Variegated Monstera Deliciosa: 7 Crucial Care Tips To Help Them Thrive

Monstera deliciosa is a fantastic plant, only outdone by the several variegated forms on the market. 

The foliage is absolutely breathtaking in the variegated form, but as these plants are pricey at best, you need to bring your Monstera care up to scratch in order for these plants to be worth it.

Even the cuttings of variegated Monsteras (which aren’t even rooted!) can go for a lot of money, so it’s important that if you do decide to get these plants, you know exactly how to look after them.

No matter what kind of variegated Monstera deliciosa you have your eye on (or have already bought!) the level of care is the same.

The only difference between the named variegation varieties such as Monstera deliciosa ‘Mint’ and Monstera deliciosa ‘Thai Constellation’ is the color and pattern of variegation.

The plant care for both (or any other variegated variety)  is identical.

Interested in growing your own variegated Swiss Cheese Plant? Not sure if the hype is worth it? Let’s take a look at everything you should know about caring for variegated Monstera deliciosa.

Variegated Monstera Deliciosa Care

Variegated Monsteras are not difficult to care for, but with the added element of variegation, there are a few more things to keep in mind than just standard Monstera care.

For instance, you need to provide the plant with a position that’s a little brighter to help support the plant’s variegation, and you may also need to prune it occasionally, so the unstable variegation does not get in the way of the plant producing the energy it needs.

A Note On Toxicity

It’s worth noting that Monstera deliciosa, and any named cultivars, are toxic to pets, as they contain calcium oxalate.

Keep these plants well away from pets and children, as it is not worth the risk.

If you can, keep your variegated Monsteras in a pet and child-free room, where your little ones cannot get near these beautiful plants! 

Bright And Indirect Light

As a general rule, most variegated plants typically need a little more light than their solid green counterparts, but if you give them too much light, the plants will suffer.

You need the light levels to be bright enough so that the plants don’t revert to all-green, but not so bright that it causes leaf scorch.

The solid green form of Monstera deliciosa will do fine in lower levels of light, but for the variegated varieties, you do need to give them a bright position with very little direct sunlight.

At the most, give these plants a couple of hours of morning sunlight, or very late afternoon sunlight, when it is at its gentlest.

Any more than this can scorch the plant, and ruin the impact of the unique leaves.

If you happen to live somewhere that gets cold and dark winters, it’s a good idea to allow the plant to soak up some direct sunshine in the winter, giving the plant a boost.

But maybe you don’t have a window that’s suitable for your plant. Maybe what you have is a very small window that doesn’t get a lot of light, and you can’t position a giant Monstera in front of it.

No problem. Grab yourself a good-quality grow light, and you can grow this plant pretty much anywhere. Just remember to keep it out of the way of sources of heat or drafts.

Well-Draining And Chunky Compost

Monstera plants – even the variegated varieties – are not too fussy when it comes to compost, but a chunky and well-draining mix will give you the absolute best out of these plants.

It will also divert water away from the roots, helping to minimize the risk of root rot, so it is worth getting the compost mix right from the get-go!

If you have some orchid bark on hand, you can use an equal mixture of compost, bark, and perlite to encourage healthy roots.

Maybe orchid bark isn’t something you have. In which case, a houseplant compost will do fine, but add in some perlite to help the soil drain better.

A regular houseplant compost mix on its own tends to be a little too dense for Monsteras to cope with for long periods, so if you can, add some perlite or even some clay balls to help the plant’s root system grow strong and healthy.

Watering: Allow The Top Quarter Of Compost To Dry Out

When it comes to watering variegated forms of Monstera deliciosa, the care is the same as it is for the non-variegated varieties.

Allow the top quarter or so of the compost to dry out in between watering, but do not let the plant dry out completely. 

Your Monstera will not thank you for that, and you may see dry leaf tips or wilting leaves if the plant goes for too long without a drink!

Don’t forget that these plants are used to jungle environments, where they haven’t needed to adapt to long dry spells, so they cannot cope with prolonged periods where the soil is very dry.

Always thoroughly soak your Monsteras when it is time to water, and tip out any excess that collects in the bottom of the pot or saucer.

If you can check the soil every time you think the plant needs watering instead of watering it straight away, this dramatically reduces the risk of root rot.

When To Feed A Variegated Swiss Cheese Plant

Monstera deliciosa – especially the variegated forms – do not need a lot of fertilizer to grow properly. Most of the time, the compost will do that job for you.

But, to keep them at their best, you should feed them every couple of waterings in the growing season, in spring and summer.

Choose a balanced houseplant fertilizer, preferably a liquid one to make life easier. Follow the instructions on the label, and mix up the dosage exactly for the best results.

If you manage to make the fertilizer too strong, or you eyeball the amount of water you should use, this can cause brown edges on your leaves, or worse, burn the roots!

It’s also worth noting that with any sort of fertilizer, salts will eventually start to build up in the soil. 

To help prevent this from damaging the plant, occasionally flush out the soil with water (allowing it to fully drain) to wash them out.

