Monstera dissecta is a very rare or uncommon tropical climbing plant. It is native to Belize, Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panamá, Nicaragua, Peru, and North Brazil.
This plant belongs to the family Araceae (arum family). And it makes a perfect climbing houseplant. Did you know you can also grow it in your garden if you have a milder climate?
Juvenile Monstera dissecta has entire, oval to lance-shaped, leathery, and glossy green leaves. When it matures, these leaves become larger and pinnatifid (split). One thing that stands out is how the leaves form a tight cluster at the stem top and the splitting.
That is not all. We also have something propagation, its safety to pets or humans, common pests, and disease. Let us start with a quick overview. We hope you enjoy this post.
Table of content
- Quick overview
- Monstera dissecta identification – appearance and description
- Comparable species
- 2. M. dissecta vs. Monstera spruceana
- Where to grow them
- Monstera dissecta care and growing needs
- Toxic to pets and humans
- Diseases and conditions
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
|Scientific name||Monstera dissecta. Synonyms are Monstera peruviana, Tornelia dissecta, or Monstera longipedunculata Matuda|
|Native habitat||It is native to Belize, Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panamá, Nicaragua, Peru, and North Brazil|
|Type||An evergreen, tropical climber|
|Size||32 ft (10m) in native habitat, and about 4 to 8 feet inside your home|
|Leaves||Oval to lance-shaped, leathery, glossy green leaves. Adult leaves become pinnatifid or split.|
|Flowers||It has small white inflorescence flowers found the spadix surrounded by a white spathe|
|Blooming time||All year once it attains maturity|
|Light requirement||Bright, indirect light|
|USDA hardiness zone||11b to 12|
|Temperature||60°F to 80°F (15 to 27 ºC)|
|Humidity||Loves high humidity (60% to 80%) can it withstand lower|
|Soil||High organic matter well-drained and aerated soils|
|Watering||Medium, water these plants after the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil dries|
|Toxicity||Harmful to humans and pets|
|Care level||Low or easy|
Monstera dissecta identification – appearance and description
We guess you want to know how to care for this plant. But we will give you after we take you through ways to identify it. We will provide you with details on its appearance – leaves, stems, and flowers.
1. Growing habit
This Monstera is a tropical, evergreen climbing hemiepiphyte. Hemiepiphytes have a part of their lifecycle as an epiphyte (growing on hosts) and the other on the ground (terrestrial).
In its juvenile stage, this Monstera grows on the ground. When it gets a place to climb, they will anchor to the host with their aerial roots and grow to maturity.
Lastly, Monstera dissecta growth rate is medium. However, they will grow relatively fast if you give them a place to climb. Also, ensure ideal conditions.
Monstera dissecta can grow up to about 32 feet (10m) long in its natural habitat. But it will reach about 4 to 8 feet as a houseplant, and you need to it a place to climb.
Both juvenile and mature have petiole with sheaths and their sheath wings that persist. These wings don’t dry and fall.
Juvenile plants have entire oval to lance-shaped, leathery, and glossy green leaves. These leaves are 3 to 5 times longer than their width. Also, they are a little unequal if you look at each side of the blade from their midrib.
On the other hand, the mature Monstera dissecta leaves are pinnatifid (split) borne in a tight head at the top of the plant.
Each leaf has about 4 to 12 pinnae on either leaf blade side. The pinnae and leave apex acuminate, and the leaf blade base is unequal and acute to truncate.
These mature leaves are also leathery and glossy and twice as long as wide. They are 15.7 to 27.5 inches vs. 7.8 to 15.7. Furthermore, they have about equal or shorter petiole (13.7 to 29.5 inches).
Lastly, the in-between juvenile and adult leaves will rarely have 1 to 4 holes (fenestration). Therefore, it is possible to have some with these holes. However, most will not have them.
Juvenile stems are greenish. They have a slightly longer internode than mature plants. 0.4 to 2.4 inches vs. 0.4 to 1.4 inches.
On the other hand, adult stems are slightly thicker and are greenish to brown. Also, they have shallow leaf scars.
Monstera dissecta has small, white inflorescence flowers borne on a spadix and surrounded by a white spathe. The flower’s stalk is slightly longer than the spadix by about 0.4 inches.
