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I find the whole species vs cultivars thing to be a bit confusing.
Ok, so a species is a type of plant. So both Monstera deliciosa and adansonii are Monstera species, but Monstera albo and Monstera Thai Constellation are different cultivars of the same species.
So cats and dogs are all part of the same family, but different species that can’t interbreed. Within the cat family there are different species that can interbreed (like lions can breed with tigers). Aaand then we have cultivars, like Persian, Siamese, etc.
It’s not a great analogy, but it’s the closest I can come up with.
Don’t even get me started on subspecies.
All of the plants below are different cultivars of Monstera. Humans have bred them selectively for various characteristics that we like.
These characteristics CAN occur naturally, but it’s INCREDIBLY unlikely (which is why you can’t grow variegated Monstera from seed with any degree of certainty) because the characteristics we value in plants tend to focus on aesthetics rather than benefiting the plant’s ability to thrive.
It would be like a wolf giving birth to a pug – technically possible, but also…no.*
I have no idea how many types of Monstera deliciosa cultivars there are. There are more happening all the time. They are also ALWAYS being disputed. I’ll cover this as we go through.
Regular green Monstera:
The GOAT in the world of houseplants. Easy to care for, and looks freaking incredible. I have a care guide here.
2. Large form
And we’re already at number one of the disputed forms. Whilst you certainly can get Monstera with massive leaves, a lot of botanists (including the guys at Kew) are pretty sure that’s there’s no genetic difference between a regular Monstera and a Monstera large form.
They argue that the plants are the same, but the large form was giving more light, humidity, and just…better care.
This however, doesn’t mean that people selling large form Monstera are scammers. If they’ve gone to trouble of growing a plant to that size, then, of course, they deserve to be paid more.
HOWEVER if you then put your large form Monstera in less than optimal conditions, it’ll just go back to being regular size.
People will tell you the difference between large form and regular form is that large form has ruffles on the geniculum (the bit at the top of the petiole that connects the leaf). The ruffles come with maturity. nothing to do with the cultivar.
This is essentially the same thing, and I suspect a way to sell Monstera to people that say regular Monstera are too big (a campaign cut short by the emergence of Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma).
Monstera grow big in the right conditions, and don’t in poorer conditions – regardless of cultivar. Even smaller Monstera species, such as adansonii grow a LOT bigger than we typically see in stores if cared for correctly.
This is a Monstera deliciosa with white variegation. The variegation varies from plant to plant but can be sectoral (big chunks of white) or more dappled in appearance.
They are stunning and pretty pricey, but they are NOT rare.
The sale of variegated Monstera is highly regulated by growers to ensure that the market isn’t flooded (which would lead to a drop in price – you gotta control supply so it’s *just* under demand to keep up the price AND the buzz).
Don’t spend a fortune (and don’t buy seeds – tis a SCAM) unless you know what you’re doing. Wet sticks are an option but make sure you buy from a trusted seller – the amount of Golden Pothos sold as Albo wet sticks is…a lot.
Practice with a green Monstera first – if you don’t give Albos enough light they can revert back to green Monstera, so your £150 investment is now worth a tenner.
The same as an Albo but the variegation is yellow.
The supply/demand of these changes WILDLY. They can be pretty cheap and then extremely expensive month on month.
Yellow variegation definitely only appeals to a certain proportion of the market. Monstera adansonii with yellow variegation are getting to be similar in price to non-variegated ones which is interesting (to me, anyway).
Again, make sure you’re not paying Monstera prices for a Golden Pothos. If you haven’t got Aurea money, get a Golden Pothos and grow it up something in bright light!
There’s also Monstera Marmorata, which seems to be the same? I saw an article on differences and they didn’t seem different enough to actually be different cultivars – it looked more like one plant with two different names (perhaps from two different growers?). Any info on this would be appreciated!
6. Thai Constellation
Thai Consellation are another cultivar with white (or cream) variegation. The variegation is more speckled (like stars – hence the name) but they do have sectoral variegation too.
Many people don’t like these because they’ve been genetically modified so they’re not ‘proper’ variegated Monstera.
They’re cheaper than albos and the variegation is stable (so they don’t revert) so I love them. I have one, and it’s beautiful. They are slightly more predisposed to root rot than green Monstera, so I keep mine hydroponically.
This is another type of variegated Monstera but the variegation is mint green rather than white. Buy from a reputable dealer because there are a lot of people selling poorly variegated albos as mint.
8. Brazil common form
Monstera brazil have bigger splits in the leaves than regular deliciosa, and they only get one row of holes (because the splits are so big there’s no room).
These are stunning but expensive, and, of course, not immune to scammers. Ask to see photos if your buying online, and if in doubt, don’t bother.
9. Green on green
Erm, like mint but with more lime-y variegation. A new one! Really fucking pricey!
10. Monstera deliciosa var. sierrana
Looks to be of similar heritage to the brazil form but the leaves are smaller. the fenestrations cut really far into the plant so it looks extra monstera-y.
11. Monstera ‘Burle Marx’s Flame’ (maybe)
We don’t really know what a Burle Marx Flame is, but it looks to be similar to a sierrana. One specimen was found in Robert Burle Marx’s collection and we’ve never found one in the wild. There is speculation that it could be a hybrid, but we don’t really know. I wrote about it more here, but also…I found zero answers.
So, that’s all the Monster cultivars that I’ve heard of. There are probably hundreds, but these are the ones that are available on the market, in varying degrees of accessibility.
If I’ve missed a cultivar, or you have info on the Burle-Marx Flame, I’d love to hear (also Monstera peru because I’m no further forward with that)! Apologies for the lack of photos but I only have a regular Monstera, a large form, and a Thai, and I don’t want to simply thieve photos from Google because, er, it’s illegal.
Pink Monstera are not a thing. The Miss Piggy Monstera is either a scam or an exercise in dyin Monstera. Remember the Pink Congo scam? They can turn any plant pink with the right chemicals, but it’ll revert (if it doesn’t harm the plant first).