Monstera spruceana is a rare or uncommon climbing plant native to central and tropical South America. It is an aroid – a plant belonging to the arum family, Araceae, and in the Marcgraviopsis section of Monsteras.
This plant is a perfect addition to your home. It will give it that tropical backdrop, and it is air-purifying too. We bet you will find the charming juvenile leaves that may shingle and large dull green, leathery pinnatifid leaves quite a lure.
Monstera spruceana got its name from an English botanist known as Richard Spruce. And like Monstera obliqua, it is a complex species with plants showing variations on the different specimens collected.
For instance, juvenile plants will shingle (grow with leaves pressed flat on the surface they are climbing), and others don’t. Similarly, some may shingle up to a few feet while others do so to for only a few dozens of leaves. Also, there is a variation in leaf color and shape.
Table of content
- Quick overview
- Identification – appearance and description
- Monstera spruceana vs. dissecta vs. subpinnata
- Where to grow them
- Monstera Spruceana care and growth requirement
- Monstera spruceana propagation
- Toxic to pets and humans
- Diseases and conditions
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
|Scientific name||Monstera spruceana, syn. Tornelia spruceana|
|Native habitat||It is native to Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Guyana|
|Type||Evergreen, rare tropical climbing plant|
|Size||Up to 16 feet (5m) long in the wild and 4 to 8 feet at home|
|Leaves||Dark green to green oval to oblong entire juvenile leaves and pinnatifid, large mature leaves.|
|Flowers||It has small whitish inflorescence flowers borne on the spadix and surrounded by a spathe|
|Blooming time||All year after it has matured|
|Light requirement||Bright, indirect light|
|USDA hardiness zone||11b to 12|
|Temperature||60°F to 80°F (15 to 27 ºC)|
|Humidity||It prefers high humidity (60% and above can it tolerate slightly lower to moderate humidity|
|Soil||High organic matter, well-drained, and aerated soils or potting mixe|
|Watering||Medium, letting a few top inches dry before the next session|
|Toxicity||Toxic to humans and pets|
|Care level||Low or easy|
Identification – appearance and description
In this section, we will be talking about growing habits and appearance. We will talk about its leaves, flowers, and size.
1. Growing habits
Monstera spruceana is a tropical climbing plant native to the warm and humid tropical rainforest and occurs at 230 to 4600 feet (70 to 1400m) above sea level.
This plant grows as a hemiepiphyte (grows as a ground creeper and epiphyte at some life stages) under the canopies of taller rainforest trees.
It will creep on the ground or shingle if it gets a place to climb as a juvenile plant. We bet you know a few other shingling plants such as Rhaphidophora cryptantha, Rhaphidophora hayi, or Monstera dubia. However, as it grows to maturity, its more giant leaves hand, i.e., don’t shingle.
What about its growth rate? Does it grow fast or slowly? If this is your question, here is the answer. Monstera spruceana has a medium growth rate. However, it will grow relatively faster if you meet its growing needs.
In the wild, Monstera spruceana can grow up to 16 feet (5m) long. However, inside your home, it will grow between 4 and 8 feet long, and you need to give it a place to climb. Outside, it may exceed 8 feet.
3. Monstera spruceana leaves
As a complex species, you expect some variation in leaf shape and color. They generally have shorter (almost round) to elongated oval juvenile leaves.
These juvenile leaves are entire but show some color variations. They may be dark green, grayish, or plain green. The dark green leaves are velvety and may have white speckles or glistering, while plain green leaves are matte to semi-glossy. Some plants may have a darker margin around the leaves and on the prominent veins.
Mature Monstera spruceana leaves are larger (19 to 28 inches long and 10 to 16 inches long), leathery, dull-green, oval to oblong, and pinnatifid or split. They have about 1.5 to 4 inches broad pinnae that are about 2 to 5 inches. Sometimes, the pinnae may occur on only one side of the leaf.
Lastly, the plant has a vaginate petiole with deciduous (dries and drop) sheath wings curling inwards. It is ⅓ to ⅔ the length of the lamina, i.e., shorter than the leaf blade.
