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According to his journal, when Christopher Columbus 1492 reached Long Island in the Bahamas, he wrote” “I have never seen a more beautiful place… on the same tree, five or six different species grow.” Of course, he was referring to epiphytes, maybe even including an M. pinnatipartita.
Monstera pinnatipartita:- Pinnatipartite, in botany, refers to leaves having lobes with fenestrations that extend more than halfway toward the midrib. Less deep fenestrations are called pinnatifid, while leaves with fenestrations to the midrib are pinnatisect.
Before we get to the caring part for this magnificent plant, let’s make some of the technical terms part of our vocabulary.
Introduction to other Botanical Terms
As you study different plants (botany), you come across a range of terms that seem reserved for the informed, so let’s make the ones that relate to our Monstera pinnatipartita part of our botanist’s vocabulary.
|Aroid||Plants related to the Arum family (Araceae)|
|Distichous||Leaves are arranged alternately in two vertical rows on opposite sides of an axis|
|Epiphyte||A plant that grows on another plant without being parasitical|
|Fenestration||The openings that appear on a leaf as it matures generally reach the border of the leaf.|
|Hemiepiphyte||An epiphyte plant that may start in a tree’s crevice and then send areal roots to the ground for nourishment and water.|
|Monoecious||Having pistillate and staminate flowers on the same plant – both male and female parts on one plant|
|Neotropical||The tropical New World biogeographic region extends south, east, and west from the central plateau of Mexico|
|Obovoid||Egg-shaped seed with a narrower end at the base|
|Pinnatipartite||Refers to leaves having lobes with fenestrations that extend more than halfway toward the midrib. Less deep fenestrations are called pinnatifid, while leaves with fenestrations to the midrib are pinnatisect|
|Spathe||A boat-shaped bract around the spadix|
|Spadix||A phallus-shaped part of the arum flower – surrounded by the spathe|
Monstera Pinnatipartita – An Introduction
The Monstera Pinnatipartita is a less common and well-known plant species in the Monstera genus. The humid lowland rainforests of Peru and Colombia are home to this species.
Though lesser so, it is also found in Costa Rica and is most common in Ecuador.
Juvenile plants don’t look like what the mature ones will look like at all. As the M. pinnatipartita matures, three to nine asymmetrical fenestrations develop on both sides of the midrib that can almost reach the center. Adult leaves are dark green on their upper surface and medium green on the underside.
This article will explore similar plants and varieties and how to care for and propagate your Pinnatipartita. As usual, Simplified Gardening will simplify the process while keeping it interesting.
Caring for Monstera Pinnatipartita – An Overview
|Soil||Well-draining, aerobic, rich in organic matter||Read on for the best mix|
|Light||Bright indirect sunlight||Fenestration is light-dependent|
|Water||Keep soil damp||You want to avoid root rot and drooping or yellowing leaves. I show you how.|
|Humidity||60% or more||They tolerate humidity well|
|Temperature||65°F to 80°F||This is a neotropical plant that needs some heat to survive|
|Container||3 gallons or larger with excellent drainage||Incrementally increase pot size. I explain it in detail below.|
|Fertilizer||Fertilize monthly with diluted liquid fertilizer||I share what I use below.|
|Repotting||Repot when roots emerge from drain holes – or earlier.||A pot two inches bigger than the current pot|
|Hardiness zones||Zone 10b to 12.||Can grow outdoor in southern parts of Florida|
|Leaves||As leaves mature, they develop fenestrations and eventually become strongly pinnatifid, with deep incisions.||Like most aroids, leaf shapes morph with age. Juvenile leaves are ovate and mature to become increasingly more deeply lobed|
|Height||Climbs 20 to 30 feet or more||Depends on support and pruning. Read on for the full scoop.|
M. Pinnatipartita Preferred Soil
Because they can tolerate almost anything, this popular indoor houseplant’s soil requirements are sometimes disregarded.
The truth is that shoot health reflects root health, and plant health is a soil health product.
M. pinnatipartita is like a well-drained, nutrient-rich potting mix with good moisture management potential.
Several warning signals will alert you to a problem with the plant when the soil conditions aren’t ideal. Knowing the natural habitat of a plant helps us replicate an appropriate environment for our plants – this is what our Monstera pinnatipartita needs for its roots:
- Good drainage – Monsteras are used to organically rich soil that dries up rather rapidly in the summer but remains moist. Reproduce this environment by creating soil rich in compost or leaf mold. Drainage (and aeration) can be further improved by adding some orchid bark and perlite.
- Consistent moisture – Although Monstera plants prefer soil that drains well, they do not want the soil to get completely dry. Healthy compost will help manage water, allowing drainage while retaining some for the plant. Leaf mold can hold 500 times its weight in water, and coconut coir does the same – it helps gardeners retain water without allowing wet feet.