Usually, these plants only flower maturing. To mature, they need a place to climb.
Most plants in this genus have a spathe, which is a leaf-like structure that protects the spadix and not the flower itself.
The fruit-bearing spadix is greenish and has berries-like small clustered fruits. When it matures, it turns pale yellowish.
Lastly, each berry has brown, oblong seeds.
Let us look at a few similar species and tell you how they are different.
1. M. dissecta vs. M. lechleriana
While they don’t closely resemble each other, this Monstera and Monstera lechleriana do have some similarities. They both have a tight cluster that spread at the top of the stems. However, M. lechleriana doesn’t have split leaves. Instead, it has holes.
2. M. dissecta vs. Monstera spruceana
These two resemble each other, and their leaves are pinnatifid. But you Monstera dissecta has leaves borne on the tight cluster, and it has exserted juvenile leaves.
Secondly, M. dissecta has flower stalks that are longer or equal to the spadix, and the leaf stalk is almost the same length as the leaf blades. Also, there is a difference at the angles where the pinnae arise.
3. Monstera subpinnata vs. M. dissecta
Since they also have pinnatifid leaves, Monstera subpinnata resembles Monstera dissecta. But the former has pinnae narrower at the base. Also, they grow from a much wider angle.
Where to grow them
They make good indoor hanging and pot plants, or you can grow them outside in milder climates.
If you have this Monstera indoors, giving it a place to climb – trellis, moss, bamboo, or burlap-wrapped pole will encourage larger leaves.
You can also choose to let them cascade downwards, but they may have smaller leaves and leggy stems.
Lastly, if you decide to grow them outside, they are good ground cover, or you can let them wrap around trees. Also, they will look perfect on an arbor.
Monstera dissecta care and growing needs
If you have cared for any other Monstera, you will find this plant similar. They are easy to care for, even for first-time plant owners. Just ensure the right temperature, humidity, light, soil, and watering. The plant will grow happily.
Here is all you need to know on Monstera dissecta care:
1. USDA hardiness zone
Monstera dissecta USDA hardiness zone is 10b to 12. Frost or freezing temperatures will cause damage and may kill these plants. Only grow them outdoors all year if you are in these zones.
Monstera dissecta prefer warm temperatures with the ideal range being 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 26.7 °C). But they can tolerate slightly lower or higher temperatures, 55 to 95 °F (12.8 to 35 °C).
These plants come from the warm tropics, and lower temperatures will make them grow slowly. If it goes below 50°F (10°C), bring any outdoor plants inside your house.
Monstera dissecta love high humidity, with ideal ranges being 60% to 80%. However, they can withstand lower levels, including that in your household. 40% and above is still ok.
If your home has very low humidity, find a way to increase it. You can go for a humidifier, a pebble tray, or mist your plant a few times a week. Other methods are putting these plants in a bathroom or together.
Monstera dissecta requires bright, indirect light. Avoid low lights or artificial grow lights. Otherwise, these plants will be leggy and grow slowly. Also, please don’t put it under direct sunlight as it will burn leaves.
Outdoors, pick a place with a partial shade, a greenhouse, or buy a shade cloth (20% to 40%). Otherwise, the sun will scorch their leaves.
Grow your Monstera dissecta is well-drained, aerated, and high organic matter rich soil or potting mix. Also, it should be slightly acid (pH 5.5 to 7.5).
These plants are not so fussy. An aroid mix (Etsy has best aroid mixes) or potting mix with added perlite and peat moss is ok. Please don’t use heavy, poorly drained soils.
Water Monstera dissecta when the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil is dry. How often it will depend on humidity, temperature, light, etc.
We water after every 5 to 7 days during the growing season and biweekly in winter and fall.
However, don't follow our schedule as your conditions may not be like ours. So, we recommend you test your potting mix using a soil moisture hygrometer or sensor like XLUX. A reading that is three or less means it is watering time.
If you do not have one, then use your finger. Water this plant only when the potting mix is dry up to the first knuckle.
Lastly, when watering, saturate water until excess flows from drainage holes. Discard any that collects in the pot’s saucer.
Watering too often, poorly drained soil, and oversized pots without drainage holes may be the reason for overwatered Monstera dissecta. If this happens, leaves will turn yellow, and the potting mix will always be wet.
