Thai Constellation Monstera: Full Care Guide
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Move over, Pink Princess Philodendron- there’s a new kid on the Instagram block: the Thai Constellation Monstera.
Thai Constellation Monstera arises from Monstera deliciosa and features striking star-like variegation on its large, fenestrated leaves. The variegated pattern is produced from tissue culture in a plant lab in Thailand, making the plant rare and expensive. A mature Thai Constellation can reach up to 8 feet in height and 4 feet in diameter, and the leaves can be up to 12 inches across.
The Thai Constellation is impossible to ignore and, for many houseplant lovers, impossible to resist- despite its high price tag. Are you one of them? Then read on to learn more about the origins, care and keeping of this beautiful specimen!
Central and South America
Monstera Deliciosa Thai Constellation
When soil is dry 1 inch deep
Bright, indirect light
Well-draining potting soil
65-80 degrees F
Tolerates average room humidity
Overwatering, leaf discoloration, pests
Every 2-3 years, in the spring
Monstera Thai Constellation Monstera Origin and Background
The variegated Monstera known as Thai Constellation is technically a Monstera deliciosa. It may someday receive a proper scientific name of its own, but at this point, it’s too new to the botanical world.
Unlike other houseplants, which are either plants that grow in the wild (mostly in the tropics) or specially-bred hybrids of such plants, the Monstera Thai constellation origin is actually in a lab. It was developed from tissue cultures in a Thailand-based laboratory, which remains the main supplier of these plants on the worldwide market.
The gets its name from its mesmerizing variegation pattern. The scattered patches and swatches range in color from soft golden to a brighter white, which is reminiscent of a star-filled night sky.
Compared to some of its other Monstera relatives, the Thai Constellation is a pretty slow grower. But given enough time, this plant can get pretty big- up to 8 tall and 4 feet wide, with leaves up to 12 inches across!
The Thai Constellation monstera grows upright, but eventually as the leaves get bigger and the stems get longer, they’ll need to be tied up for some support–we’ll go over the specifics of that below.
Why is Variegated Thai Constellation Monstera So Expensive?
I name-dropped the Pink Princess Philodendron earlier in this article–a really showy, very photogenic, highly-coveted houseplant with a limited supply and thus a high price tag. Thai Constellation Monstera is like that, only…more.
And that’s because as of now, the only place in the world that can produce these plants in the kind of volume required to affect prices is the tissue culture lab where it originated. Plus, they grow slowly!
It is possible to propagate these plants, and there are sellers out there doing it, mostly specialty houseplant growers on Etsy. But because they grow slowly and demand is so very high, price tags for a Thai Constellation monstera cutting or seedling are in the $200 range, with juvenile plants with a few true leaves upwards of $400. And if you want a larger plant, expect to pay at least $600 to over $1,000.
Costa Farms, a U.S.-based houseplant seller, has plans to put Thai Constellations on shelves throughout the country, but they continue to push back their arrival date. Meaning that once again, Etsy and other online sellers are the best bet for the general public to get their hands on one of these.
Thai Constellation vs Monstera Albo
Thai Constellation isn’t the only variegated Monstera out there. There are a few others, all of which arise from spontaneous genetic mutations. They are much less common than the Thai, and if you can believe it, even more pricey. These colorful relatives are:
- Monstera Deliciosa Borsigiana, more commonly known as Monstera Albo
- Monstera Deliciosa Variegata
- Monstera Adaonsonii Variegated
If you’d like to learn a bit more about these plants, we’ve covered them in more detail in our post on variegated Monstera plants.
Of the three other types, Monstera Albo is the most common, and it has quite a few similarities to the Thai Constellation. Here’s a look at them side-by-side:
The key differences to note are that the Albo has true white color variegation, while the Thai is more of a creamy gold.
Also, the Albo has broader patches of white, and an entire leaf can be almost completely white. On the Thai Constellation, the color patches are more like spatters over the leaf surface, and even when there are larger gold patches, they usually only take up less than half the leaf.
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Monstera Thai Constellation Care
If you’re lucky enough to add one of these stunning plants to your collection, you want to protect your investment by giving it the best care possible. Here’s how to keep your Thai Constellation happy and healthy.
