Monstera Adansonii: The Magnificent Monkey Mask Plant

Ed Wike
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Quick Care Guide

Monstera is a tropical vine suitable as an indoor specimen. Unlike many climbers, the Monstera prefers a hot, humid room to grow in. Monstera will thrive in bright indirect light, but it can tolerate full sun in spring and summer. Watering your Monstera is simple as it thrives in moist yet well-drained soil.

Monstera is perfectly safe as a house plant. However, one must be careful with placing it in a location it might easily be knocked into. For example, a Monstera should never be placed close to the edge of a kitchen counter or table facing a doorway.

If you are looking for a plant that is both a stunning focal point and an easy care option for your indoor living space, Monstera is perfect. Just make sure it is in an area it is unlikely to be knocked into or fall out of a window.

All About Monstera Adansonii

Monstera adansonii is an air loving plant. It requires constant ventilation to thrive and perform well. It may not show symptoms of display but it thrives well on the open air. The plant is commonly referred to as the “money tree” and comes from the philodendron family.

The plant can grow very easily as it is very tolerant to different environmental conditions. It is a common plant, and although it is not easy to find in stores, it is easy to grow, and usually grows in the home, especially indoors. You only need to feed it and water it regularly, and it will grow. It can grow indoors or outdoors. It has green pale smooth-looking leaves and is poisonous if eaten. It bears white flowers.

The plant is native to Central America, and can withstand cold temperatures and can handle ocean winds.

It is grown in places where the soil is soft, and needs full sunlight.

If you cannot afford it, then it is really nice to grow it and remember that it is very attractive. You can grow it in the living room, and it will fit in well. The plant can grow very easily.

Monstera Adansonii Care

Monstera typically grows to around 3 feet in height. It has thick, glossy, oval-shaped leaves with wavy, scalloped edges. The leaves are about 15 inches long and up to 9 inches wide. The leaves of a Monstera Adansonii are very similar to a banana plant's, but they are larger, thinner, and glossier.

The leaves are pale green to bright green with dark green veins. The veins form a sort of "skeleton" on the leaves, which can make the leaves look like they have spots. A Monstera Adansonii can look very fancy with all of the different veins it has.

This type of Monstera is also known for its distinctive curling, twisting, and bowing shape. The bowing effect of the plant can be seen while it’s growing and as it ages.

The green and brown variegated, spatulas are an interesting addition to the plant which grow between the leaf stalks and the leaves themselves. The spatulas point downward, and the ones on young plants grow longer quickly. The spatulas on my Monstera are about an inch long at the moment.

The spatulas on a Monstera Adansonii are very helpful. They protect the plant from frutcivores, which are animals that eat fruit. However, the spatulas can also stunt the growth of new leaves if they are not trimmed back periodically.

Light & Temperature

Monstera adansonii can tolerate a huge amount of direct light so you don’t need to be concerned with shading it. Extra light is even better for the Monstera, but it is not required. If you want a low-light houseplant that will still perform well, the Monstera is the plant for you.

It also loves heat and will thrive in a tropical environment. You can leave it outside in the summer as long as your local climate will allow. It will grow and produce flowers just like it would if it was grown indoors.

Water & Humidity

This plant likes humidity and water. The soil has to be kept constantly moist, and it prefers an enclosed environment, such as a terrarium.

A lot of central Americans use the leaves of this plant for medicinal purposes, specifically for headaches. Monstera Adansonii: The Magnificent Monkey Mask Plant is a popular house plant because of its unusual looks.

When looking to buy a Monstera Adansonii: The Magnificent Monkey Mask Plant, go to an experienced plant store or an online seller who can assure you they are selling a healthy plant.

Watering this plant is key when looking to grow it in your home. When watering it, use room-temperature water and make sure you avoid spilling the water on the leaves. You can also check the soil by feeling it. If it's dry, the soil is ready to have water poured on it.

