Learning About How to Care for the Monstera Albo Borsigiana
Posted on September 14 2021
They’re elegant, elusive, and oh so expensive! If you’re treating yourself to a Monstera Albo Borsigiana, you better know how to care for it properly. When you do, your leafy friend will reward you with showstopper leaves that will knock you off your feet! So, what do you need to know about your Monstera Albo?
Getting the Name Straight
Okay, this plant may get voted “longest name.” It’s a Monstera deliciosa borsigiana variegata ‘Albo’. And, if this isn’t your first google rodeo with this plant, you’ll notice everyone shortens and organizes its name differently. So, to clarify, the Monstera deliciosa borsigiana variegata ‘Albo’ is also known by:
- Monstera Albo
- Monstera Albo ‘variegata’
- Monstera Albo Borsigiana
- Monstera Borsigiana ‘Albo’
- Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana var. Albo variegata
- Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana ‘Albo’ variegata
And, yes, there’s probably a few more floating around out there that we left out. Why are we telling you this? Whichever way you hash it, all of these names are for the same plant. So, don’t pay up for plants that may sound “fancier” than others.
You should also become familiar with other varieties of Monstera Borsigiana (keep reading for more on that), so you can be educated when it comes to purchasing your perfect plant!
Monstera deliciosa vs. borsigiana
Wondering what the difference is? The Borsigiana is a subspecies of Monstera deliciosa. So, the family tree looks like this:
- Monstera (Genus)
- Monstera Deliciosa (Species)
- Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana (Subspecies)
Although the Monstera Albo Borsigiana and Delicosa are similar, they have different care requirements. What about physical differences? Borsigiana has smaller leaves (measuring half the mature size), grows faster, and has a smooth geniculum.
What is a geniculum, you ask? The bendy portion of your stem right before it connects to the leaf. Monstera Deliciosa is contrasting because they have a wrinkly, wavy geniculum. When comparing, ensure that both leaves are fully mature; both plants have smooth stems as youngsters.
Monstera albo vs. borsigiana
The Monstera Albo is a variety of the Borsigiana subspecies. So, the family tree looks like this:
- Monstera (Genus)
- Monstera Deliciosa (Species)
- Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana (Subspecies)
- Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana ‘Albo’ (Variety)
If you’re wondering: Yes, there are different varieties of Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana out there besides the Albo. And, yes, some of them are variegated too!
- Monstera Borsigiana ‘Albo’ Variegata: Stark white splashes, stripes, and sometimes whole leaves.
- Monstera Borsigiana Variegata: Lime green spots, splashes, and stripes.
- Monstera Borsigiana Aurea: Dark green leaves with gentle, yellow or golden variegation.
You can also find some plain green, un-variegated Monstera Borsigiana on the market. However, the Albo is considered the holy grail of all Monstera Borsigiana varieties (and arguably, of the entire Monstera genus).
Monstera albo vs. Thai Constellation
These two are cousins.
The Thai Constellation is a type of variegated Monstera Deliciosa, created by tissue cultures (thank you, science!). So, the Thai Constellation still sports the larger leaves and slower growth habit of the Deliciosa. The variegation is more scattered and a creamy yellow.
The Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana ‘Albo’, as noted, is a subspecies of the Deliciosa, giving it some unique characteristics. The cool thing? While the ‘Thai Constellation’ is a child of science, the ‘Albo’ is a child of nature; its variegation is naturally occurring.
Why are Monstera Albo so expensive?
Their naturally occurring variegation is one of the reasons the Monstera ‘Albo’ comes with such a hefty price tag. The other reason? The increased care young Monstera Albo Borsigiana plants require.
Scientifically created variegation is contained in every gene in a plant’s cells, which means a Greenhouse can easily duplicate it through tissue culture. The perks for them? They can usually be confident in the number of mature plants they can grow and take to market.
In contrast, the Monstera ‘Albo’ (and other naturally variegated plants) cannot be propagated through tissue culture. Local greenhouses must rely on cuttings from a variegated mother plant, giving each propagation the intense TLC it needs to reach maturity.
Large-scale greenhouses rely on seeds, and no, there is not a Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana ‘Albo’ seed out there. How do they do it? These greenhouses have to plant regular Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana seeds, hoping that some of their plants will naturally variegate into the ‘Albo,’ making their supply unreliable. (Pretty wild, right?)
