This article discusses Thai Constellation Monstera, a highly aesthetic and easy-to-grow houseplant. Famous for its unique variegated leaves forming intricate designs, this houseplant will make you fall in love with it at first sight.
Continue reading to explore different aspects of this variegated plant.
- The primary details, like genus, origin, common names, etc.
- Plant Care, Propagation, Growth, and Maturation
- Pests, Diseases & Other Common Problems
- Where to Buy
- Toxicity to People & Pets
- Similar Plants
- Frequently Asked Questions
Many confusing terms are used to classify plants, including class, sub-class, order, family, genus, species, varieties, mutations, and cultivars. In this section, we will talk about the genus of Thai Constellation Monstera.
Genus is the name of the biological classification that ranks between the divisions of family and species. It consists of different species that are structurally or genetically related.
So, which genus does Thai Constellation Monstera fall into?
Thai Constellation comes under the genus of Monstera. This genus belongs to the family of Araceae, native to the tropical regions of America.
Monstera is a Latin word meaning ‘monstrous’ or abnormal. Why such a unique name? Because the plants in this category have large, unusual leaves with natural holes.
Moreover, this genus consists of about 50 species of flowering plants that develop characteristic splits over time. They almost look like someone sliced them with scissors!
What Variety Does This Variegated Monstera Belong to?
There are a lot of species under the genus of Monstera. The most popular species is the ever-exotic Monstera Deliciosa, named after the delicious taste of its fruit called monster fruit or Mexican breadfruit. It tastes like a fusion of pineapple and banana.
Being native to tropical rainforests, the plants of Monstera Deliciosa species are known as epiphytes (the plants that grow on and with the support of other plants but are not parasitic). They have aerial roots and dramatic, showy foliage.
Monstera Deliciosa encompasses a lot of varieties; some of them are full-green while others are variegated. Variegation refers to the emergence of different colored patches, stripes, or other patterns on the leaves. More precisely, the leaves of variegated Monstera plants might display white, green, creamy yellow, or cream-colored designs.
Thai Constellation is one of the most popular variegated Monstera. Besides Thai Constellation, some other renowned variegated varieties of Monstera Deliciosa include Albo, Variegata, and Aurea.
Thai Constellation Monstera is not a separate species of the Monstera Genus or even a sub-species of Monstera Deliciosa. Instead, it is a genetically modified variant or cultivar of Monstera Deliciosa, its parent plant.
This special variegated Monstera Deliciosa was produced in Thailand’s single tissue culture laboratory. This is why it has Thai in its name!
This variety’s unique or distinguishing characteristic is that most of its leaves have some type of variegation, unlike other varieties that display both variegated and non-variegated leaves.
Although Thai Constellation Monstera needs support for optimal growth, it is possible to grow this plant indoors. In fact, it is one of the most popular houseplants in the United States because of its unique foliage. Its white or cream-colored leaves add a special, aesthetic touch to your home or office interior.
The botanical name of this variety is Monstera Deliciosa Thai Constellation.
The ‘Thai’ in its name represents the country where this plant was produced in a laboratory.
The ‘Constellation’ in its name refers to the pattern of variegation found on its leaves. With freckled or splashy patterns of creamy white and light yellow variegation, the leaves of this plant remind you of a galaxy filled with stars.
Some common names associated with Thai Constellation Monstera are Common Variegated Swiss Cheese Vine, Variegated Cheese Plant, and Variegated Salad Plant.
Most plants related to the Monstera genus and species are popularly known as Swiss cheese plants. This is because the natural perforations are like Swiss cheese-like holes.
People also know them by the name of salad plants because the fruit they produce tastes like a mix of different fruits, especially pineapple and banana.
Thai Constellation Monstera Care Guidelines
Are you thinking of getting this stunning houseplant with galaxy-like variegated leaves? A good idea, indeed. Not only does this plant look beautiful, but it also thrives amazingly with a bit of care from your side.
Initially grown in a laboratory from a Monstera Deliciosa plant, the care requirements of Thai Constellation are somewhat identical to other varieties of Monstera Deliciosa.
However, it’s less tolerant of drying out and needs more sunlight to grow well because of its variegated leaves. It may also grow slower and act more sensitive to light, humidity, temperature, and fertilizer.
Let’s look at its care requirements in detail.
If you plan on growing Thai Constellation indoors, you should remember that variegated plants need more sunlight than all-green ones.