Appropriate Pot Size and Type
Like other variegated monsteras with slow growth rates, the Thai Constellation does better in a smaller pot versus a large one. A smaller pot helps avoid the problem of excessive moisture in the soil- a serious danger to this plant!
Choose one that is up to 3 inches wider than the root ball, and look for a deeper pot rather than a shallow one. Thai Constellations have a pretty deep root system, so a taller pot gives your plant plenty of room to stretch out.
Terracotta pots are often better for houseplants than plastic or sealed clay because they have better oxygenation, especially for plants like monstera, which grow roots partially above ground in nature. But clay and plastic pots can work too, as long as they have a big enough drainage hole and you make sure not to overwater.
Monsteras like to be moist, but not wet. So let the top inch of soil dry out before you water again, and make sure not to water so frequently that the top inch of soil is always wet.
You should also avoid letting the Thai Constellation monstera sit in a plant saucer full of water– this often leads to waterlogged soil that its root system really doesn’t like. You’ll know that a monstera is getting too much water when the leaves get a yellow tinge and soft, floppy texture.
Light, Well-Draining Soil
Soil texture is one of the key care aspects to get right for your Thai Constellation. Airy, well-draining soil most closely mimics the growing conditions of Monstera in the wild.
“Thai Constellations will grow best in light, free-draining soil,” says Brody Hall, certified horticulturist and co-founder of The Indoor Nursery. “An aroid soil mix seems to be a gardener’s best bet. Or a homemade potting mix consisting of around 40% bark, 30% potting soil, 20% peat, and 10% perlite will do the trick.”
Avoid using a standard houseplant potting soil straight from the bag, since these formulas tend to be too heavy and moisture-retentive for Monstera. However, soil specifically formulated for Monstera or other epiphytic plants is a solid option.
Bright indirect light is a must for this plant!
To keep strong variegation and strong plants, place them in a location that gets good diffused daylight, such as an east-facing window, or a few steps back from a west or south-facing window.
North-facing windows will be too dim for this monstera. If that’s all you have available in your home, use a grow light to supplement.
Thai Constellation will thrive in average room temps between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, make sure that it lives in a spot that is far away from heating and cooling vents. The dry air that comes out of these can wreak havoc with the health of their leaves by stealing humidity.
Your Thai Constellation should do fine in average room humidity, but it may need a boost if it starts displaying crispy brown leaf edges.
The best ways to boost humidity for a monstera are:
- Group it with other houseplants to create a little microclimate
- Find it a place in a bathroom or kitchen, where humidity is usually higher
- Mist its leaves occasionally
- Place a bowl of water nearby
- Set up a plant humidifier nearby
Do not use a pebble tray of water underneath the monstera, as you might for other plants. It’s just too much liquid right next to the water-sensitive roots.
During spring, summer, and fall, Thai Constellation will appreciate a monthly feeding with a balanced fertilizer.
You can use a special monstera plant food, or a regular houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength.
Generally speaking, each sparkling leaf on a Thai Constellation is precious, and you’ll probably want to hold off on pruning it until the plant is fairly mature and has several thriving leaves.
Even then, this monstera doesn’t require the pruning that other varieties do–it grows too slowly to need its growth controlled.
However, you can prune discolored or dead leaves that occur from aging or watering/pest issues.
In the rainforest, Monstera plants use their aerial roots to attach themselves to tree trunks as they climb their way closer to sunlight above the tree canopy. In your home, a moss pole or similar support structure allows your Thai Constellation to climb dramatically instead of flopping over.
A moss pole with a modular design is perfect for growing along with your plant.
Like most houseplants that come from tropical regions, your Thai Constellation will enter a dormant, or resting, phase from roughly November to March. During this time, expect to see less new growth or none at all.
Because the plant slows down its biological processes during dormancy, it consumes less water and fewer nutrients. Plan to reduce your watering frequency by about half during the winter months, and don’t give any fertilizer until spring.
