How to Grow and Care for Monstera Obliqua Plants
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 article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about Monstera obliqua care at home, including planting, soil considerations, light, temperature, watering frequency, fertilizing, pruning, propagating, and troubleshooting.
- How to Grow Monstera obliqua – The Essentials:
- About Monstera obliqua
- How to Grow Monstera obliqua at Home
- How to Care for a Monstera obliqua at home
- Common Monstera obliqua Problems & How to Treat them
- Monstera Obliqua Care FAQs:
- Monstera Obliqua Care – The Final Word
How to Grow Monstera obliqua – The 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|
About Monstera obliqua
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.
Monstera obliqua is famous for its incredibly fenestrated leaves. While this only applies to certain types (such as Peru), these are certainly the most sought-after cultivars. These typically have more surface area in the holes than in the leaves, giving the plant a delicate, soft appearance. This species is also one of the smallest Monsteras, remaining compact throughout its life.
M. obliqua is generally considered a slow grower. They don’t put out many new leaves during the growing season, especially when grown indoors. Like other types of Monstera, they’ll thrive best in ideal growing conditions in terms of light, temperature, and humidity to bring their indoor growth closer to what we may find outdoors in their native habitats.
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 Uses and Benefits
Monstera obliqua is not only beloved for its beauty or rarity, making it a wonderful collector’s item. It also comes with a wide range of benefits shared by many other houseplants.
According to the principles of Feng Shui, adding a Monstera obliqua to your space will bring positive energy and good luck to your home. They are also believed to encourage financial prosperity when placed in the right area. Be sure to give it the proper care though, as stressed or dying plants have the opposite effect.
They also have a few health benefits that make them even more desirable. The first is their air-purifying properties, removing harmful compounds from the air. One plant won’t have much of an impact, especially since they are so compact, but adding them to your existing houseplant collection will do wonders for the air in your home.
Monsteras can also influence your mental health, improving mood and happiness. Houseplants have even been proven to increase productivity, making them perfect for your home office.
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.
How to Grow Monstera obliqua at Home
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, 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.
Growing slowly, especially indoors, Monstera obliqua will remain compact throughout its lifecycle. They will 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 for Monstera Obliqua
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, an incredibly well-draining and light soil mix is needed to satisfy these epiphytes. Look for a pre-mixed aroid or orchid potting mix, or make your own by adding coconut coir, perlite, and bark chips to a 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 luckily enough to get one from a friend, you’ll need to plant them up as soon as possible.
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.
Fill the pot with your soil mix and make a small hole in the center. 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. Water well and move your plant to a sunny, humid spot to spur growth.
Monstera Obliqua 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.
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. Aim for an east-facing window or a south-facing window filtered by a curtain. A shaded greenhouse is even better if you have the facilities.
Monstera Obliqua Temperature & Humidity Preferences
If you want to keep your Monstera obliqua alive long-term, the temperature and humidity must be almost perfect.
Temperatures should remain warm throughout the year, above 65F at minimum. Keep them away from cold windows in winter, and don’t place them outside during cooler seasons to avoid damage.
Humidity is probably the most important environmental concern and the most 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. Keep them out of the path of drafts and radiators to prevent the air from drying and damaging the leaves.
How to Care for a Monstera obliqua at home
How to Water Monstera Obliqua
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. 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. Increase watering during hot periods in summer and slow to once every week or two in winter when growth slows.
Fertilizing Monstera Obliqua
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. Feed with a balanced houseplant fertilizer at half strength to prevent any burning of the roots or leaves.
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. Never trim more than one-quarter of the plant at one time to stop stunted growth.
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. 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. Pop the cutting in water or propagating mix and keep moist and clean until new growth forms.
Common Monstera obliqua Problems & How to Treat them
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.
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.
Monstera obliqua plants can also be susceptible to common Monstera plant pests as well.
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.
Monstera Obliqua Care – 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.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering Monstera plants nationwide.
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.