A less common and well-known plant from the Monstera genus is the Monstera Pinnatipartita. This species transforms as it grows, developing slits when mature, (like the photo above), making it unrecognizable from its juvenile state!
To ensure it develops well, provide 70-80% humidity and choose a well-draining soil. Sufficient bright light is essential for your Monstera to mature and develop slits. Water deeply, and don’t let the soil go bone dry through the pot.
This article will explore similar plants and varieties, as well as how to care for and propagate your Pinnatipartita. Don’t worry – it’s easy!
Where does the Monstera Pinnatipartita come from?
The Pinnatipartita is found in the humid lowland rainforests of Colombia, northwestern Ecuador, and Peru. There also have been sightings in Costa Rica.
Wait. How does the Monstera Pinnatipartita transform?
When young, the Pinnatipartita grows as an appressed vine. This means its leaf surface hugs closely to its host tree. It is considered:
- an epiphyte – a climbing plant, growing on the surface of a host; or
- a hemiepiphyte – germinates and grows on the surface of the host initially but may make contact with the ground by sending roots downwards at a later stage.
As the plant matures, its leaves enlarge, and 3 – 9 deep slits form on each side of its pinnate blades. Adult leaves are dark green on their upper surface and medium green on the underside. Mature leaves are smooth, and don’t have the bumpy surface of a juvenile leaf.
Is the Monstera Pinnatipartita the same as the Monstera Peru?
No, they are different species. The Pinnatipartita and Peru look similar when juvenile, causing confusion between the two. When these plants are adults, it’s easy to tell them apart – Peru does not perforate or form lobes while the Pinnatipartita is heavily lobed.
To tell them apart when juvenile, you’d need to look closely at the leaf’s surface. Both leaves are oval-shaped, but Peru has a much more bumpy surface (called bullate) than the Pinnatipartita’s, which tends to be flatter. Peru also has thinner stems than the Pinnatipartita.
How to care for your plant
Monstera Pinnatipartita is used to climb up trees to reach higher parts of the canopy. Shielded by a canopy of trees in its natural habitat, it has access to many hours of bright but filtered light.
For your plant to thrive, we’ll need to mimic this environment. Dappled light for 6-8 hours a day is ideal. Placing your Monstera on East-facing windowsills are a great option. Ensure you use a moss pole to simulate climbing up a host tree.
You can use a shade cloth or translucent curtain to filter any harsh direct light. Such intensity will damage its foliage and cause scorching.
Like most Monsteras, it can tolerate lower light conditions, but growth will be leggy, and leaves will turn out less vibrant. Its foliage may also stay in a juvenile state and not perforate or form lobes.
Your Monstera Pinnatipartita enjoys evenly moist but not waterlogged conditions. Understandably, it’s tough to find that balance between “wet but not too wet”!
- Don’t allow the soil to go bone dry. Instead, check the moisture of the top inch of soil every day or two. Once the topsoil dries, water your plant thoroughly, such that excess water leaves the pot through the drainage hole.
- Empty the saucer every time you water.
- Repeat this process. Using this method, the watering frequency will naturally adjust for changes in season, climate evaporation rates and your plant’s stage of growth.
- Always use a pot with drainage holes to allow excess water to drain away quickly.
- Ensure you use fast-draining soil. See the Soil section for details.
Monstera Pinnatipartita grows best when the humidity is very high. The leaves are showy but can turn brown if the humidity drops below 40%. A 70-80% humidity level is ideal, although it can tolerate lower humidity (40%-50%).
If you’re using a humidifier, place it on the lowest setting that maintains 70% humidity. You can also create ambient humidity by placing your plant on a tray of moist pebbles.
Be sure to keep the water level below the top of the pebbles; you do not want your plant’s roots to come into contact with the water. That would be akin to letting your plant sit in a saucer filled with water, suffocating its roots!
Your tropical plant prefers warm conditions. Temperatures between 65 – 80 degrees F (18-27 degrees C) are ideal. Though the Pinnatipartita can tolerate some cooler climates, temperatures below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) will inhibit growth.
Like many Aroids, the best soil for your Monstera Pinnatipartita is fast-draining soil that is kept moist but not waterlogged.
Soggy, mucky and poor-draining soil is an environment in which bacteria and fungi breed and draw nutrients from organic matter in the soil. Some moisture-loving fungi also attack healthy root systems.
Using the right potting mix avoids these issues. Here’s the potting mix that works for us:
- Combine a loose, peat-based potting soil (40%)
- Orchid bark (30%); perlite (20%); horticultural charcoal (10%)
This potting mix allows for breathability, as orchard bark naturally creates tiny air pockets in the soil. Perlite also ensures that excess water drains off quickly.
The addition of peat makes the potting soil slightly acidic. A slightly lower pH increases the availability of certain nutrients essential for plant growth.
As far as fertilizing your Monstera Pinnatipartita, we like to use the Osmocote 14-14-14. This is a slow-release fertilizer ideal for light feeders like your Pinnatipartita.
Each application lasts for 3-4 months, so apply once during the growing season (early spring) and leave it be! It is a fuss-free way to give your plants a little boost.
Repotting is fairly straightforward – do it every 1-2 years, during spring. Your plant does not like to be root-bound, so repot once you see any signs that it is getting too cramped.
Remember to choose a pot 2 inches bigger than the original and always with drainage holes.
Monstera Pinnatipartita is toxic to pets and children when ingested. This is due to the presence of insoluble calcium oxalate crystals contained within its stems and leaves.
