Plant Journal – Variegated Monstera Borsigiana

Summary

The variegated monstera Borsigiana was my first big house plant. It has been such a joy to see grow. The borsignia is a smaller version of the delicisiosa but will still grow leaves with fenestrations, just a bit smaller in size.

Quick Facts

Details

Family: Araceae.
Subfamily: Monsteroideae.
Genus: Monstera.
Cultivar: Borsigiana.
Botanical Name: Monstera Borsigiana Variegata Nickname: Variegated swiss cheese plant

Plant Care

Light: Tolerates low light. Will thrive in bright light.
Watering: Likes moist soil. Water when top 5cm of soil are dry.
Humidity: Likes it humid. Mist daily to achieve 65-70%.
Soil/Substrate: Well draining soil. Hates wet feet.

Extra

Air Purifying? Yes
Toxic? Yes

Growth pattern: Loves climbing. Moss pole will encourage mature leaves faster.

Journal

I am pretty sure that the day I opened my instagram account, I fell in love with variegated monsteras. And having owned one since April 2020, I can only say that they are a joy to own. I am specifically talking about the monstera borsignia as a variegated variety. Both of mine have two vines in the pot. They came like this. One vine is more mature than the other. On both plants the younger vine has the more interesting variegation, but I actually love the more understated speckles as well.

I repotted the plant early summer into a pot one size bigger. I used a airy mix of soil, perlite, vermiculite, moss and orchid bark. This plant has the most complex plant mix. As mine is still in a plastic pot, it means it won’t dry out quickly, like it might in a terracotta pot. Eventually I’d love to put it into a concrete pot, possibly a home made one.

In terms of location, mine has been in 3 spots. One of the darkest corners in the living room, but I kept an LED light on it during the day, and it happily put out leaves on a regular schedule. In the summer we got a new chair, so the plant moved into the south facing kitchen. It was 2 metres away from the window, so did not get super hot direct light, but bright light. It continued to put out leaves.

Once the weather turned to shorter days and the sun was a lot lower in the sky I noticed that the corner had turned rather dark in terms of light intensity. So for the winter I moved the plant to its third spot, to the south facing spare room. Here it gets some direct light late morning and plenty of grow light light. Since the move I have had 1 new leaf with a second on the way. It is however using noticeably less water, so I have reduced my watering schedule. I highly recommend getting a water metre.

Generally this monstera will tolerate low light, but it won’t grow as much. I wanted mine to have more bright light as the white in the leaves means it needs more light. The white cannot produce chlorophyll so you want to provide a slightly brighter environment. Do keep in mind though the white could burn in direct midday sun.

Humidity wise, I do mist my plant every day. And once every two weeks I will mist it and with a dust cloth wipe off any dust. I did not do this initially, and then when I did after 2 months, I was a bit shocked at how dirty my cloth was. Poor plant. I find by keeping it at around 60% humidity has meant that I have no more additional brown spots than what it came with, but some say to keep it around 70%.

Being a plant that likes to climb, they really appreciate a moss pole. The higher they grow the more mature their leaves also get and it is said to encourage mature leaves. I found that the light also influenced this, which kinda makes sense if you think of a plant trying to climb above the tree tops and it getting more light the higher it goes. You can train them to go up the moss pole by tying the plant to it and eventually the arial roots will hold on or grow into it.

Monstera love climbing on a moss pole.

Propagation

Monsteras are generally easy to propagate. But this does not mean that every cutting will be a success. Trust me, I am speaking from experience. To make cuttings you want to cut about an inch below the node. Leave the cuts to harden, then dip in rooting powder and use your preferred method. Best results can be achieved if you can include an already existing arial root.

I have tried moss propagation and struggled to keep the moss at the right humidity levels and all cuttings rotted. 1 rotted so badly that i had to cut most of the node off. It still lives in a glass as decoration for now. The other cuttings I managed to salvage by trimming off the rot and switching to water propagation instead.

Common Problems/Pests

Yellow leaves can indicate over watering. This plant really hates having wet feet, so to speak and will get root rot easily. BUT as it is a fast grower in bright light it does use water up quickly in those conditions. So far I have had no other problems with this plant, but I treat it for spider mites on a regular basis using a horticultural soap and neem oil mix. I especially include the areas where the leaves come away from the vine, as those are good hiding spots for plants.

The borsigiana can actually lose its variegation. If you see a new completely green leaf it is recommended to cut back to a more variegated leaf and more often than not, the plant will continue to put out variegated leaves. Do the same if the opposite happens and you start getting pure white leaves. This will just die down as they cost the plant energy and do not make any chlorophyll.

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