Monstera Adansonii Plant Care (#1 Tips for THRIVING Plant!)

The Monstera Adansonii is a fenestrated plant (leaves with holes) that grows smaller than the Monstera Deliciosa. It is commonly called the Five Holes Plant, Swiss Cheese PlantSwiss Cheese Vine, and Monkey Leaf Monstera.

Care-wise, the Adansonii thrives in similar conditions to most Monsteras. Humidity >60% helps them grow quickly, as does plenty of bright but indirect light. Don’t be afraid to water deeply when the topsoil is dry, and choose a slightly acidic and well-draining growing medium.

Read on for all the details. This article will cover care requirements, propagation, common problems, and FAQ!

monstera adansonii in a small pot

What is the Monstera Adansonii?

The Monstera Adansonii is a tropical plant native to South and Central America.

Young Adansoniis grow near the forest floor and develop leaves with no fenestrations. Whole leaves maximize the amount of light captured at ground-level. As the plant grows, it climbs up nearby trees to access more light, and starts developing fenestrations.

In spring, mature Monstera Adansonii develops cream-coloured flowers with a purple tinge.

Monstera Adansonii Narrow and Round Form

There are two types of Monstera Adansonii – Narrow and Round Forms. The difference is in appearance only. Both types require the same care.

Leaves of the Narrow Form are narrower with pointy tips, while Round Forms have rounder, heart-shaped leaves.

Caring for your Monstera Adansonii

Light

In the wild, the Monstera Adansonii starts near the forest floor, with little light. It climbs on top of nearby trees and reaches for more light as it grows. Because of this growth habit, your plant is tolerant of low-light conditions but still does best in bright but indirect light.

For optimal growth, place your plant in the windowsill of an East-facing window. West-facing windows receive direct afternoon light, which may scorch leaves. If you only have access to West-facing windows, diffuse sunlight using a translucent curtain or shade cloth.

While your Adansonii tolerates low light, too little will lead to spindly growth and small leaves. Leaves may also not develop fenestrations. If your home has little natural light, opt for a grow light at 800-2,000 foot candles (the “bright indirect light” equivalent) for 5 hours a day.

Water

While your plant is generally easy-going, correctly watering your Adansonii is one of the most crucial parts of plant care.

Allow the top 1inch, 2.5cm of soil to dry before watering. Check back again in a day or two if it’s still moist. As a rule of thumb, this should be 1-2x a week depending on the seasons, but always check before watering.

When you water your Monstera, ensure that you thoroughly saturate the soil such that excess water runs off the drainage holes. If you have a saucer, empty it after watering.

Signs of overwatering or underwatering

Regularly observe any signs of over or under-watering and adjust accordingly.

If your plant’s foliage starts yellowing, this is a sign of stress. Check your soil’s moisture. If it’s moist, you are overdoing the watering. If not, the problem is likely underwatering.

close up of a monstera adansonii with its green stems and aerial roots

Humidity

Your plant thrives in high humidity as it is native to Central and South America rainforests with high moisture levels in the air. Though 80-90% is optimal, as a minimum, your plant should be in >60% humidity. 

Unless you live in the tropics, you will need a bit of help increasing indoor humidity to a level that your Adansonii loves!

In this case, using a pebble tray or putting your plant in the bathroom probably won’t be sufficient to get you to 80% humidity.

Using a humidifier is the way to go and is a good investment if you have several houseplants – most houseplants benefit from high humidity levels.

Temperature

Your Monstera Adansonii can tolerate typical room temperatures. Keeping your tropical plant in 65-85 degrees F (18-30 degrees C) is ideal.

Make sure to avoid temperatures lower than 50 degrees F (10 degrees C), as Adansoniis are not cold-hardy. Temperatures that low will result in stunted growth, and if kept cold persistently, can kill your plant.

Because of this, bring your Monstera indoors in cooler months if kept outdoors. Also avoid placing your plant near heaters, radiators or air vents. This is to damage your plant’s beautiful foliage.

Growth

Monsteras, in general, are rapid-growers, especially when kept under optimal conditions! You can expect your Adansonii to grow up to 1-2 feet (30-61 cm) per year. Using climbing support such as a moss pole can help it reach a height of 3-5 feet (91cm – 152cm) indoors!

Dormancy

If it senses a significant drop in light and temperature, your plant naturally enters a period of dormancy. During this time, your Adansonii will slow its growth and focus its energies on processes that preserve healthy plant life. An example of this is root health, which is critical to absorbing water and nutrients and holding the plant in place.

As a result, expect little to no foliage growth during this time. In the Water and Fertilizing sections of this Plant Guide, you will find that need for water and nutrients will drop as your plant is not actively growing.

Soil

Adansonii love a well-draining soil that retains some moisture and is slightly acidic (pH 5.5 – 7 is best). Use a peat-based potting mix like the one in the link below.