The variegated sections in the leaves cannot absorb sunlight due to a tissue mutation in their chlorophyll. Consequently, the greener parts of those leaves have to work twice as hard to absorb light and convert it into energy for the whole plant. Hence, these variegated plants might not grow well in low light conditions.
However, you also have to protect the plant from direct bright sunlight coming from a single direction. This is for two reasons: firstly, your plant may become leggier and less leafy in reaching out for the light in one direction. Secondly, the white patches on the leaves are photosensitive and can burn if exposed to strong sunlight for a long time.
Conclusively, indirect bright light is ideal for the growth of Thai Constellation Monstera. You can use grow lights if your region doesn’t have adequate sunlight. But remember not to place the plant too close to the grow light, or it might burn.
Variegated monsteras are often killed with kindness. This statement conveys that people often overwater their Monstera plants, causing their roots to rot. But overwatering is more damaging for these plants than underwatering.
However, a vital fact about Thai Constellation is that it’s less tolerant to drying out than other Monstera varieties. This is why you need to find the right balance between overwatering and not letting it dry out completely. Plus, your watering routines should change according to other environmental conditions.
Here are some basic guidelines regarding the right way and frequency of watering a Thai Constellation.
- Water your plant moderately, approximately once a week.
- In each session, water the plant thoroughly; let the extra water drain from the pot. For good drainage, choose a pot with holes and place it on an appropriate surface that collects the runoff water from the pot.
- Make sure no debris is stuck in your pot’s drainage holes.
- Do not water again until the top half of the soil feels dry.
- Use a moisture meter to check the moisture level below the surface.
Temperature & Humidity
Because of their tropical origin, most Monstera Deliciosa plants love a temperature between 15 to 25 °C and a humid environment.
For Thai Constellation, enough light and high humidity levels are critical, especially for the baby plants. This is because it was primarily grown in the closed environment of a laboratory. It has poor tolerance for winter and frost.
Keep your Thai Constellation in a place where the humidity level is above 60%; your plant will become stressed otherwise, especially in winters.
The main problems stemming from low humidity are slow growth, brown tips and edges, and curly leaves.
- People who live in a dry region can easily maintain the required humidity level in their homes by following techniques.
- Check the current humidity level around your plant with a hygrometer.
- Use a humidifier to build humidity inside your home or office.
- Mist your plants once a week
- Fill up a dish with rocks and water; keep your plant on the pebble tray.
- Soil Needs
One reason your Thai Constellation Monstera might not grow well in unsuitable soil. You should not use soil that is too wet, too dense, or lacks nutrients. Its pH range should be somewhere around 5 to 7.5.
Following are the qualities of soil best for growing Thai Constellation Monstera:
- Well-Draining: Well-draining soil refers to porous and quick-drying soil that remains moist but not too soggy. Too much water can damage the plant.
- Aerated Soil: The soil should not be compact and have enough room for air to circulate. Air circulation is vital in potting soil to allow the plant to breathe. The roots will start to rot if they don’t get enough oxygen.
- Organic Matter: Nutrients are also crucial for the proper and fast growth of Thai Constellation Monstera.
You can mix orchid barks chips, peat moss, and perlite in the potting soil to make it well-draining and aerated. Other nutrients you can add are coconut coir, worm castings, coconut husk, etc.
People often consider it unnecessary to use fertilizers on their variegated Monsteras because these plants cannot produce flowers or fruits indoors. But this is where they go wrong. Fertilizers act as vitamins for plants, helping them grow stronger and healthier.
Thai Constellation Monstera is a slower grower than other varieties; it doesn’t deplete nutrients from the soil as quickly as others. However, it still needs a monthly dose of added nutrients on warm days. Lack of nutrients leads to slow and leggy growth. Plus, the leaves become yellow and wilted with fewer holes and fenestrations.
However, you shouldn’t use too much fertilizer, expecting your plant to grow faster. Too much fertilizer will cause the leaves to burn. In fact, you shouldn’t fertilize during late fall and winters because cold temperatures make it harder for the plants to absorb nutrients.
To conclude, you should fertilize Thai Constellation once a month from spring until the end of the growing season in autumn. Use a complete and balanced fertilizer that doesn’t have a high salt composition. Top-quality liquid fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio might work the best for you.
Pot Sizes and Types
Deep pots with enough room for root growth are the best for growing Thai Constellation. Plus, the pots should have support and drainage holes for optimal growth. Read the points below to know why.
- These plants require a deep, tall pot rather than a wide, shallow one because of their deep root system.
- Monsteras are climbers, so a pot without something for their support may lead to leggy growth.
