The Monstera Lechleriana is a beautiful houseplant that is gaining popularity. When mature, its leaves are large and fenestrated (have holes) near the midrib.
However, these holes are not so large that they reach out to the edges of the leaf like a Monstera Deliciosa.
This species of Monstera is fast-growing and easy to care for, making it perfect for beginners.
Mild indoor temperatures and sufficient bright indirect light (at least 8 hours a day) helps your plant grow well. Choosing a well-draining potting mix and ensuring your plant is well-watered but never overwatered is key to a thriving Monstera.
Prop it up against a moss pole to support its climbing habit.
In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know for your Monstera Lechleriana to thrive!
Caring for your Monstera Lechleriana
In the wild, your Monstera Lechleriana grows under a canopy of trees in the tropical rainforests of Mexico and Central and South America.
Because your Monstera is not accustomed to prolonged direct light exposure, too much direct light can burn its foliage.
At least 8 hours of bright, indirect light is ideal for healthy and rapid growth. Up to 3 hours per day of direct light exposure is beneficial too. For this reason, East-facing windows are perfect for your Monstera.
West or South facing windows will work too, but locate your Monstera Lechleriana about 5 feet (1.5 meters) away from the window pane to reduce the light intensity.
When kept outdoors, your plant is hardy to USDA Hardiness zones 9b-11, and in patios to zone 4a-11. If planting outdoors, choose a spot with dappled light in partial shade. Since the light intensity is much higher outdoors, avoid direct sunlight altogether.
When watering your Monstera Lechleriana, adhere to the Watering Rule #1. That is, don’t water until the top 2 inches of soil is completely dry!
Then, and only then, should you water. Water slowly and deeply, until the soil is thoroughly soaked. Let water drain through the drainage hole, then empty the saucer.
That’s all there is to it.
Using this method, we generally water twice a week during the active growing season, and half that in the colder months.
But the right watering frequency for you may be different. It will depend on several factors such as climate, potting mix, growth rate and evaporation rate where you live.
So use the Rule #1 to determine the frequency that’s right for you. 🙂
Signs of overwatering and underwatering
It’s also important to observe your plant so that it can give you “feedback” on your watering practices.
- An overwatered Monstera Lechleriana typically have soft and droopy stems and yellow leaves.
- On the other hand, crispy leaves with cakey soil indicates an underwatered plant. Underwatered Lechlerianas may also have yellow leaves.
- Observing your plant to give you an indication of the issue, but always confirm by checking the soil moisture over a few days. If the topsoil remains moist over several days, chances are you are overwatering.
Being a pretty easygoing plant, your Monstera Lechleriana can tolerate average room humidity. Although, for best growth, choose higher humidities. >70% is ideal. In these levels of humidities your plant will reward you with prolific growth!
Remember, your plant lives in nature in the rainforest. There, humidity levels approach 100%. So there is no such thing as too much humidity for your Monstera. 🙂
Being used to a warm, tropical climate year round, keep your plant in temperatures between 55 – 80 degrees F (13 – 27 degrees C). If growing outdoors, it’s best to bring a containerized Monstera Lechleriana inside for the winter months. Your plant isn’t cold-hardy!
Like many plants, the Monstera Lechleriana appreciates stable temperatures. Avoid placing your plant near drafts, vents, radiators and fireplaces.
In the wild, according to renown botanist Michael Madison in his book A Revision of Monstera (Araceae), the Mosntera Lechleriana takes 6-8 years to bloom! When kept as a houseplant, flowering is an extremely rare occurrence.
Unlike other species of Monstera that have infloresences that cluster together, infloresences in a Lechleriana typically grow alone. They are not considered showy or ornamental, so you’re not missing out on much.
Interestingly, Lechleriana growing in Mexico have a cream spadix, but collections from Central and South America have a yellowish spadix.
In the wild, your Monstera Lechleriana typically selects larger trees to climb on. This is because the Lechleriana has one of the largest mature sizes of all Monsteras – growing up to 72 feet (22 meters) in the wild! They seek larger trees to support their massive stature.
However, when kept as a houseplant, you can expect your Lechleriana to grow to just around 4-5 feet (1.2 – 1.5 meters) tall. They have a moderate to fast growth rate in the active growing season. Warmth, light and humidity bring out the best growth.
Leaves are typically grouped in a tight cluster at the top of the plant’s stem, with leaf bases overlapping. Leaves develop their characteristic fenestrations as they mature, usually near the midrib.
Our climbing support of choice is a stackable moss pole – it’s fun as we add on length as our plant grows. You can loosely drape the vines around the pole, or use gardening ties to loosely secure the vines in place.
Soon you’ll start to see its aerial roots grab onto the moss pole as it propels itself higher, towards the light!
