The unique Variegated Monstera adansonii is difficult not to notice in any space, even when it is located among other plants.
Its incredible variegated leaves always stand out with an enchanting combination of green and white, and oval holes between the lateral nerves! With good reason, this variety is one of the rarest, most sought after, and most expensive aroid plants.
What Is Variegated Monstera Adansonii?
Monstera plants are native to American rainforests, where they grow as climbers that adhere to the hold by aerial roots. Their common feature is constituted by their large, shiny, perforated leaves that are the reason why plants of this genus are often called “cheese plants.”
Monstera adansonii variegated is the product of a spontaneous mutation of a green plant variant, stable enough to be transmitted as a genetic trait of a species. Growing indoors, the plant can reach up to 10 feet in length and much more when grown outdoors.
Young plants grow bushy, with leaves appearing on upright stems. Over time, each stem elongates and grows vertically, so the plant turns into a vine that needs a moss pole support or can be grown in hanging baskets.
Each leaf has unique variegation, from those predominantly green to those with totally white albino leaves. If you add unusual holes inside the leaf plate, it is obvious why adansonii variegated is such a desirable houseplant among aroid lovers.
Variegated Monstera Adansonii Care
But before we move on to a detailed description of the conditions in which you need to grow it, let us note that Variegated Monstera adansonii — like other plants in this family — contains calcium oxalate, which is toxic to humans and pets. Therefore, with all the other tips we will share with you, keep in mind that it should be placed out of the reach of children and pets!
– Light Requirements
The general botanical rule says that plants with variegated leaves need more light than dark, monochromatic ones. Only the green parts of the leaves contain chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis as the fundamental process in the life of any plant.
Some variegated plants can lose the pattern and turn into monochromatic ones if they grow in low light conditions. Fortunately, Monstera adansonii does not belong to this group. Lack of light will not cause loss of variegation but will affect the overall appearance of the plant and its growth.
Therefore, this plant needs a bright place where it can get eight to ten hours of light all year round but without direct sunlight. The ideal positions are the north and east windows, but the plant will grow next to the south or west window if it is at a suitable distance or if the window is shaded in the hottest part of the day.
Variegated Monstera Adansonii and Insufficient Lighting
The problem with insufficient lighting is especially pronounced in the winter months, when the day is significantly shorter. If you want to keep your Variegated Monstera adansonii in good shape over the winter, it would be good to add artificial lighting. One ordinary room lamp — placed at a safe distance not to damage the plant’s foliage and switched on for 10 hours a day — will ensure that the plant has adequate amounts of light even in winter. You can also use artificial lighting throughout the year if the place where you keep your plant is not well lit.
– Water Requirements
The proper watering rhythm of this or any other houseplant usually means the difference between a healthy plant that thrives well and a diseased, pale, and tormented one. That is why adequate water intake is fundamental in the life of any potted plant.
When growing plants of tropical origin that love moisture, you need to be especially careful since it is easy to overdo it! Such a mistake often leads to several problems and even to the irreversible decay of the plant.
As a typical tropical plant, Variegated Monstera adansonii likes moist soil, but this is not to say that its substrate has to be wet all the time. During spring and summer, you could water it once or two times a week, depending on the size of the plant, the size of the pot, the amount of light, humidity, and room temperature.
In other words, water it when you see that the substrate surface is dry at a depth of one inch. In winter, reduce watering to once every two or three weeks. When you water your variegated adansonii, remember that it is always easier to water a thirsty plant than treat one drowning in water!
– Soil Requirements
Variegated Monstera adansonii thrives in nutritious and well-drained soil with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction, specifically in the pH range of 5.5 to 6.6. In specialty stores, it is possible to find a ready-made substrate created according to the needs of aroids, and thus ideal for growing your Monstera adansonii.
However, if you can’t find such a mix, you can still make your homemade mixture. Mix equal parts of potting soil, orchid bark or coco chips, and peat moss or coco fiber. You can add a handful of compost to the mixture to increase its nutritional value. Large fragments of orchid bark or similar material will contribute to drainage, and peat moss will prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.
