The Monstera Albo, also commonly referred to as the Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana Albo Variegata, is one of the rarest, most sought-after variegated plants in the world, coveted for its striking good looks, which are bound to stop any houseplant lover in their tracks.
Having the large, sweeping, fenestrated leaves of the Monstera Deliciosa is one thing, but add to this marbling or scatterings of bright white and cream, and the result is a plant so beautiful it almost doesn’t seem real.
Resulting from a cell mutation causing a recessive gene, the white areas on the leaves of an Albo lack any chlorophyll, the compound responsible for coloring leaves green. A lack of chlorophyll, which also allows plants to photosynthesize and grow, means this sought-after beauty matures slowly, a point we’ll touch on extensively in this article.
Indeed, we’ll also look at how to care for Monstera Albo, in terms of their growing conditions, and if it is possible to encourage reproduction. Read on to find out all there is to know about this incredible anomaly of the houseplant world.
Why is the Monstera Albo so expensive?
Monstera Albo are expensive because they are incredibly rare and scarce, with their natural genetic mutation occurring in only one of roughly 100,000 specimens. Together with this, they also grow slowly and are difficult to propagate, meaning suppliers cannot keep up with the market demand.
As soon as a product has limited availability, we witness an increase in price. This is, of course, a natural economic phenomenon but does leave us asking why the Albo is so difficult to come by, especially compared to other types of Monstera. And the answer is simple: these plants just aren’t that easy to produce.
The Monstera Albo price is dictated by the factors that surround its accessibility. The Albo, which grows slowly, is not a guaranteed propagator, and often Monstera Albo cuttings end up reverting to plain green as they mature. Furthermore, they are hardly, if ever, successfully grown from Monstera seed, meaning that there is no guaranteed supply of them.
To complicate matters further, the coloring of this partially white Monstera is exactly what also makes it more susceptible to ill health when young or rooting. This is because of the lower energy production caused by their recessive chlorophyll.
In fact, the whiter a leaf cutting is, the lower its chance of survival through to rooting, as there is barely any energy-creating growth compound embedded in its tissue.
How much does a Monstera Albo cost?
For a Monstera Albo, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 for a small cutting to over $1,000 for a juvenile plant. The highest price a Monstera Albo has ever fetched was around $4,900 for a mature, sizeable, and very healthy specimen from New Zealand.
While these prices for Monstera plants sound excessive, we must remember that it is only because of their scarcity that these beauties are so costly. Their variegation is unpredictable, meaning that breeders need to work doubly hard and propagate infinitely more Monstera Albo cuttings to end up with just one plant.
Of course, there are exceptions. On occasion, Monstera Albo cuttings have gone for cheaper, but this is generally through online marketplaces, where the onus to see the plant through to maturity lies with the purchaser. There is no guarantee these delicate Albo cuttings will survive transport, or for that matter, even have any variegation as they age.
How do you get a Monstera Albo?
Monstera Albo are not freely available at shopping centers, garden centers, or nurseries. Generally, they can only be purchased via specialist plant breeders or through online stores specializing in rare breeds. Occasionally, cuttings are sold on online sites like Etsy and eBay.
Caring for a Monstera Albo is one thing, but getting your hands on one in the first place can be even more challenging. I advise setting up a Google alert for avid collectors to let you know when they become available.
And if you’re fortunate enough to come across a Monstera Albo for sale, make sure to verify its owner before taking the leap.
Best place to find a variegated Monstera for sale
My favorite site for buying plants online, and where I’d recommend looking for a variegated Monstera for sale, is Etsy. With all sorts of plants on there, it can be a great option for finding those plants that you aren’t able to get anywhere else.
Even just looking when writing this, there is a massive amount of variegated Monstera for sale on Etsy at the moment for some very reasonable prices. That includes not only Monstera Albo, but variegated versions of other types of Monstera, so take a look to see if the specific one you’re looking for in on there.
How do you care for a Monstera Albo plant?
Monstera Albo are parented by Monstera Deliciosa, and thus their care requirements are much the same, barring their light needs, which are more complex. They need regular watering, occasional feeding, and good-quality, well-draining aroid soil. They also love a lot of humidity.
