Monstera is the namesake plant of Monstera Plant Co. It is a striking plant that is a classic among collectors. The fenestration in the leaves are hard to resist. This gorgeous plant is native to southern Mexico and Panama, and is a voracious grower.
Varieties of Monstera
Monstera deliciosa is the classic monstera. Large fenestrated leaves and the ability to become massive (60 feet tall in nature). This plant is a staple centerpiece to a plant collection. The leaves can grow massive and have varying layers of fenestration.
Very similar to deliciosa, Borsigniana has a few differences. First of all the leaves will be smaller (reaching 1.6 feet across instead of up to a meter). The main distinguishing factor is wrinkling in the connective tendons between the stem and the leaf (called the geniculum).
Variegated monstera are very popular and can be hard to find. There are various cultivators (Thai Constellation, Albo, Aurea, etc). These monstera have mutations in their genetics that cause the lighter coloration. Variegated monsteras require more light than regular monsteras due to the lack of chlorophyll in the leaves. Make sure to do your research when purchasing a variegated monstera. There are many scams and certain breeds like the Thai Constellation are currently being farmed for widespread release.
The adansonii is a great option if you love trailing plants. The leaves are much smaller, but have the signature holes. Variegated versions of this plant sell for over 10,000 USD.
These monsteras grow dramatic leaves as they age. The leaves have full slits from stem to edge of the leaf rather than the smaller dips the deliciosa will have.
Monstera dubia are quickly gaining popularity. This variety is much smaller than other monsteras. It has flat, textured leaves that will climb closely to whichever means is available. It is commonly sold growing on wooden boards.
Also called the "silver monstera", this vining variety is a beautiful sight. The leaves don't grow the fenestration until they have fully matured, so it will resemble a vining philodendron. It is a voracious climber as well.
The monstera obliqua is one of the rarest plants in the world. It is characterized by having 90% of the leaf be covered in holes. It is only been seen 17 times in the wild, and will not be available for consumer purchase. If someone is advertising one for sale, it is most likely an adansonii with extra large fenestration.
Monstera Peru is becoming a more popular variety. It stands out with its thick, puckered leaves and bright green foliage. This plant has started to be widely produced, and is becoming more common.
Easy Care Facts:
Most monstera are capable in living in a wide range of light. Even low light spaces can accommodate this plant. But if you want full, quick growth place near a window for bright indirect light. Variegated versions will require more sunlight than the standard editions.
Water when 50-75% of soil is dry. Do not over water, as moist soil can lead to root rot. Make sure to top water larger plants to flush out mineral deposits in larger pots.
For monsteras, I like to utilize equal parts potting soil, orchid bark, perlite, and charcoal.
Utilize fertilizer Spring-Fall (local weather depending). Fertilize about once per month using a high quality fertilizer at half recommending strength.
Monstera do not require higher humidity, although they will produce larger leaves in new growth when given a more humid environment. You can mist to increase humidity.
The ideal temperature in the day is 65-80 degrees F in the daytime, but do not drop below 55 in the evening.
Philodendrons' leaves are toxic to humans and pets. Typical reactions include swelling of lips and tongue, stomach ache, and vomiting.
Tips and Tricks
Your monstera will want to be trimmed if you don't want it to grow out of control. They can quickly pop out multiple leaves, but you can easily propagate this plant. Trim your plant down 2-3 times a year for optimal results. Trim off any yellow or brown leaves as they develop. Yellow leaves tend to be from overwatering, while brown stem from underwatering. Variegated plants losing variegation can be trimmed down to the leaf in which it started losing variegation.
Monsteras tend to be quick growing plants, but they do not mind being tight in their pots. Repot in the spring with a pot 1-2 inches larger than the previous pot. Use a well draining soil mix that won't hold excess water to prevent root rot.
To propogate monstera, clip off a piece under a node or an aerial root and place in water. It will grow roots rather quickly as long as you change the water at least weekly. After the roots have grown about three inches, you can transition to your potting medium. You can also utilize moss or perlite propogation as well. When propagating variegated varieties, I recommend using sphagnum moss and spraying weekly with SUPERthrive.