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Monstera deliciosa (of which Thai Constellation is a cultivar) is a fairly fast grower.
Sure, other plants produce more leaves in the same space of time BUT since Monstera leaves are pretty big, they tend to size up pretty quickly.
Thai Constellation tend to grow a bit slower than other fully green Monstera, for a couple of reasons:
1 – They’re variegated
The white parts on the leaves don’t contain any chlorophyll, so they don’t photosynthesise. If half of the leaves are white, then it’ll photosynthesise half as much as a fully green plant that’s the same size (I think – unless the green parts photosynthesise more to make up for it??).
2 – They have root…issues
Thai Constellations are a man-made Monstera deliciosa cultivar, and they’re all tissue-cultured from the same mother plant. Even if you tissue-culture your own Thai at home from a specimen you bought, it’s still genetically the same as the original plant that was cloned in the 90s.
A clone is still a clone no matter how many, er, clones you’ve cloned.
There are slight variations between them. They are living things after all.
But Thai Constellations are infamous for their rot-prone roots.
I actually keep mine in water (oxygenated with java moss) because it's the easiest way for me to keep an eye on the roots AND wash off thrips when they turn up (thrips are a Monstera-wide thing, not just Thai Constellation).
So, if your Thai Constellation is growing a bit slower than your regular green Monstera, it’s to be expected.
That being said, my Thai is actually my fastest-growing Monstera. I have four, and it's the second largest. Still, they tend to be a little slower PLUS I probably baby my Thai the most because it's my most valuable plant and it was a gift.
So that’s your first tip! Be a helicopter parent!
Increase the light
There’s a pervasive rumour that the white part of variegated plants will burn in the sun.
There is truth to this – the white parts are more sensitive than the green BUT you can still keep variegated Monstera in bright, direct light IF YOU ACCLIMATE THEM PROPERLY.
Or, you know, let them burn and then wait for new leaves to come in.
Acclimating plants is just a case of putting them in brighter and brighter light every few days.
OR you can put them in a bright spot in, say, February, and as the light gradually brightens throughout spring, the plant will acclimate. You will have to be ready to move it if there's one of those weird hot days in March though.
My Thai sits right in my south-facing patio doors year-round.
Not a hint of browning.
All Monstera Thai Constellations are large-form, so if you give them bright enough light they’ll get unfathomably large leaves filled with holes and splits.
Increasing the light is the number one way to get your variegated Monstera to grow faster. All of these other tips will help, but you need this one in the bag first.
Keep it pest free
This seems obvious, but if my Monstera stops growing but doesn’t otherwise look sick, I always do a thorough pest check – specifically for thrips.
I’ve talked a lot about the undying love between Monstera and thrips. The thrips use Monstera as their home base to spread to other plants in your home and kill them. The Monstera will show damage after a while, but they can live a very long time with untreated thrips and you might not notice.
If this really creeps you out, I recommend that you’re super vigilant about wiping the leaves down with soapy water/neem oil every week OR investing in predator mites.
Pests won't necessarily damage your Monstera straight away, but it will stop growing. I like to think that they direct all their energies towards getting rid of the pests (I have no idea how - releasing hormones thrips don't like??) so don't have time to produce new leaves.
Keep it dust free
Keeping your Thai Constellation dust free is important for three reasons, all equally important.
The first reason is that dust does a pretty great job of blocking the light from the plant and therefore reducing the amount of photosynthesising it can do.
The other layer of dust between your plant and the sun is on your windows, so keep them clean too
The second reason is that dust can block the stomata (as can leaf shine products, so be careful there) and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesise.
Stomata need to be open for photosynthesis to take place (because they need to be open for gas exchange) so if they’re covered or blocked, no photosynthesis.
This is also why misting isn’t recommended because if plants detect water on their leaves, they’ll close their stomata, I assume so they don’t fill up with water.
The third reason is that dust dries out the surface of your plant, and a dry environment attracts spider mites. Spider mites are arseholes and we hate them.
