Everything You Need to Know About the Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Monstera Plants

Monstera plants are cherished for their ornamental value. They’re also rich in meaning, symbolism, and historical significance. In this guide, we’re going to take you through everything you need to know about the famed monstera plant and its cultural relevance around the world today. 


Monstera Plant Meaning and Symbolism – The Essentials

  • In eastern traditions, Monstera plants symbolize respect for humankind, honoring elders, and longevity.
  • In the language of flowers, monstera flowers represent grandiose plans, glad tidings, and deep relationships.
  • Thanks to their rapidly growing vines and aerial root systems, monstera plants may also symbolize suffocation in some cultures around the world. 

About Monstera Plants

About Monstera Plants

Taxonomy

Monstera is a genus of about 45 species of plants that belong to the Araceae (Arum) plant family.

Etymological Meaning

The genus name Monstera comes from the Latin word for monstrous or abnormal, and it refers to the plant’s strange-looking leaves and size.

In nature, they can grow to be about 66 feet tall as they climb up trees in their natural habitats. Indoors, they more commonly reach about 10 to 15 feet in height.

Where are Monstera Plants Native?

All plants from the Monstera genus are native to the tropical regions of the Americas.

Monstera Plant History and Origins

Monstera plants have a long history in the tropical regions of the Americas, where their vines have been used for centuries for weaving baskets, making ropes, and constructing other items. The Monstera deliciosa was also prized for its edible fruit that was also thought to have a variety of medicinal uses.

Like many plants native to the tropical forest of the Americas, monstera plants are first described in western literature in the late 17th century, and they were given the name ‘monstera’ in the late 18th century.

Botanical Characteristics

Monstera plants are considered hemiepiphytes, which means they can root both on trees or rocks and in the soil. Their aerial root systems allow them to grow with a vining and climbing habit. In nature, this will enable them to climb the trunks of trees and stretch out their leaves to soak up the sunlight up to 66 feet high above the ground.

Despite their impressive growing habits, monstera plants are best known and recognized for their large and broad leaves. When plants are mature, the leaves develop fenestrations (holes) that can remain hole-like or grow so large that they reach the edge of the leaf to give the leaf a finger-like appearance.

The leaves of monstera plants are typically glossy and dark green, but popular variegated cultivars feature green leaves speckled with patches of white.

Monstera plants produce white flowers and spadix that resemble their cousins, peace lilies, and calla lilies. Some varieties also have edible fruit called breadfruit that is described as tasting like a combination of pineapple and banana or tutti-fruity. It’s rare for monstera plants to flower or bear fruit when cultivated indoors.

Popular Types of Monstera Plants

Some of the most popular types of monstera plants include: 

  • Monstera deliciosa (AKA Swiss Cheese Plant)
  • Monstera adansonii
  • Monstera dubia
  • Monstera epipremnoides
  • Monstera obliqua
  • Monstera punctulata
  • Monstera karstenianum (Monstera sp. Peru)
  • Monstera standleyana
  • Monstera pinnatipartita
  • Monstera siltepecana
  • Monstera variegata
  • Monstera peru
  • Rhaphidophora tetrasperma (Mini Monstera)

The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Monstera Plants

The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Monstera Plants

The Symbolism of Monstera Vines and Roots

Monstera plants have aerial root systems and a rapidly vining growth habit that makes it look like the plant is choking the trees or stakes upon which they grow. As a result, these plants are often symbolically associated with suffocation.

Monstera Fruit Symbolism and Flower Symbolism

Like the breadfruit of the Monstera deliciosa, any plant that bears edible fruit can be symbolically associated with abundance and fertility.

Additionally, they produce white flowers, and white flowers can symbolize purity, innocence, virtue, sympathy, grief, and elegance.

Monstera Plants and Their Meaning in Feng Shui

In feng shui, monstera plants represent growth, upward energy, and abundance. They are typically placed in the work or financial corners of a home’s Bagua map or in offices to attract the energy of professional and financial growth.

Placed in any corner of the Bagua map, however, monstera plants can attract growth and energy. So, they can be used to invigorate your family life, health, or romantic relationships, too.

It’s imperative, however, to place a monstera plant in a location where it has plenty of room to grow. Otherwise, this positive energy could become stifled, blocked, and a force of negativity.

Monstera Plants in Eastern Culture

In eastern cultures, monstera plants symbolize longevity, respect towards people, and are a sign of honoring one’s elders. This makes them a perfect gift for your elders or even for celebrating birthdays.

Monstera Plant Flowers in the Victorian Language of Flowers

During the Victorian language of flowers (floriography), monstera flowers symbolize deep relationships, big plans, and glad tidings.

Monstera plants, primarily their unique and easily recognizable fenestrated leaves, crop up all over the place in modern art, design, textiles, and decorating. They’re popularly used in wallpaper prints, Hawaiian shirts, and other tropical decorating motifs.


Monstera Plant Meaning FAQs:

What Is So Special About Monstera Plants?

Monstera plants have become one of the most popular houseplants because of their attractive, unique leaves and the fact that they are easy to grow.

Variegated monstera plants are also highly sought after for their odd leaves that feature patterns of white. Variegated monstera plants are rare and highly desired, making them very expensive.

Is It Good to Have Monstera Plants at Home?

Monstera plants are some of the most effective plants for removing indoor air pollution and replenishing the indoor oxygen in your home. This makes them a great choice of houseplant to grow inside your house.

Are Monstera Plants Used in Feng Shui?

Monstera plants grow rapidly. In feng shui they represent upward growth, upward energy, and expansion. They can be placed in any corner of the Bagua map where you desire this type of energy. Just be sure to pick a location that is large enough to accommodate the plant’s growth.

Is Monstera a Lucky Plant?

If you can get your hands on a variegated monstera, you are probably a lucky person. However, these plants are not directly associated with luck.

In eastern culture, monstera plants symbolize longevity, respect, and honor. In western cultures, they represent suffocation because of their fast-growing vines and aerial roots. In feng shui, they can be used to bring luck or growth in certain areas of your life, such as work or money.

Are Monstera Plants Poisonous to Humans and Pets?

Monstera plants contain calcium oxalate crystals which are not necessarily poisonous, but they are highly irritating. These plants are considered to be toxic to dogs and cats and mildly toxic to humans. They should be displayed out of the reach of pets and small children.

Are Monstera Plants Easy to Care for?

Monstera plants are hardy and easy to care for, making them suitable for beginners. They just need bright indirect sunlight and evenly moist soil. You’ll also need to repot your monstera plant every couple of years once it has outgrown the current potting vessel.


Regardless of the symbolic meaning of this genus of plants, monstera plants are highly popular for cultivating indoors, incorporating into modern designs, and drawing energy into the corners of your home’s feng shui Bagua map. Just be sure to provide this climber with plenty of support, indirect sunlight, and moisture, and you’ll enjoy countless days of beauty, fun, and clean indoor air.


Everything You Need to Know About Growing Monstera Plants:

For more on the famed Monstera plant and to learn more about how to grow and care for these plants at home, please see our guides to:


Author

I’ve long been fascinated with the world of flowers, plants, and floral design. I come from a family of horticulturists and growers and spent much of my childhood in amongst the fields of flowering blooms and greenhouses filled with tropical plants, cacti, and succulents from all over the world. Today, my passion has led me to further explore the world of horticulture, botany, and floristry and I'm always excited to meet and collaborate with fellow enthusiasts and professionals from across the globe. I hold a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and have trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris.

Write A Comment

;