Monstera albo and the Thai constellation are two of the most popular houseplants belonging to the Monstera genus. More specifically, these two variegated plants are members of the Monstera deliciosa family.
The two variegated plants are the main variegated types of monsteras, making them incredibly popular.
Monstera albo and the Thai constellation are undoubtedly magnificent, but they are not the same. So when buying one online or from a nearby store, you will need to know the differences between them to pick the most suitable choice for your home.
This Monstera albo Vs Thai constellation article introduces the two popular houseplants and discusses the differences and similarities between them.
About Monstera Deliciosa
Both Monstera albo and the Thai constellation belong to the Monstera deliciosa plant family.
The parent plant, Monstera deliciosa, is sometimes referred to as Philodendron Monstera. It is one of the most common houseplants, getting its popularity due to its ease of maintenance, unique leaf fenestrations, and distinctive appearance.
Monstera Deliciosa is pretty common in non-variegated forms available in local nurseries and big box stores globally.
However, its variegated forms are rarer, making them highly prized and relatively expensive to acquire. This rareness is because variegation is not a stable attribute in Monsteras; you cannot replicate it from the plant’s seeds.
Because of this scarcity, most variegated Monsteras are developed by propagating one from the mother plant already with the variegation genetic mutation.
In this post, you will learn about the two main variegated monsteras, albo, and the Thai constellation, and how to identify each and choose a suitable type for your indoor plant needs. This information should help you avoid mistaking one for the other.
What is Monstera Albo?
This is a subtype of the Monstera deliciosa with characteristic large marbled leaves with pure-white variegations taking up large sections of the leaves.
These near-white variegations on the albo leaves are chunky or solid color blocks mixed with splashes of white all over the leaf.
So the Monstera Albo leaf is a beautiful mix of white and green. The leaves typically have a less white and more green color, with the white appearing in specks or entire sections of the leaf.
The smaller percentage of white sections compared to green ones is not entirely aesthetic. Instead, it has its functional role too.
If the plant has all-white leaves, it may not be able to synthesize the food required to sustain its life. Plants depend on their green component (chlorophyll) to collect energy and sustain themselves and the planet through oxygen emission.
If the plant leaf is white, it lacks chlorophyll, so it will not be able to synthesize food, get the required energy, or produce oxygen. As a result, such a plant faces inevitable death.
Compared to Thai constellation, the Monstera Albo leaves are smaller, often growing to a maximum size of about 12 inches.
The plant also has longer spaces between the stem nodes, typically about 6 or more inches. This quality makes Monstera albo look taller and narrower, ideal for smaller spaces.
What to keep in mind when buying Monstera Albo
Monstera Albo is a naturally occurring genetic mutation, so the plant can only grow as a propagation from a mother plant. The mother plant must have this genetic mutation to transfer it to the offspring.
Think of the trait as the plant equivalent of albinism in mammals and humans.
The Albo variegation is an unstable trait because it is naturally occurring as a result of a genetic mutation.
Therefore, you must cut off any new growth that lacks the variegation to keep the white color in the plant. Otherwise, the plant could eventually revert to a pure green version of itself.
To replicate the trait, you need to trim variegated stems with e a large number of mutated cells at the nodes. The whole plant also requires proper care under optimal growing conditions to preserve its variegation and protect it from reverting back to all green.
The Albo plant variegation can vary significantly from plant to plant, so you should be keen on the quality of the cutting you are receiving when buying one.
Monstera albo Borsigiana is a variant of this plant species with relatively smaller leaves. It also grows more slowly than the main Monstera albo.
What is Thai Constellation?
Monstera Thai constellation is a variegated type of Monstera deliciosa that was originally produced in a Thailand lab through a genetic process. This explains the Thai part of the name. This plant can be reproduced by means of tissue culture.
The variegation on the Thai constellation is considered stable, so you do not have to prune its stems to keep the variegated trait.
Stable variegation means the plant will maintain the trait whenever it grows, thanks to mutated cells spread throughout its body.
However, stable variegation is still unpredictable in design. You cannot predict how much variegation will be present or the pattern it will follow when new leaves appear.