Monstera Albo care is relatively straightforward. These beauties are inherently tropical, having originated in the jungle regions of Mexico and Central America. For this reason, they love hotter climes with lots of moisture and plenty of sun. Moisture is a must and can be supplemented with a plug-in humidifier.
In terms of how often to water your Monstera, regular watering, with allowance for the top layer of soil to dry between hydration sessions, is the best way to ensure your Albo doesn’t contract root rot. Low doses of a slow-release liquid fertilizer for your Monstera can help to ensure your plant receives sufficient nutrients to thrive. In terms of soil, chunky bits of bark or peat moss serve the dual purpose of feeding your Albo’s roots while retaining air circulation and moisture around them.
The most complex part of caring for a Monstera Albo is ensuring it has plenty of light but not enough to scorch it. Regarding how much light your Monstera needs, the best way to go about this is to settle it in a spot that receives up to eight hours of intense, indirect light per day, but preferably morning sun, which is less harsh than the rays of the afternoon.
The reason they require so much light is related to their chlorophyll deficiency, meaning that their existing supply needs to overcompensate for their lack, to produce sufficient energy to grow and thrive.
What is the best soil for Monstera Albo?
The best soil for a Monstera Albo is a mix of top-quality potting soil, a moisture-retaining compound like perlite, and chunky bits of nutrient-rich matter like bark or peat moss. Compact, dense soil is too heavy for an Albo’s roots and can compress and suffocate them.
Given that specialized hybrids like the Monstera Albo are pretty prone to root rot, your first port of call is to ensure you have your Albo baby in the best soil for your Monstera, which is generally a well-draining soil mix. Root rot in Monstera is difficult to reverse and usually requires transplanting, which is super stressful for plants.
A perfect mix retains sufficient moisture for your plant to receive constant hydration without becoming cloggy, usually through means of additions like perlite. Large pieces of organic matter, like bark or moss, keep air flowing between roots while also providing food.
Does Monstera Albo like humidity?
Monstera Albo love humidity and require it in high levels to keep their delicate leaves hydrated and healthy. An Albo’s white-patterned leaves may curl, dry, or develop brown edges without sufficient moisture. You can combat this quite easily with regular misting or supplemental humidity.
You can take a Monstera out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of it. These wonders of the natural world love moist air, which is heightened when their leaves are pale, like in the case of the Albo.
To ensure your Monstera receives adequate moisture (between 60% and 80%), you can regularly mist it with a spray bottle, keep it close to other plants, and keep a room humidifier on standby.
Find out more: 12 Proven Tips to Get Your Monstera the Humidity It Needs
How often do you water Monstera Albo?
Technically, Monstera Albo should be watered every seven to ten days, but a better way to monitor this is to allow the top layer of soil to dry out between sessions. If you’re unsure, invest in a moisture meter. When watering an Albo, ensure all excess water drains away or is discarded.
Monstera Albo, like all Monstera, love a lot of water. However, they do not utilize it as quickly as standard Deliciosa, as they don’t convert as much energy from the sun. Be wary of overwatering your Monstera Albo, resulting in devastating root rot.
How fast does Monstera Albo grow?
Of the variegated varieties, the Monstera Albo is one of the faster-growing species. A healthy, mature, and settled Albo plant can expand by one to two feet per year in optimal conditions, producing new leaves every few months.
While Albo don’t grow nearly as fast as standard Deliciosa, they are still gratifying in their unfurling of new leaves and can size up substantially in only a year. This is, of course, provided all their needs are met in terms of light, water, nutrients, and humidity.
How often do Monstera Albo grow new leaves?
On average, an Albo produces one leaf per growth node per month (in a prime growing environment). The bigger your plant, the more leaves it will produce, as it will have multiple growth points.
This may, however, be slower in the event that all its needs aren’t being met, like if your Albo could probably do with a bit more light or an extra dose of fertilizer. How fast your Monstera will grow new leaves isn’t an exact science though, so don’t panic if you think things aren’t moving at quite the speed you expected.
Similarly, don’t spend all your waking hours staring intently at your new Monstera Albo’s node for growth – it will come, I promise.
