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Variegated Monstera – Is Their Price Justified?

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Tony O'Neill with a Thai Constellation
Tony O’Neill with a Thai Constellation

Price is the value or money customers are willing to give up in exchange for a particular offering that would satisfy their needs and wants. Competition for ownership drives prices upwards for products in limited supply, such as variegated monsteras.

The perceived worth of a variegated Monstera is measured by the price the market is willing to pay. Its actual value is escalated by emphasizing limited supply, aesthetic appeal, individual uniqueness, and the status awarded to those able to grow them successfully.

Due to their scarcity, variegated Monstera plants are pricey. A mutation in the plant’s chlorophyll production causes the marbled or half-moon appearance.

A Monstera’s price can range from $100 to several thousand dollars USD, depending on its size and variegation pattern.

Table of Contents

    What is Variegation?

    Variegation is a term that describes a leaf or flower that has two or more colors in a distinct alternating pattern. In some cases, variegation is caused by a mutation in the meristem that results in a chimera.

    Other sources of variegation include:

    • Pattern variegation
    • Transposons
    • Pathogen infection

    By looking at its name, you can tell if a variegated plant is a cultivar. This plant is a naturally occurring species if the second half of its Latin name contains variegata (lowercase, italics).

    If the plant’s name includes the word ‘Variegata’ (uppercase V, single quotation marks), the plant is a cultivar.

    Chimera Variegation in Monstera Plants

    The most prevalent type of variegation is chimeral variegation. A genetic abnormality in the plant hinders the leaf from producing chlorophyll consistently (the green pigment in leaves that converts sunlight into plant energy).

    These altered layers appear on an otherwise green leaf as white, yellow, or light green patches. The Variegated Monstera deliciosa, for example, is an example of chimera variegation.

    Plants with chimeral variegation may have speckled, solid white, or solid green leaves. A continuous chimeral variegation pattern over all plant leaves is also feasible.

    Chimeral variegation differs from pattern-gene variegation in that the mutation is unpredictable and unstable, meaning the plant’s variegated foliage pattern may change or revert to solid green.

    It’s usually a game of chance when reproducing the variegation pattern through propagation. As a result, certain chimeral variegated cultivars are hard to come by and, thus, expensive.

    Pattern Variegation

    Some plants have natural variegation written right into their DNA. The natural patterning of these plants can be passed down across generations.

    These plants’ cuttings and seeds will have the same variegation as the parent, and this sort of variegation is likewise stable, with no random differences from one leaf to the next.

    The variegated spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum ‘vittatum’) is an example.

    Reflective Variegation

    Air pockets (blisters) between the outer leaf membrane and the pigment layer cause silvery or reflecting streaks on foliage (which contains green chlorophyll).

    The air pockets scatter light away from the plant, giving it a gleaming silver appearance. These leaves have a variegated appearance on top but are solid on the underside.

    For example, watermelon peperomia has a uniform blister variegation pattern across the entire plant, but the blotches on a satin pothos are random.

    The type of variegation is encoded in the plant’s DNA in both circumstances (random or consistent patterning). As a result, it can be consistently passed down by cuttings or seed propagation.

    Top Fact: The type of variegation is encoded in the plant’s DNA in both circumstances (random or consistent patterning). As a result, it can be consistently passed down by cuttings or seed propagation.

    The evolutionary purpose of blister variegation is to provide a bit of sunscreen for the plant cells. When plants receive too much sunlight, it can cause photoinhibition (a reduction in the plant’s ability to photosynthesize).

    The recently covered Philodendron gloriosum is an example of reflective veins.

    Pathogen Infection Variegation

    A virus like the Mosaic virus can sometimes cause leaf variegation. This variegation is occasionally appealing, and cultivars are created from it. The variegation of certain hosta cultivars, for example, is caused by a virus.

    Why are Variegated Monstera so Expensive?

    Because of their scarcity and desirability, variegated Monsteras are quite expensive. Because the leaves lack chlorophyll, they require more light and grow more slowly, and slower growth means fewer new plants and slower propagation.

    Variegated Monsteras sell out quickly on online markets, putting new potential customers on a waiting list for when the parent Monstera gets large enough to generate fresh cuttings.

    Demand drives up prices as well. According to growers, people are willing to pay a lot of money for a variegated Monstera.

    Even a two-leaved baby cutting can be sold for $100, and people will pay! Prices will continue to grow as variegated Monsteras become more popular, and demand continues to rise.

    Monstera Deliciosa Albo vs. Thai Constellation vs. Monstera Standleyana

    Tony O'Neill with his Monstera Standleyana
    Tony O’Neill with his Monstera Standleyana

    There are three main types of variegated Monstera: The Albo Variegata, Thai Constellation, and Standleyana. While they may look similar at first glance, they have apparent differences that will affect their care, growth, accessibility, and price.

    Knowing the difference between Albo, Standleyana, and Thai will help you decide which one you prefer to keep in your home.

    Mutation – Natural vs. Tissue Culture

    Monstera Albo Variegata’s variegation is caused by a mutation that occurs spontaneously. Once, there was a regular, green M. deliciosa whose cells began to mutate and stop producing chlorophyll spontaneously.

    The altered cells proliferate in the stem of the Monstera and are passed on to the next leaf.

    Only the white cells have this spontaneous mutation in M. Albo variegata and Standleyana Variegata. Variegated offspring cannot be produced from seeds.

