Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’ is a pothos variety with green and white variegated leaves that become fenestrated as the plant reaches maturity. It’s one of the rarest and most expensive pothos cultivars and one of the most beautiful.
At first glance, this pothos looks very similar to Monstera Albo or Thai Constellation. And although the same amount of hype does not surround it, it’s a better alternative to both. It’s cheaper, grows faster, and it’s nowhere near as pretentious in its care requirements.
This comprehensive care guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to keep this variegated pothos thriving.
What Is Epipremnum Pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’?
Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’ is a naturally-occurring mutation of the Dragon Tail pothos. Like its parent plant, it is a tropical vine that changes leaf shape and appearance as it matures.
When the leaves are in their juvenile stage, they are narrow and oval-shaped, with chartreuse, mint green, and white marbling. But when the plant starts climbing and enters its mature stage, the leaves develop deeply-cut, Monstera-like fenestrations, well-defined white or cream splashes, and silvery-green marbling.
Occasionally, this plant can also produce entirely white leaves. Although they look absolutely stunning, these leaves have a short lifespan and will develop brown spots after a few months.
Epipremnum Pinnatum Albo Care Guide
Caring for your Epipremnum Pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’ can initially seem a bit daunting. After all, when you spend $100 on a rare houseplant, you want to ensure you don’t accidentally kill it. But don’t let the price tag scare you — after all, this is a pothos plant.
All this plant needs is bright indirect light, well-draining soil, moderate humidity, and regular watering and fertilizing. Sounds simple enough- However, there are a few special care requirements because of its variegated leaves. Let’s take a closer look.
This pothos variety grows best in bright indirect light, which helps maintain its variegated leaf patterns, and ensures healthy growth. Try keeping it in a room facing east or west, about 2 – 3 feet away from the window.
Avoid keeping it in direct sun. The intense light will scorch the leaves, causing brown, dry patches.
Unlike other pothos varieties, this plant does not tolerate low light conditions. If you keep it in a dark room, the leaves will slowly revert to plain green, and the plant will grow slower.
Plant your Epipremnum Albo in a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix. You can use a pre-made chunky aroid soil mix or create your own. The easiest soil recipe for this plant is made out of equal parts universal potting soil, orchid bark, and perlite or pumice.
You can also replace the soil in the substrate mix with coco coir. This potting medium provides excellent root aeration, drainage, and moisture retention. However, coir has no nutritional value, so you’ll need to add some worm castings to your potting mix to provide your plant with the nutrients it needs.
Epipremnum pinnatum Albo has moderate water requirements. Allow the soil to dry to a depth of 2 inches (5 cm), then give the plant a good soak.
Always check the soil with your finger before watering. If you water this plant too often, the soil will not have enough time to dry out and become waterlogged. And overwatering leads to fungal problems, such as root rot, or pest infestations, such as fungus gnats.
Also, remember to adjust your watering schedule to the time of the year and indoor home conditions.
For example, your plants will need more water during the hot summer months and less frequent watering throughout winter.
Light also plays a part in your watering regime, which is why a plant growing in bright indirect light will need more water than one growing in a north-facing room.
The ideal temperature range for this houseplant is between 65°F and 85°F (18°C to 29°C). It’s a tropical plant that does not tolerate frost.
It won’t mind temperatures as low as 59°F (15°C) for a couple of days. However, anything below 50°F (10°C) will shock the plant and cause permanent root damage.
You can grow your variegated Epipremnum outdoors if you live in USDA zones 9b to 12. However, to avoid scorching the leaves, always keep it in a sheltered location, away from direct sunlight.
Try to keep the humidity for your Epipremnum Albo around 60%. This tropical plant thrives in humid environments and grows faster and bigger if you give it enough moisture.
Increasing the humidity for your pothos will also reduce the risk of spider mite infestations. These pests are common in dry homes and can become a threat during the colder months, when your home is naturally dryer because of indoor heating.
The easiest way to raise humidity for your Epipremnum is by using a humidifier. Alternatively, you can put the pot on top of a pebble tray half-filled with water or group several humidity-loving plants together.
Fertilize this pothos once a month from early spring until early fall. You can use a balanced organic fertilizer for foliage plants with an N-P-K nutrient ratio of 10-10-10.
Always check the instructions on the label, and dilute the fertilizer solution accordingly to prevent burning the roots.
Keep in mind that your pothos will grow slower during winter or if you keep it in a dark room. In these cases, fertilizers won’t increase their growth rate.
Prune your Epipremnum pinnatum when the vines get too long or if the plant is starting to look a bit leggy.
Regularly trimming the vines will activate the dormant axillary buds on the vines and encourage the plant to grow more stems.
You can also trim the white leaf sections that develop brown spots. While it isn’t mandatory, it will give your pothos a more aesthetically pleasing look. Always disinfect your scissors or pruning shears before pruning to prevent the spread of fungi and bacteria.
