Monstera Obliqua | Plant Care Guide

Monstera obliqua

Monstera obliqua is an extremely rare plant in the botanical world that is often confused with Monstera adansoniiMonstera obliqua is often described as “more holes than leaf,” also known as the swiss cheese vine. It is characterized by small leaves with perforated holes.

This plant is very challenging to grow, and below, we discuss all the ins and outs of taking care of this beautiful plant.

Botanical NameMonstera obliqua
Common NameHurricane, Swiss Cheese Vine, Philodendron obliqua, Window Leaf Plant, Monstera obliqua Monkey Leaf, Mexican Bread Fruit
SizeUp to 4 feet in length
DifficultyVery Difficult
Pet FriendlyNo. Toxic to pets
Air CleanerYes

Monstera Obliqua Origin

Monstera obliqua belongs to the genus Monstera consisting of 45 different species and is indigenous to Central and South American.

The most famous form of Monstera obliqua is from Peru, consisting of 90% holes and 10 percent leaf. 

How to Care for Monstera Obliqua

Due to its rare nature, you will want to make sure you know exactly how to care for a Monstera obliqua should you come to own one. 

Soil

The most conducive soil for growing the Monstera obliqua is well-drained soil. The soil has to be aerated, light, with lots of drainage holes. Compact soil could hinder the roots from growing.

Like other Monstera plants, the Monstera obliqua does well in soils with a pH between 5.5 to 6.5. They are intolerant to highly acidic soils but do prefer slightly acidic soil.

Light and Temperature

Monstera obliqua leaves are incredibly delicate and need substantial humidity to ensure they do not dry out. This tropical plant is used to 85% or more humidity and temperatures in the 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit range. 

If you don’t live in a tropical area, you will want to invest in a humidifier to keep your plant happy. Bathrooms and terrariums can also work as locations for higher humidity. 

The Monstera obliqua prefers bright indirect sunlight. It is essential to keep this plant away from windows and direct sunlight, so the leaves do not burn.

It is important to note that grow lights can sometimes be too intense for the delicate leaves. Be sure to use grow lights with caution and monitor your plant. 

Water

In its natural habitat, the Monstera obliqua is used to heavy rainfall. To replicate this environment, you will want to stay on top of checking the soil’s moisture level instead of having a watering schedule.

Inserting your finger into the top two inches of soil is one of the best ways to monitor the soil. If the surface soil is dry and the soil is slightly damp when your finger is submerged, then it is time to water your plant. If the soil is soggier, you will want to hold off for a couple of days to let it dry out more. 

Signs of overwatering include yellow leaves on the lower portion of the stem and close to the roots. 

Fertilization

When it comes to fertilizing your Monstera obliqua, you want to utilize a slow-release fertilizer. It is recommended that you utilize a liquid fertilizer mixed with water since it is easily absorbable by the plant. You can use either a 13-4-5 slow-release or a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer. These should give your plant the proper nutrients they need to flourish.

The best time to apply fertilizers to the Monstera obliqua is thought-out the Spring until summer or the end of autumn– depending on how fast they are growing. However, it isn’t recommended that you feed them during the winter since they are dormant during that period.

It is important to note that these plants are slow-growing plants, so fertilizer is used only to boost the growth process.

Keep in mind that the soil you plant your Monstera obliqua already contains a ton of nutrients. Depending on the soil used, you may not have to worry about fertilization right away. 

Flowering

Your Monstera obliqua can flower any time throughout the year. If you are lucky enough to witness your plant flowering in a home environment, you can expect to see them 18 months after germination.

Blooms consist of multiple clusters of delicate flowers formed on the spadix. The spadix is a long, cone-like growth located in the middle of the spathe (or hooded leaf). 

Pruning

Since these plants are slow growers, you won’t do much trimming. To prune them, you want to use a clean pair of garden scissors or a pruning knife to cut any brownish or yellow foliage.

