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Among the many plants in the houseplants world, the spotlight specifically shines on Monstera. These plants are characterized by fancy foliage and appealing greenery, making them a beauty statement for virtually any space. I am sure the monstera wave has swept you, and you already have a collection of monstera in your space as we speak.
Monstera is distinguished by how the leaves are attached to the stem. Also, the size and shape of their holes. It is difficult to tell the un-variegated plants apart. However, you can see and identify the variety as they gain fenestrations.
But did you know there is a wide array of monstera varieties? Reliable reports indicate that there are approximately 48 varieties of monstera. However, you can only find a few in your local garden center or nursery out of these many varieties. Considering the existence of different species of monstera, you must be wondering how you can tell the variety of monstera you have at home.
Monstera leaves undergo so many changes as they grow that you might easily mistake them for a different variety. Therefore, if you keep it, the label from your nursery may not tell you precisely what monstera variety you have.
Establishing The Species Of Monstera You Have
So, how can you confidently know what type of Monstera you have? A simple guide for monstera identification involves pointing out differences in the size of the leaves, the colors, hole configuration, edges, stems, and growth habits. Once you keenly observe your monstera based on these factors, you will quickly know the variety you have. Knowing your monstera variety is essential for the following reasons:
- This knowledge will inform you on how to care for your monstera.
- Once you know the variety and its growth patterns, you can easily know what to expect from your plant.
- You will better understand the most ideal propagation method for it.
- And lastly, you will derive so much personal satisfaction from knowing exactly what monstera variety you are growing!
The best way to guide you in your monstera identification journey is to analyze the distinguishing factors of the most common monstera varieties you can find at home. Continue reading this highly informative piece to learn more on this topic.
How to Tell Apart the Common Monstera Varieties
This monstera variety that we will identify first. It is also known as the Swiss cheese plant, cheese plant, delicious monster, Mexican breadfruit, and fruit salad tree, among many other names. You will tell that the monstera variety you have is a monstera deliciosa when you observe the following:
- Your plant has the potential to get to 20 meters tall when climbing up a tree. It has heavy growth.
- It has big green shiny leaves that can reach dimensions of 0.9 meters long and 0.75 meters wide.
- The mature plant has leaves with holes or splits commonly known as fenestrations. This trait is common with many monstera varieties. But with monstera deliciosa, the fenestrations will extend to the edge of the plant.
- Your plant will produce a flower that resembles a huge Peace Lily flower.
- After pollination, the flower will produce a strange-looking fruit shaped like a corn ear and covered in giraffe-like hexagon scales. This fruit is called the monstera fruit or Mexican breadfruit. Once ripe, the scales will drop off and leave you with delicious fruit with white kernels whose taste borders that of a banana or pineapple.
It is another monstera variety that is a sub-form of monstera deliciosa. You can easily confuse the two, especially when young ones. Here are some of the distinguishing factors that will help you identify it quickly:
- Monstera borsigiana has a faster growth pattern as compared to monstera deliciosa.
- However, this variety has thinner stems and smaller leaves.
- It is a greater climber probably because of the thin stems, thereby working very well with vertical support.
- Its stems wrinkle, curl or create beautiful tiny bumps at the point where the leaves attach to the stem.
- Mature versions of this variety have two neat rows of holes or slits.
Variegated Monstera is another variety you may be having at home. Every houseplant fanatic desires to have a variegated monstera, and knowing you have one is very easy because of the vivid appearance of this plant. A monstera Variegata will have partly white, cream, or yellow leaves.
Variegated Monstera has sub-varieties too. They include:
- Monstera Variegata Adansonii: This variety will grow to 6 to 13 feet. Its leaves take the shape of a heart. They are green when the plant is young, with white and yellow markings and lacy holes only appear when it matures.
- Monstera Deliciosa Variegata: Identifying your monstera as a deliciosa variegata will take some time. But when mature, you will observe unique leaves with splits, holes, and markings. Each leaf is beautifully different from the others. The white patterns create a stunning contrast to the dark green color of the rest of the leaf. And when you look at the stem near the underside of the leaves, you will notice some wrinkles.
- Monstera Deliciosa Thai Constellation: This is the most popular variety of variegated monstera. Every leaf on this plant will have creamy marks scattered on it like a star-filled sky at night (constellation). A healthy plant can grow to a height of 8 feet.
- Monstera Albo Borsigiana: This variegated variety is the easiest to identify because of the large white areas that cover leaves besides small spots. It also has smaller leaves as compared to other varieties. A mature plant can get to a height of 6.5 feet.
- Monstera Standleyana: This variegated monstera vine features dark green leaves with small spots that can be white, yellow, or cream. Its leaves are long and narrow, pointing upward instead of hanging down toward the ground.
