Altogether, there are 48 species of monstera, and these range from the most common cheese plants to the rarer and slow-growing Obliqua, which has only been spotted rarely in the wild, so the chances of finding one to buy is a lot lower.
However, you may have a plant from this genus and want to identify it, as these rarer types can be confused with the Adansonii, as these can look very alike, but the more common type can be easy to care for as they have thicker leaves.
Even with this, you should find out what caring for one looks like, so you can determine if this is the right plant for your home, which we’ll look at in more detail below.
An Overview Of The Monstera Obliqua
These plants have their roots in the deep tropical forests of south and central America, as it’s likely the soil there have compounds that are accumulated in many ways, and the humidity, which is something these plants like.
The backdrop of these areas also protects the plant from direct sunlight, as too much of it can damage the already delicate leaves, so a greenhouse or a terrarium is suited to replicate these conditions.
How To Identify An Obliqua
When identifying one of these, the first thing to look for is the holes, as these will be more apparent than the leaves themselves, as these can take up to 90% of the plant, and this is easier to spot once the plant has fully matured.
You can also tell by the texture of the leaves, as the Obliqua will have papery-tin leaves, while the Adansonii has thicker and leathery leaves, which can be a lot more durable as they have fewer holes.
Another way is by looking at the rate at which they grow, so the Adansonii type, or the cheese plant, can grow around 2 feet per year, yet for the Obliqua, it can take 12-18 months before you even see new leaves.
Types Of Monstera
If you still like the idea of the Obliqua, there are many other types of the same species classification, and these can take on many different shapes, heights, and in some cases, shades.
As there are over 40 of these types of plants, we’ve listed some that you’re more likely to find when plant shopping, and each of these can pique your interest and make a great addition to any home.
This type resembles that of the cheese plant but with elephant-shaped leaves and a glossy, almost plastic-like feel, but has a brush stroke of white coloring that give them a refreshing and tropical look.
It’s said that no two plants are the same and are popular with those looking for more variegated types. These are similar to care for to the deliciosa, which can be low-maintenance plants once you’ve established a routine and support it as it grows.
The dubia is a lesser-known type as they usually don’t have the distinct holes that many of these types have and work like vines, and you can find them mainly in the wild. The mature dubia leaves hang from the vines rather than stems, so it’s less spread out.
For these types to thrive, it’s essential that you provide them with a support, as the leaves lay flat, so it may be harder for them to reach sunlight, but in general, these plants can be pretty resistant as long as you don’t let them dry out too often.
This type has a wild-like look and could be mistaken for the Adansonii, as they both have fenestrated leaves, except these seem to have slots that only extend mid-way and reach nearly all the way to the midrib on the leaf.
As juveniles, they don’t have these slots, so it might be hard to identify if you get it at this stage.
Still, like other monsteras, these need humidity, as arid conditions can cause the leaves to dry out quickly, and overwatering can be an issue for those who are inexperienced.
Like the dubious, these don’t have holes and have tear-shaped leaves with hints of silver and dark green veins, so they look distinct and are used by people to liven up their living space or as part of a terrarium.
However, it does share a feature of the dubia where it needs to climb something to complete its life cycle, but some people have grown them as epiphytic creepers so that you can grow them from other plants, rocks, shells, and even pieces of wood.
Caring For An Obliqua
You can see from some of the above examples that most monsteras need the same type of care and attention to survive, and this is where they go from simple house plants to ones that need that extra if you don’t have any experience with plants in general.
That is why getting a few basics right can turn your experience from something that feels like a chore into something that you can admire as your monstera grows and adds a flair to your environment, where it can become the pride of your home. Find some of these aspects below.
Where you position it can determine how your plant grows and how healthy it can be, so these plants like to be placed in a warm, humid environment where the temperature is between 65-85ºF, and some can tolerate lows of 50ºF, but this can halt its growth.
Also, it likes bright indirect sunlight and can tolerate this. Still, it is limited to medium exposure, so placing it a few feet away from a southern, eastern, or western-facing window is optimal.
This is mainly for when you need to re-pot it, but it can also be checked as doing this can prevent the soil from compacting, as when in this state, it struggles to absorb water, which can leave it limp and looking dried out.
When doing this, replacing some of the soil is an excellent way to top up any nutrients the plant uses over a few months.
As well as this, you want a pot that is sturdy enough to hold the weight and has plenty of drainage.
You can check your plant’s watering needs as soon as you get it, so when you use a moisture meter, if it reads 3 or 4, you’ll need to water it, and anything higher should be fine before letting the soil dry out.
You only need to do this every 1-2 weeks, and this is important during the summer months and can benefit from water that is filtered or left out overnight.
Still, with the Obliqua, this can depend on your region’s climate, where it may need to be watered a bit more or less.
