Monsteras are the darling of the plant world, transforming indoor spaces to make them feel tropical. Yet, many Monstera types are easy to care for. Some can even withstand some neglect!
Hailing from tropical regions of the Americas, the Monstera genus consists of around 50 species. While they are flowering plants, instead of growing large showy flowers, they produce inflorescence (spadix and spathe).
Because of this, they are much more prized for their foliage.
In the world of Monsteras, variety is key – they come in all sizes, may or may not have fenestrations, and may even look very different to when they are young.
Let’s take a look at 13 of our favorite!
#1 Monstera Deliciosa
The Deliciosa is the species most of us think of when we think of Monstera! Also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, this popular houseplant is known for its glossy, heart-shaped leaves with deep lobes that give any home a tropical feel.
As they mature, their lobed leaves develop oval holes near their leaf’s midribs. Unlike the lobes, these holes don’t expand to the outer edges of the plant.
A tip for you: if you want your Monstera Deliciosa to grow big, supply it with a moss pole. Being used to climbing on host trees in nature, a moss pole helps it cultivate its climbing habit – trust us, it’ll reward you with larger, lusher leaves and gives it higher chances of maturing.
#2: Monstera Deliciosa ‘Albo Variegata’
A rare cultivar of the Monstera Deliciosa, the ‘Albo Variegata’ features stunning white variegation on its waxy green leaves. It’s no surprise this beauty is highly sought-after!
Having lots of variegation, this plant has less chlorophyll, and so grows much more slowly than a “regular” Deliciosa. You’ll need to provide it ample amounts of bright but indirect light for the plant to thrive. Keep it away from direct sunlight!
Expect to pay a premium for this plant; do check out Etsy for prices from reputable sellers.
#3: Monstera Deliciosa ‘Thai constellation’
Another variegated beauty is the Thai Constellation. Like the Albo Variegata, the Thai Constellation is a cultivar of the Monstera Deliciosa.
The difference is mainly in the color of the variegation: you’ll notice patches of light yellow-green in the Thai Constellation, compared to the striking white of the Albo. They have similar care requirements to the Albo.
You can check out The White Foliage for their selection of healthy, variegated houseplants!
#4: Monstera Adansonii
Often misidentified as the Monstera Obliqua, the Monstera Adansonii has large, oval holes in their leaves, but they are still smaller than that of the Obliqua’s.
Growing more compact than the Deliciosa, it’s a great option for those who love Monsteras but live in small apartments.
Easy to care for and generally low-maintenance, this vining plant can be kept in hanging baskets, letting its foliage trail down. Alternatively, allow it to climb up a moss pole!
They are readily available at local nurseries and garden centers.
#5: Monstera Siltepecana (Silver Monstera)
The Monstera Siltepecana, also known as the Silver Monster, is a lesser-known Monstera.
When young, it boasts silvery-white variegation on oval leaves, with narrow tips.
As its leaves grow larger, long slits and lobes start to appear! Soon, it loses its variegation and has a more glossy, or waxy shine on its green leaves.
This transformation can take up to 3 years, even in ideal growing conditions. You’ll also need to provide it a climbing support when kept indoors, or else it will stay in its juvenile form indefinitely.
At maturity, the Monstera Siltepecana can grow up to an impressive 8 feet tall (2.4meters) and 3 feet (0.9meters) wide.
You can purchase a Monstera Siltepecana here.
#6: Monstera Peru (Monstera Karstenianum)
With textured and veiny oval-shaped leaves and no fenestrations, the Monstera Peru is a little bit of an oddball. They also need slightly different care than a generic Monstera. They are more tolerant of low light and need less water.
A neat trick that they have is storing water in their thick leaves. This helps them survive dry spells.
In time, your Monstera Peru’s veins become deeper and darker as they grow. We love the intricacy of their dimpled leaves!
A tip on maintaining your Peru: It’s a good idea to wipe down their leaves, as dust and grime tend to gather in the “bumps”. Like cleaning its pores, doing so allows light and gases to pass through more easily for this little guy.
#7: Monstera Pinnatipartita
Hailing from the lowland rainforests of South America, the Monstera Pinnatipartita is another example of a Monstera that transforms over its lifespan. When young, the little Pinnatipartita looks like a Monstera Peru! It has deep veins and a bumpy, textured surface.
Slowly, this little vine’s leaves enlarge, and its bumpy surface turns smooth, thin, and glossy. Most dramatically, it forms long slits on either side of the leaf’s midrib. When fully mature, it looks a little like a palm frond.
#8: Monstera Obliqua Peru
The Unicorn plant! We could never leave out the Monstera Obliqua Peru from this list 🙂
But be warned, the Obliqua is only for true Monstera aficionados. They are very challenging to grow, but look at how beautiful they are!
Arguably the rarest and most prized of all, the Monstera Obliqua Peru has extremely large holes in its leaves, often covering more than 90% of its surface.
The leaves themselves are papery-thin and delicate, so care conditions must be on point for this beauty to thrive.
They will also cost you a pretty penny. For a small rooted plant, expect to pay in the high hundreds to the low thousands (US dollars). You can opt for stem cuttings instead!
If you love the look of this plant but don’t have the stomach for its demanding nature, the Monstera Adansonii is by far a cheaper, less demanding plant to get you started.
An interesting fact – the Monstera Obliqua we commonly think of is actually the Monstera Obliqua Peru.
Some other Monstera Obliquas, like the Monstera Obliqua Bolivia, don’t have fenestrations at all!