- Your pot must have drainage holes to let out the excess water. Your plant may develop root rot if it sits or soaks into the water for too long.
Note: Do not use Terracotta pots if you are an under-waterer because they can dry out your plants quickly.
You may need to re-pot your Thai Constellation Monstera for two reasons: its pot no longer has the space to handle its growth, or there is something wrong with the soil.
What are the signs that your plant needs re-potting due to the size issue? You will start seeing small white roots from the drainage holes, indicating that your plant is getting root-bound. This disables them from absorbing moisture, eventually leading to root rot.
Because of its slow growth, you won’t need to re-pot Thai Monstera as often as other varieties. However, transferring them every two years to a pot according to their size is recommended.
Another reason to re-pot Thai Constellation Monstera is poor soil. If you suspect a bacterial or fungal infection in the soil, it’s time to re-pot your Thai Monstera! However, it’s not necessary to use another pot in this case. You can get rid of the soil, get a better mix, and put your plant back into the same pot.
Transplanting is very stressful for these plants. They are more prone to stress and root damage during the process, so you must be very careful and gentle. Here are some guidelines to help you re-pot the right way.
- Don’t re-pot soon after you get these plants. The change in the environment is already very stressful for them. Give them at least a month to adjust to the new settings unless there’s a valid reason to re-pot them.
- Just re-pot to a container one size larger than the previous one, having proper drainage holes. Re-potting to a vast pot can affect stem and leaf growth because the plant will direct all its energy to the roots to fill the new room.
- Try to re-pot in the summer when the plant is in its prime growing stage for better chances of recovery.
- Re-pot two days after you have last watered your plants. The soil will be moist, and the roots will easily come away from the pot’s sides.
Ideal growing Zones
9b to 11 are the ideal USDA growth zones for Thai Constellation Monstera. These zones encompass Texas, California, Louisiana, Florida, and other southern areas of the US.
The lowest temperature in these areas is recorded at 25 to 40 degrees F. (-3-4 C.). This means that the days in these areas stay warm even in the winters. Thai Constellation, which is intolerant to freezing temperatures, can easily thrive in these locations.
Propagation through Stem Cutting
Propagation means increasing the number of plants belonging to a particular species or cultivar. Since the Thai Constellation Monstera is rare, it is good to know how to propagate them.
The best time to propagate this plant is in spring or the initial days of summer. You can propagate Thai Constellation Monstera quickly through stem cuttings.
The first step is to cut a stem. Make sure the stem has a variegated leaf and aerial roots attached to it. These leaves and roots will grow to form a new plant. You can place these stems in a jar filled with water or soil.
Propagation in Water
Put the cutting into a mason jar filled with water and let it grow more roots. You can use tap water after letting it stay for the night to allow chlorine and other chemicals to settle down.
Place the jar near bright, indirect sunlight. Don’t forget to change the water once or twice a week to prevent it from getting too muddy. You will see new roots develop around three to five weeks.
Propagation in Soil
You can plant the cutting into a container or a pot filled with moist soil. Put the container in a bright place with indirect sunlight. Water the soil once or twice a week for about two months.
In about five to seven weeks, you will see a baby shoot.
Growing From Seed
Growing a new Thai Constellation plant from seed is possible but much more complex than growing it from variegated stems. This is because seeds require a lot of time and specific environmental conditions, mainly warmth and humidity, to germinate.
Plus, there’s no guarantee that a new Thai Constellation plant growing from seed will have variegation like its parents.
If you are fond of experimenting, there is no harm in giving this process a shot. Just remember that you need to provide it with ample warmth and humidity.
Moreover, you need to keep the seedlings in a place where it receives adequate sunlight indirectly. Direct light can scorch and kill the seedling before it can grow.
Note: You will have to soak the seed in water for half or a full day before planting them in a pot. If you are lucky, you may see sprouts emerging within ten days.
Pest and Diseases
The most common pests attacking these variegated plants include spider mites, thrips, and mealy bugs. Additionally, your plants may be exposed to a deadly condition called root rot.
Let’s take a brief look at these common pests and diseases.
Mealy Bugs: They are white, fluffy bugs that love to feast on houseplants. These bugs hide in your plant’s crevices and spread quickly. You will find it hard to get rid of them.
Spider Mites: They are the bugs that form webs on your plant. But you don’t have to worry about them because they don’t harm the plant unless the infestation is severe. You can use pesticides to get rid of them.
Thrips: They are small and wide insects white in color. You may not be able to spot them easily because they appear like tiny flecks of white paint. These insects can affect both the top and bottom sides of the leaves.
