To encourage variegation in Monstera houseplants, it’s best to work with pre-existing variegated seeds, saplings, or stem cuttings. Depending on the desirable patterns, you have to provide appropriate sunlight, fertilizer, water, soil, repotting privileges, and timely trimmings.
Today, we’ll attempt to figure out how to encourage variegation in Monstera houseplants. Additionally, we’ll provide a chart on some of the common variegated patterns so you can take better care of the rare variegated Monstera specimens in your nursery.
What Is Variegation In Monstera Houseplants?
Ideally, Monstera plants have a refreshing green-toned appearance. Variegation occurs when a normal Monstera houseplant can’t get appropriate access to chlorophyll, either due to genetic restrictions or lack of proper sunlight for photosynthesis.
Apart from genetic mutations, Monstera houseplants can have Chimeric and Engineered mutations as well. Chimeric mutations occur randomly in isolated scenarios. You won’t be able to cultivate or harvest similar traits in future generations.
Genetic and engineered mutations, on the other hand, offer stable and harvestable traits. The DNA permanently gets altered in these mutations, and you can later develop similarly patterned saplings from mother seeds and stem cuttings.
Some Common Types of Variegated Monsteras
The vibrant and eye-catching leaves of variegated Monstera houseplants offer variable but distinguishable patterns to please the eyes of the beholder. Here are the most common types of variegated Monsteras you’ll find in the homes of flora and fauna enthusiasts –
|Monstera Variegation||Distinguishable Traits & Patterns|
|4.||Monstera Albo Borsigiana||
|6.||Monstera Mint Variegata||
5 Essential Tips to Induce Variegation in Monstera
Variegated Monstera houseplants are quite unique as you won’t easily find them out in the wild. As such, they require extra attention and care to survive the limitations of natural selection and to evolve within the parameters of your nursery.
Here are a few details that you shouldn’t overlook if you’re trying to induce further variegation in a variegated Monstera houseplant –
Sunlight should be your top-most priority if you’re trying to care for a variegated Monstera specimen. Variegation mainly occurs due to a lack of chlorophyll in certain spots. And the production and distribution of chlorophyll are closely related to exposure to sunlight.
Without proper sunlight, houseplants suffer from chlorophyll deficiency as the photosynthesis process partly comes to a halt. If a Monstera specimen has albino variegations, i.e., white or whitish patterns, they need periodical exposure to brightness and darkness.
As in, they don’t need as much sunlight as the other varieties, and you can keep them in comparatively dark and cold spaces. However, the bare minimum exposure to sunlight is still needed for overall photosynthesis and photophosphorylation.
Some of the other colorful varieties, such as the Monstera Aurea Marmorata, Thai Constellation, etc. variegations require prolonged exposure to sunlight. These specimens need to produce a huge amount of chlorophyll and color pigments, which is impossible without proper sunlight.
Water your variegated Monstera plants every morning to help them thrive freely. While watering variegated Monstera plants, make sure to use a little bit of extra water.
Monstera plants, in general, thrive decently in wet conditions. They can also live through dry periods, but not for too long. Make sure to maintain a humid atmosphere, to keep the leaves from drying out due to lack of water vapor in the air.
Additionally, keep an eye out for appropriate drainage facilities. If you use too much water and water accumulates near the roots for too long, they’ll start to rot. Don’t let that happen.
Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen – a variegated Monstera houseplant needs these three elements in equal amounts to receive proper nutrition for growth. We’d recommend using the Espoma potting soil mix as it’s both organic and fulfills the aforementioned condition.
With this soil mix, you won’t have to use external fertilizers to boost the growth rate. Simply use it while you’re planting the specimen for the first time. Use it again while repotting the specimens.
4. Occasional Repotting
Repotting is essential for variegated Monstera houseplants to make sure they have enough space to grow and elongate. While repotting, make sure the root stays substantially dry and intact.
Furthermore, the new pot should be at least 2-3 inches larger in diameter than the previous one. However, if the container is too large, the root will become comparatively fragile. Hence, it’s best to repot the plants every few weeks to arrange for optimal growing space.
5. Periodical Stem Trimming
Periodical stem trimmings help to propagate variegations throughout the new stemlets. After a variegated specimen becomes elongated enough after months of nutritious growth, you can cut off 4-6 inches of stem without harming the plant.
You can then plant this stem with healthy leaves in fertilized soil or water to initiate a new generation of variegated patterns. Doing this helps the mother plants as well since the extra stems and leaves can weigh the plants down and affect their structural integrity.
Q: Are variegated Monstera houseplants expensive?
Yes, depending on the rarity of the variegated patterns, Monstera houseplants can be extremely expensive. Even the common varieties can sell for thousands of dollars. The current record for the most expensive variegated Monstera belongs to an adansonii Monstera Variegata breed. Blessed with extremely colorful patterns, this specific plant sold for a whopping $38000.
Q: Can you artificially introduce the Mosaic virus to induce variegation in Monstera houseplants?
It’s not highly recommended, but yes, it’s possible to willingly expose the Monstera houseplants to the Mosaic virus to develop traits like Monstera obliqua Variegata, adansonii albo-variegata, and the yellow-toned Aurea Monstera Marmorata.
Q: Does inducing variegation in Monstera houseplants reduce their life expectancy in general?
In short, yes. Variegated Monstera houseplants are already vulnerable in terms of self-sustainability as they are scarce and don’t happen naturally. Hence, constantly trying to explore and exploit variegated traits in Monstera houseplants will reduce their life expectancy.
Q: Can you induce variegation in a normal Monstera plant?
It’s highly unlikely for a normal Monstera breed to develop variegated traits, but not utterly impossible. In terms of mathematical accuracy, the ratio is around 100000 to 1. As in, in every 100000 attempts, the chance of receiving a variegated Monstera is just 1 from a normal breed.
Q: Is it possible for variegated Monstera houseplants to develop further variegated traits?
It primarily depends on the genetic traits of the mother plant. If the mother plant comes with almost non-existent variegated traits, you can try growing it out in more sunlight. If you’re lucky, you’ll start to see more variations as the stems grow out further.
So, how to encourage variegation in Monstera to enrich and elevate the standards of your houseplant collections? Variegation in Monstera houseplants demands two important things – proper attention and control over external factors.
Such as – exposure to sunlight, fertilizers, and even viruses. Give the plants time and care to elongate before exploiting the traits further. Forcing the houseplants to speed up the process will do more harm than good, so make sure to steer clear of such thoughts.
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