Using a fertilizer might be something you overlook, but if you use it, you’re giving your plant the extra nutrients it needs, and in cases where it can take over 12 months to see any growth, this may be sooner.
This is especially important as after a few months, the monstera will deplete the nutrients in the soil, so you can use a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer as this gives it the potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen needed. You also want to look for calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.
A benefit of this plant is that it can be propagated as long as each division includes a node or the point where the leaf develops into a stem, so a lack of this on a cutting can result in any growth and can rot.
More leaves on the cutting mean more growth, and you can do this at any time of year, but for the best results, you may want to take them in the spring and summer months when the plant is more active.
With the basics out of the way, other considerations can make it easier or harder for the plant to thrive, and if you’re struggling with it, you may find it’s as simple as following some of these other aspects.
The good news is that some types of this plant can be pretty resilient to pruning, so if you don’t do a perfect job, your plant should be fine, but as a guide, you want to make clean cuts where you don’t bruise or crush any of the stems.
If you want your plant to grow longer, you can cut at the top, or you can do this in areas that you think are lacking, so if you’re doing this to control the size, it’s a good chance that it will grow back. You’ll have to prune it again, but this can depend on the weather and type of monstera.
Whenever you need to touch the leaves, you should use protective gloves as the sap is toxic and causes skin irritation, pain, and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, and this is the same for pets.
You want to wash your hands before and after you touch one of these and keep pets away as it can make them sick, and they might have difficulty swallowing, and it is advised that you get these checked out, especially if the plant has been consumed.
During The Winter
During the colder months, your plant is likely to notice this change, so you want to avoid placing it near cold drafts or airflow from heaters, and if close to a window that is cold or has ice around it, this can cause shock to the plant which can be very harmful to it.
You may find that your plant isn’t happy in a spot where it once was, so as long as you keep it humid and at a comfortable temperature, you won’t need to water it as much. You also want to ensure that it still gets sunlight during these shorter days.
Most of the issues are usually down to underwatering, overwatering, temperature, or the type of fertilizer used, and the signs of these can be found on the leaves of your plant, where you might find they turn black, droop, curl, or turn yellow or brown.
You should look over all aspects of its care and review the environment to see if you can pinpoint the issue, so then you can remove all the afflicted parts, which may include parts of the root, but anything that isn’t healthy needs to be removed.
Is The Monstra Obliqua Prone To Pests?
Some types of monstera aren’t as susceptible to insects as a cast-iron plant or an umbrella plant. They can still be infested by spider mites, thrips, fungus gnats, and scale, which can feed on the plant’s tissue, resulting in various issues.
Below are a few ways you can spot and treat your monstera and help keep any other plants you have infestation free.
How To Identify An Infestation
While you may be vigilant, you still want to check as they can be challenging to spot, and adult pests don’t move once they have attached themselves to the plant, and there is the chance that they can lay hundreds of eggs, which will travel to new feeding sites.
When looking at the scale of the infestation, you’ll find an armored and unarmoured covering, as these insects are mainly small and flat and can have tans of brown, black, and white. Scales are attracted to the thicker stems and leaf joints as these are more nutrient-rich.
The issue with this infestation is that you might not be able to see the problem until the leaves turn yellow and drop off, so it can be challenging to find them at the start, as you could easily confuse them with blemishes, especially if you have a type that has different shades of color.
Treating The Infestation
This can differ depending on the type of pest you have and the affected area, but with scales, they are resistant to many treatment methods, so scraping them off the plant is one of the simplest ways to get rid of them.
You could try a cotton swab with some rubbing alcohol, which can dissolve their shells and kill them quickly, but after this, you’ll want to check the plant regularly to see if the problem has been resolved.
You only need to leave one alive, which can reproduce quickly and cause another infestation.
For the spider mites, it’s a good idea to separate your plant from others, as these pests like to move around more and are more likely to appear in the winter since they like warm and dry areas.
You can use neem oil or horticultural treatments, but make sure you stick to natural types, and you may need to be persistent as the treatment can take some time before the infestation is completely clear.
Prevent Further Infestations
Regardless of how you treat your plant, there will be insects on them at some point, and even though this is inevitable, you can create a hostile environment for them which can stop them from entering your home in the first place.
You can add a dressing to the soil in your plant, like stones or sand, which can prevent fungus gnats from reaching the soil and laying their eggs, as this could expose your monstera to root problems like rot.
Mosquito bits, yellow sticky traps, and treatments can make your plant more resilient towards infestation, especially if you leave your plant outside during the summer, as some insects can move around easier in windy conditions.
Managing Your Monstera Obliqua
With a rundown of what caring for an Obliqua looks like, you have to be able to put in the extra time and care towards it, and even if you have a house full of plants, some things ensure your experience goes more smoothly and manage your expectations.