- Nutrient-rich conditions – In its natural habitat, the Monstera plant’s ground roots are located in the soil’s top few inches, the most bioactive layer. The microorganisms in this soil improve its cation exchange capacity (CEC), the ability to hold water and nutrients. I cannot overemphasize the value of healthy compost and mulch, even indoors. The microorganisms also ensure that the soil pH is optimal for the plants, which in the case of the M. pinnatipartita, is slightly acidic, around 6.20.
- Support – Climbing plants like Monstera pinnatipartita require support to maintain their growth. They naturally grow on trees, but you can cultivate them indoors by giving them a moss pole to cling on. This is put into the soil and draws moisture from the container to hydrate climbing plants’ vines and foliage. There are various types of support, but the moss pole is the most common.
My Monstera Potting Mix Recipe
- Mix regular potting soil, compost, and perlite in a 1:1 ratio – one measure of one for every measure of the other.
- Add a couple of handfuls of orchid bark to improve aeration (and help avoid root rot).
- Use two parts of the mix above with one part of coconut coir to improve the soil’s moisture-holding capacity.
- Adding a little sand or some Leca pebbles in bigger pots might assist the soil drain a bit more. LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate), like coconut coir, will retain moisture without permitting standing water. In the long run, these solids will help prevent soil compaction.
- To maintain your plant’s health, add slow-release fertilizer to the soil mixture. If you use fertilizers monthly or every two months, you may mimic the nutrient-rich rainforest soils in which monstera plants flourish (more on fertilizing below).
M. Pinnatipartita Light Preference
To access higher portions of the canopy, climbers use the Monstera Pinnatipartita. In its native environment, it is protected by a canopy of trees and has access to long stretches of brilliant yet filtered light.
We must reproduce this environment to ensure the success of your plant. An ideal day has 6 to 8 hours of dappled light. You should consider placing your Monstera on East-facing windowsills. Make careful to imitate climbing a host tree by using a moss pole.
Any intense direct light can be filtered with a transparent curtain or shade cloth. Its leaves will be scorched and harmed by such intensity.
It can handle lower light levels like most Monsteras, but the growth will be lanky, and the leaves will seem duller. Its leaves may also remain immature, failing to fenestrate if light levels are too low.
How to Water Your M. Pinnatipartita
The soil must be damp but not wet to cultivate Monstera pinnatipartita properly. Watering is frequently advised when the soil is almost entirely dry.
However, in my experience, the quantity of water your plant requires varies depending on relative humidity levels, temperature, amount of light it receives, size, etcetera.
Although some gardeners advise adding water to your Monstera pinnatipartita when the soil is entirely dry, I believe a day before is preferable. Avoid letting it burn, but if it’s already moist, don’t add more water.
Additionally, anytime you do, especially if you’re feeding the plant, water well until it drains out. Make sure the plant isn’t standing in a tray of water.
The biggest cause of problems with Monstera is overwatering
The plant likes warm temperatures, but it is partially resistant to cool temperatures (not cold). It can take a minimum of 50°F (10°C) for short periods. For your M. pinnatipartita to perform optimally, grow it at a moderate temperature between 65-80°F (18-27°C).
According to the EPA, the ideal relative humidity (RH) range for a home is between 30% and 50%. Regrettably, that is too low for your M. pinnatipartite, which prefers a relative humidity range upward of 60%.
To boost the room’s RH, consider investing in a humidifier. Alternatively, use LECA in a water tray – the evaporating water will up the RH.
Create a tropical forest effect by grouping all your aroids, including your Aglaonemas, Philodendrons, and Pothos species.
Diversity is beautiful, and you can create a tropical feel by adding a variety of shapes, colors, and dimensions. They grouped plants further boost humidity levels as they transpire.
Fertilizer is not the beginning and end of plant nutrition – unless you’re growing hydroponics. Soil’s ability to retain nutrients and keep them available at the plant roots depends on the soil’s cation exchange capacity (CEC).
Think of CEC as magnetizing your soil to attract and keep water and nutrients in it. Without CEC, the water and the nutrients merely wash through – like in hydroponics.
But what increases soil CEC? Sand has a low CEC, and clay has a high CEC. Soils that contain organic matter are more able to retain water and nutrients, making them available to plants over an extended time.
So, first things first – ensure your soil has compost included to help it keep the food you feed your plant available for it to enjoy for a while – about a month. Slow-release Osmocote 14:14:14 can extend feeds to 2-month intervals.
If you use a liquid fertilizer, may I suggest that you halve the quantities and double the applications? That way your nutrition remains more available to the plant without the risk of overfeeding.
Slow-release fertilizer in the soil encourages monstera plants to develop more quickly. Monsteras benefit from ordinary houseplant fertilizer (including nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium), but don’t overdo it!
Feed from spring through fall, when your monstera is actively growing. Fertilizing will scorch fragile new growth on monstera leaves if the weather has recently been extremely cold or if the roots have been injured by rot. Reduce feeding (and watering) rates for winter.