This variety is also called Swiss cheese vine, five holes plant, monkey mask, or Adanson’s monstera. It also shares the name Swiss-cheese plant with Monstera deliciosa. You can differentiate it from monstera deliciosa by looking at the smaller, narrower leaves and closed perforations.
You can easily confuse this variety with Monstera Obliqua because there is a close resemblance between the two. However, one of the differences in the holes in monstera obliqua is much bigger.
This variety is also known as the unicorn plant because of its rarity. Because it happens to be a very rare variety, you can easily mistake it for Monstera adansonii. Yes, they both have holes on their leaves, but you can differentiate them.
Other popular names for this variety are shingle plant, monstera karwinskyi, monstera viridispatha, or monstera grandifola. It looks like Monstera adansonsii, too, when you observe how the holes on its leaves don’t get to the edges. You can differentiate the two by observing the following:
- The shape of the leaves. Monstera acuminata has leaves defined by a curve at the central rib, with one side of the leaf being wider than the other.
- The holes on the leaves only appear when it gets to about a foot long.
- It grows as a shingle plant when young.
This variety of monstera has another name, monstera karstenianum. You will know you have a monstera Peru once you observe the following:
- Lack of fenestrations on the leaves.
- Small, leathery folding leaves that shine when exposed to light.
- The leaves are thick and quite rigid.
- It resembles monstera pinnatipartita when young, but its leaves become rounder and wider once mature.
Another uncommon variety of Monstera that you may be having at home. You can tell you have a monstera dubia when:
- You notice small heart-shaped leaves that are both light and dark green in color as it grows. Once mature, the leaves get bigger, turn dark green and have intense fenestrations.
- It climbs up trees to get better sunlight, and as it does, it leaves alternate from left to right, creating a very coordinated appearance.
Like monstera deliciosa, this is a huge variety of monstera. You will identify it when you spot:
- Compact stem growth and noticeably short spacing between the internodes. This compact nature makes it a slow climber and can grow without a moss pole.
- Its leaves have deep slots that cut through from the edges to the center rib.
A compact stem growth and noticeably short spacing between the internodes this compact nature makes it a slow climber, and it can grow without a moss pole. Its leaves have deep slots that cut through the edges to the center rib.
We wind up our list with this rarest variety of Monstera. You will know you have this variety if:
- You observe leaves that resemble those of Monstera dubia. They are silvery green and get a darker green color along the veins and at the edges. Compared to the dubia variety, these leaves will be longer and pointed at the tip.
- You will only spot holes in the leaves when this plant matures.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I water my monstera?
It would be best to water when the top inch or two of soil is dry to the touch, which should happen every 7-10 days. If you wait longer than that for the soil to dry out, your plant might need more light or a pot with better drainage. Use a moisture meter to know precisely how thirsty your monstera is.
How to prune my huge Monstera plant?
1. Wear gloves. Monstera sap is toxic and can irritate your skin.
2. Use a sharp, clean tool. Using sharp pruning shears or a knife ensures you get a nice, clean cut instead of crushing or bruising the stem. Give the stem a good snip or chop instead of sawing it off when you cut.
3. Prune in the spring if possible, especially to encourage growth. You will get the best results by pruning in the spring, and your plant will recover faster.
4. Plan your cuts. Start by cutting any old or diseased leaves at the base of the stem.
5. If you are propagating, cut below a node.
Why are my monstera’s leaves turning yellow?
If you notice yellowing leaves, ensure you are ONLY watering when the top few inches of soil are dry and that this happens every 7-10 days. Give your plant more light and check your drainage if it takes longer.
If your light and water situation seems okay, try fertilizing your monstera with Indoor Plant Food to give it the nutrients it needs to support beautiful, healthy green leaves.
My indoor light is not ideal. Can I still grow a Monstera plant?
You can, but your monstera will not be as healthy or grow fast without sufficient light. It might also have trouble producing fenestrated leaves. However, if your lighting is less than ideal, you can supplement a grow light. These are great for darker homes and when the daylight hours are shorter in the winter.
How much light does my monstera need?
Monstera plants like bright and indirect sunlight; you can put them in the brightest light, which usually means being near an east- or south-facing window where the light does not hit the leaves because this can cause sunburn. As a rule of thumb, your monstera should never cast a shadow.
The monstera varieties mentioned above are the most common ones we firmly believe you may be having back home. As clearly illustrated in this article, the secret to knowing your monstera variety is being a keen observer. You have probably considered relying on the labeling done where you bought your monstera from, this could work, but the labels may sometimes be misguided because of the nature of monstera leaves.