Variegated Monstera

The Monstera plants are popular indoor houseplants, and the Variegated Monstera is magnificent.  I am sure that anyone who owns such a plant will certainly agree!

The Monstera Deliciosa Variegata is a mutation of the Monstera Plant.  It is an evergreen perennial vine that grows up to 8ft in height. The perforated leaves are large with beautiful variegated markings of green with white, cream, yellow or light green.  This showy plant is the ideal houseplant.

Monstera Deliciosa is derived from the tropical forests of southern Mexico and Panama. Did you know that their strong aerial roots are used as ropes in Peru and to make baskets in Mexico!  Read more about this eye-catching Monstera plant!

Why Is The Monstera A Variegated Plant?

Variegation occurs when there is a mutation or modification of the chlorophyll molecule in the plant’s cells.   Chlorophyll is necessary to form the green color in the stem and leaves.  This mutation causes the plant to absorb sunlight at a much lower rate resulting in a lack of green pigment. 

Instead of green foliage, unique markings create beautiful splashes of color with veining, mottling, and edging patterns. 

Variegated Monstera

How To Tell My Plant Is A True Variegated Monstera? 

The Monstera Deliciosa Variegata is considered the true variegation of the Monstera plant because the mutation occurs naturally.  This variegation is due to a genetic mutation that happens after germination.  True Variegated Monsteras are not typical because the variegation is not predictable but rather a generic chance mutation.

How to tell if your plant is a true Deliciosa ‘Variegata’ is to check the top of the mature leaves.  On the actual variety of this variegated plant, there is a wrinkle where the stem meets the leaf.  If not, then it is a sub-species that has been propagated by leaf cuttings or is lab-cultivated.

Characteristics of the Variegated Monstera

The Variegated Monstera is a climbing evergreen perennial vine.  It is commonly named ‘swiss cheese plant’ because of the holes in its leaves.  This plant has large perforated, variegated leaves in colors of green and cream, white, light green, or yellow.  The stem is thick and colored like the leaves, and over time the plant will grow aerial roots that are long and cord-like.

Also Check: When Do Monstera Leaves Split?

Why Are Variegated Monsteras So Expensive?

The scarcity and popularity of these variegated houseplants have made them very expensive to purchase.  The two main factors why are:

  • Variegated Monstera cannot be grown from seed. The plants are either cuttings from one mutated mother plant or lab-cultured, so availability is limited.
  • These variegated cuttings are delicate and challenging to grow, making distribution and shipping more trying.  The plants are most often grown and propagated by specialist nurseries or collectors.

Size And Rate Of Growth

In its native tropical habitat, the Variegated Monstera will stretch into an impressive 70 ft large tree. The indoor plants are much smaller in stature and can reach a height of 8 ft.  Monstera leaves are enormous and can reach up to 2ft in length.

The Variegated Monstera grows slower, but with bright indirect light and consistent moisture, the plant can grow 1 to 2ft per year.  The Monstera’s natural growth pattern is to spread wide, so use stakes to encourage vertical growth.

How To Care For The Variegated Monstera

The Variegated Monstera is a slow grower as they need more time to convert sunlight into the food they need to grow because of their low chlorophyll production.  However, they are quite easy to care for, and with some patience, you will be rewarded with beautiful new leaves.

These plants grow best in environments that resemble the tropics.  The temperature should be between 65°- 80° F, and keep plants away from areas with hot or cold drafts.   Keep the humidity at a medium to a high level; a humidifier is recommended if the area is arid.

Watering Requirements

Watering monstera

Variegated Monsteras do not do well with extreme drought, so be sure to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.  To check the moisture level, insert your finger 2 inches into the soil near the plant’s base.  If the soil is dry, then water.

The frequency of watering will depend on changes in temperature and humidity.  Water more often when in warmer weather and less in the slow growth winter season.  Look out for brown patches on leaves that could mean that the plant is either under or over-watered.

