, there are cuttings for sale on Tradera, or if you’d rather have a larger specimen, check out Plantasweden.se. Or take the boring option: buy an artificial one. Then google “selling fake monstera”. But nothing can replace the joy of seeing your live houseplants thrive, and fake is never the same.

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