The Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo Borsigiana’ commonly known as Monstera albo, variegated monstera isn’t your typical Swiss cheese plant and needs proper plant care to remain happy and beautiful. I’ll be sharing with you everything you need to know when it comes to growing and caring for this lovely, variegated monstera!
To care for the Monstera Albo, provide water when two inches of soil dry out, bright and indirect light, well-draining soil, temps of 55 to 90°F, humidity at 60-90%, and liquid fertilizer once a month but diluted to half-strength.
Ahead, I’ll elaborate even further on the care requirements for the Monstera Albo, including the pests and diseases that can afflict this beautiful plant, so check it out!
Monstera Albo Plant Care
The Monstera Albo or Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo Borsigiana’ is a rare type of Monstera from Central America that’s well known for its stunning white variegation.
Without further ado, let’s jump into how to best care for your Monstera Albo.
Watering the Monstera Albo
Like other Monstera varieties, the Albo is a tropical plant, but don’t let that confuse you. You need to allow at least an inch of its soil to dry out before replenishing the plant with water and ideally up to two inches.
The Albo isn’t exactly drought-tolerant, but if given the choice between dry and wet soil, this creamy white Monstera would take dry soil every time.
Oversaturated soil puts the Albo in a position to develop root rot, a fungal condition this indoor plant is very susceptible to.
For more information on avoiding root rot when growing a Monstera Albo, I recommend reading my article titled How to Prevent Root Rot in Potted Plants.
If you’ve noticed your Albo’s large leaves begin to turn yellow or droop, that’s worth paying attention to. You may be overwatering your plant.
That’s also the case if the whiteness of the leaves is replaced by brown or yellow. If you’re noticing your monstera leaves beginning to lean over too far and turning a pale or yellow hue, I suggest you read my article that addresses that exact issue.
So how can you tell how wet or dry the soil is anyway? That’s simple. All you need to do is wash your hands, dry them, and insert a finger or two into the soil.
If you feel even some moisture lingering in the soil, then it’s best to wait at least another day or two before you water the Albo.
Allowing the plant’s roots to expand and grow from attempting to reach the remaining damp soil can be a great way to encourage roots to grow deeper.
The Correct Lighting for the Monstera Albo
One of the most important facets of Monstera Albo’s care is proper lighting. This plant does best in bright, indirect light.
Bright, indirect light comes from an east-facing window. A south-facing window, provided the Monstera is a few feet away, is sufficient as well.
To prevent the light from penetrating the leaves of the Albo directly and causing leaf burn, affix a curtain to the window.
So why does light matter so much, you ask? The Albo is far more variegated than your average Monstera, as you’ll recall. That’s why it has white and cream across its foliage.
If you put your Albo in a dark room, then little by little, its appealing variegation will begin to disappear.
What some indoor gardeners don’t realize is that this change, referred to as “reverting” is permanent.
Those old Albo leaves that have turned green will never become white again. New leaves might emerge green as well if the lighting situation isn’t remediated.
In bright sunlight, the Albo will burn. Its white leaves can develop bleached-looking sunburn spots that later turn brown or black. The texture of the leaves will be thin, crispy, and incredibly brittle.
Seeing brown spots or even burnt edges along your monstera albo’s leaf tips is a sure sign of overexposure to direct light.
There’s nothing you can do for the leaves that burned except prune them. To safeguard the remaining leaves of your Albo, move it out of bright light.
Another reason to avoid bright sunlight for the Monstera Albo is that the sun will dry out the plant’s soil faster, causing you to have to water it more often.
This can create a dangerous overwatering situation fast.
Soil and Pot Requirements for the Monstera Albo
The Albo needs well-draining soil so the water in its pot doesn’t wear out its welcome.
Standard potting soil is fine, but I recommend adding some soil amendments to keep the conditions of the soil loose and airy.
You really have your pick of soil amendments here, so let’s go over all your options.
