Today, we will talk about the one and only – Monstera variegata. If you’re a fan of unique and beautiful plants, you already know how this one steals the show with its stunning white leaves.
But here’s the thing – those white areas sometimes turn brown, which can break a plant parent’s heart! Don’t worry, I’ve been there, and I’ve got some tips to share with you on how to keep those white areas shining like diamonds!
Let’s dive into why the white areas turn brown, shall we? It’s a mystery, but it’s said to be due to a lack of nutrients, improper watering, or even exposure to direct sunlight. But don’t stress about it too much; I’ve got this!
Why The White Leaves of The Monstera Variegata Turn Brown
So, you may have noticed that your Monstera variegata eventually sheds its white leaves, which turn brown and wither, leaving just the green part. Well, I’ve got the scoop on why this happens.
You see, the white parts of the leaves don’t have any chlorophyll. And what’s chlorophyll, you ask? Well, the magic ingredient allows plants to photosynthesize and make energy!
So, without chlorophyll, your plant can’t produce energy and has to rely on its green parts to make up for it. And that makes the whole plant grow a bit slower.
Think of it this way: the white mutation is like a lazy roommate who doesn’t contribute to the rent. The green parts are like the responsible roommates who have to pick up the slack.
So, it makes sense that the plant wants to eliminate the white parts, doesn’t it? And by the way, this also happens with mutations of different colors.
The bigger the white part on a leaf, the higher the chance it will be changed by the plant. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know precisely when this will happen or how fast it will happen.
But don’t worry; it’s all part of the plant’s natural process. For example, older leaves are more likely to lose their white parts, so the plant can focus on growing new leaves.
Now, if you’re lucky enough to have a leaf with just a bit of white mottling spread evenly across the leaf, then you’re fortunate! The white parts are more likely to stick around.
Prevent Brown Spots on The Monstera Variegata
Here’s the truth: there’s no guaranteed way to stop your Monstera variegata leaves from turning brown. It’s just part of the natural process. But if you want to slow it down, I’ve got some insider tips for you!
First up, get a plant lamp. That’s right, you heard me! A plant lamp can ensure that your Monstera variegata receives enough light, so the green parts can do their best to compensate for the white parts.
Next, make sure your plant stays nice and humid. The Monstera variegata needs high humidity, and the variegated variety is even more sensitive. This will prevent the white parts from drying out too quickly.
Finally, give your plant a tropical climate. The Monstera naturally grows in the tropics, so it’s happiest at temperatures between 16°C and 24°C. If the temperature drops too low, growth will slow down.
Follow these three tips, and your Monstera variegata will live its best life, just like it’s in a fancy greenhouse!
But before you get too excited, I want to add one important note. Even if you follow all these tips and give your Monstera variegata the best care possible, there’s still a chance that brown spots will eventually appear. It’s just part of the natural process, folks. So, don’t be too hard on yourself if it happens!
What Is Variegation in Plants
This big word, like many technical terms, comes straight from Latin with “variegare,” meaning “to make more varied” or “to add some color.”
And if you think that’s fancy, wait till you hear the French connection – “panacher” meaning “to mix.”
But enough history, let’s get down to the juicy part. In layman’s terms, variation means that a plant’s leaves are not just one plain dull color. Instead, they’ve got multiple colors!
Sometimes it’s just two colors, but sometimes they’re even three or four! So can you imagine how cool your garden would look with rainbow leaves?!
And get this, in some plants, this colorful display is natural and even forms patterns. But in others, it’s a result of a happy little mutation. So, variegation is nature’s way of spicing things up!
Nature does a fantastic job of creating eye-catching patterns; the same goes for plants!
The DNA of these plants dictates the patterns on the leaves, which results in every leaf having the same design. Examples of such plants include the Rattlesnake Plant and spider plant.
Have you ever seen a plant that shimmers in the sun? Air pockets cause this natural variegation in the leaves, creating silvery areas on the plant.
The leaves of spotted and silvery ivy are well-known for this effect, but the leaf veins of Alocasia Frydek also show it beautifully.
3- Chimera variegation
And now, drumroll, please, the variegation you’ve been eagerly waiting for: chimera variegation!
This variegation is caused by a genetic mutation that causes a lack or absence of chlorophyll in some cells. Chlorophyll is responsible for giving the leaf its green color.
So, when these cells don’t have chlorophyll, they don’t turn green, and you end up with different colored spots on the plant.
Monstera variegata is a prime example of a plant with chimera variegation, with white spots on the leaves.
Other plants, like Monstera aurea, can have yellow spots, and Philodendron Pink Princess can have pink spots. These spots can appear on any part of the plant that is originally green.
However, chimera variegation is extremely rare, which makes these plants sought after as rarities. Unfortunately, they are often more delicate than their “normal” relatives.
The most popular and well-known plant with chimera variegation is the Monstera deliciosa variegata.
The variegation on Monstera leaves can vary greatly, with some leaves being completely white.
Unfortunately, a white leaf cannot grow a cutting because it lacks chlorophyll and cannot photosynthesize. Other leaves might have half green and half white or white spots or speckles.
And just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, the plant can turn green, causing the white portion of the leaves to shrink until the leaves are entirely green. Talk about keeping us on our toes!
Special case: Monstera deliciosa ‘Thai Constellation’
Ready to dive into the world of Monstera deliciosa ‘Thai Constellation’? This plant is a rarity that’s sure to tickle your fancy!
Unlike the Variegata, the Thai Constellation is a special case, as it’s bred to be that way and won’t ever go green.
It’s created through a complex process called meristem propagation or in vitro propagation, which takes a lot of time, so the supply on the market is small.
But wait, there’s more! The cream to yellow areas of Thai Constellation can also take a turn for the worse and turn brown. Bummer, right?
Just so you know, the Thai Constellation is always a Monstera deliciosa, while with the Variegata, it could be a Monstera deliciosa var. borsigiana.
These are two different growth forms; you can learn about the differences in my blog post.