Below you can find some pointers on what to look out for when picking out your monstera and how to care for them better, especially in the first few months.
Choosing The Right Monstera
When you go to a nursery or a reputable seller, be sure to check out the plant to see if there are any signs that it might be unhealthy, as this can lead you to a bad start, but even with this, there is the issue of picking out an Obliqua in the first place.
As we have mentioned, these types of monstera can be identified incorrectly, especially if you buy it as an infant but even more so if it’s just the seeds you’re looking for, as these can range in the tens of hundreds, all the way into the thousands.
This means you may have to go to a specialist seller where you can see it in person rather than online, as it can be easy to have a regular cheese plant and label it as an Obliqua, which can sometimes be unintentional.
When Bringing It Home
Like others, these plants take their time to get used to the conditions of your home, so any sudden temperature changes can shock the plant, leading to it not growing as much as you’d like or causing damage that could shorten its life.
That’s why, as soon as you bring it home, if you have other plants, it may be best to quarantine it for a few weeks to give you an idea of its needs and prevent any insects from coming into contact with them.
This also gives you a chance to spot any issues with it and adjust the environment and your watering schedule accordingly, so you can check if the draining holes on your pot are offering adequate aeration, as mineral deposits and other debris can cause a blockage.
Patience Is Key
You may have heard that the Obliqua can grow to a maximum of around 6 to 10 feet tall, and even when grown indoors with the right conditions, you can realistically expect it to reach 4 feet tall, which can take over a year before you see any leaves.
This can be a reason why they may not be suitable for those starting out, as some owners may not have the space to provide the humidity and light conditions that let it thrive, so you might want to look to other types in this category if you want something that is more low-maintenance.
This is why pruning them is crucial, as not only does it control the growth to a degree, but you can trim the roots up to around a third of their base size, and if yours looks leggy, you can remove these from the stem for a better finish.
If You Have Children
Here You can show your child the importance of plant care so they can appreciate skills like responsibility, teamwork, patience, and even a bit of practical science and math if you want to get into the specifics. However, some care needs to be taken around monstera plants.
Be sure to instruct them on how to handle the plant as it can be toxic and can cause discomfort, so hand washing and monitoring them during this is important, and for younger children, make sure the plant is out of reach.
Even though this can be a rewarding plant, it will take time to see any significant results. Still, if you mix in some spider plants or an Areca palm, you can keep your child interested, and these are more resilient to knocks and mishandling, plus they’re more forgiving.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are These Plants Good For Beginners?
We’ve covered this briefly, but this depends on the environment and how you care for it, but if you are hesitant with the Obliqua, you could try the Adansonii, which are more common and are great at telling you what their needs are.
Even better, you can choose to nurture it more by misting it, but this isn’t necessary. In general, they can be a bit more resilient if you forget to maintain them, just like some other plants.
Are There Any Benefits To This Plant?
They look great in any home environment and can purify the air by reducing formaldehyde and benzine levels, as these can come from furniture, cleaning products, car exhaust fumes, and fumes that come from paints.
This can make your home healthier as these pollutants can cause headaches, dizziness, and respiratory problems.
A diverse number of plants can remove common toxins in the air, as some can even remove ammonia through photosynthesis.
Can You Grow Them Outdoors?
It is possible to leave it outside during the warmer months, as they will appreciate the warmth, light, and humidity, and can help the plant to grow larger and more fenestrated leaves.
If you live in zones 10 and 11, which are located in the deep southern parts of the US and on the south coastal margins, so here you’ll be able to leave them outside for longer, as long as it’s planted in a well-drained location and is in bright or dappled shade.
This is important as the first signs of colder weather can slow your plant’s growth, and in icy conditions, this can be enough to kill the plant.
In these conditions, it may be easier for insects and pests to get on them, as you will want to check on them more often.
Can You Grow Them In Water?
If you’ve propagated your monstera, you might be considering looking for other ways to grow them, but as long as they are attached to the root, and during this time, it will need to acclimatize to these conditions as it needs to grow water roots to survive.
Growing them this way means you won’t have to worry about the mess you get from the soil, though you will need to clean off the roots for the new ones to come through, so it can be a great way to utilize vases in your home.
Even with all of these tips, it can benefit you to have a look at the needs of the Obliqua and determine if your home environment is set up to accommodate it.
Even though it needs a little more attention, it’s a great way to grow a rare monstera type that looks stunning.
If you’re still unsure about owning an Obliqua, you may be able to find an owner who may have it set up as a house plant or as part of a terrarium, and here you can ask about specific areas around things like fertlzation, propagation, and temperature requirements.
There will be times, though, where you make a mistake, but being able to fix these with a plant that has some durability is a good place to start.