- Coco coir: Coconut coir or coco coir is sourced from the husks of the fruit. It’s the fibrous middle area of the outer husk that provides excellent drainage, especially when used in chip or brick form. Coco coir can improve soil texture as well, with heavier soils like clay-based soils responding especially favorably.
- Coco peat: Coco peat, also known as coco pith, is a tightly-packed form of coco coir that’s known for its high volume, density, and ability to absorb water in huge quantities. A little goes a long way to avoid oversaturating the Albo’s soil.
- Orchid bark: Thick and chunky, orchid bark will keep the Albo’s soil conditions nice and aerated. The bark has some moisture-retaining properties but not enough that the Monstera’s soil should be soaked, especially if you’re watering the plant properly.
- Perlite: Perlite is a type of volcanic glass that encourages drainage and aeration throughout the soil. Like orchid bark, perlite does provide some water retention, so don’t go crazy with its usage.
What type of pot best suits the Monstera Albo? Knowing what you do about how conditions for this variegated plant must stay well-draining, I’d recommend a glazed terracotta, ceramic, or clay pot.
These materials when unglazed are naturally very porous. While that may seem like an excellent match for the Monstera Albo, in reality, unglazed clay or terracotta would absorb water so fast that your Albo’s soil would dry out too often.
You already know that this can put you in a position to overwater the plant, which is the last thing the Albo wants.
Glazed terracotta, ceramic, or clay is still semi-porous but not to the point where you’ll replenish your Albo’s water levels every few days.
When combined with the soil amendments above, you can feel confident that the water in the pot is draining well.
Temperature and Humidity Requirements for the Monstera Albo
Considering it’s a tropical plant, what kind of temperature does the Monstera Albo like?
It’s surprisingly tolerant of its temps, preferring a range as low as 55 degrees and as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sometimes, when in an office environment, you have no say over the thermostat, which makes growing indoor plants stressful. You can rest assured that the Albo should be fine since it’s so temperature-tolerant.
That doesn’t mean the Albo lacks limits. Temperatures below 50 degrees are too cold for this Monstera.
I doubt you’d want to be in a 50-degree environment either, but it’s far more detrimental to the plant.
The Albo can experience cold stress that causes its growth to slow (or even stop altogether) and its leaves to become yellow. New seedlings may also be stunted.
The Albo doesn’t like temperatures over 90 degrees, either.
Again, I doubt you’re going to let it get that hot if you’re growing the plant exclusively indoors, but if you move your plants outdoors for a while during the summer, this is something to keep in mind.
Heat stress in plants can manifest through dry leaf edges, leaf cupping or rolling (to preserve whatever scant moisture is left), drooping, and sunscalding.
What about humidity? The more the Albo gets, the better. This Monstera prefers humidity at a rate of 60 to 90 percent.
You will need to either move the Monstera into your bathroom or use a humidifier, as even 60 percent humidity is over the average relative humidity of most indoor environments.
Fertilizing the Monstera Albo
Part of what keeps a Monstera Albo healthy and variegated is fertilizer.
I’d suggest using a liquid fertilizer with a balanced ratio of the macronutrients phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. The label should read 20-20-20. There’s no need for a higher nutrient ratio than that.
Some indoor gardeners will fertilize the Albo twice a month. While that’s fine, you also have to keep in mind that the Albo is sensitive to overfertilization.
As you first start caring for this plant, it’s best to use a lighter hand when fertilizing than a heavier one.
Excessively fertilizing your plant will lead to terrible outcomes such as rotten roots, defoliation, leaf scorch, foliar browning, and slowed or stopped growth.
Just because you can’t see a white layer of fertilizer crust atop the soil when fertilizing the Albo (since you’re using a liquid fertilizer) doesn’t mean you’re not overdoing it!
Monstera Albo Pests and Diseases
The allure of the Monstera Albo is not only appreciated by us people but by certain pest species as well.
From fungus gnats to scale, here’s what to look out for and how to eradicate unwanted insects.