You can find out more about how to use a moss pole here.
A word of caution: Be careful not to place your plant too close to a wall. Its aerial roots are surprisingly stong, and they will grow up the wall if close enough!
They tend to dislodge the wall paint and can be hard to remove. 😛
Soil or Growing Medium
Your Monstera Lechleriana enjoys a loose and rich soil that is well-draining.
We like using a mix of:
Potting mix provides an organically rich base for nourishment. At the same time, pumice, charcoal and orchid bark improve drainage and airflow to the roots. Perlite is porous volcanic rock, which also has drainage properties.
If you’re open to experimenting with less conventional growing media, LECA is a great choice. In simple terms, LECA is porous clay balls. Because of airpockets created between each ball and its porous material, roots can breathe easily.
This makes them a good choice for plants that are susceptible to overwatering and root rot.
Check out our guide on the Pros and Cons of LECA to see if its a good fit for you.
We are taken by how well and quickly our heavily-foliaged houseplants grow with a little Dyna-Gro Grow. It’s gentle and nutritionally complete.
Whatever fertilizer your choose, our advice is to avoid cheap fertilizers as these often have harsh formulas that can damage the roots.
Apply liquid fertilizer at half strength, once every 2 weeks during the growing season. We like incorporating the fertilizer into its watering.
Don’t fertilize in fall and winter.
Your fast-growing Monstera Lechleriana may need repotting every 2-3 years.
You’ll know its time to repot when you see little roots peeking out of the drainage hole. You may also observe stunted growth.
Spring is the best time for repotting. Always use a pot with drainage holes, and one that is just 2 inches (5cm) larger than the original!
- Water your plant the day before repotting. This reduces the risk of transplant shock.
- Gently remove your plant from its current pot. Use your fingers to carefully tease out the roots, making sure not to damage the plant.
- Examine your plant’s roots. If you see any brown or decaying parts, snip these off with a pair of clean garden shears.
- Take your new pot and fill up partially with fresh potting mix (see the Soil section for details on the best mix). You shouldn’t reuse the old soil as nutrients would have depleted over time.
- Place your plant in its new pot.
- Add more soil to hold your plant in place. Tap down gently to secure.
- Hold off watering for a few days.
Unfortunately, your plant is toxic when ingested. Monsteras contain insoluble oxalate crystals, like many other houseplant favourites like Philodendrons.
When ingested by humans or pets, they can cause severe mouth irritation, burns, vomiting and nausea, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
However, more severe symptoms usually result only when large quantities are ingested. For an accident occurs, wash the affected area with cool water and seek medical attention if necessary.
Pruning is best done in spring and summer.
- Use clean garden shears to cut away any dead or yellow foliage.
- Prune away any stems that are too long or knotty.
- When pruning your plant, cut off leggy vines at the base of the stem.
- Don’t cut off more than 1/3 of the length of the plant, as this causes too much stress on your plant. It will lose its ability to manufacture enough food!
Your Monstera Lechleriana is an easy plant to propagate through stem cuttings.
Spring or summer is the best time for propagation, as your plant is actively growing at this time, so propagation has the highest chance of success.
- Identify a few healthy stems. Each should be around 5 inches long, have at least one leaf and a few nodes.
- Using clean garden shears, cut these identified stems just below the node.
- Prepare a small pot of fresh soil (see Soil section for details on our recommended mix). Moisten the soil lightly.
- Make a hole in the soil with your finger, and place each stem cutting into the soil. Ensure that no leaves are buried and that at least one node is under the soil’s surface.
- Place your plant in a warm spot with plenty of indirect light.
- Keep the soil lightly moist, but never waterlogged.
- In about 3-4 weeks, roots should establish from your plant. You can confirm this by giving the stem a VERY GENTLE tug.
- Treat as you would any other Monstera Lechleriana.
You can also propagate your stem cuttings in water. That way, you can observe the roots develop through a filled glass jar. When the roots grow to about 2 inches (5cm), plant the stem cuttings in soil mix in its permanent home.
Common Pests and Diseases
Monstera Lechleriana Root Rot
If the overwatering problem is severe, your plant may also suffer from root rot. The only way to confirm is to remove your plant from its pot and examine its roots.
Brown, black and foul-smelling roots mean its roots are rotting from the lack of air. Overwatered roots literally cannot breathe.
In this case, check out our step-by-step guide on saving your plant suffering from root rot.
Houseplant Pests: Spider mites, mealybugs
Both insects pierce your plant’s tissue and draw out its sap, wounding your poor plant and depriving it of nutrients!
- Mealybugs look like bits of cotton swabs. They are white insects with clearly segmented bodies that like to cluster together in hard-to-reach places.
- Spider mites are much smaller and hard to see without a microscope. However, fine webbing under the leaves and stems indicates the presence of spider mites.