It has vine-like green stems that are about 0.7 to 1.1 inches thick in mature plants. Internodes are about 1.5 to 4 inches long.
Monstera spruceana flowers once it matures. To mature, it needs a place to climb. It has small whitish inflorescence perfect flowers (bisexual) borne on a spadix. Also, like other Monsteras, it has a surrounding spathe.
The flower stalk (peduncle) is usually shorter than the spadix, and the fruiting spadix is whitish. It bears berries-like small fruits.
Monstera spruceana vs. dissecta vs. subpinnata
These three plants pinnatifid mature leaves, and you may not know which one is which. However, there are apparent differences. Here they are:
1. Monstera dissecta has a cluster of leaves borne on a tight head at the top of the stems, and the juvenile leaves are exserted. M. Spruceana doesn’t, and juvenile leaves shingle. Also, in Monstera dissecta, the pinnae arise at an angle of 30-70 degrees, and the peduncle is longer than the flowering spadix. M. spruceana has pinnae at close to right angles to the mid-rib.
2. Monstera pinnatipartita has thinner pinnae 0.4 to 1.2 inches wide vs. 1.5 to 4 inches. Also, they narrow to the base, i.e., have some constriction.
Where to grow them
You can grow this Monstera both indoor or outdoor (in mild weather). We recommend you give these plants a place to shingle or climb. A trellis, bamboo, or moss pole will do. Outdoor, let them climb on the arbor, trees, or fences.
Nonetheless, some people choose to let them cascade downwards or onto desktops, cabinet tops, or shelves. However, they may not grow huge leaves and will tend to get leggy.
Monstera Spruceana care and growth requirement
Caring for Monstera spruceana is easy. Just ensure you have temperatures of about 60 to 80 °F, high humidity, and bright, indirect light. You don’t need anything special. But ensure you know how to water them properly. They can be a little sensitive.
Here are care and growth needs:
1. USDA hardiness zone
Monstera spruceana USDA hardiness zone is 10b to 12. 10a will be a bit harsh. Also, note that frost or freezing temperatures will damage or kill this plant.
Monstera spruceana prefers a warm place with ideal temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 26.7°C). So, your average household temperatures are ok.
Lower temperatures will slow growth, and by the time it is 50°F (10°C), they will not be growing. Thus, if you grow them outdoors if the cold season go below 50°F
Lastly, avoid cold drafts or any place with sudden temperature changes. Thus, avoid placing your plants near heating or cooling vents, AC vents, and so on.
This plant comes from tropical rainforests, which are not only wet but also humid. That tells you that your Monstera spruceana prefers high humidity, 60% or more, for vigorous growth and lush leaves. But they can tolerate lower to moderate leaves, 40% to 50%.
If your home has low humidity, your plant may have dry, crispy leaves with brown tips and edges. Also, they may wilt, turn yellow, and so on.
To raise the humidity, buy a humidifier. A good brand is LEVOIT Humidifiers Top Fill, 6 Liter, Cool Mist. Don't buy the hybrid (warm and cool). It will run for up to 60 hours after a refill and is quiet. Also, it has many useful features including a Vesync APP. You can even control it with Amazon's Alexa or other third-party voice assistants.
Also, you can mist this plant a few times a week or have a pebble tray. These are not the only ways. You can also group the plant with others or keep it in rooms with high humidity, such as the kitchen or bathroom.
Provide your Monstera spruceana with bright, indirect light. Medium, indirect light is still ok. But you should avoid low light. Why? It will make the plant to be leggy, grow slowly, and may have yellowish leaves. Also, leaves may fail to get the proper coloration and be smaller.
Similarly, avoid direct sunlight as it will burn its leaves. If you are growing this aroid outside, have a greenhouse, a shaded area, or buy a shade cloth. That said, it is good to note that a bit of morning or evening sun will not harm this plant much.
Lastly, it doesn’t matter if you have a south, west, or east-facing window. Place your plant in a location where it receives bright, indirect light and not direct hot sunlight. Also, you can have blinds if you are on a south-facing window.
