Monstera Albo Borsigiana vs Thai Constellation
Monsteras are great housemates, as they do not require a lot of care and attention. They are fairly easy to grow, do not ask for a lot of water and can even help to purify the air in your living room! Probably the two most popular varieties of monsteras around are the Monstera Albo Borsigiana (usually just called ‘Arbo’) and the Monstera Thai Constellation. Their popularity comes from the amazing variegation both plants offer: the leaves show creamy to yellow-ish or even white speckles and spots on the lush green leaves. This variegation originates from a mutation, which cannot be replicated simply from seeds but need to be propagated. Because of this, the Albo and the Thai Constellation are much harder to find than your average non-variegated monstera.
The differences between Monstera Albo and Thai Constellation
The Monstera Albo and the Thai Constellation are both gorgeous plants with amazing variegated patterns. Even though both types of monstera appear similar at first sight, they are definitely not the same plant. There are major differences as to where the variegation comes from and in the stability of the variegation. The Thai Constellation is easier to produce, as the variegation is produced in a lab (in Thailand originally, hence the name) through working with tissue culture. In this case, the variegation is not based on a genetic mutation. This makes the variegation stable. Its name comes from the pattern that can be found on the leaves: often this resembles the night sky with stars. The Albo’s variegation comes from a genetic mutation that does not always appear in new stems or leaves, making the variegation unstable.Thai Constellation
How to spot the differences
Besides their origins, there are a few differences in how the two monsteras look. Generally, the variegation on the Albo is more brilliant white, whereas the colors on the Thai Constellation have a more creamy white or even yellow outlook. Another way to see the difference between the Albo and the Thai Constellation is to take a close look at the variegation pattern. The variegation on the Thai Constellation consists of a more speckled pattern, while the Albo’s pattern is generally more chunky. As for sizes and shapes, the two monsteras are slightly different. The Albo is usually taller and offers a more elongated shape. The Thai Constellation on the other hand has shorter nodes, making it a bit more bushy. This means it usually requires a bit more space than an Albo. The Thai Constellation grows significantly faster too.
What makes a Monstera Albo unique
The Monstera Albo is a rare and extremely popular plant. It offers an unpredictable and spectacular variegated pattern with bright white speckles and blocks. The brilliant white color of the variegation contrasts beautifully with the lush green on the leaves.
The variegation for the Albo originates from a genetic mutation, which means the variegation occurs naturally. This mutation also makes it unstable. Some stems will not have enough mutated cells to create the variegation, so the leaves will not be variegated. You will want to prune these non-variegated leaves, otherwise the plant will ultimately revert to being green.
New Albo’s can only be created by growing propagations from an Albo plant that already has the genetic mutation. Still, not every propagation will have enough mutated cells to become a full-grown Albo; some will turn out to become green and thus ordinary-looking monsteras.
How to take care of your variegated monstera?
First of all you will have to find the right place in your house. Both monsteras are tropical plants and you will want to (sort of) recreate the conditions of their native habitat. The Albo and the Thai Constellation both require a moderate level of water. Make sure that you do not over-water them, too much water may cause the roots to rot. Before watering your monstera, check the condition of the soil first. Simply poke a finger in the soil to check how dry it is. It should never be completely dry, this is especially important during summer time. If it feels too dry, make sure to gently water your monstera. In the winter period, the soil should be a little bit more dry than during the summer. Your monstera will go into hibernation and require less water during this period. In general, watering it once per week should be sufficient.
Both variegated monsteras should not be placed in direct sunlight. The white leaves are very fragile and will burn easily, leaving brown marks. They do however need a lot of indirect sunlight, like they are used to in their native habitat: the tropics.
Making sure your Albo stays beautifully variegated
Your Albo needs a little more love and attention than a Thai Constellation. This means checking new stems and leaves and trimming them when they do not show the white variegation. Otherwise, your precious Albo might ultimately revert back to being completely green. If the new leaves contain too much white, they also need to be trimmed. The white leaves contain less chlorophyll which the plant needs to photosynthesize and feed itself from the energy from the sun. If your Albo cannot feed itself, it will slowly die.Get one!
Should I pick an Albo or a Thai Constellation?
Both monsteras are wonderful plants that offer a unique variegation. There are however differences between the Albo and the Thai Constellation, including the color and pattern of the variegation, the size and shape of the plant, the maintenance they require and the price.
The Albo offers even more impressive white leaves, compared to the more creamy leaves of the Thai Constellation. The downside to the Albo is that it requires a little more maintenance, as you need to prune new leaves when you notice they are not variegated, in order to maintain the plant’s variegation.
The Thai Constellation is most likely the safer pick for less-experienced plant growers. Because the variegation is more stable, it is easier to propagate. Moreover, the mutation appears in every new stem, so the variegation will be present in every new leaf. You will not have to worry about carefully checking and pruning new stems and leaves to maintain the variegation. All in all, you can never go wrong with one of these beautiful monsteras!