Monstera Albos are much-loved plants that are competing with the better known Monsteras for their place in the world and with good reason. They have amazing bright white on their leaves, striped stems, and a striking aesthetic. However, they aren’t the easiest to take care of.
Monstera Albos need bright, indirect light for at least a few hours every day, but they also need to be protected from direct sunlight. They prefer slightly dry soil conditions to moist ones, and they like their environment to be kept reasonably humid at all times. You should ensure that the potting compost you use is well-draining and will let the albo’s roots dry out properly.
How Much Light Does A Monstera Albo Need?
A Monstera Albo will be happiest if it is given bright but indirect light. Monstera plants are native to rainforests, where an overhead canopy filters a great deal of the sunlight and prevents it from hitting the leaves directly.
Too Much Light
That means Monsteras tend to be sensitive to direct light, and vulnerable to burning if they are exposed to notable amounts of direct sunlight. If this happens, the tips of the leaves will turn brown and crispy, and the upper surfaces may develop brown spots.
You should move the plant further from the window if this occurs, as burning will cause stress and make your plant more vulnerable to diseases. Cut off the damaged foliage and shield your plant from further damage. If you can’t move the plant, add a thin curtain to reduce the sun that hits it.
Too Little Light
However, bear in mind that Monstera Albos are also at risk of getting too little light. All Monsteras like to have plenty of light so that they can photosynthesize, but Albos in particular need a good supply of steady light.
This is due to the white on the plant’s leaves. These white areas lack chlorophyll, which the plant needs to photosynthesize properly, and because of this, it’s harder for the plant to produce enough energy to grow.
Albos, therefore, need plenty of light, so that they can maximize the efficiency of their green leaves. This will help to ensure that they continue growing and can produce enough food to sustain themselves.
Getting the balance right can be a challenge, so pay attention to this, especially as the seasons change. You may need to provide a thin curtain to shade your Monstera Albo in the summer if it is close to a sunny windowsill, and equally, you should remove this in the winter, when there is less light.
An Albo that is not getting enough light may suffer from poor growth or even get sick as a result of insufficient food. If your Albo is developing long, leggy tendrils that stretch toward the window, or if its foliage is pale and yellow, it needs more light.
You can install a grow lamp as an alternative if you don’t have a suitable window for your plant. Make sure that this is boosting the light levels on a daily basis, but turn it off at night so that your plant gets a period of darkness too. Constant light can make plants stressed.
You may find that it also helps to wipe the leaves of your plant. The Albo’s leaves are large and they will get dusty quite quickly, so clean them with a damp cloth every few weeks. This will ensure that the surfaces are free from dirt and it increases the plant’s ability to photosynthesize effectively.
If your plant has got really dusty, consider rinsing it in the shower or under the tap. Use cool or lukewarm water for this, as either temperature extreme will damage the foliage.
How Often Should You Water A Monstera Albo?
Watering your Monstera Albo also needs to be done with care. Although Monsteras are fairly hardy plants, they don’t like being over-watered, and having perpetually “wet feet” could kill one. It makes the plant vulnerable to root rot and deprives its roots of oxygen. Wet soil may also attract fungus gnats and should be avoided.
Your Albo will prefer to be kept a little dry, although it’s by no means a desert plant. The best way to tell whether it needs watering or not is to push your finger into the surface of the plant’s soil. If the soil feels wet or damp up to around an inch below the surface, your plant doesn’t need a drink yet.
If the soil is dry, you can give it a drink. Make sure that the pot has good drainage holes and don’t over-water it. A few hours after, empty any remaining liquid from the drainage tray so that it is not standing in water, and it can start to dry out again.
If you think you have over-watered your Albo, stand it in a warm (but not hot) room to dry out. Increasing the airflow may also help, although you should not direct strong breezes onto your plant, as Monsteras are not tolerant of drafts.
Allow the plant to dry out well before you next water it. This will reduce the risk of root rot and fungal infections.
If your Monstera is extremely wet, consider repotting it into fresh, dry compost. This can be a chore, so it should only be done if you think your Monstera will not dry out properly. If the soil drains well, heavy watering should not be an issue as long as you empty the tray that the plant stands in.
What Kind Of Humidity Does A Monstera Albo Prefer?
As rainforest plants, Monstera Albos appreciate humidity. It keeps their leaves fresh and soft, and it allows their aerial roots to absorb water, which is beneficial for the plant. In very dry conditions, a Monstera’s leaves may turn crispy, especially if it is not being watered well either.
On the whole, Monstera Albos prefer humidity levels between 20 and 65 percent. That might seem like a big range, but they are hardy plants and will tolerate most levels, although they prefer higher humidity overall.