It’s essential to detect these pests early, as they reproduce very quickly.
Check out our guide on using neem oil to eradicate these pests. If caught early, it is a very effective way to stop these bugs from killing your plant.
- Leaf is not developing holes. There are several reasons why your Monstera is not developing holes. Check out our article that covers the main reasons here.
- Curling leaves. Curling leaves may signify underwatering. It could also be a result of a pest attack.
- Yellow leaves. Yellow leaves are typically a sign of improper watering. Check the soil moisture to confirm if overwatering or underwatering is the issue.
- Brown leaves. Similarly, brown leaves may indicate improper watering.
- Slow growth. This is usually due to a lack of sunlight or warmth. Another issue could be that your plant is root-bound and needs repotting!
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between the Monstera Adansonii and the Monstera Lechleriana?
The easiest way to tell the difference between a Monstera Adansonii and the Monstera Lechleriana is by looking at the size of the leaf and plant. The Monstera Lechleriana is much larger!
Another way to tell is by observing its growth habit. Lechleriana have short internodes that fan out in an alternating pattern, creating a bushier look. Check out the photo below!
In larger specimens, Lechleriana leaves are typically grouped in a tight cluster at the top of the plant’s stem, with leaf bases overlapping.
Also, in the wild, you can find the Monstera Lechleriana growing at higher altitudes than the Adansonii.
What’s the difference between the Monstera Esqueleto and the Monstera Lechleriana?
- As you can see from the photo below, the Monstera Esqueleto has much larger holes (fenestrations) than the Lechleriana.
- A mature Lechleriana has a larger leaf size than the Esqueleto.
Can I propagate my Monstera without a node?
No you can’t. Nodes are the thickened part of the stem, like a little knob, from which new growth emerges.
As these nodes contain the genetic information necessary for new growth, you cannot propagate your Monstera without a node.
What is an aerial root? What should we do with Monstera aerial roots?
Aerial roots are roots that grow above-ground. In epiphytes, they are used to latch on to a host tree to climb up its trunk.
They also perform typical functions of roots: absorbing moisture and nutrients from its surroundings.
The best thing to do with Monstera aerial roots is to lightly drape them against a moss pole. You can use gardening ties to loosely secure the roots to the structure – they will grab on to the pole in no time.
However, if you don’t like the look of the aerial roots, you can just trim them off with sharp shears. This does not harm your plant.
How do I know if my Monstera Lechleriana is overwatered?
An overwatered Monstera Lechleriana typically has yellowing or brown leaves with soft, mushy stems that causes the plant to droop.
If the topsoil is moist, and remains moist over several days, your plant is overwatered.
- Take the plant out from its pot and examine the roots.
- Snip off any brown or black roots, and repot in fresh (dry) soil.
- Adjust your watering practices, making sure NOT to water your plant unless the topsoil is dry.
- Check out the soil section to make sure you are adding enough drainage elements like bark and charcoal to ensure excess water drains away quickly.
- Lastly, make sure your pot HAS drainage holes, and that you empty the saucer every time you water. This is a non-negotiable 🙂
Variegated Monstera Lechleriana Albo
The variegated Monstera Lechleriana has amazing marbled white and green leaves. These are usually called Monstera Lechleriana Albo, or variegated Monstera Lechleriana.
However, they typically cost several thousand US dollars… Not quite in our budget, but perhaps they are within yours! 🙂
Similar Plants and Varieties – Monsteras
- Monstera Dubia
- Monstera Siltepecana
- Monstera Esqueleto, the skeleton Monstera with double fenestrated leaves
- Monstera Pinnatipartita
- Monstera Adansonii and the Monstera Laniata, a subspecies of the Monstera Adansonii
- Monstera Obliqua
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Monstera Subpinnata
- Monstera Peru
- Check out our Round up of Unique Monstera Types (w/Photos!)
Similar Plants and Varieties – Rhaphidophoras
Rhaphidophoras are sometimes mistaken for Monsteras. Though they are a separate genus, they come from the same Aroid family. Some species have lobes too!
The Monstera Lechleriana is a beautifully fenestrated tropical plant with large leaves. Its easygoing nature makes it perfect for beginners. For it to thrive,
- Provide it bright, indirect light.
- Choose a pot with drainage holes.
- Use the soak and dry method, making sure to water only when the topsoil is dry.
- Keep it in mild indoor temperatures away from drafts and vents.
- Average room humidity is fine, though higher humidity helps rapid growth.
- Provide it a moss pole to climb.
- Choose a loose potting mix that is well-draining. LECA is a good option too.
- Fertilize every 2 weeks during the active growing season, at half strength.
If you love lobed leaves, check out the Mini Monstera next!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.