Lastly, this plant is toxic if ingested. In fact, it can cause irritation, vomiting, paralysis, or even death. Because of this, never leave your baby or toddler unattended around this plant.

Soil

Monstera adansonii can be a low-maintenance plant, but it still requires good care to stay healthy. Grow it in a pot or in bright indirect light such as through a window that gets good sunlight. It needs medium to high humidity and temperatures between about 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit/18 and 24 degrees Celsius. It's a good idea to mist it with water every once in a while and to fertilize it with a half-strength fertilizer mix every four to six weeks.

Through the spring and summer, you can trim the plant, but you should be careful not to damage the stems as they hold the plant's weight. Overall, Monstera adansonii is relatively easy to care for and requires very little care while it's in its early growing stages.

While it does grow quickly, it can take a few years to reach its full size, so the size of its pot needs to be large enough to accommodate the plant until it becomes full-sized.

Fertilizer

The most commonly known method of fertilizing your plant is through the soil. Using a standard 10-10-10 or similar formula is recommended for a general purpose fertilizer. The 10 stands for Nitrogen, the 10 stands for Phosphorus, and the 10 stands for Potassium.

Mixing at the ratio of 1:1:1, according to the directions on the container is often the best way to go. If the instructions say to mix with water, make sure that you have a good quality water. If it is already mixed and you are just adding what the directions tell you, then you will likely be good to go.

The other method of fertilizing is through the leaves. Generally speaking, this method is only used if the soil has become depleted of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. The easiest way to tell if the plant needs this treatment is if the veins in the leaves fade.

Normally the foliage of the plant will be full and lush, but if the veins of the leaves change to a lighter green, it may be time. You can use your regular 10-10-10 fertilizer for this, but the ratio will need to be 1:10:30 to give just the Nitrogen needed. It is also important to be sure to clean your plant's leaves making sure that there isn't residue from chemicals or other fertilizers on the leaves when you give the plant this treatment.

Repotting

Monstera adansoniis a graceful air-filtering houseplants. Under the right conditions, they can grow to an impressive six and half feet and live for years. This beautiful, exotic looking tropical plant is a giant strap leaf philodendron. Not to be confused with the Philodendron bipenatum, which also goes by the name “monstera.” True monstera leaves are much thinner with a texture similar to a staghorn Fern leaf. Sometimes called a “monkey” or “slap face” plant, Monstera adansoniis commonly known as the “portea” or “privilege” vine. It’s origin is in Mexico and the Caribbean.

When to Repot Your Monstera

Monstera can survive year to year with the same container, provided it has adequate water and fertilization. However, most Monstera owners want to see their plants grow. For the plant to grow it needs to be repotted into a larger container. Repotting Monstera too soon will kill it. Wait until the roots have reached the edge of the container and then repot into a container that has five to ten percent more soil than the current container.

Propagation

Monsteras are cool, trendy, and wildly popular indoor plants. There are few other types of foliage that are as eye-catching or as interesting to grow. These plants are named after Augustin de Mondonville, a classical musician and flutist who also did some very extensive plant introductions in the 1700s. The monstera plant is of the Arum family and it is nearly indestructible. These plants are gorgeous when grown inside or outside, in high or low humidity, high or low light, poor or rich soil and nearly any temperature.

Once you are ready to start your own monstera, you should first take a trip to your local nursery and do a little shopping. You'll want to find a plant with big, leathery green leaves with scalloped edges. You will definitely need to pay close attention to the leaf anatomy on this plant.

In the center of the leaf there will be a structure that is divided into three or five sections. There will be two "cup" shaped structures, and two "slender" shaped structures. All of the leaves on your plant can be from one plant or they might be in two or three separate sections, AND the sections of leaves will propagate easily. If you find a Monstera that has no sign of "sections" you can buy it, but you must learn how to propagate one if you want your plant to have a lot of babies.

