Monstera Obliqua Plant Care at Home

Few plants are as elusive (or expensive) as Monstera obliqua. This member of the Monstera genus has versions with highly fenestrated, pointed leaves that made them an instant hit on social media. In this guide, I’m going to share how I care for my Monstera obliqua at home, including the best soil types, watering frequencies, fertilizing needs, light exposures, and ideal environmental conditions for optimal growth.

Ultimate Guide to Monstera Obliqua Care at Home

Monstera Obliqua Plant Care Essentials:

Botanical Name:Monstera obliqua
Growing Difficulty:Moderate to Difficult
Light Requirements:Bright, indirect light throughout the day
Temp & Humidity:Requires warm temperatures above 65F and very high humidity around 80%
Watering Needs:Water when the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch
Soil Preferences:Well-draining light aroid or orchid mixes
Fertilizing:Required only when soil lacks nutrients. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at half strength once per season.
Growth Expectations:Slow grower reaching around 4 feet tall at maturity
Toxicity:Toxic to pets and humans

Are Monstera obliqua Easy To Grow?

Adopting a Monstera obliqua is not a task for the faint of heart. Once you’ve spent a few hundred dollars acquiring one, it takes much care and attention to keep them alive. Their needs don’t differ much from other tropical houseplants. 

However, in my experience, they are far less tolerant of changes in conditions and need to be in an environment as close to their native habitats as possible. Once placed in the right spot, they will give you no more trouble than any other houseplants, but finding that right spot is tricky!

Growth Expectations

Growing slowly, especially indoors, Monstera obliqua will remain compact throughout its lifecycle. I find that they put out several new leaves in the perfect environments during the growing season, but when growing indoors and in less-than-optimal conditions, you will only see a few.

Best Soil Mix

In my experience, the soil mix is one of the most important considerations in care for this plant. Dense, compact soil that holds into too much moisture will quickly lead to root rot in these epiphytes, stunting their already slow growth and ultimately killing the plant.

As they are accustomed to clinging to trees in their native habitats, I find that an incredibly well-draining and light soil mix is needed to satisfy these epiphytes. I look for a pre-mixed aroid or orchid potting mix.

I prefer to make my own soil mix at home, which is a fun and cost-effective task by adding coconut coir, perlite, and bark chips to high-quality potting soil.

Planting Monstera Obliqua

If you’ve purchased a Monstera obliqua in a pot, it will be happy in that position until roots start growing through the drainage holes, indicating it needs repotting. This will take quite a while due to their slow growth. However, if you’ve purchased this rare plant as a cutting or are lucky enough to get one from a friend, you’ll need to plant them up as soon as possible.

I start by choosing a relatively small pot deep enough to fit the cutting but not so large that the plant will struggle to fill the space. An excessively large pot can hold onto too much moisture, leading to rotting before your plant gets a chance to take off.

I then fill the pot with my soil mix and make a small hole in the center. I bury the cutting and press around the soil to anchor the plant in place. Don’t press down too hard to avoid compacting the soil – apply just enough pressure to keep the plant in place. I then water well and move my plant to a sunny, humid spot to spur growth.

Light Preferences

Most Monstera obliqua types, and especially the most sought-after ones, have massive holes in the leaves. There is very little leaf tissue, meaning there is very little chlorophyll to absorb sunlight for photosynthesis.

In my experience, these plants need an area with very bright indirect light for the entire day to spur growth. They will not handle areas with low light well, and even moderate light is unlikely to be enough for them.

However, it is vital to keep them out of the path of direct sunlight. Monstera obliqua leaves are incredibly delicate and will quickly burn when exposed to direct sun. I position my plant near an east-facing window which works great. A south-facing window filtered by a curtain would also be a good option. A shaded greenhouse is even better if you have the facilities.

Temperature and Humidity

If you want to keep your Monstera obliqua alive long-term, the temperature and humidity must be almost perfect.

I find that my plants grow best when temperatures remain warm throughout the year, above 65F at minimum. I also ensure that they are kept away from cold windows in winter, and don’t place them outside during cooler seasons to avoid damage.

Humidity is probably the most critical environmental concern and is difficult to replicate. Due to their thin and delicate leaves, Monstera obliqua needs an absolute minimum of 60% humidity to grow well. Closer to 80% is preferred as this best matches the conditions in their native habitats.

If your indoor humidity is lower, supplement by using a humidifier, placing your plant on a pebble tray filled with water, and grouping it together with other houseplants to improve conditions. Again, keep them out of the path of drafts and radiators to prevent the air from drying and damaging the leaves.

Watering

Thanks to their rainforest habitats, Monstera obliqua prefers consistently moist soil. However, this plant cannot handle waterlogged soil or overwatering due to its epiphytic nature. The top inch or two of soil should be left to dry out before watering again.