Repotting

This slow-growing plant will not need to be repotted often. Monstera plants are known to become stressed during repotting, so be sure to follow these tips. 

Repot your plant during the beginning of the growing season in the summer. This will allow your plant enough time to adjust to its new pot and anchor its roots before dormancy sets in. 

When it is time to repot, make sure the new pot is deep and has good drainage. The depth of the new pot is essential for two things; to ensure you have enough room to anchor your stake for the plant to climb and provide enough space for the roots.

Once you have your new pot ready, it is time for repotting. To do this, you want to water your plant two days before repotting. This will make it easy for you to uproot the plant without destroying the root.

When done, tip the pot to the side and scoop away the soil around the plant to make it easy for you to uproot the plant. Pulling the stem to remove the plant isn’t ideal because the plant is delicate, and you can damage the plant in the process. So, scooping away the soil until it is easy for you to remove it is the best option. 

Ensure that you have your new pot filled with soil to hold the stake and plant (the root and stem) in place. Ideally, using peat-based soil is most recommended. However, if you can get any soil that fulfills the soil requirements as discussed above, you should be good to go,

Once you place the plant in the new pot, water the plant. Hold off on fertilizer for a few months as the new soil will contain lots of nutrients for your plant to absorb. 

Pests and Diseases

Monstera obliqua is vulnerable to most pests other Monsteras are vulnerable to, such as whitefly, scale, spider mite, and thrip. These pests cause your plant’s leaves to mottle and can even attack your plant’s stem, making them detrimental to your plant’s growth. 

It is vital to put measures in place to treat such infestations with the right pesticide or prevent them.

Here are a couple of signs which indicate your plant has been infected with specific pests.

Scales

These insects are notorious for infecting your plant and destroying the stem and leaves by sucking out the sap. They can be found underneath the leaves, and one primary indicator that your plant has been infected with scales is that you will notice the leave turns yellow, and your plant starts to wilt.

Treating scales is relatively easy. You can do so by dipping a cotton pad into alcohol and then wipe off the scale with it. You may also try neem oil.

Spider Mites

These pests can be identified by their pale or reddish-brown color. They are tiny and have spider-like bodies. Spider mites extract the chlorophyll from your Monstera obliqua, leaving you with brown-colored leaves. 

You can get rid of them by rubbing soapy water over the leaves and letting the soapy water sit on the leaves for some minutes before wiping it off the leaf.

Whitefly

If you are growing your plant indoors, then the chance of having a whitefly attack your Monstera obliqua is high. These pests are tiny, and have a soft body, and are notorious for feeding in clusters. They can be easily identified, and they feed underside the leaf. They suck out all the juice from your obliqua, causing it to yellow and wither.

They are also notorious for causing fungal infections, which can be detrimental to your plant. To treat this, you have to spray underneath the leaf with neem oil mixed with water every morning and evening until they all perish. You can also treat it by mixing dish soap with water and then spraying it underneath the leaves.

How to Propagate Monstera Obliqua

There are two methods with which you can propagate Monstera Obliqua; either by using the stolon or by using the stem.

Propagating With Stolon

This is arguably the best way to propagate Monstera obliqua. It is important to note that propagating using this method has to be done in high humidity conditions. Even though propagating using the stolon can be effective, it is challenging because it does not easily produce stolons.

Stolons are vines that sprout from the stem of the plant. Stolons are leafless but have nubs where roots and leaves can grow from.  

Once you notice your plant has produced a stolon, first identify the nub on the stolon. 

Next, wrap soil or peat moss underneath each of the nubs. This will trigger the stolon to produce roots at the nub where the soil or peat moss is placed. The root should take approximately five weeks to appear.

During these five weeks, you want to make sure that the plant has plenty of water, nutrients, and a high humid environment.

Once the roots appear, you want to cut that section of the stolon using a sterile blade. 

Next, place the freshly cut stolon in a new pot containing either the peat moss or the soil you used to grow the roots.

