Hailing from the tropical rainforests of South America, the Monstera Peru (botanical name: Monstera Karstenianum) is a beautiful, rare vining plant that has become quite popular of late. Unlike the Monstera Adansonii or Monstera Obliqua Peru, it doesn’t have fenestrations (holes or splits in the leaves). Instead, its leaves are thick, leathery, and feel bumpy to touch.
These bumps are the result of intricate, deep veining on its leaves. Veins grow deeper and darker as the plant matures.
If you’re looking to add the Monstera Peru to your indoor plant collection, read on! They have different care conditions to others in the genus, being more tolerant of low light and needing less water.
Nevertheless, they are an easy and low-maintenance indoor plant once you understand how to care for them. We’ll show you how!
Table of Contents
How to care for your Monstera Peru
In the wild, your plant grows as an understory plant near the rainforest floor. Therefore, it is accustomed to light filtered through a canopy of tall trees. The Monstera Peru, in particular, needs lower-light conditions when compared with the Monstera Deliciosa or Monstera Adanosanii. Medium intensity indirect light is sufficient.
For this reason, placing your plant in a North-facing window is perfect. Here, it receives plenty of indirect light but never harsh direct sunlight that will scorch its prized foliage.
However, do be careful not to place your plant in full shade. While they can tolerate some shade, your plant will not thrive. An option is to invest in a grow light to supplement limited natural light, especially in the darker winter months.
If you’re using a grow light, aim for 800-1,500 foot candles for 6 hours a day for a needed boost.
Like many Peperomias and Hoyas, the Monstera Peru stores water in its thick leaves, allowing it to survive dry spells. (We told you it’s a hardy plant!) Because of these succulent-like leaves, it needs less water than other houseplants with thinner leaves.
Generally, allow your plant to dry out completely between waterings. Check the top 2 inches of soil with your finger, making sure it’s completely dry before you water. If in doubt, do err on the side of underwatering.
Another good way to determine when to water your plant is to observe its leaves. When its leaves begin to curl slightly, the water reserves have started to diminish, so it’s time to water your plant!
On the other hand, yellow leaves (which eventually lead to leaf drops) most commonly indicate that your plant is overwatered. Adjust your watering practices accordingly.
Like many rainforest plants, the more humidity, the better! The Monstera Peru loves humidity levels that exceed 50%, though, for best growth, you’d want to aim for 70% humidity.
The most convenient way to boost humidity levels is to use a humidifier. Just be sure to buy one that allows you to specify the exact %humidity you want for the room (honestly – you’d be surprised by the number of humidifiers that DON’T have this feature!).
You can check out our guide for other ways to increase humidity.
For this South American native, keep temperatures warm and stable. The ideal temperature range is 60 – 85 degrees F (16 – 30 degrees C). Though a little airflow is beneficial, don’t place your plant near cold drafts or air vents that create fluctuating temperatures.
Temperatures below the ideal range will cause your plant’s growth to slow. Your plant, like many other tropical species, is NOT cold-hardy. For this reason, it’s best to keep the Monstera Peru indoors, where it is shielded from the cold.
Extended periods in temperatures below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) will damage your plant.
Growth & Flowering
The Monstera Peru has a beautiful climbing habit. In nature, this allows them to reach higher in the canopy, scaling taller trees and climbing upwards to reach for more sunlight. For this reason, it’s essential to supply your plant with a trellis or moss pole so that it can grow vertically, emulating its native conditions.
For epiphytes, climbing structures enhance healthy growth and encourage larger leaves.
However, be prepared that your Monstera Peru does take its own sweet time to grow. It is a relatively slow grower compared to the Monstera Adanosanii, although nothing can beat the SNAIL-like growth rate of the Obliqua.
Fully developed leaves can span 0.5 feet long (15 cm), and a fully mature Monstera Peru will be a respectable 6 – 8 feet (1.8 – 2.4 meters) tall. No surprise though, after all, “Monstera” derives from the words “monstrous” or “gigantic”!
While your plant does produce small white and green flowers in the wild, blooming is extremely rare when the Monstera Peru is kept as an indoor plant. Most people grow it for its stunning foliage, rather than for its (insignificant) flowers.
For best results, use an airy and well-draining potting mix. We like using:
- 1 part indoor potting mix
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part orchid bark
- 1 part worm castings
We find that this potting mix strikes a good balance between light and nutritious mix that is well-draining but at the same time still holds some moisture for your plant’s absorption without becoming overwatered.