Monstera Pinnatipartita Propagation
The most widely used propagation techniques for M. pinnatipartita is with stem or tip cuttings which are able to take root in either water or soil. I expand on how to propagate using different techniques below.
Propagating M. pinnatipartita from Tip Cuttings
- Pick a stem tip from a mother plant that is mature and ideally has obvious aerial roots.
- A sterile pair of sharp secateurs should be used to cut the stem tip along with at least two leaf nodes. To increase the amount of media exposure, cut at a 45-degree angle.
- Pinch the lowest node’s leaves.
- Maintain a container with a 50/50 mixture of perlite and sphagnum moss that is evenly extremely moist but not dripping wet.
- The cuttings usually root rather well, making the need for rooting hormones obsolete.
- Push down the earth for support and bury the stem with at least one node far below the surface.
- Keep the pot out of the direct sun but in a relatively bright area.
- Maintain moisture in the soil until the cutting has taken root. It ought to take one to two weeks. After eight weeks, transfer it to ordinary potting soil.
Propagating M. pinnatipartita in Water
- Select a mature mother plant stem tip that ideally has visible aerial roots.
- The stem tip and at least two leaf nodes should be cut using a clean pair of sharp secateurs. Make the incision at a 45-degree angle to reveal more of the material.
- Pinch the leaves of the lowest node.
- Choose a jar with an opening at least 3 inches wide, which is only deep enough so that the cutting’s nodes are submerged, but the terminal leaves are exposed to air.
- Simplify Note: If the jar’s mouth is too small, the cutting’s roots will break when you remove it.
- Place your cutting in the clean water-filled jar.
- Do not disrupt the cutting; keep in an area with indirect sunshine.
- After one to two weeks, the nodes submerged in water will begin to produce new roots.
- Once the roots are an inch or two long, you can replant the cutting.
How to air-layer your Monstera pinnatipartita
- A six-inch clear plastic bag, some twist ties, and sphagnum moss are required.
- Choose a sturdy, leggy node with aerial roots. Right under that node, cut a shallow incision no deeper than 1/4th the thickness of the stem.
- Make a few tiny holes in the bottom of the plastic bag, then stuff it with a fistful of uniformly moist sphagnum moss. Cut the plastic bag’s top end so that there are flaps to roll around the stem.
- Let’s go on to the plant now. Hold the plastic bag of wet moss against the chosen aerial root node with one hand. Wrap the plastic flaps around the stem with your free hand. With the help of twisty ties, attach this bag of moist moss to the stem, creating a cozy cocoon for the node.
- Watering through the plastic’s perforations, you can keep the moss damp.
- After two weeks, you’ll see that the roots have gotten into the moss.
- Cut the stem below the new roots to separate the cutting from the mother, then remove the moss without damaging your new roots.
- Pot it and keep the soil moist until the new plant is well-established.
Simplify Note: Do this simultaneously for several nodes to increase your chances of success and ensure that at least one of them becomes the root node.
Potting your M. Pinnatipartita
- Growing M. pinnatipartita as a climber instead of a trailing vine is recommended. It needs to be planted in a pretty large (3-gallon) pot with a pole covered in moss, a piece of wood, or another type of trellis for their stems to climb.
- The plant is supported by long, hanging aerial roots that the stems transmit down.
- Keep the soil loose and the container large since the roots prefer it to be airy. Don’t use too large a pot as this will cause compaction.
- The M. pinnatipartita does not necessarily need to be rootbound, unlike other epiphytes.
- Monstera pinnatipartita care needs a solid base because of its top-heavy nature.
Challenges Common To Growing Monstera Pinnatipartita
No Leaf Fenestration
It typically has to do with light. Its growth will be slowed if the weather is colder where you live because of weaker sunshine. If you relocate it to a location with sufficient lighting, the fenestrations should appear again once the new growing season begins. Another explanation is that there is nothing to climb on.
Brown Edges on Leaves
If the margins become brown and dry, your plant is dehydrated and overexposed to the sun. Excess nitrogen can also cause leaf-edge browning.
The most frequent cause of yellow leaves is overwatering. If your plant has yellow leaves, inspect the soil. Overwatering is probably the problem if the soil has been constantly wet, drains poorly, or if you have been forgetting to empty the drip tray after watering.
Potential M. Pinnatipartita Pests and Infections
Since M. Pinnatipartita is a hardy tropical plant, pests and insects are typically not an issue. However, mealybugs and spider mites are the most prevalent pests.
The most effective preventative measure is a regular monthly application of insecticidal soap and neem oil, or as directed on the box.
When I water my Monstera pinnatipartita plant once a week for insect management, I spray the leaves with water and then wipe them dry.
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Bacterial and fungal infections can be prevented by maintaining a clean environment around the plant, removing dead leaves, and utilizing sterile organic feeds.
Ensure that the plant is completely dry after sprinkling, sponging, or your choice of the cleaning system.
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