Monstera Adansonii + Obliqua


Monstera adansonii  (Monkey-Mask Plant)



Contents

  1. Top Tips
  2. Location, Water, Humidity & Fertilisation
  3. Common Issues
  4. Origins, Temperature, Propagation, Repotting & Toxicity




Top Tips & Info

  • Care Difficulty - Very Easy
  • The amount of light and current season of the year will directly govern the frequencies of waters per month. Specimens placed in darker areas must be kept on the drier side to life, whereas brighter locations will require more soil moisture to lubricate photosynthesis. 
  • Provide a bright, indirect location with either morning or evening sun for a few hours in the height of autumn and winter. Avoid excessively dark sites to decrease the chance of root rot, as well as leggy growth.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist, allowing the top third to dry out in between waters. Avoid over-watering in the autumn and winter months.
  • Supplement fortnightly in the growing months and monthly during the dormancy period, using Houseplant Feed.
  • Repot biannually using a well-draining potting mix in spring; saturate the soil 24hrs before the action to reduce the risk of transplant shock.




Location & Light - πŸ”ΈπŸ”Έ

A brightly lit spot with little to no sunlight is best for quality growth, as excessive exposure can cause the plant to adopt a ‘washed-out’ look, accompanied by stunted growth. Darker locations that offer no sufficient light are also detrimental due to the increased chance of over-watering and possible death.

In terms of a location, anywhere that is at least four metres away from direct light, and an operating heat source (i.e. a radiator or fireplace) is acceptable. Although a bathroom would be the perfect fit for a Monstera, you can still situate it on a shelf that offers bright, indirect light to promote a 'trailing' appearance. It's recommended to place an M. obliqua in a humid location to avoid the browning of leaf-tips.


Water - πŸ”ΈπŸ”ΈπŸ”Έ

Persistent droughts should undoubtedly be off the cards as these species cannot tolerate dry conditions. During the spring and summer, allow around the soil's top third to become dry in between irrigations, reducing this further in the cooler months. Those grown in darker locations will require fewer waterings, compared to those that are situated in brighter light levels. Never pour cold water straight into the soil as this will shock the roots, potentially resulting in stunted growth. Under-watering symptoms include yellowed and browned foliage, crispy leaves and possible curling. These are usually a sign of apparent neglect or too much direct sunlight; however, transplant shock looks mostly similar to these symptoms, so be sure to repot with care. Over-watering symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and stem collapse. If the base of the stem is beginning to rot, take stem cuttings and propagate via water.


Humidity - πŸ”ΈπŸ”ΈπŸ”Έ

Normal room conditions are acceptable for M. adansonii, but introduce a pebble tray to maintain a constant level of humidity. For M. obliqua, however, atmospheric saturation is more of a necessity; either mist the foliage several times a week or introduce a humidity tray to create a stable environment.


Fertilisation - πŸ”ΈπŸ”Έ

Fortnightly during the growing period and monthly for the rest of the year, using a houseplant-labelled feed. Never apply a 'ready-to-pour' fertiliser directly into the soil without a pre-water beforehand, as it'll lead to root-burn and yellowing leaves.




Common Issues with Monstera

Root rot is a common issue with specimens sat in too moist or waterlogged soil for long periods. Symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth and a rotten brown base. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect health below the soil line. If the roots sport a yellow tinge, you're good to go, but if they're brown and mushy, action must be taken immediately. More information about addressing root rot can be found on this link.

Mould developing on the soil means two things - too little light and over-watering. Despite the harmlessness of the mould, it'll prove unsightly to most gardeners and is therefore removed once known. To remove, replace the top two inches of the soil for a fresh batch of houseplant-labelled compost. Either increase the amount of light received (no direct sunlight for the first few weeks to prevent environmental shock) or decrease the frequency of waters slightly. If the mould is accompanied by yellowing lower leaves, you may also have a case of root rot.

Curled leaves and brown leaf-edges are the result of too little water and over-exposure to the sun. Monstera are best located in bright, indirect settings, and those that haven't acclimatised to the harsh rays will show signs of sun-scorch and environmental shock. A splash of winter sunlight is acceptable as long as the soil moisture is regularly observed, with complete avoidance once summer comes along.

Spider Mite are small, near-transparent critters, that'll slowly suck out the chlorophyll out of the leaves. Have a check under the leaves, most notably along the midrib, for small webs and gritty yellow bumps. Click here to read our article about the eradicating Spider Mite, along with some extra tips that you may not find elsewhere!