Here’s an ideal Aroid potting mix, similar to that recommended for the Philodendron Gloriosum:

Perlite and orchid bark increase aeration and enable excess water to drain quickly. Charcoal is beneficial for absorbing impurities and stabilizing pH, while potting mix provides nutrients.

monstera adansonii with holes in its leaves

Fertilizer

If you keep your plant indoors, you will need to ensure your Monstera Adansoniis are fed with a liquid houseplant fertilizer.

  • Use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer, diluted to half-strength.
  • Apply every other week in the spring and summer, where plant growth is the highest.
  • During fall and winter, feed only once a month.

Repotting

Your Adansonii likes to be slightly root-bound, so don’t repot your plant until you see its roots peeking out from the drainage hole! This is usually every 2-3 years as a rule of thumb.

Repotting is best in early spring as this is the start of the growth season. For more info, here’s our step-by-step repotting guide.

Toxicity

According to the ASPCA, Monstera plants, including your Adansonii, are toxic to animals and humans when ingested. This is due to insoluble calcium oxalate crystals present in your plant’s stems and leaves, which causes vomiting and mouth burns.

Propagation

Since your plant has aerial roots, propagation through stem cuttings is relatively straightforward! You can choose to use water as a propagating medium or have your stem cutting placed directly into a potting mix (rather than transferring it from water to soil mix later once roots establish).

Follow these steps:

Propagating Stem Cuttings in Water

  1. Identify a part of the stem that has a couple of leaves.
  2. Use a pair of clean garden shears to snip off the identified part of the stem, cutting just below the node (so that the stem cutting INCLUDES the node). The node is where new growth will emerge.
  3. Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.
  4. Place the stem cutting in a glass jar filled with room temperature water.
  5. Make sure that no leaves are submerged and at least 1 node is underwater.
  6. Place the water jar in a warm spot with bright indirect light.
  7. Change the room temperature water every few days.
  8. In about 2-4 weeks, you should be able to see roots grow to about 2-3 inches long.
  9. At this point, transfer the stem cutting into a container with drainage holes, using the prescribed soil mix stated in the Soil section above.

Propagating Stem Cuttings in Soil

To propagate Monstera Adansonii in soil, follow steps 1-3 above. Then continue with the following steps:

  • Place the stem cutting into moistened potting mix, sitting in a container with drainage holes.
  • Make sure that no leaves are buried in the soil and that at least one node is under the soil’s surface.
  • Place the pot in bright, indirect light.
  • In about 2-4 weeks, you should be able to feel resistance when giving the stem a very, very gentle tug. This shows that roots have started to establish.

Climbing Support

Monstera Adansonii top view, supported by a moss pole

Although you can put your Monstera Adansonii in a hanging basket, it is also a climber. We love moss poles as we’ve seen how Monsteras grow bigger and lusher foliage when we used them! 🙂 You can find out more about using a moss pole here.

Pruning

As your plant grows quickly, you may choose to prune it to keep it tidy, especially if it starts getting leggy. Pruning also encourages new growth and gives your plant a bushier look.

Even if you don’t decide to prune your plant for aesthetics, remember to snip off any yellowed, old or damaged leaves regularly.

When pruning,

  • Identify the offending portion to be pruned.
  • Cut just above the node. (The cut portion is without the node.) This prevents die-back and reduces the risk of infection.

Pests and Diseases

Here are some of the most common pests or diseases that may plague an ailing Monstera Adansonii.

  • Spider mites. These are pests that pierce your plant to suck on its juices. Spider mites are identified by stippling on plant leaves or tell-tale webbing underneath leaves and stems. Read more about how to combat spider mites here.
  • Scale. Scale refers to any one of 7,000 sap-sucking insects. If you see clusters of immobile, little shell-like bumps on leaf surfaces, it’s a good chance you have scale. Treat with Insecticidal Soap spray.
  • Root Rot. Like most Monsteras, your Adansonii is susceptible to root rot. This is when overwatering leads to root suffocation or damage due to moisture-loving fungi. To remedy, remove your plant, snip off damaged roots (the browning, soft or black roots), and repot in fresh soil. Proper watering practices prevent root rot.

Similar Plants and Varieties

Monstera Adansonii Variegata

Monstera Adansonii Variegata on a moss pole

This version of the usual Adansonii features white variegation but otherwise looks similar.

They are very rare as the variegation arises from a genetic mutation and cannot be grown from seeds. Tissue culture is also not possible!

The variegated form also is more fragile as the white portions of foliage lack chlorophyll. Nevertheless, these unique beauties can cost thousands of dollars!

Monstera Adansonii Laniata

monstera laniata

The Monstera Laniata is a subspecies of the Adansonii.

The Laniata shares the same vining habit as the Adansonii, and they have fenestrated leaves too. However, the Laniata tends to be larger than the Adansonii.

Monstera Acuminate

Monstera Acuminate leaves

A touch less common than Monstera Adansonii, the Acuminate has fewer holes and are velvety to touch!

