picture of a monstera standleyana plant

Monstera Standleyana Plant Care Guide

Monstera standleyana or philodendron “Cobra” is a popular indoor and outdoor plant of the Araceae family. They’re an impressive climber with vibrant green spiked leaves.

Monstera standleyana aurea is yellow variegated, and Monstera standleyana albo is white variegated. Both are relatively affordable. Their speckled creamy and yellow quality gives each leaf its own personality.

The plant looks best as a hanging plant or staked in an indoor environment. These tropical gems can brighten up any interior on the coldest or dullest day of the year.

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Botanical NameMonstera Standleyana
Common NameAlbo variegate, Five holes plant, Philodendron standleyana, Philodendron cobra
Size2 to 5 feet
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyToxic to pets
Air CleanerYes

Monstera Standleyana Origin

The tropical plant comes from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras. Monstera is Latin for “monster” because it takes over an outside yard or tropical forest. It climbs on other plants and trees like a monster and devours them. Growers see them as a symbol of diversity and richness because of their uniqueness in both function and form.

How to Care for Monstera Standleyana

The Monstera standleyana is low-maintenance but needs attention and care. Its beauty and uniqueness are well worth it. Being an unusual plant, collectors and people looking for a unique plant to grow will appreciate how interesting and easy they grow by following these plant care tips.

Light and Temperature

The Monstera standleyana is happy in light. However, they can get too much of it and a place with indirect or filtered sunlight. That way, the plants won’t burn off too much energy. The Monstera absorbs sunlight well with at least six hours of direct sunlight in the mornings and two hours in the afternoon daily.

Monsteras cannot tolerate cool breezes or cold drafts, which cause leaf damage and browning of the tropical leaves. It’s best to keep them away from windows, doors and A/C vents. The plants thrive in a temperature range from 60° to 77° degrees Fahrenheit.

If monstera leaves turn brown, try moving them closer to the center of the room with more light and warmer temperatures.

They favor humidity, but not too much where the air becomes thick with moisture.

Water

Because Monstera standleyanas are tropical, they need a regular watering schedule. Mainly throughout the spring and summer months, when they’re most active.

With this in mind, prevent the soil from getting soggy while ensuring it says slightly moist. In fact, soggy soil will cause root rot. Mist the leaves two to three times a week. That way, the leaves stay hydrated and polished.

Air circulation needs to occur in the room to help the mist dry faster. Water remaining too long on the leaves may cause diseases. Air circulation also prevents excess humidity, which the plant doesn’t like — keep it balanced.

Slightly moist soil also means letting the top half of the soil dry out between waterings. Inserting the finger to feel the soil is the best test. Standing water, filter water and rainwater at room temperature is ideal.

The Monstera standleyana is sensitive to chlorine, fluoride and hard water. Tap water that sat for 24 to 48 hours is standing water. That way, the minerals settle to the bottom, and chlorine evaporates. Use only the standing water that’s an inch over the bottom, where the minerals have settled.

After the temperatures drop during the fall, and winter months, the tropical plants experience a dormancy. All metabolic functions reduce with very little growth or none during this period.

The soil must dry out between waterings. Unless dehydration signs appear, such as dry brown tips or edges, mist the leaves only once weekly, always use room temperature water, not cold.

Some homes dry out using central heating. If it feels drier, increase the humidity during the colder months, use a humidity tray or bowl. Set a tray or bowl of water near the plants, creating a microclimate of enough moisture for the Monstera standleyana.

Fertilization

Organic indoor plant fertilizers are helpful for most houseplants because they contain three vital macronutrients: nitrogen for foliage growth, phosphorous to support roots and potassium for vibrant blooms. 

Try not to over-fertilize Monstera standleyanas, especially with chemical fertilizers, because the heavy salts will remain in the soil. And the soil will cause the plant to dry up and may perish. Organic fertilizers in the diluted form are best, as mentioned above. The recommendation is to fertilize three times a year. That way, the houseplant will develop much better.

Again, fertilize cautiously about six inches away from the plant’s base. Avoid fertilizing in the winter because it’s non-essential during their dormancy. 

Some knowledgeable growers have a better recommendation as an alternative to over-the-counter fertilizers. Monthly, mix a tablespoon of black peat and compost around the edges of the pot during the spring and summer — no need to turn the media. Mix the organic matter. Bury it about half an inch to an inch beneath the surface. That way, the organic matter will naturally flow to the roots. 

Black peat is full of carbon, which helps the oxygenation of the soil. Thus, the Monstera standleyana has a robust root system and better health. 

Flowering

The Monstera blooms once it reaches maturity and flowers all year long. The inflorescence blooms are small and yellowish-white, accenting the overall beauty of the plant. They bear a spadix surrounded by a spathe, which is typical of these Araceae. 

Pruning

Grooming the Monstera standleyana doesn’t require very much pruning. Trim off the damage, sick or dead leaves whenever they appear — pretty much all the plant needs. Besides making the Monstera look unsightly, such leaves contribute nothing to the plant. Still, they rely on the plant for energy while attracting pests. 

