Today's Gardener (todaysgardener.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them.
Belonging to Araceae plants, Monstera is an extraordinary plant with the most unusual looking leaves. Perhaps abnormal or monstrous is a bit rough word, but that’s precisely what this Latin word means when you translate it. It doesn’t take much to guess who’s the main “guilty one” for this picturesque name- it’s the leaves with so many natural holes that (almost) all members of the genus possess. And those are not just elegant decoration.
How many different Monstera varieties are there? As far as the most recent data show, there are 48 species. It’s one of the most memorable plants you could encounter, bringing quite a refreshing spirit and energy to your home. These are the most commonly kept ones:
As I said, the list is longer than this, but I’ve selected the ones which can be kept at home. The others are either not widely available, such as Acuminata, Karstenianum, or perhaps a bit demanding to maintain. Stay with me to find out more about these eye-catching Monstera Varieties and learn how to grow them!
1. Monstera Adansonii
Popularly known as the Swiss Cheese plant, this one comes with gigantic dark green leaves, with holes, of course.
Speaking of, like every other, it has the “predetermined” number of those perforations, but their number is not always the same.
Their leaves are shaped like heart, some of them have a bit rounder, the others narrower.
Depending on the overall conditions where the plant is kept, don’t be shocked if you encounter variegated ones as well- Monsteras are so full of surprises!
BONUS TIP: This member of the family has four sub-cultivars, and besides Adansonii, those are Blancheti, Klotzschiana, and Laniata, with the first one being the most widely present one. There are small differences in their size and number of holes.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Adansonii Care.
2. Monstera Epipremnoides
Known as the bigger brother of M.Adansoii, it’s not just the leaf, but the entire plant is huger compared to the mentioned relative.
Its leaves are dark green, but still lighter than those seen on its bigger brother.
Of course, it’s also full of perforations which spread almost to the edges of the leaves, giving this one unique and distinctive look.
As this Costa Rican beauty is rare to find and not so easy to get, a bit higher price doesn’t come as a surprise.
BONUS TIP: Don’t be surprised if you hear gardeners referring to this one as Monstera NOID. That’s because one enthusiast passionate about aroids claims that other plants should be referred to as M.Epipremnoides, not the one in cultivation. The NOID, is, actually, not identified yet.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Epipremnoides Care.
3. Monstera Obliqua
For some reason, this one is often mixed with Adansonii, but they are not the same- M.Obliqua has more specific-looking leaves.
Even if you cannot differentiate them visually (when you are new to gardening), be sure that the price will tell you which one is which- Obliqua is more expensive.
It’s not as large as some other variants, and it grows very slowly- it produces around 30 to 70 new leaves in one year, or year and a half.
BONUS TIP: This unusual looking Monstera is the most fenestrated of all, which is why people say that its leaves have more holes than the whole plant has leaves itself. On the other hand, the Bolivian type of Obliqua has no perforations at all (or only a little bit).
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Obliqua Care.
4. Monstera Deliciosa
Just like most of the members of the family, Deliciosa has these unusual and perforated leaves, which is one of the reasons why it is so recognizable.
It is found in many tropical areas, but it is interesting to mention that it’s invasive in several islands, among which Hawaii and Seychelles.
They are heart-shaped and dark green, and without holes and lobes when they are young.
While outside, its size can be impressively tall. Indoors it’s usually two or three meters, depending on the overall conditions.
BONUS TIP: There’s a good reason for this “Deliciosa” part of the plant’s name. The delicious thing is its spathe which becomes a fruit when it matures. It takes about a year for that to happen.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Deliciosa Care.
5. Monstera Borsigniana
When young, this one is often mixed with Deliciosa, but there are differences.
Look at the stem, for example- if you spot something that looks like adorable bumps in a place where leaves are attached to the stem, then it’s Deliciosa.
Comparing the way they grow, Borsigniana develops faster, but it’s smaller in size.
As for the common requirements, they are more or less like for all other members of the family.
BONUS TIP: One of the ways to distinguish this one from Deliciosa is the way their holes form. While Deliciosa will not have a neat pattern, Borsigniana will have the perforations “arranged” in two neat rows.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Borsigniana Care.
6. Monstera Pinnatipartita
Instead of perforations shaped as holes, this one has slits, and they extend to the rims of the leaves.
Its sturdy stems have the most amazing color- emerald green, and the glossy leaves are lighter green with some adorable, sophisticated stripes.
It’s a climbing plant, so you need to find a suitable location to be able to enjoy the breath-taking view.
They may be a bit challenging to find, compared to other variants, but they have more or less the same demands as all the others.