That notwithstanding, this variegation type is more consistent in how it is spread out throughout the plant. The leaves generally have a speckled pattern of creamy white with occasional larger splashes or stripes of cream or light yellow color on a green background.
This pattern explains the Constellation label in the name. And the cream color of the Thai constellation variegation sets it apart from Monstera Albo variegata, which is plain white.
Some Thai constellation leaves are mostly green with creamy white splashes all over. Others are mostly cream-colored, with the green appearing in splashes instead.
Compared to Monstera albo, Thai constellations grow much faster. It also boasts larger leaves, growing to as big as two to three feet wide on a mature plant.
The nodes on Thai constellations are closer to one another along the stem, giving the plant a more luxuriant appearance.
Monstera Albo vs Thai Constellation Side by Side
Now that you know what Monstera albo and Thai constellation are, which of the two should you choose for your needs? To make that decision easier, here is an in-depth look at how the two houseplants compare.
Monstera albo vs Thai Constellation: The Differences
Even though Monstera albo and Thai constellation belong to the same parent plant, they are different. Therefore, the two variegated plants have significant differences that can make one more suitable for your needs than the other.
1. Shape and size
Thai constellation and Monstera albo have distinct sizes and shapes that you can use to tell them apart.
Thai constellation has larger leaves that are typically stacked close together, giving it a bushier appearance. This appearance is thanks to the plant’s shorter internodes; the nodes on the stem are closer to one another than those on Monstera albo, which are spread far apart.
Still, the massive size of the Thai constellation leaves makes the foliage appear to spread out.
On the other hand, the Monstera albo has relatively smaller leaves and nodes spread about 6 inches apart. This much internode space gives the albo plant a more elongated form.
The latter, Monstera albo, is also a climber. As such, it can use a moss pole for support. It is the ideal choice for anyone who appreciates vining houseplants.
The Thai constellation may be perfect for you if you prefer a larger plant with a bushy appearance. Its large leaves and shorter internodes give it a profuse form.
Notice that this bigger size also means the plant will take up more space, so ensure you have enough for it.
If you have limited room for your houseplant, then the sparse foliage of Monstera albo may be more fitting.
2. Growth rate
The two plants have different growth rates, with the Thai constellation being the faster-growing of the two.
You can expect your Monstera Thai constellation to add about one to two feet to its height every year under optimal growth conditions.
Since the plant’s roots grow as the shoot gets taller, they soon overgrow their pot. So you should always repot them once every two years.
In contrast, Monstera albo grows relatively slower, adding about one to two inches to its height every one to two years under optimal growth conditions.
3. Plant price
Variegated Monsteras generally cost more than the prevalent green types. These prices mainly depend on the plant’s variegation type.
Variegation type can be stable or unstable. Plants with stable variegation are easier to propagate, while those with unstable variegation are more challenging to propagate. Houseplants with stable variegation type cost less than those with unstable variegation.
Since the Thai constellation plant has a stable variegation, you will typically find it at a lower price than the equivalent Monstera albo.
The latter has an unstable variegation, making it far more difficult to propagate. For this reason, albo prices are generally higher.
The unstable variegation of Monstera albo makes the plant rarer. This scarcity is a major contributing factor to the relatively higher prices, with a mature Monstera albo plant costing as much as $1,000 to $5,000.
You can get a single cutting at about $100, depending on where you live.
Thai constellation plants are developed more easily through tissue culture. This mechanism helps keep their supply relatively stable. The stability then translates to fairly lower purchase prices.
4. Leaf variegation
You probably already know that leaf variegation is the main distinguishing factor between the two Monstera deliciosa plants, albo, and the Thai constellation.
Monstera albo has a more irregular variegation trait, with the patterns likely to be anything from white speckles on the leaves to chunky or solid color blocks taking up larger sections of the leaves.
The stems may have white streaks, and sometimes half-moon or sectoral white variegation may appear on various parts of the plant. You’ll be amazed when you find out that the half moon monstera was created through this process.
Regardless of how the variegation appears, the colors are always stark white on green. Sometimes the white color may be dominant, overshadowing the green, which is detrimental to the plant’s survival.