As the leaves are so thin, Monstera obliqua is very sensitive to underwatering. I find that it’s best to test the soil every few days or invest in a moisture meter that can indicate when the soil is beginning to dry out. I also increase watering during hot periods in summer and slow to once every week or two in winter when growth slows.

Fertilizing

I find that this slow-growing plant doesn’t require additional nutrients very often, if at all. They are sensitive to overfertilizing, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and only fertilize when absolutely necessary. 

These are cases when the plant has been in the same pot for a long time without any added nutrients or if growth starts to slow inexplicably. In these instances, I feed with a balanced houseplant fertilizer at half strength to prevent any burning of the roots or leaves.

Pruning

As these plants grow so slowly, pruning for aesthetics is not necessary. In fact, it’s better not to prune young plants to avoid putting them into shock. If you notice any signs of disease or damage, prune those areas away immediately to avoid spreading the problem. I never trim more than one-quarter of the plant at one time to stop stunted growth.

Propagation

The cheapest way to get more of these plants once you’ve purchased them is by propagating. For young plants, it’s not always possible to get a suitable cutting, but those with older plants will certainly find some success.

The propagation process is the same as it is for any other Monstera. I choose a healthy stem with no signs of disease and remove it just below a leaf node. Cuttings with existing aerial roots are more likely to root successfully. I then pop the cutting in water or propagating mix and keep moist and clean until new growth forms. 

Common Problems and How to Treat them

A Monstera obliqua plant displaying weak growth

Unfortunately, as they are quite fussy, these plants can face many problems when their care and conditions are not quite right.

The first is yellowing leaves or brown spots. This can be caused by anything from overwatering to low light levels or even a lack of nutrients. Identify which condition is furthest from those in their native habitats and rectify the problem to prevent more leaves from yellowing.

The thin and delicate leaves can also begin to dry out and break when humidity is not high enough or when they are overwatered. Keep the plant out of any high-traffic zones in your home and ensure they have enough moisture to keep the thin leaves healthy.

In my experience, slow or limited growth is not always a problem, as these plants naturally grow quite slowly. However, if the problem persists, your plant may need repotting. If they have not filled out their pots, take a look at their sunlight levels or nutrients in the soil. Bright light and a light dose of fertilizer will likely improve growth.

About Monstera obliqua

A Monstera obliqua with small fenestrated green leaves

Monstera obliqua is an incredibly rare species from the ever-popular Monstera genus. They are members of the Araceae family, along with many other popular houseplants like Anthuriums or Peace Lilies.

Monstera obliqua is largely native to South America, with some spread across central America. They are found in warm tropical forests, climbing up any nearby trees due to their epiphytic growth habits. There are slight differences between types found in different regions, producing a few cultivars named by the regions they are native to.

Due to the rarity and interest in this plant, several myths surround its origins. One of those is the belief that these plants have only been seen and collected 17 times in their native habitats. 

While this is certainly not true (it has been collected over 700 times according to other reports), it does allude to the extreme rarity of this Monstera species.

What’s the difference between Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii?

This plant is often confused for a more common species, Monstera adansonii. In fact, if you see a plant labeled Monstera obliqua that is inexpensive or at a general store or nursery, it is more than likely a mislabelled Monstera adansonii.

While they do have some similarities in shape, Monstera adansonii is not as highly fenestrated as its cousin (again, depending on the cultivar). The leaves are also slightly thicker and stronger compared to the paper-thin leaves of Monstera obliqua.

Monstera Obliqua Care FAQs:

Is a Monstera obliqua a good indoor plant?

Monstera obliqua is a tropical plant that loves warmth and high humidity, making them great for growing indoors. However, they are quite fussy about their conditions and need constant care to thrive.

How big does a Monstera obliqua get?

In their native habitats, these plants can grow more than 5 feet tall, climbing up nearby trees. Indoors and in containers, their growth is much more moderate, reaching only a few feet in height at most.

How fast do Monstera obliqua grow?

Monstera obliqua plants grow very slowly compared to other houseplants, only putting out a couple of new leaves every season.

Is Monstera obliqua poisonous to dogs and other pets?

All members of the Monstera genus are toxic to pets, including Monstera obliqua.

Can a Monstera obliqua tolerate low light?

As their leaves are very thin and contain many holes, these plants need a minimum of a full day of bright indirect light for photosynthesis. They are unsuitable for low-light areas and may begin to droop and turn yellow in these conditions.

How Much Do Monstera obliqua Typically Cost?

Monstera obliqua is one of the priciest plants on the market. A small plant or cutting can cost a few hundred dollars, while more established plants sell for thousands. This high price is due to their popularity and limited supply. Prices are expected to decrease over time as the plant becomes more widespread. But, due to its slow growth rate, this will likely take a couple of years.

The Final Word

Monstera obliqua may be difficult to find and care for. But, due to their rarity and stunning unique leaves, they are well worth the extra effort and make the perfect houseplant collectors’ item.

Further reading: Discover the best varieties of Monstera plants to grow at home.

Contributing Editor | madison@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.

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