BONUS TIP: As it grows and matures, this one undergoes the most interesting transformation- when the plant is small, it has lobed leaves. But, as it becomes older, they divide.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Pinnatipartita Care.
7. Monstera Dubia
One of the smallest members of the family, it has lovely heart-shaped leaves and so many speckles. They can be dark and light green, but the plant itself can be variegated as well.
While its most prominent feature, the holes, is not seen when the plant is younger, but as it develops, it changes significantly.
If it has enough space to develop (well, it will never have as much as in nature, though), you will witness the formation of deep green leaves with variegations- and large fenestrated areas.
BONUS TIP: Don’t be surprised if you hear people calling this one a “shingle plant”. When in wild, its leaves lie flat against the surface on the trees. This is particularly noticed when the plant is younger, and if you want to recreate this at home, you can use a moss pole.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Dubia Care.
8. Monstera Siltepecana
This one is also not as gigantic as the majority of other Monsteras, but it is as equally breath-taking as the others.
Its leaves are lighter green, with dark veins as well as patches of silver/white color.
But those change significantly as the plant matures, those markings begin to fade away.
Similar to other members of the family, well-draining soil and moderate light (never direct!) is the very essence of its maintenance.
BONUS TIP: If you prefer climbing plants, add a moss pole and it will climb, and produce large leaves with perforations close to the midrib. In case you like trailing one better, no problem, let it hang freely. Siltepecana can do both of these.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Siltepecana Care.
9. Monstera Standleyana
In nature, you may find this one in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama, and what makes it particularly lovely is the combination of perforations and variegated leaves.
Accommodate it on a trellis, and you will be presented with the true work of art, courtesy of Mother Nature- it’s a vining plant.
Make sure you pay attention to the type of soil, it has to be a well-draining one, or if water-logged, the plant’s roots will die.
Plus, the oxygen- it needs to receive enough of it through the roots, so one bonus reason to get quality soil for your Standleyana.
BONUS TIP: Unlike Obliqua, this one goes into the other extreme- it’s one of the least fenestrated members of the family. That may be the reason for its silly nickname- Five Holes Plant.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Standleyana Care.
10. Monstera Punctulata
One of the most interesting features of this version is the softly-textured brilliant green leaves.
It has a flowering spadix as well, and its colors vary from darker green to the lighter shades, which sometimes appear goldish.
A thing it has in common with Deliciosa is the ability to produce fruit, and it also takes plenty of time (several months) to be ripe.
BONUS TIP: Compared to others, this one has the lowest level of trichosclereids. Why do I mention this? Because that makes this one favorite food for leafcutter ants, which let’s say avoid others that possess a higher level of this “defense mechanism”.
11. Monstera Thai Constellation
Despite being so exotic, this one’s not a complicated plant to maintain. You just need to follow certain guidelines, that’s all.
Ensure artificial lighting so to keep its unique leaves healthy and in good shape.
Water it three to four times a week, and keep the temperature around 75-78 Fahrenheit.
BONUS TIP: You probably wonder how this lovely variety to its name- that’s because the flecks of cream in its green leaves resemble star constellations a lot.Worth mentioning is that this rare plant is grown specially in a laboratory in Thailand to achieve the variegated effect.
Check out our ultimate guide on this plant: Monstera Thai Constellation care.
12. Monstera Acuminata
This intriguing cultivar needs high humidity levels to develop properly and prefers warmer weather.
Watering frequency depends on overall conditions, but be careful not to overwater it.
Monstera Acuminata likes diffused light. Repot it every two years, and always pick a pot with good drainage.
BONUS TIP: If you decide not to prune your Monstera Acuminata, be prepared to have your entire home conquered by this tropical beauty. To provide support, you can use coco panels.
Check out our full guide on growing it: Monstera Acuminata care guide.
13. Monstera Karstenianum
As the majority of other Monstera varieties, this one needs bright, indirect light and moderate watering.
Make sure the soil type you’ve selected is a well-draining one, and maintain higher humidity levels.
You can propagate Monstera Karstenianum using stem cutting. By the way, this one is also known as Monstera sp.Peru.
BONUS TIP: You can propagate this plant both in water and in soil, but do know that the roots develop a bit slower in water. When the roots have formed, you can place your Monstera Karstenianum in a pot or a hanging basket.
Check out our full guide on this lovely plant: Monstera Karstenianum care guide.
A Rare Beauty- Variegated Monstera
I need to clarify that this one is not a separate sort of Monstera- it can be any, and what classifies it as “variegated” is any form of discoloration that may appear on its leaves.
Variegated Monstera represents a truly beautiful sight, making this already impressive plant look even more intriguing.
Just imagine, shades/spots/stripes of silver or yellow scattered randomly on a GIGANTIC juicy green leaf, astonishing, isn’t it?