Root Rot: The plants of your root may rot due to a fungal or bacterial infection caused by overwatering and excess fertilizer. Your plant will stop growing, and its leaves will turn wilted and droopy if its roots are affected.
The solution for root rot is cutting off all the damaged roots and re-potting the plant in new, well-drained, and aerated soil.
Scale: This is a sap-sucking pest that looks like clusters of tiny shell-like bumps appearing on the stems or leaves.
Growth and Maturation
Since Thai Constellation Monstera grows slower than other Monstera varieties, its maturation may take about one to two years. However, your plant’s actual size and growth rate rely upon environmental conditions, like humidity, temperature, soil, fertilizers, etc.
With proper care and ideal environmental conditions, your plant may reach between 2.5 to 3 feet with leaves about 7cm – 30cm wide. To increase the size and growth rate of your Thai Monstera, you can use fertilizer once a month.
Common Problems and How to Fix Them
Here are some common reasons why your plant might show signs of dying.
We have already covered what pests can affect Thai Constellation, including root rot, scales, spider mites, thrips, and mealy bugs.
To get rid of pests, you can scrape away the affected leaves and rub them with pesticides and alcohol. Moreover, you can prevent them from attacking your plant through the following measures:
- Checking plants regularly for pests and diseases
- Wiping the leaves every once in a while
- Trimming the dead and drying leaves timely
- Isolating the plants that are already affected
Yellow or Brown Leaves
This is a widespread problem found in houseplants resulting from the following reasons:
- Excess moisture in the soil
- Lack of water
- Insufficient sunlight
- Salt buildup in the soil
- Pest attacks
- Transplant shock
- Too much sun
Evaluate your plant to determine the exact cause of the problem and address that problem accordingly. For example, change your watering habits if your soil feels too dry or wet. If you keep it near a window that gets direct sunlight, move it away or add curtains.
This problem usually indicates a lack of water or nutrients. You should water it more frequently and add a boost of fertilizer once a month to support plant growth.
Other causes of this problem might include transplantation shock or pest attacks. If it is transplantation shock, the root system will restore its health after some time. To diagnose a pest attack, you must observe its leaves and stem and rub them with alcohol or pesticides after isolating them from others.
Where to Buy & Price
Thai Constellation Monsteras fall on the expensive side because of their extremely rare and beautiful variegation. Plus, they are more complex and time-consuming to grow than other Monstera varieties. Its high demand causes the suppliers to run out of stock super-fast.
You can check out this exclusive plant with galaxy-resembling leaves online. There are many websites where these rare plants are available, like Etsy and Amazon. Their price is somewhere around $100 to $300. You must keep checking these websites for sales if you want to buy them at lower prices.
You can also browse through the website of Costa Farms.
It is an online website containing information on different houseplants with a list of suppliers. All you have to do is type Costa Farms and enter the plant you want in the search bar.
Thai Constellations are also toxic to humans and pets, like other Monstera varieties.
They may cause serious health issues if ingested, including burning lips, throat, and mouth, difficulty breathing and swallowing, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. People and animals who consume them will need proper medical attention.
Moreover, the sap of this plant may also cause skin allergies upon contact. Hence, you should wear gloves while handling fresh cuttings.
There are several variegated varieties of Monstera, but the two main ones are Thai Constellation and Monstera Albo. People often mix up these two plants. Why? Because both of them feature light-colored or white patterns scattered over their vibrant green leaves.
However, Monstera Albo and Thai Constellation differ in the following ways.
- Monstera Albo’s variegation is primarily white, while the Thai Constellation displays creamy white or yellow colored patterns.
- The variegation in Monstera Albo is also often larger, creating enormous patches across some leaves. In fact, it sometimes covers more than half of the leaf. In contrast, the leaves of the Thai Constellation have lighter speckles.
- Thai Constellation’s stable variegation results from genetic modification performed in a laboratory, while the variegation in Monstera Albo is caused by natural mutation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the variegation in Thai Constellation revert to green?
No, it won’t. Although some variegated plants (like Monstera Albo) are likely to turn green again, Thai Constellation can’t lose their variegation completely. Why? Because their mutation is spread all over the plant through genetically engineered tissue culture.
Is a sphagnum moss pole necessary for Variegated Monsteras?
Although not necessary, moss poles can be helpful for Thai Constellations. Monstera likes having a framework to grow upon because they are epiphytic plants. Additionally, you can spray these poles with fertilizer to provide your plant with moisture and nutrients.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.