Monstera Siltepecana

Monstera Siltepecana on a moss pole

Another popular houseplant Monstera variety, the Siltepecana, has silvery variegation on darker green leaves. It is also a vining plant and looks completely different when mature. Read here to find out more.

Monstera Dubia

Shingle plant Monstera Dubia on a moss pole

Dubias start off as shingle plants with variegation and transform as they mature. Their leaves lose variegation, develop holes and have similar textures to Monstera Deliciosa.

Other Monsteras we Love

Where can I buy a Monstera Adansonii?

Etsy is a good place to find reputable sellers. Alternatively, check out your local gardening center…. they are not too uncommon so you may find one there!

Troubleshooting

Why are the leaves turning yellow?

Occasional yellowing of old leaves is normal and nothing to worry about. It can also be a sign of dormancy during the winter months.

However, if there are several yellow leaves, it is a sign that something is not right, but this could be due to several reasons:

  • The main reason for yellowing leaves is overwatering or using too-dense soil that retains too much water. Check the Watering and Soil sections to see if this is your problem.
  • Also, yellowing leaves could be a sign of underwatering. If the yellowing is accompanied by crispy foliage or curling or wrinkling of leaves, underwatering is likely the issue. Check your soil’s moisture to confirm.
  • Lastly, yellow leaves can be a sign of under fertilizing. Use a liquid houseplant fertilizer at half strength during the spring and summer months, reducing this to once a month in fall and winter. A gentle, urea-free but nutritionally complete mix is best, like this one.

Why are the leaves turning black?

If your leaf has black spots, there are several possible reasons:

  • Severe sunburn: Is your plant receiving direct light? Ensure the light is dappled. Use shade cloth or translucent curtains to reduce intensity. Ensure your plant is away from radiators that may cause foliage to burn.
  • Leaf blight. This is when your leaves are under attack by fungi or bacteria. This usually happens in humid climates and can result from improper watering techniques. There is no remedy for leaf blight, so prune away any damaged leaves. Apply a copper-based fungicide to prevent its spread. Dispose of infected leaves carefully, as contact with other leaves can spread the infection. Read the Watering section for tips.

Why is my Monstera Adansonii not developing holes?

Here’s our counsel:

  • Your plant may take 2-3 years to mature. If it hasn’t been this long, be patient!
  • Not having sufficient light is the main reason behind mature Adansoniis that do not develop fenestrations. Are you placing your potted plant in a spot that has ample (at least 5 hours a day) bright indirect light? You can use a light meter to check. If not, supplement natural light by using a grow light at 800 – 2,000 foot candles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast do Monstera Adansonii grow?

Pretty fast – under optimal indoor conditions, your Adansonii can grow up to 1-2 feet (30-61 cm) per year. When using climbing support such as a moss pole, it can reach a height of 3-5 feet (91cm – 152cm) indoors!

However, the growth rate does vary depending on the season. You may observe 2 feet’ worth of growth achieved mostly over the spring and summer months and little to no growth in late fall to winter.

What are fenestrations?

Simply put, fenestrations are holes that develop within the leaf’s surface. Monstera Adansonii is thought to have developed fenestrations to adapt to windy and rainy conditions and allow light to pass through to lower leaves!

Unlike the Monstera Deliciosa, the Monstera Adansonii retains its leaf edges, so holes are contained within the “perimeter” of the leaf, rather than appearing as indentations.

Are Monstera Adansonii rare?

No, Monstera Adansonii is not considered a rare species. They are readily available at most nurseries, online on Etsy, and through private sellers.

The Obliqua is a rare type of Monstera, which explains why it is so expensive!

How do you tell the difference between Monstera Adansonii and Monstera Obliqua?

Potted Monstera Obliqua help up to examine its single leaf with large fenestrations
Monstera Obliqua

There are different types of Obliqua that differ greatly in appearance. People usually think of the Obliqua Peru, which features the largest holes in its leaves. However, many other types of Obliqua do not have holes at all!!

Here are some differences between an Adansonii and an Obliqua:

  • Adansonii’s leaves are thicker than Obliqua’s, which are almost papery thin. They also have straight edges, while Obliqua’s leaf edges appear slightly wavy.
  • Obliqua’s stems are very thin – around 2mm thick; compared to Adansonii’s that can grow up to 8mm;
  • Obliqua have a slower growth rate than Adansonii’s.
  • Obliquas are much rarer than Adansoniis. The latter is readily available.
  • Obliqua’s are much more expensive than Adansoniis – though don’t assume it’s an Obliqua just because of the price, as there have been several scams where private sellers pass off Obliquas and Adansoniis and make a fortune!
  • Applicable to the Obliqua Peru specifically: the holes in Adansonii’s leaves are narrower, while Obliqua Peru’s holes appear more rounded. The Peru’s holes may cover up to 90% of the leaf, so are also bigger than the Adansonii’s.

Keen on buying and growing the Monstera Obliqua? Here’s answers to the top 6 FAQ on the rare Monstera Obliqua!

Deborah

Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.

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