Variegation usually appears as marble or as half-moon, these are two most commonly seen versions.
It’s interesting to notice that while some other plants benefit from variegation, for example, philodendron, this same “pattern” on Monsteras is just an accident.
The fact is that variegated plants, lacking chlorophyll, need to put extra efforts to create food, but on the other hand, Monsteras are tough.
If you opt to get yourself one of these, be prepared to pay a whopping price for them and make sure the light conditions are met properly.
As the white pigment cannot absorb light, you can end up with a wilted plant.
Consider artificial lights, they can be your faithful and helpful associates in keeping your variegated beauty in good shape.
Bonus- Lovely Intruders in Monstera Family
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is actually a philodendron, but due to being extremely similar to Monsteras, it’s known by the name Mini Monstera.
This one lives in Malaysia and Southern Thailand, and it is also a part of the Araceae family.
The reason why it’s mixed with Monsteras is the holes on the leaves, which are not even present yet when the plant is juvenile.
Philodendron bipinnatifidum is another commonly mistaken plant, and as the name indicates, it’s also a philodendron.
And what’s interesting, it doesn’t have holes at all, but something that resembles stripes.
It’s native to South America.
What’s the Truth Behind Holes on Monstera Leaves?
Exploring versatile plants, you will probably notice many plants have holes on their leaves, including Monstera. There’s been so much discussion and theories on WHY do plants have those leaves on holes at all.
Some claim that it is a plant’s natural protection shield from the string hurricanes- just take the Bird of Paradise as an example, it splits the leaves so that wind could go through them.
The others claim that the holes are some sort of communication channels with the roots.
While these two come with certain holes (pun intended!), the one which makes the most sense is the theory by Christopher Muir, who suggested that the main reason is actually the lighting conditions.
You see when in nature, they grow in dense forests. To make it possible for lower parts of the plant to grab some sunlight, those perforations appeared, making the leaf fenestrated.
Having in mind that Monsteras can grow a lot, the more mature they are the more benefits from those holes.
While we know that the number of those perforations is already defined, we cannot make the plant more holey, BUT we can contribute to better fenestration.
The leaves begin to get those holes when the plant is about three feet tall, so what you can do is to trim the older and smaller ones, motivating your plant to produce the bigger ones with more perforations.
The Delicious Story of Monstera Fruit
Even though its name may sound inviting and tasty, you are NOT supposed to eat the entire Monstera Deliciosa, just the fruits.
Covered with hexagonal scales, the fruit can grow up to 25cm in length and between 3 and 5 in width.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that people often call it a fruit salad fruit- that’s because its aroma is a mix of banana, pineapple, and jackfruit.
Humans can eat it- BUT ONLY when it’s ripe, otherwise it may cause mouth irritation because it has calcium oxalate.
So, if you want to grab a bite of this delicious treat, you will have to wait about a year, until it reaches maturity.
The ripening process is more or less the same as the mechanism bananas utilize, and the scents become stronger and stronger.
But once it’s fully ripe, it disappears.
When the harvesting time comes, I suggest you wrap it in the newspaper, and wait until those scales fall off- then you can enjoy the feast.
Don’t force the scales, give them time, and consume the fruit part by part, as it ripens slowly.
Of course, pay attention to those black fibers- remove them as well, as they can cause itchiness.
As for the health properties, it’s low in calories, but it has high levels of potassium and vitamin C.
Still, don’t eat too much of it, or you may end up with stomach issues.
1. Are Monstera plants air purifiers?
As far as NASA says, this is one of the most popular air-purifiers, as it eliminates various harmful particles from the air. Clean air and decoration combiner, could one ask for more?
2. Can I keep the Monstera plant in my bedroom?
As long as there’s enough humidity and not too much direct light, yes, you can.
3. Is Monstera toxic to cats, dogs, and pets?
Yes, it’s dangerous for your pets, so be careful with the place where you plant to accommodate it. When ingested, it may cause nausea, irritation, and similar issues.
4. Is the Monstera plant poisonous to people?
Just like with pets, it is mildly toxic to people, with the special accent on kids (they are curious and like to explore, so they can accidentally grab a bite of it).
On the other hand, its fruits are edible and delicious, but only when it’s ripe.
5. Is the Monstera plant expensive?
Not all the variants are, they are quite affordable. On the other hand, rare species and variegated Monsteras are pricier.
These jewels from the astonishing tropical forests will bring a unique atmosphere to your place- if you maintain them well, and I’m sure my guide can help you with that!
Have YOU got any special tip or secret on Monstera varieties for me?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below, I can’t wait to hear from you!
Enjoy your Monsteras!