5. Monstera spruceana soil
Having suitable soil is crucial as it will prevent issues like root rot, overwatering and underwatering. These plants love moist potting mix, not so dry or soggy.
We recommend that you grow Monstera spruceana in potting mixes or well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. Also, it should be well-aerated and slightly acidic to neutral, pH 5.6 to 7.5.
Aroid mix (see Etsy.com), potting soils with peat moss or coco coir, and some perlite, pumice, or orchid barks will work. But please, avoid heavy, poorly drained, or compacted mixes. They will cause problems.
Monstera spruceana needs medium watering allowing a few top inches (2 to 3) of the soil to first dry. In summer and spring. this could be on about once a week. In winter and fall, cut the watering. Why? Because the plants are not actively growing. Thus, they don't need much water. It will be something like once in two to three days.
How often to water your spruceana depends on temperature, humidity, light, and other factors. So, to know its watering time, just stick your finger into the soil. If it feels dry, water your plant, but wait for a few more days if it is still moist.
A better way is using a soil moisture meter. Gouevn and XLUX are the best soil moisture sensors or meters choices if you don't prefer feeling the potting mix.
When watering, slowly saturate the soil until excess comes from drainage holes. If it collects on the saucer, pour it away.
Constantly wet soil and yellowing of leaves may mean you have overwatered your Monstera spruceana. There are other signs too. To resolve the issue, cut the amount of water, check for root rot signs, and use the right potting mix. Also, ensure your pot is not too large and has drainage holes.
Are the leaves of your plant curling, drooping, or feeling dry at the margins, or are they growing slowly and losing leaves? Your plant may be thirsty. Check if the soil is dry. If dry, immediately water it. Otherwise, your plant may wilt and even die.
Feed this Monstera with all-purpose indoor houseplant plant food during spring and summer. You can begin with half a strength to see how they respond. Please don’t feed them in winter or fall because they are not growing and won’t use them. Otherwise, you risk salts buildup in soil, or it may burn your plants.
If your next question is which fertilizer, any good brand for houseplants should work. For instance, Miracle-Gro Water-Soluble All-Purpose Plant Food is an excellent all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Mix ¼ a teaspoon per gallon of water and feed one every two weeks. It also has other nutrients like boron, sulfur, iron, manganese, magnesium, and copper.
To people who prefer a slow-release formula, buy Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor. You will only feed once in four months.
8. Pruning and grooming
Pruning will involve cutting dying, damaged, or diseased leaves with a sterilized pruning shear. Also, at the start of spring, you can cut off a few branches or stems. This is to help control growth and keep the shape you need.
9. Potting and repotting
Their relatively small root ball and slow growth rate mean you should only repot Monstera spruceana or rootbound – roots will start growing from drainage holes. Pick a pot 2-3 inches wider in diameter and repot in spring or summer.
Monstera spruceana propagation
To propagate Monstera spruceana, you will use stem cuttings in water, soil, or a potting mix. Also, you need until early spring. It will give your plant the most time to establish new roots. But summer is still ok.
We will look at propagation in soil or potting mix. These methods ensure faster rooting. Afterward, we make a few remarks on using water.
i. What you need
- Sterilized pruning shear
- Growing container
- A well-drained soil or a potting mix like Perlite and peat moss or peat moss alone. Also, you can use coco coir.
- Sealable transparent plastic bag - optional but helps lock humidity. Goof if you have low humidity in your home.
- Rooting hormone. It is also optional, but it will promote faster rooting.
- Place your potting mix or soil in your pot and thoroughly water it until you start seeing some water coming from drainage holes. If you are using peat moss alone, you should instead soak and wring it.
- Select a healthy branch or stem with at least two nodes and cut it with your pruning shear, just below the lower node. Then, remove any upper leaves, leaving the topmost one or two.
- Apply your rooting hormone to the section that will go into the soil.
- Make a hole on your soil or potting, and plant your cutting, covering the lower two nodes. Ensure the potting media firmly holds the cutting, and it stays upright.