You can increase the humidity levels in several ways. One option involves standing the plant in the bathroom, or leaving the door open after you have had a shower, as this will allow steam to escape and humidify the plant. This is probably the easiest option.
Alternatively, consider getting a plant sprayer and misting your Albo a few times a week. You can spray both the leaves and the soil, and this should keep the foliage fresh. It’s best to spray early in the morning, so that your plant can dry out before evening.
Being wet overnight, when temperatures tend to drop, could expose your Albo to fungal infections, so be aware of this potential issue.
If you don’t want to mist the plant, consider getting a humidifier, or standing your plant in a tray of water, elevated above the surface using pebbles. The water will gently evaporate from the tray, and as long as the pot stands above the surface of the water, your plant won’t get too wet.
Whatever method you use, allow your Monstera Albo to dry out every few days to reduce the risk of mold and fungus.
What Soil Mixture Should You Use?
It’s best to opt for a well-draining soil mix when potting your Albo. This will help to ensure that the roots don’t stay soggy when the plant is watered. You can purchase ready-made mixes, or make your own using things like:
- Orchid bark
- Coconut coir
- Worm castings
- Potting compost
- Peat moss
You should make sure you are mixing an organic-rich substrate (e.g. worm castings) with a good drainage material (e.g. perlite). Combined with large drainage holes in your container, this should ensure that the plant dries out properly and has enough food to support healthy growth.
If you buy a ready-made option, you may still want to add more drainage material to it. This will give you more leeway if you tend to over-water your plants, ensuring that water runs away from the roots, rather than drowning them.
How Frequently Should You Fertilize Your Monstera Albo?
Because the Albo cannot photosynthesize as effectively as many other Monsteras, fertilization will be important to it. Your plant cannot make as much food from sunlight, so ensuring that it has sufficient nutrients in the soil should help it to grow well.
However, you do also need to be wary of over-fertilizing your plant. Excess nutrients in the soil will build up and may burn its roots. You should aim to fertilize your Monstera once every month or two months during the growing season, using diluted fertilizer.
As the plant turns dormant or slows down its growth for the winter, reduce the frequency with which you fertilize it. You can resume fertilizing in the spring when the weather warms and the plant’s growth picks up again.
Over-fertilization can cause the leaves of your Monstera to turn yellow or brown as the roots get burnt. If this occurs, place your plant in your shower or a bathtub, and use lots of clean water to flush the excess nutrients and salts out of the soil. Leave your plant to dry out, and see if it recovers.
Under-fertilizing your Albo is generally safer because it will only result in slower growth (unless it is extremely nutrient-deprived). Opt for less fertilizer, rather than more.
How Can You Ensure The Variegation Is Maintained?
One interesting aspect of owning a Monstera Albo is that the variegation is not a guaranteed thing that the plant will keep reproducing on its own. You will have to prune the plant regularly to ensure that it keeps growing its spectacular white and green foliage.
You should watch every new leaf that your Albo produces as it unfurls and develops. Any leaves that are fully green will need to be removed because they will only produce more green leaves. You should also remove any leaves that are fully white, because if your plant gets too many of these, it will be unable to photosynthesize, and may die.
To prune your Albo, take a pair of sharp, sterile shears and cut away growth that is either all white or all green. Cut back to the growth node, and then wait for fresh variegated leaves to sprout.
You can also maintain the variegation by making sure that your plant is getting enough indirect light. If it is struggling for light, it is more likely to produce the green foliage that it needs to make use of this light.
Use a grow lamp if you cannot give your Albo enough light for it to sustain its white variegation, and strive for a balance of white and green leaves, rather than too many of one or the other.
Is It Possible To Propagate A Monstera Albo?
Yes, you can propagate a Monstera Albo in the same way as other Monstera plants, but with an important caveat. You must take a growth node that contains the white mutation, or the Albo cutting will only produce green leaves.
You should therefore pick your cutting with care because it must have white for the mutation, but enough greenery for the cutting to survive and grow. This makes propagating Albos more challenging, but certainly possible.
You can propagate them using water, moss, or air layering, just as you can with other Monsteras. Place cuttings and young plants in a spot with plenty of bright, indirect light, and wait for them to grow strong roots before transferring them to soil.
Monstera Albos are beautiful, expensive, and highly desirable plants that many people love, but they aren’t the easiest to care for. If you cannot manage the light levels or you fail to prune the plant correctly, it will lose its variegation and may either die or turn back to green. Make sure you pay attention to your plant’s needs and balance them as best you can.