Are Monstera Albo hard to grow?
Monstera Albo are considered difficult to grow, as they don’t possess as much energy-converting chlorophyll as standard Monstera. From a propagation point of view, they are also not guaranteed to root, or if they do, to produce variegation.
All beautiful things are worth the effort, and the Albo is no different. This beauty is tough to grow from a young age for the reasons outlined above, but once settled, the situation changes, and they just need proper care.
Get some tips on how to propagate Monstera to help your Albo cutting thrive.
Why is my Monstera Albo not growing?
A Monstera Albo will struggle to thrive if its health requirements are jeopardized or unmet. Most often, if a Monstera Albo is not growing, it’s because of a deficiency or an overcompensation. Too little light, water, food, or humidity can stunt your Albo’s growth, but so can too much.
If your Monstera Albo isn’t growing, diagnosing the reason often comes down to a process of elimination. For example, test the light it’s getting and if you think there may not be enough (or too much) shift it towards or away from the nearest window to see if that makes a difference. If it doesn’t, work your way down the list and you should fix things soon enough.
On the other hand, if you’re working off a cutting, make sure it’s a viable one. This includes ensuring that the cutting from your Monstera Albo includes a node, as the last thing you want is to pay good money for a Monstera Albo cutting that won’t actually grow (given that you can’t propagate a Monstera without a node!)
When can I repot Monstera Albo?
Transplanting can be stressful for plants, and an Albo should only be repotted once every two to three years or if it becomes rootbound and desperately needs more space. Only repot during spring or summer, as the hotter seasons of the year are when an Albo produces maximum energy for healing.
Monstera Albo Variegata are creatures of habit, preferring to settle and stay in one spot to focus themselves on growing. Naturally, the time will come when moving them into a larger container is necessary, but try to avoid doing so unless it’s an absolute must. Generally speaking, the time for when to repot your Monstera Albo is when its roots start to outgrow their container.
In cases where you suspect root rot, it’s also appropriate to transplant your Albo to attempt to eradicate the infection. Do so carefully to avoid further damage.
What can you do with a Monstera Albo cutting?
Should you be fortunate enough to get your hands on a Monstera Albo cutting, your priority is to get it rooting. The easiest way to do so is to set it in a container of clean, fresh water, close to a strong source of consistently bright, indirect light.
Like when growing any Monstera in water, change the water every few days and keep the humidity levels in your Monstera Albo cutting’s growing environment as high as possible. With luck, you’ll see new roots in four to six weeks, after which your new Albo is ready for planting.
Can you grow Monstera Albo from seed?
Monstera Albo seeds are unpredictable and generally don’t produce favorable results. For this reason, it is instead recommended to pay the high Monstera Albo Variegata price to try to obtain a cutting or plant. Your chances of seeing it through to maturity are much higher.
There are stories of seed scams littering the Internet, and many a heart has been broken by a seedling unwilling to variegate. To prevent this disappointment, stick to purchasing or sourcing an Albo you already know will meet your expectations, most likely an already-established plant.
Is there a Monstera Deliciosa Albo?
The Monstera Deliciosa Albo is the common name for a variegated specimen of the well-known Monstera Deliciosa. The Albo closely resembles its parent plants in shape, size, and form, with the explicit difference between the two being splatters or patches of cream or white on its leaves.
While there are several varieties of variegated Monstera, the Albo is the one we usually see littering our Instagram feeds. It’s easily recognizable due to its resemblance to the standard Deliciosa and slightly more obtainable than some other rare Variegata.
If you like the Deliciosa may also be interested in learning about the Monstera borsigiana, given how often the two are confused.
Is Monstera Albo toxic to cats?
Most of the plants in the Monstera are mildly toxic, particularly if consumed by domestic animals. Signs of Albo poisoning in a cat include vomiting, swelling, oral irritation, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing. It’s best to keep these plants out of reach of felines.
While the taste alone should be enough to deter them, we all know that cats have a mind of their own when it comes to munching on plants, so keep your Albo out of reach. Not only will this keep your kitty cats safe, but it will also protect your Monstera’s leaves from unsightly bite marks.