Pruning & Training

Monsteras don’t grow in a traditional manner. The creeping vines that grow randomly do not follow the typical pattern of plant growth. The vines don’t always grow up the stake but instead, they return over and over to the same spot. You will have to teach your monstera where you want it to grow by training the vines.

Begin by placing the stake at a 45 degree angle inside the pot at the planned location of your bend. Wrap a length of the plant behind the stake. Tie this length in a knot around the stake to secure it temporarily.

Allow the vine to grow around the stake. In a few weeks, the new growth will begin to climb the stake. Loosen the tie-knot, and let the vine develop around the stake.

When the vine grows to the desired length, cut it off at a 45 degree angle at the top of the stake with a sharp pair of pruning shears.

Water the monstera and watch the new growth begin again. Once you have shaped the plant to its ultimate position, cut off the top growth so the vine will stay that height.

Troubleshooting Monkey Mask Plant

It is not uncommon for a Monstera plant to drop its leaves. The most common reasons for this do not indicate disease or poor health. Most often, a Monstera plant drops its leaves because it experiences a climate change. When you introduce a plant to a new climate, it might look a little sick. Commonly, it's just acclimating. The leaves may turn brown and start to drop off. This is normal and the plant will probably begin to recover.

Another common issue involves a genetic predisposition in the plant. Sometimes the leaves just turn brown and fall off, and it has nothing to do with environmental factors. You don't have to worry about your poor Monstera plant. It’s not sick. It just has a genetic disorder that causes its leaves to turn brown and fall off. You can trim away the leaves or the entire branch as you see fit. This genetic issue can cause leaves to turn yellow or brown and then simply fall off.

Growing Problems

The only real potential problem you'll run into when growing Monstera Adansonii, is flying insects, or gnats. These are attracted to the fresh, clean smell of your plant. These tiny flying insects may become a nuisance, especially if not controlled immediately. Flies also tend to be attracted to the fruit of the plant. You may have problems with these pests at some point in the growing cycle of your Monstera Adansonii. If you see a light infestation of these pests, you can ignore it usually, but if it gets worse, or if you see ants in your plant, consider other ways to control the pests. Rubbing alcohol and spraying the plant with it thoroughly will kill most of the bugs and eggs while you control the others.

Pests

Diseases and Insecticides.

Good growing conditions and proper care are the best ways to keep pests out of your plant’s environment and off your plant. Remember: they will come after your plant. The top three pests/irritants that attack Monstera include: mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids.

Pests can be controlled in a number of ways, including using pesticides or biological controls.

Biological controls include nematodes. The nematodes will feed off of the larvae of the spider mites, which are in the soil and rarely seen on the plant itself.

Diseases

Explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt introduced Monstera adansonii to western culture in the early 1800s. The monkey ear plant or silk plant as it is sometimes called, was historically found growing in the forests of Mexico. The leaves of the viney plant have an ornate, curling pattern resembling a horned owl. Scientists at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, England, and Arboretum de Villardebelle in Brussels, Belgium, helped introduce a disease-resistant variety of the plant to Europe and to North America. This breakthrough enabled availability of the plant to the world market.

A similar looking plant is Monstera deliciosa.

Historically, both plants were rare, and their exact breeding was unknown. They were kept under strict restoration conditions in botanical gardens or by people who worked closely with them. As scientific advances have made the plants more viable, more opportunities have been offered for people to grow them in their homes. The care of Monstera adansonii is somewhat similar to that of Monstera deliciosa. One of the main differences is that the foliage of Monstera deliciosa is never pruned, while Monstera adansonii pruning is necessary for the health of the plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Monstera adansonii, the magnificent monkey-face plant, demands a little bit more than the usual attention, but the effort is worth it.

The most common criticism about Monstera adansonii is that it doesn’t like the cold, so it’s best kept indoors. While that’s true for certain parts of the country, plenty of other regions can keep this plant outdoors. However, if you prefer to keep it indoors, place it in a warm, bright place.