#9: Monstera Dubia
Another transformer is the Monstera Dubia. When young, this creeping vine is easily recognizable as a shingle plant, growing appressed (laying flat) on a host tree, moss pole, or wooden surface.
In this state, it grows in pairs of heart-shaped leaves with light and dark green, and silver variegation.
Slowly but surely, this plant transforms into quite something else!
As its leaves enlarge, it sheds their variegation and turns a glossy and bright green. Leaves are long and narrow, forming lobes and holes on either side of their midribs.
You can buy a Monstera Dubia here.
#10: Monstera Esqueleto (formerly Monstera Epipremnoides)
The Monstera Esqueleto looks like something in between a Monstera Adansonii and a Monstera Obliqua.
The way to tell them apart is to look at the leaf size and color. The Monstera Esqueleto has a lighter green color than the Adansonii, and much larger leaves. Their holes also tend to be larger than an Adansonii, but still smaller than an Obliqua’s!
If you look closely, you’ll notice they have double fenestrations. A set of small holes running along either side of the midrib, and then a set of larger holes between the small ones and the edge of the leaf. 🙂
If you’re keen to buy an Esqueleto, do note that this rare plant can cost you a few hundred dollars. Whether you think its worth it or not, is up to you 🙂
#11: Monstera Acuminata
Here we go again, another Adansonii look-alike!
Hailing from Guatemala, the Monstera Acuminata is found in the wild growing only on the largest of trees. Acuminata means “pointed” in Latin, referring to its pointy leaf apex.
They are definitely more laid back, and easier to care for than the Monstera Esqueleto.
Starting life as a small shingle plant, the Acuminata presses against its host tree and creeps upwards. As it develops, its leaves grow large and eventually develop fenestrations.
Unlike some other Monsteras, the Acuminata fully retains its leaf margins.
It is at this mature stage that the Monstera Acuminata resembles a Monstera Adansonii.
#12: Monstera Standleyana ‘Aurea Variegata’
The Standleyana (also known as the Five Holes Plant) is a small plant with oval, asymmetrical leaves. Its yellow variegation can be in the form of patches or specks, dots or strokes. These differ from leaf to leaf, making this plant truly unique!
As they grow, they start to develop long vines. It’s a good idea to place them in a hanging basket, or let them creep up a trellis.
They don’t develop fenestrations, despite being nicknamed the Five Holes Plant. (Confusing, we know!)
They are also easy to care for, and well-suited to indoor conditions.
#13: Monstera Subpinnata
The Subpinnata looks a little like the Pinnatipartita! (And also sounds the same.)
They are a rare tropical species with very deep slits that form pinnate lobes. Despite being mislabelled as Philodendron Subpinnata, this plant is decidedly a Monstera 🙂
In the wild they are found climbing on host trees, and are often living at altitudes up to 4,921 feet (1,500 meters).
We like the tropical feel he brings into the home. Being another easy-going plant, they are not difficult to look after. Another plus!
The hardest part about this plant is finding one. They were very rare in the past, and thankfully now are becoming more readily available.
But chances are you’ll still need to spend time looking for this fellow. Check out Etsy for reputable online sellers.
Not True Monsteras, but Monstera look-alikes!
There are so many species that look like Monsteras. Here are a few of our favorite wanna-bes.
#1: Rhaphidophora Testrasperma (Mini Monstera)
Despite not being a true Monstera, the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is lovingly nicknamed the Mini Monstera for obvious reasons 🙂
This compact houseplant is also from the Araceae family but is not from the Monstera genus.
Nevertheless, they require similar care to a Monstera Deliciosa or Monstera Adansonii. They are as easy to take care of!
Rhaphidophora Tetraspermas are much-loved for their lobed leaves. As vining plants, they grow well when supported by a moss pole. Alternatively, leave them to show off their leaves as vines cascade down from a hanging basket.
#2: Rhaphidophora Decursiva
The Rhaphidophora Decursiva, also known as the Dragon Tail Plant, is often mistaken for the Cebu Blue Pothos or a mature Monstera Pinnatipartita thanks to its palm-like appearance when mature.
But they look different when they are young.
They start off with small oval, glossy green leaves that develop long slits over time.
Hailing from the foothills of the Himalayas, this species is found climbing on top of host trees to reach higher in the canopy. When kept indoors, leaves can grow to an impressive 40 inches (102cm) long!
While they are a rare species, they are slowly but surely gaining popularity.
#3: Split Leaf Philodendron (Thaumatophyllum Bipinnatifidum, formerly Philodendron Bipinnatifidum. Synonym: Philodendron Selloum.)
There’s so much confusion around the Thaumatophyllum Bipinnatifidum! The Split Leaf Philodendron (or Tree Philodendron) is neither a Philodendron nor a Monstera. It’s from the same Araceae family but from the Thaumatophyllum genus.
In any case, this photogenic beauty grows as a shrub with long and thick stalks. It has large slits on glossy green leaves. Leaves edges are not straight but have uniquely wavy margin.
Because of the way it spreads out and the sheer size of its leaves, it can take up a lot of space!
A little-known fact about this Tree Philodendron is that it produces purple and cream spathes (source: Royal Horticultural Society). Truth be told though, it’s much more sought-after for its leaves!
The Monstera genus is a very well-known and popular choice for gardeners. Monsteras are known for transforming the way they look as they develop. Some are virtually unrecognizable from their juvenile states.
Fernestrations are common. In fact, lobes, holes, and splits in their leaves are thought to have developed as an adaptation to windy and rainy conditions, and to allow light to pass through to lower leaves.
All of these characteristics make this genus unique.
There’s something here for everyone!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.
Comments are closed.