- Mist it lightly, and cover it with a plastic bag leaving a small breathing opening. Then place it in a warm area with bright indirect light.
- Routinely check to ensure the soil remains moist. If it starts drying, mist it. Also, you should remove the plastic bag for a few hours, a few times a week, to all the plant to breathe.
Roots will start growing after 3 to 4 weeks. By the end of the second month, they will be long enough and ready for transplanting. But this will depend on the conditions you provide.
iii. Water propagation
Instead of planting your cutting in soil, you can dip it in a jar with water and add a bit of the rooting hormone. You will have a chance to see the roots grow. But change the water every 3 to 4 days.
Toxic to pets and humans
Monstera spruceana is toxic or harmful to humans, dogs, cats, and other pets. So, keep it out of reach of your children and pets. All parts of the plant are unsafe because it has needle-like, sharp, insoluble calcium oxalates.
These crystals will embed on the oral lining or gut, causing severe pain and irritation when chewed. Also, the lips, tongue, and mouth may swell and turn red. Other signs are swallowing difficulty, drooling, and loss of appetite.
If you grow it indoors and isolate new plants, this Monstera will be less likely to have pests. But at times, it can have spider mites, aphids, scale, mealybugs, and fungus gnats. These pests are common in outdoor plants.
To prevent pests, regularly inspect your plants, clean leaves, and ensure they remain healthy. If you see any of these bugs, isolate the plant and remove them manually. Also, you can use neem oil, insecticidal soaps, or horticultural sprays. The exact method depends on the bug you have.
Diseases and conditions
Your Monstera spruceana is unlikely to have any diseases if you have measures to stop cross-infection. For instance, you should always sterilize pruning scissors. Also clean your hands before and after touching any of your plants.
The other way to keep diseases is at bay is to ensure your plants are healthy. Water them correctly, have the right potting mix, and provide ideal conditions. We have looked at most of these things.
Some diseases that affect Monsteras are rust, southern blight, leaf spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose, and root rot. Of this disease, root rot is the common one. Let us focus on it and other commonly noted issues.
1. Root rot
Overwatering and waterlogged soils that don’t allow air circulation can weaken the roots of your plants. This will make them susceptible to bacterial or fungal root rot.
Signs will include yellow leaves, slow growth, wilting, leaves dropping, and brown splotches on leaves. If you check the roots, they will be mushy and brown or black. Also, stem bases may be mushy, and your potting mix will be moldy.
To revive a plant with root rot, immediately repot it, cutting off any brown or black leaves and discarding all the potting mix. Remember to use a sterilized pruning scissor.
2. Yellowing of leaves
Monstera spruceana yellow leaves are a likely sign you are overwatering this plant. But when thirsty or given too little or too much light, yellowing may also occur. Other possible reasons are lack of some nutrients, disease, and pests.
However, not all cases of yellowing are a sign of something wrong. It may be due to aging if it happens on lower leaves. Just prune them off.
3. Browning of leaves
Crispy leaves with brown edges and tips indicate too much light or heat, a thirsty plant, or very low humidity. Other causes of browning, including spots, are pests and disease, salt buildup in soil, cold drafts, and transplanting shock.
4. Curling leaves
If your plant has curling leaves that may at times drop or have dry brown edges and tips, your plant is probably thirsty. Check the soil, and if dry, water it. But it can be heat stress (high temperature), low humidity, or too much light. Check all of these possible causes too.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Monstera spruceana is a rare and uncommon plant. You are unlikely to find it at your local nurseries, even specialty ones. Similarly, the big box growers don’t have this charming plant. However, we are unsure if it is just rare or many people don’t know it yet.
Monstera spruceana price is $50 to $150. Plants with a few leaves will cost you between $50 and $100. On the other hand, well-established and full-rooted plants will cost you between $100 to $150 or more.
The first place to look for Monstera Spruceana is at Etsy.com. Here, you will find a few people selling it at incredible prices. Also, try eBay, Instagram, or Facebook plant groups. Lastly, go to the reputed, smaller online vendors in your countries.