Like all pothos cultivars, this is an epiphytic vine, which means it loves climbing. The best way to grow it is by giving it a sphagnum moss pole to climb on. As the plant climbs, it will grow larger, deeply fenestrated leaves.
Of course, there are no rules against letting it trail. So if you don’t want to use a moss pole, you can keep it as a hanging plant. However, remember that a hanging pothos will never reach maturity, and its leaves will never develop fenestrations.
You will need to repot your Epipremnum Albo when it has outgrown its current container. On average, you will need to do this once every 2 to 3 years, depending on how fast the plant grows. The best way to tell that your plant needs a bigger pot is when you can see the roots come out through the drainage holes.
Transplant your pothos into a one-size bigger container or 2 inches (5 cm) wider. Avoid using a pot that’s too big. An oversized container will keep the soil damp for too long, which can cause issues such as root rot.
You can use whichever type of material you like for your pot, as long as the container has drainage holes at the bottom. However, you will need to adjust your watering schedule based on what the pot is made from.
Plastic pots are great for pothos plants because they retain moisture and prevent the roots from drying too quickly.
Terracotta pots are porous and wick moisture from the soil, so you’ll need to water your plant more often. However, they are heavier, offer more stability, and can prevent your pothos from falling over if you use a moss pole.
Epipremnum Pinnatum ‘Albo’ Propagation Guide
The best way to propagate Epipremnum pinnatum Albo is by rooting stem cuttings.
Use a sharp, sterilized blade to cut a long vine into single-node sections.
Fill a transparent plastic container with damp sphagnum moss, cover the bottom of the cuttings with moss, then place a lid on top of the container.
Keep it in a warm, bright location, and use a spray bottle to keep the moss damp.
The cuttings can take between one and three months to grow roots. Cuttings with a lot of variegation produce less chlorophyll, so they take longer to root. Meanwhile, cuttings with less variegation can develop roots in just six weeks.
Another propagation option is using ‘wet sticks’. These are stem sections with no leaves, just an axillary bud, and a small aerial root.
You can use this method if your pothos has many bare, leafless vines. Propagating them the same way as regular cuttings, using a container filled with sphagnum moss.
Always wait until the roots of your pothos cuttings are at least 2 inches (5 cm) long before transplanting them into the soil.
Common Pests & Problems
The most common pests for the Albo pothos include spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, and scale. Highly variegated plants are more susceptible to pests because they produce less chlorophyll and have fewer natural resources to fight against infestations.
The best way to keep this plant pest-free is to avoid environmental stress. Give it enough light, use the right potting mix, avoid over and underwatering, and fertilize it regularly.
Brown Leaf Spots
The leaves of your Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’ will start turning brown if the plant suffers from a bacterial infection or root rot.
Brown leaves can also indicate that your plant is receiving too much direct sun, or that you’ve used too much fertilizer.
In most cases, your pothos will develop brown leaf spots even if the plant is healthy. This is because white leaves do not contain chlorophyll, so the plant can’t use them for photosynthesis.
So rather than ‘wasting’ nutrients on useless leaves, your pothos will gradually let them die.
Brown leaves are not the prettiest sight, but they’re a natural part of how this pothos variety grows. Enjoy the white variegation while it lasts, then trim the brown patches to maintain the plant’s looks.
Leaves Turning Green
Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’ can revert to all-green leaves if it’s not growing in the right conditions. Low light and lack of nutrients will cause the plant to produce more chlorophyll to stay alive.
To prevent the loss of variegation, keep it in bright indirect light, fertilize it throughout spring and summer, and repot it once every 2 – 3 years.
Is Epipremnum Pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’ Toxic?
Yes. Its leaves and stems contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic if ingested (ASPCA Link). Always keep this plant away from pets and small children.
Is Epipremnum Pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’ Rare?
This variegated pothos is a rare houseplant. It hasn’t been on the market for a long time, and just a couple of years ago, a small plant would easily cost at least $500. But today, thanks to an increase in demand, more sellers are stocking it, and you can find cuttings and mature plants for a more reasonable price.
Is the Leaf Variegation Stable?
Epipremnum Albo variegation is a spontaneous mutation, which means that it’s not stable. So the only way to preserve it is by providing your pothos with enough light and nutrients and propagating plants through stem cuttings.
What’s the Difference Between Epipremnum Pinnatum’ Albo-Variegata’ and Monstera Albo?
Epipremnum Albo can look similar to a Monstera Albo when it reaches maturity and starts developing fenestrations. The best way to tell these two plants apart is by looking at the leaves, stems, and aerial roots.
Monstera Albo has round heart-shaped leaves with a thick, leathery feel. It has thick stems and woody aerial roots which can reach more than one foot in length.
Epipremnum Pinnatum ‘Albo-Variegata’ leaves are narrow, oval, palm tree-shaped, and have a thinner feel. This plant also has thinner stems and thinner, shorter aerial roots.