Trimming the long stems helps control the plant’s shape and beauty, encouraging the branches to become fuller. Prune them when it’s early spring or during the summer. 

With that, before pruning, wash the hands and sterilize the shears to ward off the spread of diseases. 

Repotting

Monstera standleyana has a small root system, so the houseplant needs repotting every 2 to 3 years. Above all, if they show signs of root-bound, then repot. Otherwise, they will get root rot. 

Signs of root-bout are roots growing out of the drainage holes, leaves dropping, curling or turning yellow. 

Repot into a pot that is 2 to 3 inches wider in diameter. Spring is the best time to tackle the job. 

More space works better if the intent is to grow a larger Monstera standleyana. Choose a container that measures 10 inches deep with a diameter of 10 – 20 inches. That way, the plant fully grown measures close to 20 feet. 

Pests

Monstera standleyana might end up with mealybugs, spider mites, scales, thrips or fungus gnats. With this in mind, spot pests by noticing webbing, honeydew or black sooty molds on the plant.

Other indications are yellow, brown and black spots, discolored leaves or holes. Severe cases may include deformed leaves, slow growth and loss of leaves. 

Remedies depend on the type of pest the indoor plant has. Choices are manual removal, horticultural oil sprays and insecticidal soaps. If there is uncertainty, take a cutting that shows the infection to a qualified nursery for proper handling. 

Diseases

As mentioned earlier, overwatering the Monstera standleyana causes root rot. But heavy and badly aerated soil can contribute. Indications are yellowing, black spots or drooping leaves. Other symptoms are moldy potting soil, a mushy stem base and wilting.

Slide the plant out if the roots appear brown or black. Its root rot. Try to avoid root rot because there’s no known cure. It’s challenging to recover from the disease.

Yellowing of the leaves is another sign of root rot, but it might be diseases or pests. However, aging is another reason, which is normal.

Curling leaves means the Monstera is thirsty, or the humidity is low. It could also mean pests, heat stress, root rot and disease. Carefully look at all the possibilities for the cause of curling leaves to determine the actual cause. 

How to Propagate Monstera Standleyana

Propagating Monstera standleyana requires stem cuttings or root separation. Spring is the only time to perform propagation. 

Since they can propagate by stem cuttings, they also cultivate in water. With that, using sterilized shears, cut a team six to seven inches long, having at least two leaves, place the cut end of the stem in water and wait for the roots to grow. Once they develop, place the new plant in its own pot with an organic potting mix. 

Gently remove the houseplant from its pot and carefully shake the remaining soil for root separation. Use sterilized pruning shears and divide the plant in two, making sure not to take too much from the original plant.

Placing one half in the older pot, add new potting mix if you like. The other half in a new pot with potting mix is the same as the original. Lightly water both plants, making sure each pot drains appropriately. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Monstera standleyana rare? 

The Monstera standleyana is a rare exotic climber, particularly the Aurea (yellow spots) and Albo Variegata (white spots). You can check local nurseries, greenhouses and plant shops, but you might not find any.

They’re not available when checking Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and other major outlets. But, if you find a relatively large indoor plant retail company, they might find some and order from their distributor. 

Is Monstera standleyana a fast grower? 

Though Monstera generally has a medium growth rate, if given ideal conditions, these climbers can grow much faster.  

Is a Monstera standleyana a philodendron? 

Although Philodendron standleyana and Philodendron Cobra are some of the common names for these Monsteras, these are misnomers because the species is under the Monstera genus.

Understandably a misnomer, with the Monstera being a part of the Araceae family that includes climbing characteristics similar to the Philodendron species. The spadix and encircled spathe are also identical. 

Are Monstera standleyana toxic to pets?

The Monstera standleyana is poisonous, which means it’s toxic to humans and pets. That means these plants will harm you, your kids, rabbits, cats, dogs and other pets. The toxicity comes from the needle-like, sharp calcium oxalates crystals. If a human or animal chews the Monstera, the following symptoms flare up:

  • Red and swollen lips, tongue or mouth
  • Burning feeling and severe irritation
  • Refusing to eat or complete loss of appetite
  • Hypersalivation
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Pet Mouth pawing
  • The sap causes skin irritation 

Ideally, you keep your pets and kids away from these harmful plants because they are poisonous. 

Final Thoughts

The Monstera standleyana as a vibrant green plant or variegated with either yellow or white spots is a fine addition to any indoor plant collection. The Monstera standleyana will thrive and require very little maintenance as an easy plant to grow if provided with the ideal environment.

Indoors is the perfect setting for these beauties. Growers can control the temperature, light and humidity compared to cultivating the Monstera standleyana outside.

Beginners who want to add indoor plants to their interior might enjoy caring for this houseplant. But the rewards might be better by starting with a less rare plant that is similar in characteristics, like a pothos.

Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides!

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