– Temperature Requirements
In moderate climates (United States climate zones 9b to 11), Variegated Monstera adansonii can grow outside as a perennial, planted in the ground. In all other areas, it thrives only as a houseplant, protected from low temperatures.
It does not tolerate frost, so the leaves die when the temperature approaches the freezing point. Stems and roots are somewhat more resistant, but even these parts of the plant decay at temperatures below 28 °F. Due to all the above, the Variegated Monstera adansonii grows best at temperatures ranging from 65 to 80 °F. Therefore, place it in an evenly heated room in both summer and winter.
Tropical forests, where this plant grows in the wild, are synonymous with a warm and humid environment. For this reason, you need to create similar conditions even when you cultivate it far from its homeland.
Although it can adapt to an average room humidity, this rare beauty still deserves you to take some additional measures and get the humidity level close to that of its natural ecosystem.
You can do this in several ways. The easiest way is to spray its leaves once a week with lukewarm stagnant water. Conferring additional moisture, this treatment is suitable for removing dust and particles that accumulate on its leaves. Wiping the leaves with a damp cloth or sponge will also help create favorable conditions for the plant.
You can also place the plant on a pebble tray or group the plants, creating a small microclimatic zone with increased moisture levels. If you have more tropical plants, a humidifier might be the best solution. The gadget will do the job instead of you and provide the desired humidity level.
Variegated Monstera adansonii is a fast-growing plant that welcomes additional nutrition during the growing season because the plant has less chlorophyll due to its variegated leaves. Feed it regularly, twice a month, from spring to autumn, with a liquid, balanced fertilizer with NPK ratio 20:20:20, but diluted to half the specified concentration.
Granulated or pellet slow-release fertilizers are an ideal solution for those who tend to forget or do not have enough time to follow the regime of adding fertilizer twice a month while watering the plant. Such fertilizers are introduced into the substrate in the spring during transplanting. Depending on the concentration, they are generally sufficient for the whole season.
If you have added compost or worm casting to the planting mix, you should not fertilize the plant for at least two months. Wait to see how the plant copes with these natural fertilizers, so if it slows down growth after two months, you can start adding liquid fertilizer.
Monstera is not a fan of a cramped pot, so you should provide its roots enough space to grow. The root ball, as well as the aboveground part, develop quite quickly. Therefore, while it is young, transplant your Variegated Monstera adansonii every spring into a one or two inches larger pot. The mature, adult plant you can transplant every other year in the spring, before the sunshine and higher temperatures restart physiological processes.
However, transplanting does not necessarily mean that the plant must always get a new larger pot. For adult plants in large pots, it is enough to refresh the substrate without changing the container. You can shorten the peripheral part of the roots lightly to make more room for new root growth.
When choosing a pot, always opt for one with drainage holes. Accumulation of water in the bottom of the pot without an opening will create suitable conditions for bacterial diseases and root rot.
During one single season, Monstera adansonii usually grows one or two feet in height. Under favorable conditions, each stem develops numerous hollow leaves of a beautiful green-white pattern. If the conditions are not ideal, the plant can become leggy, with an elongated stem on which only a few leaves grow.
Such growth is most often the result of insufficient lighting. So find a better position, and feel free to prune the weaker stems. This will stimulate new growth and a more lush form. If the plant grows properly, pruning includes regular removal of damaged, withered, or diseased leaves.
One of the reasons this plant is so rare lies in the fact that the only way to propagate it is stem cuttings. Although it blooms and produces seeds, plants grown from seeds do not have variegated but monochromatic leaves. Therefore, if an adult plant is available to you, do not miss the opportunity to get more precious Variegated Monstera adansonii plants! If you are not sure how to do it, here is the step by step procedure:
- Use sterile scissors or a knife to cut off the stem top with one or two nodes and a few leaves.
