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It is possible to grow variegated Monstera from seed, but it’s difficult, expensive, and you’re not guaranteed to get one at the end.
Is it possible to grow variegated monstera albo from seeds?
It is possible, but I’d highly recommend just buying one.
It’s not possible to grow Thai Constellation from seed (more on those later), but it is possible to Monstera deliciosa albo variegata from seed.
Variegated Monstera happens when there’s an abnormality in the seed’s genetics. Somewhere along the line wires got crossed and the Monstera doesn’t bother producing enough chlorophyll.
Or any at all.
It’s estimated that 1 out of 100,000 Monster seedlings is variegated. So in order to get one variegated Monstera, you’d have to buy 100,000 Monstera seeds. Here in the UK you can get 6 Monstera seeds for £3.75. To get 100,000 seeds we’d need to buy 16,667 packets of seeds.
So to get one variegated Monstera we’d need to spend £62,500 on seeds.
If you had the funds (and the space to grow 100,000 Monstera, you COULD make a profit if you sold all your Monstera, but I think you’d agree it’s not the easiest way to get a variegated Monstera.
Oh, and chances are that your variegated Monstera is 100% variegated. So you’ll really, really, struggle to get it to grow because it doesn’t have any chlorophyll. The chances of getting a viable Monstera deliciosa to grow from seed is effectively nil.
How to identify variegated monstera seeds
You can’t – chances are, you won’t know it’s variegated until it grows. Regular green Monstera seeds look like this:
By the way, seeds that have come from variegated Monstera will be variegated. That doesn’t mean that the plants they’ll produce are variegated.
How do growers manage to produce huge volumes of variegated Monstera then?
Variegated Monstera deliciosa are NOT rare. The price stays high due to high demand, and demand is kept high because the number of specimens released on the market is kept tightly controlled (in order to keep demand high).
Most Monstera deliciosa albo are grown from cuttings taken from huge mother plants that the growers keep in perfect conditions to help them grow quickly.
Monstera grown from tissue culture will occasionally throw up a tissue culture baby.
Monstera deliciosa albo variegata aren’t currently able to be tissue cultured en masse. Naturally variegated plants can’t all be cloned in such a way that their variegation is preserved.
Where can I buy variegated monstera seeds?
Well, you can spend a few quid on some cress or grass seeds labelled as variegated monstera.
You can’t get variegated monstera seeds. You can, however, buy Monstera seeds. AND there’s a million-to-one chance you get a variegated one. And even if you managed to germinate a variegated one, it’d likely to be 100% variegated and you’ll struggle to get it to grow.
How long does it take to grow a Monstera from seed?
I don’t want you to think that you can’t grow a Monstera from seed – you absolutely can, and I have an article here on how to do it. I also think it’d be a really fun project. But don’t do it to save money. You can buy Monstera pretty cheap if you look in the right places.
IHow long it takes to grow a Monstera from seed varies a lot on how you care for it. Good care = faster growth.
Will the variegated monstera seeds I buy from Etsy grow?
Absolutely – if you take the time to learn how to germinate them, keep them warm, and make sure they stay moist, your seeds should germinate pretty quickly.
Except they won’t grow into variegated Monstera.
I’ve heard reports of growing anything from grass, to carrots, to basil.
You’d be lucky to get a regular green Monstera, never mind a variegated one.
How do Etsy sellers get away with it?
- No one can be bothered to report
They probably bought the seeds on a whim (maybe late night shopping with a credit card in one hand a glass of wine in the other), planted them, then when grass grew, learned from their mistake and moved on. Etsy is unlikely to take the odd report seriously, and by the time they do, they scammers have moved on.
- Scammers set up shop, sell, and leave
By the time your variegated Monstera seeds have had chance to not grow, they’ve gone.
- People are buying them, and assuming they did it wrong
If nothing grows, the buyer assumed they either prepared everything incorrectly, or the seeds were duds. Since very few seeds have a 100% chance of germinating, they don’t bother seller.
After all, they weren’t that expensive.
What’s the cheapest way to buy a variegated Monstera?
The cheapest way to get a variegated Monstera is to buy a Thai Constellation. They’re grown from tissue culture, so can be produced en masse, which drives the price down. You can get them for under £100 now.
A lot of people prefer the white of the Monstera albo over the creamy Thai constellation, and that’s fine, but they’re considerably more expensive and they’re likely to reviert if you don’t care for them properly.
Thai Constellation have been genetically altered so that they don’t revert. Their variation varies a lot – you can have speckles all over, half moons, and everything in between.
I prefer TCs over albos because they’re cheaper, don’t revert, and they’re easier to grow HUGE. TCs are all large-form Monstera, and albos are usually small-form.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t grow an albo huge, it just means it takes longer.
What about Thai Constellation seeds?
Thai constellation, though created in a lab, still produce fruit and therefore seeds. The fruits and seeds are actually variegated themselves.
However, Thai Constellation seeds are, at the time of publishing, sterile. All Thai constellations are clones of the original plant and it was, to be blunt, fucked around with too much to be able to reproduce.
Or, as the conspiracy theorist/businessperson side of me suspects, it was purposefully sterilised to stop us from being able to grow our own. No, you're crazy.
Final thoughts on growing variegated Monstera from seed
Please don’t be scammed. It’s basically impossible to buy variegated Monstera seeds. A lot of plants are grown in tissue culture in labs – seeds barely enter into the equation.
Variegated Monstera are currently extremely fashionable but either:
- The trend will die down (unlikely)
- More places will grow them using tissue culture, thus making them easier to produce in bigger quantities and driving the price down (likely – literally happening right now)
- Everyone who wants one will have them. Demand will fall, and so will prices (hmm, bit of a long shot)
Be patient and save up, or ask Santa nicely.
Or do what I did and develop a passion for Calathea instead.