If you are open to semi-hydroponic solutions, your Monstera Peru is PERFECT for LECA. There are many benefits of using LECA – it reduces the risk of under and overwatering, and you can observe root development to easily spot if things go wrong!
You can check out our article on the Pros and Cons of LECA to see if it’s a good fit for you.
For your slow-growing Monstera Peru, gentle fertilization works wonders to give your plant an added nutritional boost. We personally like using Dyna-Gro for most of our indoor plants; (the results speak for themselves!). Choose a fertilizer that has a high nitrogen content (NPK 9-3-6 or 7-9-5 are good), as this encourages lush leaves.
Apply fertilizer at half strength once a month during the spring and summer months, when your plant is actively growing.
Hold off fertilizing in the autumn and winter months – this will do more harm than good, as your plant doesn’t need it!
Being a slow-grower, you will only need to repot your plant approximately once every two years. However, the more precise way of determining repotting frequency is to look out for signs that your plant is root-bound. These include:
- You spot roots emerging from the drainage hole or circling above the soil’s surface.
- Water doesn’t get absorbed by the soil; instead, it immediately drains through; OR
- your plant appears insatiably thirsty no matter how often you water it.
Repotting is best done during spring. Use a container that is only 2-inches larger than the original. This gives your plant enough space to grow but isn’t so oversized that excess soil holds on to too much water.
And always use fresh potting mix, as nutrients (in the potting soil) deplete over time!
Unfortunately, your Monstera Peru is toxic when ingested by pets or humans. This is due to insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in its stems and leaves. These crystals pierce tissue and cause skin burns, gastrointestinal pains, nausea, and vomiting.
Place this plant in an out-of-reach spot if you have pets or small children.
Propagation via Stem Cuttings
If you want to propagate your Monstera Peru, stem cuttings are the way to go! Propagate during spring (it will take forever to root otherwise). We prefer rooting in water, as this increases its chance of successful propagation.
- Identify a healthy part of the stem with at least 2-3 nodes and at least one leaf.
- Cut below the node using clean garden shears at a downward sloping angle. (This allows any water to run off the wound site, reducing the chances of infection.)
- Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem cutting.
- Place the stem cutting into a jar half-filled with room temperature water. Ensure nodes are submerged below the waterline but that no leaves are submerged. (Nodes are where you’ll see roots grow!)
- Place the cutting in a warm location with plenty of indirect light, but nothing too intense and no direct sun. If you can, place a humidifier next to the jar, and set it at 70% humidity.
- Change out the water every few days to prevent the build-up of fungi and murky water.
- After four weeks, you’ll see little roots growing from the nodes.
- Once the roots grow 1 inch long, plant your rooted cutting into its permanent pot, filled with a light and well-draining potting mix.
Additional Care: Wiping down Leaves
Your Monstera Peru’s thick and deep-veined foliage is a sight to behold. But it does require a little maintenance!
Every two weeks or so, wiping down its leaves with a damp cloth and then wiping it dry is an excellent idea. Dust quickly gathers in the grooves and ridges of its leaves, which block the stomata (plant pores), thereby reducing light absorption and the free exchange of gases.
We like to add a bit of neem oil to the damp cloth when wiping it down, as neem oil is a broad-based insecticide that wards off most houseplant pests. At the same time, inspect your plant to make sure it’s growing well. Catching any pests or problems early is critical, as these pests tend to reproduce very quickly – so early detection saves you a lot of trouble down the line.
We know it’s a little bit of work, but the bonus is that the leaves look extra glossy and lush!
Common Pests and Problems
The Monstera Peru, while not particularly pest-prone, can occasionally suffer an attack from usual houseplant pests. If problems do arise, the common suspects are spider mites, mealybugs, fungus gnats, and whiteflies.
The best way to deter pests is to:
- Keep your plant healthy – healthy plants deter pests on their own. As an example, mealybugs are attracted to overwatered and overfertilized plants. Healthy plants are far less attractive.
- Regularly inspect its leaves and stems – again, early detection is key.
- Check your plant thoroughly to ensure it’s free from pests BEFORE introducing it to your home. A big source of bugs is cross-infection from other plants nearby.
- You can apply a little neem oil on your plant as a preventative measure against pests.