Increase the humidity
Monstera deliciosa in general aren’t mad fussed on high humidity. They enjoy it, but it’s not make or break. It’s a nice supplement and will encourage bigger, faster growth, but if your humidity is around 50% don’t worry too much.
High humidity WILL speed up growth though (in all Monstera species and cultivars, as far as I’m aware) and we have the added bonus that high humidity is a great way to stop the white parts from browning.
Well, it’s more that low humidity will cause browning, but either way, high humidity keeps the white parts whiter.
If you do have an issue with the white parts browning, a lot of people swear by adding silica to their soil.
Make sure the roots are healthy
I firmly believe that you need to, at least in part, tailor your potting mix to you as much as you tailor it to your plant’s needs.
If you tend to neglect your plants a bit, a Monstera will be more than happy in a denser soil mix than is typically advised. If you like to water a lot, you need a soil mix that doesn’t retain much water.
Since Thai Constellations have a predisposition towards root rot, I highly recommend you AT LEAST add some perlite and bits of orchid bark to your potting mix. I also like to keep mine in a clear pot so I can keep an eye on the roots without disturbing them.
I’m personally not a huge fan of keeping Monstera in leca – I think they grow well in leca, they’re just a pain to keep secure – but it can be a great option for Thais because the roots really, really like to be well-oxygenated.
As I said before, I keep mine in water, and it’s super happy that way.
Fertilise it regularly
My Thai would probably grow a lot faster if I fertilised it regularly, but I don’t. Not because I forget – I’ve actually really increased the nutrients for my plants this year just to see what happened BUT it’s a pain emptying out the water and then adding it back in again.
One of the reasons I love the Thai in water is the low level of maintenance required. I change the water every six months-ish (at the start and end of the growing season) and use aquarium water. There's quite the little ecosystem in there - snails, other bugs, plus the java moss grows and old bits die off which is plenty to keep it going.
It would be faster if I fertilised every month/couple of weeks, but I prefer my lazy methods!
I’ve recently started experimenting with fertilising my plants way more frequently than is the norm and came to the conclusion that fertilising every other time I water is best for my plants (only fertilise this often if your plants are growing well, otherwise you’ll end up poisoning them).
You can try this with your Thai if you like BUT the plant I had issues with was variegated: my Pothos N-Joy did NOT appreciate this much food and started getting black spots, so if you notice this on your Thai, flush the soil and leave off the nutrients for a month or so.
My Pothos Marble Queen LOVED all the food and is thriving, so it’s not a case of ‘you can’t fertilise variegated plants frequently’ – just be aware that over-fertilising variegated plants can result in black spots on the leaves and slowed growth.
To be on the safe side, I would recommend fertilising your Thai Constellation every month when it’s growing.
Grow it up something
Monstera like to grow up.
When they’re seedlings, they’re skototropic, which means they grow away from the light. The idea here is that they’ll grow into the shade of a tree that they can then start to grow up.
Monstera typically only have one growth point so just the one stem and they want that stem to grow up towards the sun (they have no concept of ceilings).
Moss poles are awesome (I love Kratiste ones because I’m lazy) because you can grow a secondary root system for your plant which will speed up growth even more BUT just something that makes your plant go up will help. Even just sellotaping the stem to a plank of wood will work well.
Getting a Thai Constellation to grow faster is a matter of good care (good light, watering it properly) and replicating its natural environment as closely as you can.
I mean, technically Thai Constellation’s natural environment is a lab in Thailand, but you know what I mean.
By the way, if you treat your Thai Constellation very well, it could provide you with fruit BUT before you get any grand ideas about getting seeds and germinating them, Thai Constellation seeds are infertile. You can’t reliably grow variegated Monstera from seed.
Monstera seeds from Albos can be fertile, but their offspring will be as likely to be variegated as a regular green Monstera. Like how if you propagate a variegated Sansevieria the pups are usually just solid green.