The Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata has to be the most popular plant at the moment. And unfortunately it is crazy expensive. So let’s delve into this. Why are they so expensive? If you do buy one what should you look out for? And if you’re in South Africa where to buy it from.
Why so expensive?
Simply put- these plants are rare. They have a genetic mutation that alters the chlorophyll or green pigments in the plant. This lack of green results in the white colour in the leaf. Not only can the genetic mutation in a variegated Monstera not be transferred over to seeds (so you cannot grow them in bulk) but the mutation is also unstable- you might have a plant that was variegated completely lose its variegation.
So if we’re only creating more variegated Monsteras by propagation, this might take some time. Added to the fact that it takes growers to catch up to the fad, this might take more time. So we’re just in a reality where there is a large demand for something that cannot be grown fast enough to satisfy the masses. By the time everyone has a cutting, I’m pretty sure the fad will have moved on.
Where to buy one in South Africa?
Facebook is an amazing place to find plants. The Rare and Collectable Plants Only for Auction and for Sale- South Africa ; The Special Plant Auction Group and the Rare Plant Exchange Group are all places you might find one. Another group to look out for, and in fact, it’s just a great place to be as a plant parent is House Plant Parents SA. And then the marketplace is also a good place to keep an eye out- although be wary of scams.
Then there are some great online shops that deal with rare plants to check in on. They are:
- Plantable SA
- Muddy Boots
- Greywood Green
- JJ Rooftop Farm
- SA Botanical Garden
- Tropical Plants ZA
- Plantae Orchids
- Stephward Estate
- Orchid Love SA
From time to time I sell plants or cuttings from my personal collection. If you’d like to be part of an email newsletter that will let you know when the next rare plant sale occurs that might include variegated monsteras, you can go here to sign up.
What to look out for:
The following is a list of what you should look out for when you’re buying a plant. This will contribute to the success of the growth of your plant as well as help you determine how much you should be paying for a plant.
- Percentage of leaf variegation: the best amount of variegation on a plant is anything higher than 40% and less than 80% – enough for the leaves to produce food but enough white for the cosmetic appeal.
- The pattern of leaf variegation: The half-moon leaf variegation is usually more popular than the marbled / mottled variegation and you’re likely to pay more for it.
- Stem variegation: The more variegation on a stem is thought to be a good indicator of future variegated leaves.
- Rooted plant: When a plant is rooted, it means that there is no need to battle with establishing the plant
- Number of nodes: The more nodes a cutting has, the more chance it has to give off roots.
- Evidence of new growth: The more new growth a plant has, may indicate that the plant may be a fast grower or a very healthy plant
- Size of the plant: The bigger the plant, the better, you can also cut the plant up for resell if it has more than one node- this may result in a big potential to make your money back as well as an income if you grow your plant long enough.
- Perfect heart-shaped leaves: This is for cosmetic appeal, the fewer the tears the better.
The Price: Get ready, the price of these guys is expensive. Depending on everything above you’re looking at paying around R800 for a basic cutting to R2000 for a good cutting, and then anything from R2000- R10 000 for an established plant.
So there you have it. All about plant of the century I’m sure! I hope you and yours are all able to find one and that it brings you much joy. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know!