Other signs are moldy potting, mushy stem base, wilting, black spots on leaves, and so on. Some of these symptoms are similar to those of root rot.
When thirsty, leaves will curl, droop and the soil will be dry. If they remain without water for long, they will grow slowly, drop leaves, wilt, or die.
These plants need medium fertilizing. Feed them with an all purpose-purpose houseplant plant food during spring and summer - when they are growing. Please, don’t apply in winter or fall. They don’t need plant food.
One excellent organic fertilizer I can recommend is Espoma 8 Ounce Concentrated Organic Indoor Plant Food. It is balanced and safe for kids and pets. Mix a teaspoon of this plant food per one quart of water and feed with your plant.
The other choice we sometimes settle for is Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes. This slow-release formula will feed your plant for up to two months. Also, it has iron, boron, copper, sulfur, manganese, and magnesium.
8. Pruning and grooming
Use a sterilized pruning scissor to cut off any dying, diseased, or brown leaves. They don’t benefit your plant in any way, and they may attract pests. Also, during the growing months, you can chop off a few branches to control the shape or growth.
9. Potting and repotting
This Monstera needs repotting every 2 to 3 years or when pot or root-bound. You will know they are pot-bound if you see roots growing from drainage holes. Use a pot 2-3 inches wider in diameter and do this during warmer months when actively growing.
Monstera dissecta propagation is by stem cutting. You can water or soil medium and do it in early spring. But summer is still ok.
It is a straightforward process. All you need is a cutting with at least two nodes. Keep the potting mix moist and in a warm place with bright, indirect light. Also, maintain high humidity.
Rooting will start after about four weeks. By the time your cutting is two months, it will have some new growth. You can transplant it if large enough.
Toxic to pets and humans
Monstera dissecta is harmful to humans and pets, including your dog, cat, rabbit, etc. This plant has small, sharp, needle-like insoluble calcium oxalates. They are what makes it toxic or poisonous.
If you chew it, expect severe irritation and burning of the mouth. Also, your lips, tongue, and mouth will swell and become red. Other signs are drooling, swallowing difficulties, refusal to eat, and your pets will keep pawing their mouth.
Pests that commonly attack this Monstera are thrip, scale, mealybugs, scale, and aphids. However, if you keep your plants indoors and isolate new plants, you are unlikely to see them.
The remedy to use depends on the bug you have. They include things such as insecticidal soap, horticultural oil sprays, neem oil, among others. Also, you may have to remove some manually by hosing the plant or using cotton pads soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Diseases and conditions
Some of the diseases may have leaf spot, powdery mildew, southern blight, or root rot. Others are botrytis and rust. Usually, outdoor plants are more susceptible than those indoor.
The most common disease your plants may end up with is root rot (bacterial or fungal). It is caused mainly by overwatering.
Your plants will have yellow leaves, large black splotches, a mushy stem base, and a moldy potting mix. If not managed, there may be wilting, and your plant may drop leaves, grow slowly, and eventually die.
Other common issues and possible causes are as follows:
|Yellow leaves||Overwatering is the main culprit. Others are low humidity, too light, sunburn, nutritional deficiencies, pests, disease, and underwatering. But in some cases of yellowing that happens to older leaves is normal.|
|Curling leaves||A thirsty plant is the first reason why leaves may curl. But it may also be pests, disease, root rot, low humidity, or heat stress.|
|Brown leaves or spots||Leaves with brown edges and tips indicate too much direct sunlight, low humidity, or a thirsty plant. Also, it may be fertilizer buildup in soil, pests, or diseases.|
To help reduce the spread of diseases, please sterilize your pruning scissors and clean your hands before handling any plant.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes. Monstera dissecta is a very rare or uncommon plant that many people don’t know yet. It is not easy to find anywhere as very few people sell it. We tried online and in most local nurseries, including specialty nurseries, to no avail.
As a rare plant, you expect it to be expensive. Monstera dissecta average price is $200, with some people selling this plant at as little as $100 to 150 and others well over $600
Honestly, this plant isn’t easy to find. Begin by checking at Etsy.com, then eBay, Facebook plant groups in your area. The only one that was on Etsy sold recently. You can check if there is a new one. Also, you can try searching for “Monstera dissecta for sale” on a search engine to see if anyone has listed it.