Variegated plants have been enormously popular for years now, and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon. The highly coveted Monstera Deliciosa Albo for instance seems to be forever in higher demand than the market can supply. So why is that? And why are they expensive? Put simply, this is all down to supply and demand. But what’s behind the low supply?
Well, the most obvious problem is that the variegated monsteras start as a spontaneous mutation on ”normal” green monsteras. So - you can’t grow them from seed, and they often tend to revert back to their usual green. In nature a variegation means a much frailer plant (as the white parts do not contain clorophyll), so the reversion is the plant's way to stay alive and healthy. This is also why those beautiful all-white leaves are in fact bad news. Even smaller white areas are highly sensitive in general, and have a tendency to go and brown and crispy.
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Less clorophyll means a slower growth rate, much to the dismay of growers and consumers alike. So part of the price tag is basically long-time rental for a prime placement in the greenhouse. Also, there used to be a time when it was possible for european growers and wholesalers to visit local growers in Thailand, Indonesia etc and pick out heaps of variegated plants for next to nothing. Those would then be shipped to Europe and...let’s just say there was money to be made. But, for the last year or so these growers have realized the worth of their plants and charge accordingly. This was a blow to the european plant trade and led to price increases, but most importantly - it led to many nurseries and growers in non-western countries receiving fair compensation for their work.