Otherwise known as raphides, these needle-like crystals cause pain and a burning sensation. When ingested, it can cause nausea and gastrointestinal issues.
If you are pruning your plant or doing anything that may involve coming into contact with its sap, use gloves.
We’ll go through two main ways to propagate your healthy and established Pinnatipartita. These are tip cuttings and air layering.
Propagation through Tip Cuttings
- Identify a stem tip of 4 inches that has at least two nodes. (This is the portion from which new growth emerges.)
- Using clean garden shears, cut off the stem tip just below the node.
- Prepare a pot of sphagnum moss and perlite mix. Moisten the mix.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.
- Place the cutting in the potting mix. Make sure that no leaves are below the soil’s surface but that the nodes are beneath the soil’s surface.
- Place the pot in bright but filtered light.
- Roots should start developing within two weeks.
- After two months, repot your stem tip into a potting mix in its permanent home.
Alternatively, you can use a water jar as your propagation medium (instead of the sphagnum moss and perlite.) The steps are the same!
Propagation through Air Layering
Air layering is another technique to propagate this plant.
You’ll need sphagnum moss, cling wrap and twine.
- Identify a portion of the stem where there is at least two nodes. The node looks like a bump. This is where the aerial roots will form for your new plant.
- Make a shallow cut about one fifth as thick as the whole stem under the node. This stimulates the plant to divert energy there.
- Wet the sphagnum moss, but don’t allow it to be sopping wet. If you’ve overdone it, you can wring out excess water.
- Wrap the portion of the stem with the nodes with sphagnum moss and an outer layer of perforated cling wrap (You can use a pen to punch through holes). The moss should be the only material in contact with the plant directly.
- Use twine to secure the cling wrap and moss to the plant. Tie it tightly enough to just hold it in place, but not so much that you will damage the stem or cut off airflow.
- Every few days, spray the moss with distilled water through the perforated cling wrap. Allow the moss to be slightly damp but not soggy.
- When the roots are about one to two inches long, cut the stem (with the roots) from the mother plant in about a month.
- Repot the rooted stem into its permanent home.
Using clean garden shears, snip off any damaged, yellow or diseased leaves to allow your plant to focus its energy on new growth. You can also prune off stems to give the plant a bushy look.
Pruning is best done during spring. Another part of plant maintenance is wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth. This prevents dust from building up, which attracts pests.
Then wipe dry. This ensures the foliage is not wet, as moist foliage encourages bacteria growth.
Your Pinnatipartita is not pest-prone, but it is not usual to have the occasional infestation from the usual suspects: mealybugs, spider mites or aphids.
To treat, use an insecticidal soap spray. It’s also good practice to regularly inspect leaves for any sign of these pests!
Why are the leaves turning yellow?
Overwatering is the most common reason. Check the soil’s moisture and adjust accordingly. Also, check the potting mix your plant is in – poor drainage soils are a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that attacks your plant.
Why are the leaves not fenestrated?
Usually, there are three things you need to check:
- Is your plant getting enough filtered light? Insufficient light causes your plant to develop dull foliage that may not mature.
- Is your plant getting climbing support? Moss poles are a great way to ensure your climbing plant grows healthy and mature leaves.
- How long have you had this plant? Yes, we know it’s hard to wait for a plant to mature! But it usually takes several months for a juvenile plant to develop any sign of fenestration.
Why are the leaves brown?
Browning leaves are usually a sign of underwatering or too-bright sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
How quickly does this plant grow?
They are considered fast-growers. In its native habitat, it can grow up to 33-66 (10-20 metres) feet long! It may take a decade to reach this height.
However, as a houseplant, you can expect your plant to grow up to 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 metres). Use a moss pole to support its growth.
Is the Monstera Pinnatipartita the same as the Philodendron Bipinnatifidum?
Nope – they are different species. They even are of different genera (Monstera compared to Philodendron)!
They do look similar due to their large, lobed green foliage. Here’s how to tell the difference:
- Philodendron Bipinnatifidum has split leaves, while the Monstera Pinnatipartita has leaves that are fenestrated.
- The Pinnatipartita’s slits have straight edges, while the Bipinnatifidum has waves along the edges of its leaves.
- The Pinnatipartita has a climbing habit, while the Philodendron Bipinnatifidum does not climb.
What is the Monstera Siam?
The Monstera Siam is a nickname for the Monstera Pinnatipartita. They are the same plant 🙂
Another nickname for the Pinnatipartita is the Philodendron Silver Queen, which is annoying as it is not a Philodendron! (Go figure.)
Are Monstera Pinnatipartitas rare?
Yes, the Pinnatipartita is rare in that it is not commonly found at local nurseries. You’d usually have to go online through private sellers to source one. They also tend to be more expensive than common Monsteras like the Deliciosa.
Another less common aroid with lush foliage is the Rhaphidophora Decursiva.
Do they have flowers?
Yes. The Monstera Pinnatipartita produces an inflorescence that consists of a central spadix that is usually green or cream-colored, protected by a cream-colored spathe. The spadix itself is not technically a flower – tiny flowers are on the spadix.
Other Monsteras we Love!
- Monstera Dubia
- Monstera Esqueleto – the skeleton Monstera, with double fenestrations!
- Monstera Siltepecana
- Monstera Obliqua
- Monstera Adansonii and its subspecies, the Monstera Laniata
- Monstera Peru
- Monstera Lechleriana
- Check out our Round up of Unique Monstera Types (w/Photos!)
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.