    The origin of Monstera Thai Constellation is unknown, and it was made from tissue culture at a lab in Thailand. The mutation that causes variegation in this subspecies is found in every plant cell.

    Propagating plants from very minute plant pieces using tissue culture techniques is known as micropropagation (parts of leaves, stems, shoot tips, root tips, single cells, and pollen grains).

    The tiny plant component is cultured in a sterilized test tube, petri dish, or another container with a culture medium and specific environmental conditions.

    Top Fact: The tiny plant component is cultured in a sterilized test tube, petri dish, or another container with a culture medium and specific environmental conditions.

    The container, as well as the growth material, must be sterilized. Because plant tissue frequently carries bacterial and fungal spores, it must also be disinfected.

    Micropropagation is a rapidly expanding branch of the plant propagation industry. It is not practical for most home gardeners due to the highly specific requirements of the culture media and the continual efforts that must be made to reduce any contamination by disease organisms.

    Because micropropagated plants are not accustomed to external growth conditions, transporting them from the lab to the nursery requires extreme caution.

    The Variegation Pattern & Stability

    The variegation patterns on Monstera Albo and Standleyana are amazing. It has green, marbled, and white patches on its leaves, and each leaf is distinct from the one before it.

    This variegation pattern is unstable because of spontaneous mutation. Albo Monsteras may revert to producing fully green leaves or leaves completely white and devoid of chlorophyll.

    These all-white leaves are lovely, but they put a lot of stress on the plant and will die first.

    The altered cells in the stem and leaf node are responsible for the Albo’s variegation on the leaves. Even within a single plant, this can vary substantially.

    The coloration of the last leaf will determine the hue of each leaf. You may predict how much white and green will be on the following leaf by paying attention to your Albo’s growth and variegation.

    If your Monstera Albo’s new growth is too white or green, it will need to be cut back to preserve a healthy balance between beauty and photosynthesis.

    The variegation pattern of Monstera Thai Constellation is quite different from that of the Albo. Thai leaves have a constellation of little creamy splotches spread across the surface, and the light spots are a creamy tone rather than a blinding white.

    Compared to Albo Monsteras, Thai Monsteras have fewer and smaller sectoral variegations (those big, white patches).

    Thai Monsteras have a lot more consistent variegation. All of the cells in the plant have the mutation because it was created in a lab. You don’t have to be concerned about your Thai Monstera’s leaves turning completely green.

    While the variegation is consistent, it is also unpredictably variable. There is no progression or regression of white or green leaves from one leaf to the next.

    Inter-Nodal Spacing

    The length of the stem between leaves is referred to as inter-nodal spacing. In this way, Monstera Albo and Thai are opposed.

    Monstera Albo Borsigiana has a leaf node that can reach 3–4 inches in length (10 cm). This indicates that the leaves are wider apart.

    As a result, Monstera Albo may not appear as lush and green, instead resembling a vine in appearance and growth.

    Climbing on something like a moss pole will be necessary for this kind. It’s also easier to take cuttings with this longer leaf node and plenty of area for pruning shears.

    The internodal spacing of Monstera Thai Constellation is as short as an inch (2–3 cm). The Thai Monstera seems compact, bushy, and lush due to this. However, cuttings are more difficult because there isn’t much place for the scissors.

    Rarity

    Thai Constellation is substantially more common than Monstera Albo, and it can only be replicated by cuttings, whereas Thai is grown in a lab for commercial production.

    Albo also has a slower growth rate than Thai, which means a longer time between trims!

    Thai Monsteras are hard to get, and Monstera Standleyana is even more so. There is only one lab that produces the Thai.

    Pricing

    Due to their rarity and demand, Monstera Albo tends to be more expensive than Thai Constellation. Pricing for the Monstera Standleyana is still high as it grows in popularity, and supply remains limited.

    In some regions, a cutting of Monstera Albo can be purchased for $100; however, depending on the cutting size, other dealers may charge more.

    A tiny plant costs around $800, while a mature plant costs over $1,000. In some instances, prices of $19,000 are paid for plants with unique markings.

    That’s a lot of information to remember! Here’s a chart for a quick and easy comparison:

    DifferencesMonstera Deliciosa Albo VariegiataMonstera StandleyanaMonstera Thai Constellation
    Most common forms soldCuttingsCuttingsYoung plant
    Source of MutationNatural mutationNatural mutationTissue culture in a lab
    Inter-nodal spacingLong, up to 4-inchesVery short, ½ to 1 inchVery short, ½ to 1 inch
    Leaf sizeSmaller leaves, up to 12 inchesSmaller leaves, up to 6 inchesLarger leaves
    Variegation patternGreen leaves with marbling and big white areas. Some leaves may be entirely white.Green leaves with marbling and big white areas. Some leaves may be entirely white.Smaller cream-colored spots on every leaf, like a constellation. Some creamy white or yellow patches. 
    Variegation stabilityUnstable. New leaves may revert to green or go fully white. Each leaf’s coloring depends on the leaf before it.Not stable. New leaves may revert to green or go fully white.Stable. It will not revert to green. 
    RarityRareVery rareLess rare. 
    Price$100 to +$1,000$150 to +$1,000$150 to +$1,000
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    Here is a Video Of My Office Setup You can see the Monstera Here.

    FAQ

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    In Closing

    I personally believe the investment is worth it, especially as propagation is so easy and the challenge of growing these beautiful plants has a certain pride appeal.

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