By Vina Medenilla
Dr. Julius Ignatius Barreto Uy, 54, a dentist and plant hobbyist from Lanao Del Norte, grows approximately a thousand ornamental plants in his 600 sqm garden. His plant collection includes rare and common varieties of philodendron, Monstera, anthurium, and some orchids.
Among his plants, one of the challenging varieties to grow is Monstera borsigiana albo because the plant reverts to its original, all-green state if it doesn’t get the right conditions. Here are some tips that Uy shared with us to preserve the beautiful variegation of this Monstera variety:
Soil. Have a well-draining potting mix. As per Uy, the bulkier and chunkier the mix, the better as this Monstera loves an airy medium. Add a bit of charcoal and tree barks, too.
Sun. Since variegated plants have less chlorophyll due to lesser greens, it requires more sunlight for the plant to thrive. Provide them with at least eight hours of sunlight. In Uy’s case, he filters the sun using a net providing 70 percent shade in the area where he places the Monstera borsigiana albo.
Water. Water your Monstera only when needed. Check the soil moisture by sticking your finger into the soil for a few inches and feel if the soil is still moist or already needs watering.
Humidity. Humidity is essential to plants’ growth. There must be 70 to 85 percent humidity for this Monstera to prosper. Misting them with rainwater is effective, too. Based on Uy’s experience, putting a basin or any container with water covered with a net or screen also increases humidity in one place. Putting a net will prevent mosquitoes from breeding on it.
Fertilizer. Feed your Monsteras with high-quality fertilizers that you can buy in stores like Miracle-gro or create your own natural fertilizer to lessen expenses.
“You can only do so much, but it is He who makes all plants grow and beautiful.” Uy added that praying is equally important as carrying out the right care for any plants.