Light Essentials

Variegated plants have some difficulty acquiring the amount of light they need to grow.  It is therefore essential that they be provided with adequate light.  However, they do not do well in direct sunlight.  An ideal area would be a few feet away from a sheer curtained window facing south, east, or west. 

If the plant displays brown patches on the leaves, it could be receiving direct sunlight, which will burn the leaves. Should this happen, adjust the placing and amount of light.

If you notice that the plant has not produced new leaves for a month during the warm seasons, it might be because of too little light.  Move the plant to an area with brighter but indirect light.

Best Soil

These plants prefer potting soil that is well-drained and has a high level of organic matter.  Monstera plants often get root rot, so the soil must be just right.  Mix; 1 part perlite, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part pine bark fines as an ideal soil blend for this plant.

Fertilizing and Feeding   

Fertilizing with a liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month in spring and summer will be sufficient for this plant. Do not fertilize in winter and autumn as the plant is not in its growth model.

Related: White Monstera

Repotting and Pruning

There is no need to repot Variegated Monstera that often as they are slow growers.  If a larger container is required, replant in a pot just a few inches bigger than the original.

Although these plants are slow growers, they still become quite large and will need some pruning.  Using a pair of sharp sanitized shears, cut away some of the leaves and use them for propagating new plants.

Propagating Guide

To propagate a Variegated Monstera, take a cutting of a part of the stem containing a node or aerial root.  The stem does not need to have a leaf as long as the node is attached.  If there are leaves attached, be sure to have only one or two leaves. 

Place the cutting in a jar with filtered, room temperature water and leave the jar in an area that will receive indirect light.  Replace the water once a week.  Roots will form on the cutting within 1 week to a few months and can then be planted into a pot.

Variegated Monsteras with moss pole support

Diseases And Pests

Variegated Monsteras have to contend with diseases such as:

  • Root Rot develops when the plant has been overwatered and is sitting in wet soil. Another sign would be stunted growth or yellowing leaves. If the roots are rotten, the plant cannot receive the nutrients, water, and oxygen it needs to grow.

Digging up the root is the only way to be sure if the plant has root rot.  The roots will appear soft and rotten; if this is so, then the problem is severe.  To prevent this from happening, only water when the top inch or two of the soil is dry, and use a well-draining potting mix to expel excess water.

  • Yellowing of leaves could also be because the plant is not receiving enough sunlight, so move to a sunnier spot with indirect light.

The most common pests that attack Monstera plants are thrips, scale insects, spider mites, and fungus gnats. You will notice that the leaves turn yellow, there are brown, white, or yellow spots on stems and leaves; holes will appear in leaves and a white or black powdery substance on the plant.

There are ways to rid your plant of these pests by pruning the affected area, using horticultural soap to remove insects; an intense burst of water from a hose will knock them off, and yellow sticky tape is very effective to rid of fungus gnats.  Below are some tips to avoid these pests:

  • Buy any new plants from reputable nurseries and check the plant for any pests.
  • Quarantine new plants for a few weeks before placing them near your Monstera
  • Keep your plant in good condition, water regularly, and supply adequate humidity.
  • Check your Monstera for any pests every time you water
  • Give the plant an occasional treatment with neem oil

Conclusion

The Monstera Deliciosa Variegata is a popular but scarce indoor houseplant.  With its beautiful variegated leaves formed through chance genetic mutation, this magnificent evergreen is easy to take care of, although slow to grow.

With adequate water and light, well-drained soil, and keeping your plant free of disease and pests, the Variegated Monstera will stay healthy and keep displaying its lovely and unique leaf color combinations

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monstera_deliciosa

https://www.thespruce.com/variegated-monstera-deliciosas-5089401

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=b60

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPBJtU6rcEQ

https://www.amazon.com/Purived-Concentrate-All-Purpose-Houseplants-All-Natural/dp/B08VF86MS3/ref=sr_1_8?crid=

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https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Gro-0747210-RTU24-Natures-Insecticidal/dp/B00FVCA30O/ref=sr_1_50?keywords=

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