On the other hand, the variegation on the Thai constellation consists of creamy white or light yellow speckles appearing across the entire plant like a constellation.
A crucial aspect here is the color of the variegation, which is more cream than white, setting it apart from its albo cousin, which is pure white.
5. Variegation type: stable vs unstable variegation
Aside from the coloration factor, variegation on plants can either be stable or unstable. The trait indicates that the plant has mutant cells that lack green pigment.
If this mutation occurs naturally, it results in an unstable variegation. However, if it is created through tissue culture, the resultant variegation is stable.
Monstera Albo has an unstable variegation type
The variegation on Monstera albo is considered unstable because it is the result of a genetic mutation. So you must constantly cut out non-variegated new growths to maintain the plant’s desired variegation (white color).
Failure to cut out non-variegated new growth or keeping the plant in suboptimal growth conditions may lead to the loss of its variegation. This would mean ending up with a Monstera plant with all-green leaves.
To recreate the variegation on Monstera deliciosa albo plants, they must be pruned at the nodes as the stems contain the highest concentration of the highly prized mutated cells.
When purchasing the cutting, consider the balance of white and green color on its variegation. Neither of the two hues should be overly dominant as it will directly influence the character of the grown plant.
A cut with too many green parts has a higher chance of reverting to an all-green plant. Failure to cut out new non-variegated leaves will likely lead to total loss of the variegation.
In contrast, Monstera deliciosa albo with predominantly white leaves and only a few green areas may keep producing leaves with increasingly large white parts.
The shrinking percentage of green sections on the plant’s leaves may spell doom as the plant may be unable to synthesize enough energy to sustain itself.
Green parts indicate the presence of chlorophyll, while white leaves do not have this vital pigmentation.
Without the ability to trap sunlight for nutrient uptake, the plant will die eventually.
Thai Constellation has a stable variegation type
The variegation in Thai constellation is a result of a tissue culture process. The plant was created genetically in a laboratory, so the variegation is replicable and therefore considered stable.
Because the Thai constellation has a stable variegation, it does not require the pruning of new leaves. The plant has mutated cells spread evenly across its entire body.
However, you cannot tell the amount of variegation that will be present in new leaves even though the variegation is stable.
6. Leaf color
Variegation and leaf color go hand in hand. While both the Thai constellation and Monstera albo have a green background, their variegated coloration is different.
The Monstera albo plant has a stark white color that remains the same regardless of the patterns. This white part can be in several parts of the leaf and stems or appear only as a few streaks of color depending on the number of mutated genes in the plant.
It is common for the same albo plant to have leaves that are half white on the same stem with others that are solid white or solid green. This trait is called floating variegation, where the same plant can have completely green or white leaves.
On the other hand, the Thai constellation has creamy-colored speckles scattered evenly on the green background of the plant. Some of these are stripes, while others are dots, creating a constellation appearance.
Sometimes the creamy white or light yellow can dominate, with stripes and dots of green coloration sprinkled all over the plant.
Propagating the Thai constellation is much easier since the plant has a stable variegation. The mutated cells occur evenly all over the plant, giving its propagation a high rate of success.
Additionally, there is a stable production stream for Thai Constellation because the plant is produced by way of tissue culture. This ensures standardization and a dependable supply of the houseplant.
Once available, the plant grows relatively quickly, which also contributes to its stable availability.
Because the Thai constellation is easier to propagate, it is more readily available than Monstera albo, which has unstable variegation.
The Albo plant is more challenging to propagate properly. Its variegation is the result of a natural cell mutation process, so you can only propagate it by cutting stem sections at the nodes where the highest concentration of mutated cells occurs.
This is technically a slow process since the propagation must occur naturally. Since the plant generally grows more slowly, propagation can take some time.
Furthermore, proper propagation requires finding stem sections with balanced variegation. Too much variegation may lead to the death of the plant, while too little variegation might cause the plant to revert to a pure green version with no variegation at all.
All of these variables make Monstera albo more difficult to reproduce and propagate than the Thai constellation.
Monstera Albo vs Thai Constellation: Similarities
Both Monstera albo and Thai constellation usually have perforated leaves when they grow into mature plants. However, these fenestrations only develop as the plants come of age but are usually lacking during the plant’s early stages of growth.