Too low humidity can cause browning leaf tips with yellow halos. Although this won't kill your specimen, you may want to increase the local moisture to prevent the new growth from adopting these symptoms. Mist or rinse the foliage from time to time and create a humidity tray whilst the heaters are active to create a stable environment for your specimen.

Yellowing lower leaves (closest to soil) are a clear sign of over-watering, usually caused by too little light. Although they can do well in darker locations, the frequency of irrigations must be reduced to counteract the chance of root rot. People don't realise that a plant's root system needs access to oxygen too; when soil is watered, the air will travel upwards and out of the potting mix. A lack of accessible oxygen for the roots will cause them to subsequently breakdown over the oncoming days. Click on this link to learn more about root rot and how to address it, and always feel the pot's weight for confirmation (heaviness = good soil moisture, & vice versa).

The browning of the cataphyll shouldn't of be a concern, as it's a wholly natural process which affects all specimens across the world. Remove the brown section once it becomes dry and crispy, using a clean pair of scissors or peeling it back by hand.

Failed cuttings propagated via water - There are several reasons why the cuttings haven't rooted well, with the first being the time of year. Although Monstera are best propagated during the spring, cuttings will still root in the autumn or winter months, just albeit much slower.
The second reason could be the cultivation environment - is there enough light to read a newspaper? If not, improve the growing conditions by increasing the amount of indirect light, avoiding the threat of excessive direct sunlight.
Moreover, the size of the cutting will play a big part in its success; smaller specimens (3cm in length or less) won't root appropriately due to the lower amounts of stored energy.
The water must also be replaced weekly to ensure nasty pathogens cannot breed and decay on the cuttings. If the bottom of the stem is brown and mushy, discard immediately as the rot will spread onto unaffected specimens.
Maintaining too dry soil or over-exposure to the sun will also prove unsuccessful for those that haven't acclimatised to the drier environment. Although water-logging must be avoided at all costs, be sure to maintain moist soil throughout the rooting development (the initial six weeks months) to quicken the process of establishment. To escape falling in the trap of dehydration, wrap the cutting and its pot in a transparent bag for the first couple of weeks. As there'll be a poor root system to soak-up vital water, its leaves will be able to absorb the excess moisture trapped within the bag for hydration. For more help with propagation, be sure to send us an email or via DM on Instagram.




Origins

Monstera form part of the Araceæ family that holds genera such as Spathiphyllum (Peace Lilies), Alocasia and Zamioculcas (ZZ plants) with natural distributions across tropical America. The name, Monstera, derives from Latin word for 'monstrum', referring to the size some specimens can grow to (20m). Monstera adansonii is named after French botanist, Michel Adanson, who conducted most of his work in the latter stages of the eighteenth-century. This species was first found in 1693 by a French botanist who took many drawings back of the unusual find. It was only in the 19th century that the species was correctly placed in the genus of Monstera, due to the similar characteristic between it and Philodendrons. Although the leaf structures aren't fully understood, many lean on the idea that the serrations and holes can alleviate the effects of hurricanes or high winds. The functionality of the holes is simple; the smaller surface area of the leaf, the reduced effects of air resistance created by the wind, thus resulting in less damage during windy spells.


Green: Distribution of M. adansonii.   Purple: Distribution of M. adansonii & M. obliqua.



Temperature

12° - 30°C   (54° - 86°F)
H1b  (Hardiness Zone 12)  - Can be grown outdoors during the summer in a sheltered location with temperatures above 12℃  (54℉),  but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure any direct sunlight as it may result in sun-scorch and dehydration. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.


Spread

Up to 3m in height and 0.6m in width. The ultimate height will take between 5 - 10 years to achieve, with up to 40cm of growth put out each season. Monstera that naturally grow in the wild can reach heights of up to twenty metres; however, with smaller root systems and less favourable growing conditions, they'll only grow to five metres, give or take.


Pruning & Maintenance

Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health.

Although the aerial roots aren't exactly appealing, you mustn't remove them as this can stress the plant and potentially weaken it.


Propagation

Via Seed or Stem Cuttings. 


The ideal cutting would have two nodes; one for foliar growth and the other for root development.