- Remove the leaves at the lower end so that only those at the top of the stem remain.
- Place the cuttings in a glass with lukewarm stagnant water.
- At least one node should be dipped in water, while the leaves need to remain above the water surface.
- Place the glass in a spot with indirect lighting and a temperature that should not be lower than 65 °F. The water should be clean, so replace it every few days.
The cuttings will develop a root in the next three or four weeks. When the root veins grow at least one inch, you can transplant the plant into a light and porous mixture of perlite and potting substrate.
– An Alternative: Propagation in Soil
Although it is not common, you can try propagation in soil instead of water. All you have to do is stick the cutting into a container previously filled with a moist mixture of soil and perlite. The mixture should be kept moderately moist during the rooting process.
Cuttings in water take root faster, and the bonus is that you see the root growth. On the other hand, if you use soil, you do not need to transplant your Variegated Monstera adansonii, thus avoiding the stress due to the change of medium that often occurs when you transplant a rooted cutting from water into the soil.
Generally speaking, all the plants from the Monstera genus adapt well to indoor conditions, and their cultivation is not very demanding or overly challenging. Although rare and expensive, Variegated Monstera adansonii does not differ much from other, more common plants of this genus.
If problems do occur, they are always the result of inadequate treatment or inappropriate conditions in which the plant grows. Below is a list of the most common ones you might face:
Slow growth or no growth: When the plant does not have enough light or enough nutrients in the soil, it slows down the processes resulting in poor growth or stagnation. Remember that it needs a lot of light and regular fertilization!
Brown leaves: Necrotic brown spots on the leaves are usually the result of the plant’s exposure to the bright sun, which causes burns on its foliage. Artificial lighting can also lead to this deformation if the lamp is not at the proper distance.
Dry leaf tips: This is usually the consequence of dry air. Variegated Monstera adansonii is a plant from tropical jungles and thus needs high levels of humidity.
Wilting of leaves: If young or newly developed leaves begin to wither, check if the substrate is too dry. The plant probably does not have enough water, and it reduces the transmission of water in the leaves, trying to protect itself from dehydration.
Yellowing of the leaves: Unhealthy, yellowing leaves – especially if accompanied by loss of firmness — are a consequence of excessive watering. Cut off such leaves and adjust the amount of water you add to the soil.
Although not overly prone to pests, common pests such as aphids, mealybugs, or spider mites can attack your plant. These tiny creatures, which are sometimes difficult to spot with the naked eye, drill holes in the leaves from which they extract plant sap, disrupting the plant’s metabolism. They usually settle on the back of the leaves, causing them to curl.
Fortunately, there are effective natural remedies to combat them, like neem oil solutions. Spraying the leaves with water to which you have added this natural insecticide will not harm the plant but is deadly to most pests on houseplants. For safety, repeat the treatment at least two to three times at intervals of several days.
Variegated Monstera adansonii is a rare and often very pricy tropical vine. If you get the opportunity to find this elegant beauty, leave nothing to chance! Its unusual appearance ( and price, too) deserves that you provide it with a pleasant environment in which it will grow successfully, attracting the attention and envy of all your visitors! Growing it will not be an issue if you follow our guidance:
- Place it in a bright position without direct sun, protected from drafts, cold air, and low temperatures.
- Feed it twice a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer.
- Mist its foliage to increase humidity or install a humidifier.
- Grow it in an aroid mixture or blend equal parts of potting soil, orchid bark, and peat moss or coco fiber. A handful of compost in the mix will increase its nutritional value.
- Transplant young plants every spring! Its root needs room to feel comfortable.
- Feel free to prune it if it becomes leggy.
- Water it once or twice a week in spring and summer, less in winter and fall! It likes moisture, but be careful not to overwater it.
- Be careful when handling this plant – it is poisonous and can cause skin irritation and significant disorders if it enters the digestive tract!
After this quick guide, you are good to start your growing experience with the spectacular Variegated Monstera adansonii!
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