The similarities between Monstera albo and the Thai constellation do not end there. Both plants require the same growth conditions and preference for similar soil types.
Read along for a detailed breakdown of these shared aspects.
i. Soil type preference
Whether you choose Monstera Thai constellation or albo, you must meet the following three requirements regarding the preferred potting mix for these houseplants:
- Ensure the soil is fertile
- The soil must be porous to allow enough air pockets for the plant’s roots
- Ensure the soil has good water retention.
As long as the soil meets these criteria, your Monstera albo or Thai constellation should love it, even if it is a DIY soil mixture.
ii. Light level preference
Both Monstera albo and Thai constellation require a lot of light daily to grow well and thrive. Since there may be little light during the winter months, ensure you give your plants as much light as possible in summer when there is plenty.
In winter, both Monsteras go into a dormant period and require little light and water. A good alternative is to use grow lights to sustain your plant’s growth during the winter months.
When the summer comes around, consider placing the plants near windows with sheer curtains to access plenty of indirect sunlight.
iii. Preference for high humidity
While both Monstera albo and Thai constellation become fairly dormant in winter and require little water and light, they need high humidity throughout. So ensure you use artificial means to increase humidity in the winter to help keep the soil adequately moist.
Both plants prefer humidity levels between 60 and 70 percent. Lower humidity levels can cause either plant’s leaves to turn yellow and fall off.
Too much humidity can also lead to molds, so ensure you regulate this element to keep it around the recommended range as well as possible.
iv. Watering requirements
You don’t want to keep the plant roots too damp for too long. Neither should they remain dry.
Both plants need consistent watering to keep the soil moist without drenching it for prolonged periods.
So ensure you monitor the soil moisture content regularly and allow the top soil layer (two inches) to dry before watering the plant each time. Overwatering is dangerous as it can lead to root rot.
Caveat: Do not water the Monstera borsigiana albo and Thai constellation leaves, as that may cause the leaves to soften and rot.
What are the Benefits of a Variegated Monstera?
While all Monstera plants help purify indoor air in your home and can help reduce stress, the variegated types have the added cosmetic advantage. The plants are more beautiful and on-trend, which can complement your décor and significantly boost the aesthetic appeal of your room.
How to Promote Variegations in Monstera
Putting your variegated Monstera plant in a place where it gets adequate light daily can significantly promote variegation. Variegated Monsteras have fewer chlorophyll cells, so they must work harder to supply the plant with the required amount of energy to sustain it.
Also, ensure your plant gets regular watering, stable temperatures, and high humidity to grow healthy and maintain its variegation.
Is Monstera Albo the same as Thai constellation?
No. The Monstera Albo and the Thai Constellation are different plants with different variegation types, even though they both belong to the Monstera deliciosa genus.
Which is more expensive Albo or the Thai constellation?
Monstera albo is generally more expensive than the Thai constellation because it is reproduced only by cuttings, making it rarer than Monstera Thai constellation. Since it is harder to find and limited in supply, Monstera albo is more expensive.
Is Thai Constellation worth it?
Yes, Thai Constellation is worth it. This variegated Monstera is stunning and likely to complement the beauty of any room. It is also relatively easier to propagate and maintain, making it a good choice for houseplants.
Is Thai Constellation Monstera rare?
The Thai constellation Monstera is relatively rare and highly sought after due to its eye-catching leaves. However, it is more prevalent than its closest cousin, the Monstera albo.
Monstera Albo Vs Thai Constellation: Which is Better?
Neither plant is better than the other; it depends on what you need.
Thai constellation care is significantly easier, which is why you should choose it. The plant doesn’t require frequent watering and can grow in lower light. It also has a unique pattern of long arrow-shaped leaves, making it aesthetically pleasing.
The coloring will not disappear as would happen with albo if you don’t prune out non-variegated new leaves.
On the other hand, go for Monstera albo if you have less room or prefer a taller variegated plant. This houseplant has smaller leaves and sparsely distributed nodes, giving it a smaller but taller profile.
That said, we hope this detailed comparison helps clarify things for you.