February 28th, 2020

Despite its commonly used name of a Split leaf Philodendron, the Monstera deliciosa is actually no longer a member of the genus Philodendron, but its close cousin Monstera–both of which belong in the same arum family, Araceae.

 

Native to tropical forests of southern Mexico, south to Panama, this evergreen liana, a climbing epiphytic vine, produces numerous long, tentacle-like aerial roots which can grow 70 feet or more, reaching high into the rainforest canopy. As it grows upward, its tough roots grow downward from the thick stem, attaching themselves to nearby branches and tree trunks.

 

As a houseplant, the monstera is fairly tolerant of a wide-range of lighting conditions. It prefers and performs best with bright light in the Summer, and direct sun in Winter. And while it can be grown in lower light or under artificial light, it will likely not develop its leaf fenestrations (holes/cuts) when light is inadequate.

 

Like most other tropicals, it prefers warmer temperatures and medium to high humidity, but is able to tolerates of a wide range of conditions once acclimated. While it does best with a consistent watering routine, not allowing the soil to completely dry out, it is also somewhat drought tolerant.

 

While young, this houseplant looks quite different. Juvenile leaves are small and without lobes or holes, growing closely together giving the plant a dense, bushy shape. As it matures, the leaves acquire more and more of their characteristic fenestrations, and really starts to vine out. Staking your Monstera, and giving it adequate vertical support is critical in healthy new growth.

 

Have plant-eating pets? You might want to avoid this one as it is considered toxic to both dogs and cats. Find a helpful list of pet-safe plants, as well as which you should steer clear of on our website.