After transferring the plant to the new pot, you want to mist the growing plant a bit and then cover the pot with a glass jar or a plastic bag to retain any water and maintain the high humid environment required for the plant to grow. You must open the jar or the plastic bag for at least 30 minutes to an hour each day to allow for proper ventilation and air circulation.

Once you realize that the stolon has started to sprout new leaves and the root has been anchored into the new pot, you can go ahead and take off the jar.

Finally, care for the plant just like you would a matured plant.

Propagating From Cutting/ Stem

Alternatively, instead of waiting for your plant to produce stolons before propagating, you can propagate the plant by cutting. 

Before cutting, you want to ensure that your obliqua is healthy and free from any pest or diseases. 

Next, you want to use a sharp pruning knife to perform the cutting. 

To cut, you want to cut a portion of the stem with a node. Once you have the stem cut, you want to fill your new pot with some peat soil and then place the node into your new pot.

Once, the stem is placed into the soil, sprinkle the top layer with water and then cover it with a jar. Do not forget to lift the jar once in a while for circulation of air.

After a couple of weeks, you will notice that the root will start developing, and then the leaves will start to sprout as well. Once this happens, you can start watering the plant often. 

For feeding, you might want to wait for a few weeks to a month before you start since most peat soil has enough nutrients to supplement the stem during this period.

Difference between Monstera Obliqua and Adansonii

During the first few years of growth, Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii look very similar, which is why they are easy to mix up.

If you want to be sure you have your hands on a true Monstera obliqua, below we describe the five differences between the two. 

Leaves

The first notable difference between an obliqua and an adansonii is the leaves. They vary in thickness, size, edges, and shape of the holes. 

The leaf of an adansonii is thicker than that of an obliqua. An obliqua leaf is super thin that you won’t even feel that it is there when rubbed between your fingers. You will also be able to see through the leaf. In comparison, an adansonii feels just like a regular leaf.

Monstera adansonii leaves can grow up to two feet long, while obliqua leaves are much smaller at 6 to 7 inches long. 

Obliqua leaves tend to have slightly wavy edges where the adansonii edges are straight. 

Another difference between the leaves of these two is the holes. With an adansonii, you will notice that the holes are narrower while an obliqua is round in shape.

Stolons

Obliqua plants produce stolons and adasonni does not.

A stolon or “runner” is a long stem that moves along the forest floor until it finds a tree it can climb. The stolons are leafless and form roots to create new plants at the nodes. 

Flowers

Obliqua and adansonii plants differ in the number of flowers on the spadix. Obliqua has substantially fewer flowers than adansonii plants. 

Growth

Monstera adansonii grows much faster than a Monstera obliqua. Obliqua are slow growers and can take years to grow a few feet, whereas the adansonii plant can grow a couple of feet in a month.  

Cost

Monstera obliqua is extremely rare, and the price tag correlates with its rarity. If you don’t pay hundreds or thousands for your plant, chances are you have the Monstera adansonii.  

Frequently Asked Questions

There are two main reasons this plant is so rare, the first is its slow growth rate, and the second is how difficult it is to propagate this plant successfully. 

There isn’t a standard price, but if you are paying less than three figures, you most likely have a Monstera adansonii. You won’t find Monstera obliqua at botanical shops or Home Depot. You will only be able to find this plant through collectors. 

Growing Monstera Obliqua at home can be challenging, as it is a slow grower. You can expect at least one leaf every month, and it can reach up to 4 feet. However, it flourishes and grows much faster in the wild. The more you can keep the environment similar to the natural habitat, the better growth you will see. 

Monstera obliqua loves humidity. Misting is one way to help increase the humidity around your plant. 

Final Thoughts about Monstera Obliqua

Monstera obliqua is a unique addition to any houseplant collection. Characterized by paper-thin, fenestrated leaves, this plant tops the list for high-maintenance plants. Considering how rare and expensive these plants are, you will want to make sure you’re ready for the challenge. 

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