If caught early, using Insecticidal Soap Spray is an effective way to eradicate spider mites, mealybugs, fungus gnats, and whiteflies. We always keep a bottle handy in case of attacks!
Why are the leaves yellowing?
Yellowing leaves are most commonly a sign of overwatering. Remember that your Monstera Peru has thick leaves that store water, so it needs less frequent watering than most other Monsteras! Ensure the topsoil has completely dried before watering, and use an airy, well-draining potting mix to quickly drain excess water.
Another reason for yellow leaves is too little light. Relocate your plant to a brighter spot, but one that is still away from direct light.
Why are the leaves faded?
Pale leaves are sometimes accompanied by sun scorch spots, which indicate too much sunlight. North-facing windowsills are the best location for your plant. If you are placing it in West or South-facing windows, move it 3 feet (90cm) away from the windowpane to lessen the light intensity.
Alternatively, you can use a shade cloth or translucent curtain to filter the sunlight, lowering its intensity.
Because your Monstera Peru is an understory plant, it has adapted to living in lower light conditions than many other Monstera.
Why are the leaves dropping?
Dropping leaves in a Monstera Peru points to improper watering.
- Dropping leaves, alongside yellowing leaves and droopy stems, usually indicate an overwatered plant.
- If, however, leaves are dropping, but leaves appear crispy, then underwatering is the most likely problem.
Observe your plant, and check its soil moisture with your finger over a few days to determine the root cause. If the soil is damp and remains moist after five days, your plant is overwatered.
Why are the leaves curling?
Curling and crispy leaves signal that the water stored in your Monstera Peru’s leaves has depleted. Your plant needs a drink!
Water deeply until excess water seeps from the drainage hole. Empty the saucer so that roots don’t sit in stagnant water. Allow the topsoil to dry out completely between waterings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get a Monstera Peru?
The Monstera Peru used to be very rare and hard to find, but it seems a little more common now. However, you may not be able to find one at your local gardening center. Looking online it your best option; Etsy is a great place to look for a Monstera Peru from reputable sellers. Expect to pay around US$20-40 for a small potted plant.
However, if you are looking for the VARIEGATED version of the Monstera Peru (sometimes called the Monstera Peru Auerea), which features yellow and green patches, these are rarer and harder to find. They also command a significant price premium, commonly a couple of hundred US dollars for this exotic plant.
How do I tell the difference between Monstera Peru and Monstera Pinnatipartita?
The Monstera Peru resembles a young Monstera Pinnatipartita, with heavily-dimpled and waxy, thick leaves. To tell them apart, you’ll need to look at the two leaves side to side. The Monstera Peru has wider and rounder-looking leaves, while the Monstera Pinnatipartita has longer and narrower leaves.
When mature, the two are easily distinguished, as the Monstera Pinnatipartitia eventually develops elegant, slit-like lobes through its leaves!
What’s the difference between Monstera Peru and Monstera Siltepecana (also known as Silver Monstera)?
The Monstera Siltepecana and the Monstera Peru have a couple of key differences:
- The Monstera Siltepecana has silvery variegation on its leaves, while the Monstera Peru has uniformly green leaves;
- The Monstera Siltepecana’s leaves are thinner, less glossy, and less heavily dimpled than the Monstera Peru’s.
- The Monster Siltepecana has a more elongated leaf with narrower tips, while the Monstera Peru is rounder and stubbier.
Varieties and Similar Plants
- Monstera Dubia
- Monstera Esqueleto – the skeleton Monstera, with double fenestrations!
- Monstera Adansonii
- Monstera Subpinnata
- Monstera Lechleriana
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Check out our Round up of Unique Monstera Types (w/Photos!)
The Monstera Peru is a beautiful vining plant that has unique leaves with deep and dark veins.
For healthy growth,
- Place your plant in a North-facing windowsill;
- Use LECA or a light and airy potting mix with equal parts high-quality indoor potting soil, perlite, orchid bark, and worm castings;
- Allow the topsoil to dry out completely before watering. This plant requires less water, thanks to its ability to store water in its thick leaves.
- Keep humidity between 50-70% for a thriving plant.
- Wipe down its leaves to remove dust and maintain a glossy shine.
- Fertilize sparingly. Use a high-quality, nitrogen-heavy fertilizer once a month in spring and summer at half strength;
- Repot once every two years.
If you love the Monstera Peru, check out the Monstera Siltepecana next!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.