Stem Cuttings via Water - Easy

  1. Choose the healthiest, most established vines that are wooded, but still juvenile enough to slightly bend. This propagation method can be taken from spring to summer, using between three to six leaves, with the vine being at least 12cm (4.7 inches) in length with two nodes (one for foliar development and the other for root growth). Although more nodes are fine, be sure only to submerge the bottom ones to avoid inappropriate rooting elsewhere, which will be more difficult when it's time for soil placement.
  2. Cut directly below a node using a clean knife to reduce bacteria count. Remove the lower half of the leaves and place the vines into a container of lukewarm water. Be sure to submerge at least one node into the water, or else the root development will be hindered.
  3. The leaves must stay above the waterline for the prevention of disease.
  4. Replace the water weekly, using lukewarm water to avert shocking the cutting with cold temperatures. 
  5. Once the roots surpass 4cm (2 inches) in length, it's time to pot the cutting.
  6. Choose a potting mix - as long as it has a well-draining nature, most soils are fine. Houseplant compost is best, but a multi-purpose compost with a splash of grit or perlite is acceptable, too.
  7. Use a 5-inch pot that has suitable drainage holes - plastic or terracotta are both acceptable in this instance. Try not to over-pot the cuttings - blackleg occurs when the bottom wound becomes infected, typically caused by water-logging or a too-damaged wound. See the last image towards the bottom of the article.
  8. Set the cutting into the compost, keeping the foliage above the soil line.
  9. Avoid direct sunlight and offer good humidity by placing the potted plants into a transparent plastic bag for the first couple of weeks. 
  10. Open the bag every two days for half an hour for the prevention of disease. After a month of being placed in soil, remove it from the bag and follow the care tips provided above.


Aerial root buds are a must-have for fast & successful stem cuttings.



Stem Cuttings via Soil - Moderate

  1. Choose the healthiest, most established vines that are wooded, but still juvenile enough to slightly bend. This propagation method can be taken all year round, using two nodes that already house aerial roots (image above). You should only have two nodes so that the lower one is for root development and the other for foliar growth. Remove the lower leaf so that each cutting only has one.
  2. Cut directly below a node using a clean knife to reduce bacteria count. Remove the lower leaf and place the vine into a moist, well-draining potting mix. Houseplant compost is best as it'll include perlite for better air circulation within the soil. 
  3. Use a 5-inch pot that has suitable drainage holes - plastic or terracotta are both acceptable in this instance. Try not to over-pot the cuttings - blackleg occurs when the bottom wound becomes infected, typically caused by water-logging or a too-damaged wound. See the last image towards the bottom of the article.
  4. Set the cutting into the compost, keeping the foliage above the soil line. Be sure to submerge the lower node into the soil wholly, or else root development will be hindered.
  5. Provide a bright, indirect setting with adequate warmth and the avoidance of direct sunlight nearby radiators. Place the potted cutting into a transparent plastic bag for the first couple of weeks to lock in extra humidity so that the cutting doesn't dry out. Maintain moist, but not soggy soil throughout this process. 
  6. Open the bag every two days for half an hour for the prevention of disease. After a month of being placed in soil, remove the bag and follow the care tips provided above.


Flowers

As Monstera are part of the Araceæ family, they'll produce toxic flowers that can be boiled and ate once ripe. Despite its readiness to flower in the wild, those grown domestically will rarely flower due to the unfavoured growing conditions. Its inflorescences bare large similarities to Peace Lilies, with a modified leaf (spathe) circulating around the site of pollination (spadix).


Repotting

Repot biannually using a houseplant-labelled compost and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Hydrate the plant 24hrs before the tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those that are situated in a darker location, add a thin layer of small grit in the pot's base to improve drainage and downplay over-watering. Click here for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.

If you're still unsure of what to do, don't hesitate to send us an email or direct message to get our expert advice on transplantation.


Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for mealybugs, spider mite, scale, thrips & whitefly that'll locate themselves in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves. Common diseases associated with Monstera are root rot, red leaf-spot, botrytis & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues. 


Toxicity

This plant is classified as poisonous due to varying concentrations of calcium oxalate crystals found around the plant's body. If parts of the plants are eaten, vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite could occur. Consumption of large quantities must be dealt with quickly; acquire medical assistance for further information.


Retail Locations

Homebase,  B&Q,  IKEA,  Dobbies,  Blue Diamond,  Online Stores.



If you need further advice with indoor gardening, never hesitate to send us a message or leave a comment in the section below. This could be about your own specific plant, transplantation into a bigger pot, pests or diseases, terrarium ideas, & more!



Comments
* The email will not be published on the website.