Scale back the feed schedule in fall. Hold off on feeding your plants at all during winter, unless growth has not slowed down, but this is unlikely unless you have stable temperatures year-round and grow lights.

How To Repot A Variegated Monstera

It’s important not to put off repotting once your Monstera is root-bound. Monstera deliciosa is notorious for having very strong roots, and it can be difficult to get the plant out of its pot when the plant has been wanting more room for a while.

This is especially true if you wind the aerial roots back into the pot.

That’s not to say it is impossible, but you can make the task a little easier on yourself. 

As soon as you seem to struggle to hydrate all the soil, and roots start coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, it’s time to move your Monstera to a bigger pot.

Though it’s a good idea to move them fairly handily into a new pot, do not repot your Monstera in winter. 

Wait until spring when the plant is actively growing, otherwise your plant can go into shock. This is something you want to avoid especially with variegated Monsteras, as you don’t want to lose them!

While you wait for spring, you could add a fresh layer of compost to the surface of the soil. This will help tide the plant over a little until you can repot the plant with less risk of shock.

When repotting, always tease the root ball to help break it out of its pot shape before putting your plant into fresh compost. 

This encourages the roots to search for new soil, rather than growing into the same pot shape and not using the new soil at all.

Don’t be tempted to skip this step, as it can mean the difference between a thriving plant, and one that continues to decline!

With most plants, you should only go up one pot size at a time. With the Swiss Cheese plant, you can normally get away with going up two pot sizes, as long as your Monstera is quite large already.

But don’t go up more than two pot sizes at once, and make sure that the compost is a well-draining mix, like the suggestions above, and that the plant has enough light.

Without these other elements, the plant may struggle, as the compost may take too long to dry out, and this can cause root rot or other fungal issues.

When you repot your variegated Monstera, it’s a good time to add some support to the plant, rather than trying to wedge a support into a pot with your plant already in it. 

Otherwise, there’s a real risk of damaging the roots, which is something you should always try to avoid.

Adding Support For Your Variegated Monstera

There are two main methods you can use to support your variegated Monstera, and both work just fine. You can either use a bamboo tee-pee support, or, use a moss pole. 

If your plant isn’t that big yet, a tee-pee support will be fine. Moss poles are much sturdier, and you will see healthier growth over time, as the plant will eventually grow into the moss pole.

You can even make a moss pole self-watering, which cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend watering your Monstera!

Whichever support you go for, make sure that there is enough space for the plant to grow into the support for a while. There’s not much point to attaching a support that your plant is nearly outgrowing already!

Make sure you tie in your plant to the support as it needs it, using string, twine, or plastic ties, whatever you have to hand will work. 

Keep in mind that if you do use string or something similar on a self-watering moss pole, it may eventually rot, and you will have to replace it.

How To Prune A Variegated Monstera To Maintain Its Variegation

With most variegated plants, you have to carefully prune them to keep a balanced level of variegation.

When growing a variegated plant, you may see leaves that are nearly all variegated, which looks fantastic, but these leaves cannot provide energy for the plant, and will not last very long!

If your plant starts throwing out lots of white leaves, or lots of green leaves, you need to trim it back, and quickly, to maintain a more balanced variegation, and a healthier plant.

Before you pick up your secateurs, take a look at the plant, making your way down the vine. 

Choose a leaf that has a balance between variegation, that’s more equally white and green (or light green and dark green, if you have a Mint Monstera), and take the plant back to just above this leaf.

Don’t forget to keep your plant in a bright enough light so that the variegation doesn’t revert to its solid color. Once it is gone, it will not come back!

This way of pruning works to manage variegation on pretty much any plant you can think of. If the material you’ve taken off comes with a node, why not try to propagate it, too?

How To Propagate A Variegated Monstera

It’s always worth propagating a Monstera, especially a variegated one, to ensure that you have another if something happens to the original plant.

The best way to propagate a Monstera deliciosa is through stem cuttings. Follow the stem back to a node, and use a sharp and clean knife to cut just under it, preferably making a cutting with a single leaf attached.

If you’re not sure what a node looks like, get close to the stem, and look for the ‘eye’ marking. This is where new growth will form.

You’ll want to cut just below the node, making sure that you keep the node whole. You may already see aerial roots forming on the node.

Put the cutting straight into water, and place it somewhere bright and warm (avoiding direct sunshine) to root.

If you prefer, you can put cuttings straight into damp sphagnum moss to root, but it’s easier to do this method with node cuttings that have no leaves.

Whichever method you use, make sure to lock in the humidity by creating an enclosed environment, using a propagation lid, or even a clear plastic bag to help keep the cutting warm and in a humid environment.

You should see roots forming within a few weeks, by which time they will be ready to plant into soil.

Final Thoughts

Variegated Monstera Deliciosa plants are absolutely gorgeous, and they aren’t difficult to take care of. 

But you do need to keep in mind the amount of light you give your plant, and keep an eye on the variegation to keep it balanced.

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