Maintaining Thai Constellation Variegation
Thanks to its lab-generated origins, a Thai Constellation’s variegation pattern is a part of the plant’s very DNA, so it has a more stable color distribution than plants with spontaneous variegation patterns. But there’s still a risk that you could lose that stunning green-and-white balance, at least to a degree. And you don’t want that!
The best way to maintain the beautiful variegation that makes the Thai Constellation so desirable is to keep it in bright but indirect sunlight.
When variegated monsteras like the Thai Constellation don’t receive enough sunlight, they may start to “revert” back to their green-leaved origins. This is because green leaves have more chlorophyll and are more efficient at converting sunlight into sugars, so a light-hungry monstera decides it needs more chlorophyll-rich leaves and fewer white-splashed ones.
A monstera that lacks light will also be less resistant to stresses of all kinds, including bug problems, diseases or watering issues.
If you find your Thai Constellation producing more green leaves or losing coloration on the leaves it already has, try moving it a little closer to the window or to a different one that gets better light. But remember to avoid direct sunlight, as this can scorch variegated leaves! It’s all about finding the right balance.
And if you don’t have a window with strong indirect sunlight, consider investing in a grow light.
Repotting Thai Constellation Monstera
You’ll need to repot your Thai Constellation monstera about every two years or so. Repotting refreshes the soil with fresh nutrients, prevents fertilizer buildup and allows you to inspect the roots for rot, damage or insect activity.
The telltale signs that it’s time to repot are:
- Stunted growth or none at all, even during the spring/summer growing season
- Root tips poking out from the soil surface or through the pot’s drainage holes
- Leaves that wilt quickly no matter how often you water
- A build-up of white mineral deposits on the pot or soil
- Signs of stress, including yellow or droopy leaves, that aren’t due to another obvious problem
Here’s how to repot a Thai Constellation Monstera:
Step 1. Give your plant a good watering the day before. This loosens the soil from the pot and makes it easier to move the root ball around, plus the moisture helps cushion the plant somewhat from any repotting-related shock.
Step 2. Lay down a layer of newspaper or an old sheet over your work surface to cut down on clean-up time.
Step 3. Lay your plant down sideways and gently coax the root ball from the pot. Do not pull on the stems; instead, run a chopstick or butter knife around the edge of the pot, or poke it gently from the drainage hole. If the pot is plastic, gently massage the sides to loosen the root ball.
Step 4. After freeing your plant from its pot, take a close look at the roots. Be alert for signs of root problems, like these:
- Brown discoloration
- Soft or squishy sections
- Overgrown, circling roots
Start from the bottom of the root ball and gently open it up. Brush away old soil as you go–you don’t want to remove it all, but up to half is fine.
Trim away diseased roots back into healthy tissue with sanitized shears. Uncoil compacted or circling roots, and trim any especially long roots back by ⅓.
Step 5. Now you can add fresh soil to the pot. Add enough to the bottom of the pot so that the top of the root ball lies about an inch below the lip. Then add soil around the sides. Press the soil down as you add it with your fingers, a chopstick, or a pencil to press out any air pockets.
Step 6. Return your Thai Constellation monstera to its usual home, but refrain from watering for a few days. This will allow any trimmed roots to callus over and seal out potential bacteria or fungus, and also prompts the roots to begin spreading out.
Thai Constellation Propagation
Can you propagate a Thai Constellation? Yes, you can!
Like with other monsteras, these propagate best from a stem cutting that includes a node, a small brown bump of specialized tissue that can grow aerial roots. It’s critical to only try to propagate a stem with a node, as one without a node simply won’t be able to grow roots.
Also, not all propagated plants will look like the mother plant–just like no two leaves are alike, no two propagated plants will be either. And keep in mind that spring is the best time to attempt to propagate. But if you’re up for it, here’s how to propagate a Thai Constellation monstera:
Step 1. Take a cutting with a node. On Thai Constellations, the node is often at the base of the stem by the roots. Here’s what the nodes look like:
Select a stem that’s about 4-6 inches long and is healthy. Use sanitized shears or a knife to make your cut in between two nodes.
Step 2. Dip the cutting in a rooting hormone powder.