- Fungus gnats: The tiny flies known as fungus gnats prefer decomposed soil. When the gnats get tired of feeding on the organic matter in the soil, they move on to the roots of the Albo. Cut back on overwatering to prevent future gnats and treat the current ones with sticky traps. Apple cider vinegar traps in a small dish also work. Fill the dish 1/4 inches full with apple cider vinegar and add a bit of dish soap. The gnats will do the rest!
- Spider mites: At first, it can be hard to confirm the presence of spider mites on a Monstera Albo since the mites weave white webs and the Albo is white in areas. Check under the leaves though, which will be a clear sign you have a spider mite problem. It only takes a cup of rubbing alcohol diluted in about 30 ounces of water to take care of spider mites on the Albo.
- Scale: Although scale insects look harmless at first glance, they’re anything but. These sap suckers will propagate in large numbers, wearing down your Albo fast. You can cover a cotton swab in 70 percent isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol) or dish soap to take care of scale insects.
- Thrips: Thrips are problematic in an indoor garden because these winged insects can fly from one plant to another. They’ll linger underneath the leaves of your Albo just like spider mites. In a spray bottle, mix a gallon of water with two teaspoons of dish soap to kill thrips dead.
As for Monstera Albo diseases, the most common one is root rot.
Root rot is a fungal disease attributed primarily to overwatering. Compacted soil can cause or contribute to root rot but is usually not the chief cause.
When your plant is afflicted, its roots deep within the soil begin dying one by one. The roots are choked out by the presence of water and the lack of oxygen in the soil.
Root rot can cause leaf yellowing, wilting, mushy stems, and reduced growth.
While saving a plant with root rot is possible, you can’t say for sure whether it will survive.
You’ll have to remove the Albo from its waterlogged pot, use clean pruning shears to remove all the dead roots, and replace its soil with fresh, dry potting soil.
Be sure to prune the plant’s foliage as well, as any decaying and dead bits are never coming back.
Water more sparingly, continue through with the Albo’s care routine otherwise, and it might survive yet.
Besides root rot, Monstera mosaic disease is another to look out for.
Mosaic disease isn’t one virus but several. The disease is easily spread via dirty gardening tools or reusing potting soil.
The reason it’s called Monstera mosaic disease is that this virus can cause patterns of discoloration across your Albo.
The discoloration can look like standard leaf yellowing or browning at first until the patterns become more pronounced. Then you’ll see stripes or spots of discoloration.
The plant will also slow its growth and new leaves will look deformed.
Unfortunately, Monstera mosaic virus has no cure. I’d recommend segregating your plant and starting over, as hard as that is!
Monstera Albo FAQs
If you still have a couple of burning questions about the Monstera Albo, then allow me to provide some answers!
Does the Monstera Albo Like Acidic or Neutral Soil?
The Albo thrives in mildly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Neutral soil is fine as well but not alkaline soil.
Watch the soil amendments you use, as some can drive the pH of the soil up or down!
How Large Does the Monstera Albo Grow?
Like most Monsteras, the Albo will grow quite spaciously indoors if given the right care. A monstera albo grown indoors can grow well over three feet wide and sprout up 10 feet tall.
Outdoors, it can reach heights of 30 feet, which is truly something! In addition to that, Monsteras growing in the wild will often produce edible fruit.
How Fast Does the Monstera Albo Grow?
The Albo is a slightly faster grower than other Monstera varieties, tacking on an additional foot or two to its size every year.
This growth, of course, is assuming that you provide the right care conditions for your plant, and consistently at that.
To encourage your monstera albo to grow even faster, I suggest reading the article I wrote on that exact topic. Make Your Monstera Grow Faster: 6 Proven Ways
Is the Monstera Albo Toxic to Pets?
Yes, aroids like the Monstera are toxic to all your fuzzy friends, including cats and dogs. That’s the case for the Albo just as it is for any other variety of monstera.
The Albo contains calcium oxalate crystals that when swallowed can lead to nausea, irritation in the mouth and/or skin, breathing difficulties, and vomiting.
The toxicity of this variegated indoor plant extends to people as well, so be sure to keep the Albo away from small children!