There's something about plants with white and green leaves that people love. Variegated houseplants have a little more interest to them than those in solid greens, undoubtedly, but for some people, collecting these kinds of plants is an obsession.
When it comes to the world's most expensive houseplants, variegated varieties of everyone's favorite tropical Monstera Deliciosa, also known as a swiss cheese plant, top the list. In fact, a green and white leaved Adansonii Variegata is reported to have sold for as much as $38,000, while social media favorites like Monstera Albo (sometimes called Ghost monstera), have sold for several thousand dollars in the past.
The reason is that not only are they beautiful, but these plants are hard to grow – definitely not your average houseplants for beginners. So, if you're looking for a white and green houseplant to add to your collection that's not going to empty your savings, we've spoken to the green-thumbed houseplant experts to find out their favorite pick of the bunch.
Some plants are perfectly patterned with spots or elegant stripes that highlight the leaf's structure and veining, while variegated white and green leafed plants offer a unique style caused by a genetic mutation and create a beautiful patchy white and green contrast. These are the more expensive variety and a little harder to find, but make for a showpiece plant amid your collection. There really is such a variety to pick from, and some are a bit more demanding than others. Read on for our favorites as picked by the experts.
Oonagh is an experienced homes and interiors writer. Armed with knowledge gleaned from her own ever-growing plant collection, she has put together a list of her favorite white and green plants, with some help from the gardening experts.
What are the best plants with green and white leaves?
1. Variegated monstera
The poster child of the white and green houseplant world is the variegated monstera - the plant that started the trend for variegated indoor plants. However, plenty of them are extremely affordable. 'The market for these have quietened down a bit and they are becoming more readily available,' says plant buyer for Crocus (opens in new tab), Christopher Laufs. 'They are usually available in smaller sizes compared to their all-green counterpart, but growing and owning these are all the more enjoyable; watching a new leaf unfurl, noting its characteristic fenestration and mottled coloring brighten with age is always a sight to behold.'
Monstera plant care is easy enough and they're very forgiving. Plants prefer a room that receives bright light, but no direct sunlight should reach the plant. Leaves can easily scorch and become crisp in such light, however, especially the white variegated parts. Water thoroughly only once the top inch of the soil becomes dry and ensure the plant isn’t sitting in water. Exposing the plant to a high-humidity environment certainly helps, so it's a good plant for the bathroom, but is not a necessity.
'One thing to note is that the white variegation of the plant is due to an unstable genetic mutation in the plant, so they have a habit of growing out of this coloring and produce less of the white coloring,' adds Christopher. 'This can be rectified by cutting the plant back to where the white colouring is present on the stem, just above a growth node. Plus you’ll get a cutting or two to propagate!'
Variegated monstera houseplant from Patch (opens in new tab)
Get your hands on a rare variegated monstera plant by visiting Patch.
2. Calathea whitestar zebra plant
The striking white stripes of this Calathea whitestar are seriously eye-catching, and will make a beautiful addition to a corner of any room. Leaves develop in white, creating a great contrast to the dark shade of green, and sometimes they make for a light pink houseplant too. It is relatively easy to look after, but it does have some demands. 'Native to the Brazilian rainforest, it does enjoy humidity – so we’d recommend misting your plant. Ensure you find it a home with plenty of bright indirect light, otherwise it’s iconic leaves can sadly lose their stripes,' says Jo Lambell, founder of plant delivery service, Beards and Daisies (opens in new tab). Remember to treat your Calathea to an occasional dusting, to help unblock its pores.
White Star Calathea, Amazon (opens in new tab)
Go for this elegant white and green houseplant, known for its wow-factor stripes. Just make sure it gets bright but indirect light and frequent misting.
3. Ficus elastica tineke
Just like other variants of Ficus Elastica, the ‘Tineke’ is the perfect option if you’re looking for a statement floor-standing plant. Its impressive height and its dense foliage go a long way in ensuring that it doesn’t just blend into the background like other popular houseplants and is another example of a variegated plant species.
'Due to the large nature of the Ficus Elastica ‘Tineke’, and the deep root system, they may require more repotting than other plants,' says James May of Exubia (opens in new tab), a company providing plants to office spaces. 'When it comes to repotting, generally, if you see the roots have grown through the holes of the drainage pot then it's time for a bigger pot.'
Ficus Elastica Tineke, Amazon (opens in new tab)
Get your hands on the well-known rubber plant in variegated form, with interesting large leaves and creamy-white markings.
4. Polka dot begonia
If you’re looking for a statement plant, then look no further than the Polka Dot Begonia, characterized by its cute spotted pattern with gleaming white dots. Whilst the topsides of its leaves feature a polka dot pattern, the undersides are a deep burgundy red for an unexpected color pop. 'This plant will take a little more maintenance, but it’s totally worth it when you get to admire those quirky spotted leaves,' says Jo. It's a bright, indirect and low light plant, and make sure it always has moist soil - so keep it watered in the summer months and pull back a little over the winter period.
Polka dot begonia, Amazon (opens in new tab)
We love this species of houseplant for its playful white patterns, contrasting with the dark green of the leaf.
5. Fittonia white tiger
Fittonias have been a staple for houseplant collectors due to not only their minimal light requirement but also their ability to go weeks without water. In the white variety, beautiful white streaks make for a dramatic addition to the leaf. 'This is a great option for houseplant enthusiasts looking for a good all-around low-maintenance plant,' says James.
Since the Fittonia can survive well without much light or water the only key consideration and main worry is pests. 'If you see small white insects crawling on any part of your Fittonia then quarantine it from other plants and cut off the infected leaves with pruning shears immediately.'
Fittonia white tiger, Amazon (opens in new tab)
With bright white veins against an olive green background, the fittonia white tiger makes for a pretty houseplant addition.
6. Satin pothos
The color combination of green and white can make for a truly elegant-looking houseplant, and it doesn’t come much more elevated than the Satin Pothos. 'The velvety leaves of this plant, complete with their silvery white and green variegated leaves feel incredibly luxe,' says Jo. You’ll be pleased to hear that this plant is also fairly easy-going – just don’t let it sit in direct sunlight and avoid overwatering it, particularly in colder months.
Keep your eyes peeled for a poorly Satin Pothos by making note of their leaves - if they are flat, your plant is happy, but the more they curl, the more attention they need. A happy Satin Pothos will trail beautifully, making it a great idea for shelf decorating with plants.
Satin pothos, Amazon (opens in new tab)
This plant comes fully rooted in a pot and when looked after well, will trail beautifully.
7. Scindapsus marble queen
Super easy to look af