Step 3. From here, you can do two things: root in water or root in soil.
To root in water, place the cutting in a glass and add enough water to cover the node. Change the water every few days, until the node has produced a few inches of new roots. Then you can pot it up and proceed as normal.
To root in soil, prepare a small pot with a very light potting mix or seed starter mix, and poke the end of cutting into the soil. Keep the soil moist but not sopping wet, and if the stem or leaves show any signs of yellowing, back off on the watering.
After a few weeks, the plant should have new roots anchoring it into the soil, and ideally will begin creating new leaves too. The new shoots will look like this:
Potential Problems with Thai Constellation Monstera
Especially since a Thai Constellation is quite an investment, there are a few issues you should be aware of and keep a sharp lookout for. Remember- problems are always easier to fix early on, so keep an eye out for these:
Root rot is root death caused by the growth of anaerobic fungi in the soil, which in turn is caused by overwatering. So step one is to water consciously.
Roots are the lifeline of the plant, and when they get damaged, you’ll start to see above-ground signs:
- Limp or wilting leaves
- Brown discoloration on the stems
- A musty odor from the soil
The only true way to confirm root rot is to unpot your plant and take a look at the root system. If you find your monstera with a case of root rot–evident by brown, mushy roots–you may be able to save it. Cut back the dead roots into living root tissue, which should be white or beige, using sanitized shears. Then allow the root ball to dry out almost completely.
When you begin watering again, have a light hand.
Monstera in general are not pest-prone, but sometimes they do fall prey to common houseplant pests:
- Scale insects
Remove aphids by taking your plant into the shower or out into the yard and spraying off the foliage. This works best if you repeat the spray-down for three to five days in a row, or more if the aphids persist. You can also spray the aphids with insecticidal soap.
For mealybugs and scale, use a cotton ball soaking in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to physically scrub them off the plant. Check back over the next week to make sure that there aren’t any holdouts.
For really persistent infestations, a systemic insecticide can protect your plant by making its tissues literally poisonous to the pest trying to eat it.
Discolored leaves are typically caused by overwatering, especially if they go limp and yellow. The best way to address this is to trim out the discolored leaves and stop watering for a few days to let the soil dry out, then water less often going forward.
Brown discolorations, by contrast, are usually caused by too much direct sunlight. Move the plant back from the window or adjust the lighting so that it is bright but indirect.
Where to Buy Thai Constellation Monstera
Etsy is one of the best places to find this plant. We only recommend sellers with great track records, but do make sure to vet any seller you buy from.
One shop that we highly recommend checking out is Back to Basics Greenhouse. They specialize in variegated Monstera, and there are typically several gorgeous Thai Constellations. We’ve also found that Hannah, the shop owner, is very responsive to questions and inquiries. Definitely worth stopping by!
Note: Hannah has been kind enough to offer a discount for Seeds and Spades readers like you. So feel free to use our affiliate code SEEDSANDSPADES50 at checkout to get 50% off anything you buy at her shop!
Here are some other shops that also have Thai Constellations in stock, at least periodically:
Mature Thai Constellations are hugely expensive, so often wet sticks or rooted stem cuttings are more widely available. Here’s how to spot a healthy one that’s likely to thrive:
- Regularly colored leaves with no discoloration
- Good variegation on the stem section–not too much green
- Multiple leaves, the larger the better
- If roots are visible, look for white or beige roots, aka living root tissue. However, cuttings rooted in soil may have a brown color from the soil itself- especially if it contained a high amount of coco coir. These roots are still healthy even though they appear brown:
This video from Legends of Monstera gives some helpful tips about buying and rooting smaller cuttings and wet sticks:
Frequently Asked Questions about Thai Constellation Monstera
Well, that was a lot to cover! These gorgeous houseplants may be difficult to get your hands on, but they certainly make up for it in show-stopping beauty. And with the right care, your Thai Constellation monstera will thrive, giving you plenty of great photos for years to come!
We want to hear from you! Are you still dreaming of getting a Thai Constellation- or have you been able to track one down for yourself? Do you have any more questions or care tricks to share? We learn best as a community, so please share your thoughts in the comments!