Monstera Albo Borsigiana Care
Alright, enough about your Monstera Albo Borsigiana… how do you care for it?
To care for your Monstera Albo Borsigiana properly, you will need to supply it with bright indirect light. In the early morning or late evening, some direct sun will also be beneficial; just ensure that your leaves are not becoming sunburnt.
Why the extra fuss? Green pigment (chlorophyll) is required for photosynthesis, so the whiter your plant is, the more indirect light it will need. Why? The green portions of your plant have to do double-duty! If your plant decides it’s not getting enough bright light, it will produce new growth that’s greener.
Your Monstera is a hemiepiphyte. What’s that mean? In nature, it starts its life in the treetops, eventually growing terrestrial roots to fuel its growth to maturity. How’s that translate into your Monstera Albo Borsgiana care?
No Monstera likes soggy roots, but the Monstera ‘Albo’ is especially susceptible to root rot. When potting your plant, you must use a well-draining mix. (No, traditional potting soil won’t do the trick!)
For full-grown specimens, create your potting mix using this recipe: 1 part peat, 1 part coco coir, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite, ½ part sphagnum moss.
Not the potting-mix-creating type? While we highly recommend it, you can also alter a bagged potting soil by adding extra perlite and orchid bark.
Do you have a young Monstera Albo on your hands? More on them in the propagation section.
Wait until your Monstera Albo’s soil has completely dried out before rewatering. Why? Remember its origins: your plant isn’t used to having all of its roots in the soil. Constantly moist soil will encourage root rot, causing your plant’s demise!
While humidity is an essential ingredient to any plant’s care, it’s especially the case with the Monstera Albo Borsigiana. These plants require 65-70% humidity. And no, you can’t trade moist soil for moist air. What about misting? Even though misting provides a temporary boost, your plant needs consistent ambient humidity. Need it put simply? Get a humidifier and cluster your plants!
How to Propagate Monstera Albo
Can you propagate your Monstera Albo? Yes. Is it easy? No. Should you do it? We’ll leave that up to you. But, we’d recommend that Monstera Albo propagation be done by the plant parent veterans.
What’s the big deal? It’s just a stem cutting… right? While that is true, Monstera Albo cuttings are more susceptible to rot (compared to other Monstera Varieties, like the Deliciosa) and crave high humidity. You cannot simply chop off a portion of your Albo, stick it in water, and wait for results.
When should you give it a go? Propagate your Monstera Albo in the Spring or early Summer.
Propagate without Making a Cut
If you have a mature mother plant, chances are, you have some unruly aerial roots wandering around.
- Take a bottle of water.
- Place 1-2 inches of an aerial root in the water (without damaging it).
Eventually, you will see new white root growth. After the roots have grown sufficiently, you will cut off this segment of your plant and pot it.
When potting Monstera Albo cuttings, it’s vital that you never place the severed stem in the soil. Plant the roots only, leaving the stem on the surface. Why? The stem will rot, causing your propagation to fail.
Propagating with a Stem Cutting
Where do you cut your Monstera? If you’re a veteran, you likely already know this: Don’t just cut off a leaf stalk (aka petiole). You will need to cut a portion of your plant’s stem, including a node and likely an aerial root.
After you cut, surround the node and aerial root in damp sphagnum moss, and wrap it with plastic cling wrap. Place your cutting in an area that has high humidity and will receive bright light. Check its moisture levels regularly, re-moistening the soil when necessary.
After you have a bundle of roots, place them in a pot filled with damp sphagnum moss to allow the roots to develop further. (Remember to keep the stem above the surface.)
Monstera Albo Borsigiana Care Summary
If you’re looking for this article at a glance, here you go:
The Monstera Albo Borsigiana is a subspecies of the Deliciosa and has different care requirements.
- Lighting: Bright, indirect light. The more highly variegated, the brighter the light necessary.
- Soil: Well-draining: 1 part peat, 1 part coco coir, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite, ½ part sphagnum moss.
- Water: Completely dry out before rewatering.
- Humidity: High. Humidifier recommended.
- Propagation: Stem cuttings are susceptible to rot and require high humidity. Do not place cuttings in water. Keep the node damp in sphagnum moss wrapped with cling wrap until roots form. When potting, plant the node and roots, but keep the stem above the potting medium.