Monstera deliciosa 'Thai Constellation' (Variegated Split-leaf Philodendron) - A large vining plant that can sprawl across the ground or cling to tree trunks or structures to climb 20 feet or more on 2-inch-thick stems that have thick cord-like aerial roots and hold huge (2 foot wide by 3 foot long) green glossy leaves splashed with pale yellow to cream marking that are held angling downwards on 2- to 3-foot-long stout petioles. These leaves are distinctively cut and perforated in a manner often referred to as fenestrated, which in architecture is a term in reference to windows and in anatomy to perforations, apertures, or transparent areas. It is these fenestrations that gives the species, Monstera deliciosa, which we also grow, the common name Split-leaf Philodendron. Like the species plant this variegated variety will produce its unusual arum flowers in late summer and fall with a 6-to-10-inch spadix surrounded by a greenish white spathe that is followed by the swollen spadix being covered in the sweet-smelling edible fruit that looks like a of corn but, much like the foliage, both the spathe and spadix are variegated.
Plant in part coastal sun to fairly deep shade (where the leaves will be bigger) and irrigate regularly to occasionally - surprisingly drought tolerant in shady locations once established. Hardy and evergreen to 28-30°F and will resprout from stems if foliage is damaged. This plant is a great indoor house plant where one has the room to display it, such as in a sunroom or commercial building atrium. It also is a great understory plant in mild Bay Area and Southern California gardens, where its stems crawls along with foliage rising 2-4 feet until it finds something to allow it to climb. Like the species it can be a nice large-scale groundcover with palms where its large decorative foliage adds to the tropical feel. For more information about the species see our listing of Monstera deliciosa.
The origin of this cultivar is of some dispute. It is generally agreed that it originated in Thailand but whether it was a lab induced mutation or one that occurred on a mature plant in the wild, in a garden, or a nursery plant has not been well documented. Some report it a naturally occurring variegation found in a wild plant near Bangkok that was discovered in the 1980s. It is thought that the first plant brought into the United States was done so by American plantsman Barry Yinger. The cultivar name refers to its origins in Thailand and the stable variegated speckled pattern of green and cream that is reminiscent of a starry constellation. New leaves on this cultivar retain the variegation, unlike the smaller Monstera deliciosa var. borsigiana. 'Albo', whose viral variegation, while very showy with large white patches, is unstable and prone to producing albino or all green leaves. This plant has recently been micro propagated (tissue cultured) in the lab, but our plants are cutting grown from large old specimen plants.
The information about Monstera deliciosa 'Thai Constellation' displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.