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7 Reasons Why Variegated Minima Are So Darn Expensive!

Native to parts of Asia, such as Malaysia and Thailand, variegated minima is a popular “Mini Monstera” houseplant that can reach heights of 4-5 feet when grown indoors. Plant enthusiasts value this species for its uniquely patterned and fenestrated foliage.

Why are variegated minima so expensive? Variegated minima are expensive because they grow slowly, are difficult to propagate, and have unstable variegation. The high price of these plants is also because only a limited number of growers have them, creating much more demand than supply. 

In this article, we’ll review why variegated minima have such high prices.

Why Variegated Minima Are So Expensive

There are several reasons why variegated minima are expensive plants to purchase. They require a specialized grower committed to nurturing their growth and propagation. Their slow growth rate and unstable variegation contribute to their high prices and increasing popularity.

1. Difficult to Grow

Variegated minima have high prices in part because it is difficult to grow these plants. One of the main issues with variegated minima is that they can become leggy. Without adequate light, the plant will stretch in an attempt to reach the limited light source. Ideally, variegated minima will be turned regularly so that all sides of the plant have access to light.

Another factor that makes these plants hard to grow is their susceptibility to pests. In particular, spider mites are a cause for concern with variegated minima. These pests can cause damage to the stems and the leaves of the plant. Any plants that are damaged cannot be sold, so growers must pay special attention to keeping their variegated minima pest-free.

Lastly, these plants can be challenging to grow because of the risk of fungal root rot. When variegated minima are overwatered, they can easily develop root rot, damaging the entire plant. Growers need to use the correct type of soil to ensure proper draining and give the plants just the right amount of water.

2. Hard to Propagate

Since variegated minima are challenging to propagate, growers do not have new plants frequently to sell. Thus they price their existing plants at a high price. The main reason that these plants are difficult to propagate is their slow growth. Since variegated minima grow so slowly, it takes a long time before growers can take cuttings from them.

Once the plant is larger enough, a stem cutting with a couple of leaf nodes can be cut from the mother plant. The leaves should be removed from the nodes and the cutting placed in a glass of water. Cuttings should be placed in bright, indirect light and have the water changed twice a week.

When the roots on the cutting reach at least one inch in length, they must be transferred to a moist potting mix. Growers must keep this potting mix moist while the roots grow and develop.

3. Unstable Variegation

The third reason that variegated minima are so expensive is their unstable variegation. Much of the appeal of these plants comes from their colors and patterns on the leaves. However, variegation depends on the cell mutation of the plant. This varies not only among different plants but also within one plant itself.

Leaves on a minima plant can be fully green, entirely white, or a combination of the two. Fully white plants will die quickly since they are unable to photosynthesize. Variegated minima can revert to unvariegated, meaning that their leaves go back to being all green. 

4. Slow Growth Rates

Though regular minima can grow at a rate of 1-2 feet per year, variegated minima grow much more slowly. These plants have a lack of chlorophyll in their leaves which means they have a smaller surface area for photosynthesizing. Since photosynthesis contributes to the plant’s growth, the variegated minima are limited to developing quickly.

5. Only Grown by Specialized Growers

Variegated minima are only grown successfully by those who have knowledge and experience with these specific plants. Growers need to be willing to spend the time and effort to ensure that these plants develop properly. Since a limited number of people are growing and propagating variegated minima, the demand is higher than the supply, which increases the price.

6. Enthusiasts Are Willing to Pay High Prices

With such a limited supply of variegated minima, many plant enthusiasts are happy to hand over quite a bit of money for these rare species. In New Zealand, a single plant sold for over $27,000 in 2021. In the United States, variegated minima typically range from $100 to several thousand. The price of these plants varies based on their size, condition, and leaf pattern.

7. Increasing in Popularity

As the popularity of these plants increases, buyers are ending up in bidding wars to purchase them. Several variegated minima have sold for thousands of dollars, with hundreds of buyers bidding and increasing the final cost.

Variegated Minima Care Requirements

To properly care for a variegated minima, growers must provide the proper environment for it. Giving the plant ideal conditions will help it grow and thrive.

Soil and Fertilization

Variegated minima should be planted in either a plastic or ceramic pot so that the soil doesn’t dry out quickly. A well-draining soil should be used, such as an equal mix of orchid bark, coco coir, and perlite. Fertilizer should be used once a month in the spring and summer.

Lighting and Temperature

Bright, indirect light is ideal for variegated minima. Too much light will dry the leaves, turn them yellow, and even burn them. Not enough light can result in a lack of fenestrations in the plant.

Watering and Humidity

It is essential to keep a consistent moisture level in the soil; it should be damp but not wet. The roots of the variegated minima are pretty delicate, and overwatering can damage them. In warm temperatures, the plant should be watered once a week, while during the winter, it can go two weeks without watering. This tropical plant enjoys high humidity in the range of 40-60 percent.

Related Questions

If you still have questions about variegated minima, check out the quick facts below.

Do variegated minima plants flower?

Variegated minima plants do not flower. They feature fenestrated leaves that are about six inches long.

Are variegated monstera rare?

Variegated monstera are rare. However, they are increasing in popularity. More growers may begin to propagate these plants to meet the high demand.

Conclusion

With the right conditions and an attentive grower, variegated minima can thrive. Their slow growth rate and propagation challenges contribute to the expensive cost of these plants.