The plant known as Monstera ‘Albo’ is highly coveted among houseplant enthusiasts due to the unique variegation that can appear on its leaves.
For Monstera ‘Albo’, this variegation comes from a natural mutation that affects the amount of chlorophyll (green) in the leaves.
Variegation can either be marbling (blended patterns of the light and green sections), sectoral (large patches of light), or a combination of the two.
Why is Monstera ‘Albo’ so expensive? Monstera ‘Albo’ is expensive because the coloration is caused by a natural mutation that is not genetically passed down through seeds reliably. Even cuttings do not have a 100% success rate to recreate the same variegation. Also, this plant has a slow growth rate, high demand, and limited supply.
Striking variegation of white or yellow is highly prized in houseplants. However, this coloration is actually a source of stress for the plant.
The lack of chlorophyll in those parts of the leaves means that photosynthesis, the process that creates energy for the plant, cannot take place.
Therefore, the very thing that makes this plant so desirable is also part of what makes it hard to grow and maintain.
Why Monstera ‘Albo Variegata’ Is So Expensive
Monstera ‘Albo’ has a few different names, including M. deliciosa borsigiana ‘Variegata’, M. deliciosa borsigiana ‘Albo’, M. deliciosa ‘Albo’, M. deliciosa ‘Variegata’, and M. deliciosa ‘Albo Variegata’.
These all refer to the same plant which also uses the common names variegated monstera or albo monstera.
The parent plant of variegated monstera is Monstera deliciosa, which has the iconic fenestration in its large leaves.
#1 Monstera ‘Albo’ Can Not Be Grown From Seed Reliably
Since the variegation on Monstera ‘Albo’ comes from a natural mutation, it can take thousands upon thousands of seeds to find another mutated plant.
While the mutation affects the genetic material of the plant, it is not passed down to the seeds.
#2 Monstera ‘Albo’ Requires Skill To Propagate
In general, Monstera plants are fairly easy to propagate through stem cuttings. However, the variegation means that these plants do not grow as quickly as other varieties.
This means that the cuttings can die before they have the opportunity to put out new roots.
#3 Slow Growth Rates
Monstera ‘Albo’ grows slowly because the lack of chlorophyll in the leaves causes less photosynthesis to take place. This process creates vital energy for the plant to grow.
Since it is not producing as much energy as fully green leaves, the plant growth is significantly slower.
#4 High Demand
Variegation is prized in the house plant world and Monstera are popular plants. Combining the two together creates a plant that every enthusiast wants in their collection.
Therefore, the plants that are available for purchase are snatched up quickly by collectors.
#5 Very Limited Availability
The combination of slow growth and unpredictable variegation after propagation means that there is a limited number of cuttings or plants available for purchase.
The basic rules of supply and demand ring true, so fewer plants means higher prices.
#6 Unpredictable Variegation
Since the mutated cells that cause the variegation are not found equally throughout the plant, the amount of light patched areas can differ from leaf to leaf.
This creates variation in the amount of leaves that can be propagated from each plant and still produce desirable coloration.
#7 Mostly White Leaves Die Sooner = Fewer Leaves for Cuttings
The more white on the leaves of Monstera ‘Albo’, the more valuable it becomes.
However, when the majority of the leaf is white, that leaf will die quickly since it cannot produce enough energy for the plant.
Since those leaves are not viable, they cannot be used as a stem cutting for propagation.
Monstera ‘Albo’ Average Prices
A cutting from Monstera ‘Albo’ will cost at least $100. For a mature plant with multiple variegated leaves, you could be looking at spending thousands of dollars easily.
Monstera ‘Albo’ vs. ‘Thai Constellation’
Monstera ‘Thai Constellation’ is another variety of variegated Monstera. Thai Constellation was artificially mutated in a lab to create its variegation that resembles the night sky.
Since the plant was created in a lab, the mutation is present in every cell of the plant. This means that the variegation is stable and will not revert back to plain green coloration.
Is Monstera ‘Albo’ Stable?
Stability refers to whether the variegation of the plant can be lost, whether naturally occurring or due to the environment.
Since the variegation of Monstera ‘Albo’ is a natural mutation, it is considered unstable and there are many occurrences of plants reverting back to all green coloration.
What Is the Rarest Monstera?
The rarest Monstera plant is Monstera obliqua. This plant is very delicate and hard to ship.
In fact, it has only been found a handful of times in the wild. Any M. obliqua that you see available for sale is most likely just a M. adansonii.
Monstera ‘Albo’ is a beautiful plant for any home or collection, but be ready to pay a good amount for one.
One day botanists might be able to find a better way to reproduce these multicolored stunners, but until then, Monstera ‘Albo’ will remain expensive and rare.