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Monstera adansonii (sometimes called a swiss cheese vine) are one of those plants that can take a little while to settle in, and then they grow like crazy.
I do find that they’re a little trickier to care for than Monstera deliciosa, but that’s not really saying much, since deliciosa are pretty tolerant of overwatering, underwatering, neglect and too much attention.
How to water Monstera adansonii
I try, as much as I can, not to let Monstera adansonii dry out completely. That’s a bit of a challenge for me because mine is in a terracotta pot (I’ll explain why later), so it dries out super quickly.
It’s still important not to overwater though. I probably water ever couple of weeks or so – more when it’s hot weather. If your adansonii starts looking a bit wrinkly and sad then give it a good soak.
Because adansonii like moist-ish soil, I tend to bottom water. This ensures that the terracotta is wet (I want to use the word ‘wettened’ here, but neither me nor Grammarly are convinced it’s a word) too, so it doesn’t immediately leach all the water from the soil.
I’ve never had a problem using tap water with adansonii, but I would definitely make sure the water is room temperature, especially in winter. They like the warm.
Where should I put my Monstera adansonii?
Adansonii will grow quickly if you give them appropriate conditions. They do like a lot of light, but they don’t like being cold at all. If you’re going to put it on a windowsill, you may need to move it in winter.
If you want your adansonii to grow a lot of large leaves, I’d highly recommend getting it a moss pole to climb up.
People that are new to moss poles could do worse than start with an adansonii. They have pretty flexible stems, and quite short petioles (the bit that links the leaf to the stem) so you can play around a bit to get the shape you want, and you’re less likely to accidentally snap the stems.
I have grand plants to put a lot of my plants outside this summer (yes, in the UK. Good luck guys.) and I’m interested to see if I can grow some massive leaves on my adansonii.
I’ll need to take some cuttings beforehand though, otherwise, he’ll quickly outgrow the moss pole.
How to propagate Monstera adansonii
Embarrassing enough, I’ve never actually tried. Oops. I promise I’ll give it a go this summer.
If you’re after a bargain, you can often pick adansonii that are just one great long vine on sale. They look a bit sparse and sad and are often discounted. These are great specimens to practise propagating on.
Since I’ve not tried propagating adansonii myself, I’m going to recommend you try the method I use for propagating Rhapidophora tetrasperma. I mean, they in the same subfamily and grow in a similar fashion, so I can’t imagine it wouldn’t work.
That being said, a lot of people have a lot of success propagating just in a vase of water, so fel free to give that a go too.
Monstera adansonii usually have a tonne of nodes, so if you have idea what you’re doing as long as you take a cutting with at lease six inches of stem and a couple of leaves, you’d struggle to not have a node there.
How to fertilise Monstera adansonii
One of the reasons I think Monstera adansonii is a great plant for plant parents that want to learn how to best care for their charges (rather than people that want plants that take zero effort to care for) is that they’re great for telling you when they’re hungry.
I’ve shared this photo before, but I love it. Well, I don’t love it (that would be weird), but I think it’s useful.
See the mottling on the leaf marked ‘chlorosis? That’s a plant that wants fertilising.
And because of how quickly adansonii grow, I tend to wait until I see this before feeding. That’s probably not best practice, but my plant is fine.
I use a seaweed fertiliser on mine,but you can use whatever house plant fertiliser you like.
Caring for Monstera adansonii in winter
Winter care is where I see the biggest difference between caring for Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii.
In my experience, Monstera seem to hibernate in winter. They don’t go dormant (i.e. drop all their leaves), they just stay in maintenance mode.
Monstera adansonii don’t. If you provide them with the right conditions they’ll continue to grow with the same vigour they had in summer.
I’ve not found the growth to be smaller (like winter growth usually is) though I’ve had some weirdly shaped and bumpy leaves. I’m not here to judge.
I have had to move the plant away from the window (it’s cold as heck) so I’m getting a bit of vining in the direction of the window, but still plenty of leaves.
This is definitely one of the times when it’s totally fine to fertilise in winter. I haven’t had to yet (I’ve been watering with aquarium water), but I won’t hesitate to should she start looking a bit chlorotic.
Do Monstera adansonii need high humidity?
I would recommend putting your adansonii in a humid spot if you can.
They’re not as dry air-tolerant as deliciosa, but if you keep them in a super dry room, you can end up with wrinkled leaves and slower growth.
Humidity isn’t as imperative to healthy growth as it is for, say, calathea, but you’ll definitely notice an increase in the speed of growth if you increase humidity to around 60%.
How to repot Monstera adansonii
Adansonii are one of those plants that will struggle if they’re badly root bound. Mine declined so quickly that I had to repot it when I didn’t really have a suitable pot.
The only one I had big enough was terracotta, which isn’t really ideal for an underwaterer like me (I keep it near me in my office so I don’t neglect it).
It’s in a potting mix that’s just store-bought house plant potting soil and perlite – probably about 1 part perlite to 2 parts soil.
As soon as I repotted, it perked right up, so I’m assuming the excess roots meant the plant couldn’t get enough moisture from the soil. Basically, there wasn’t enough soil to hold the amount of water the plant needed, because it had been displaced by roots.
Which pests like Monstera adansonii
As you might have clocked before, I did have thrips on my adansonii, BUT they didn’t stick around.
Weird, isn’t it? Considering my Monstera deliciosa is a thrips magnet.
For some reason, adansonii (or mine at least) isn’t tasty to bugs. He’s had ample opportunity to get both thrips and spider mites, and has never struggled with either. A couple of hoses/showers down, and he’s good again.
What’s the difference between Monsteras adansonii and obliqua?
You may sometimes come across what looks to be an adansonii but it’s called an obliqua (or, hidiously enough, Monstera monkey mask – I hate than for some reason).
It isn’t an obliqua. It’s been misnamed. It happens a lot.
You are EXTREMELY unlikely to come across an actual obliqua – for a start, they probably wouldn’t survive in a normal shop environment because they like super high humidity.
Obliqua and adansonii do look similar but obliqua:
- has much thinner, more delicate leaves
- has bigger leaf holes – they’re more hole than leaf.
- cost more than a couple of month’s rent
Obliqua are RARE.
This isn’t a case of demand exceeding supply, like albo monstera, which aren’t rare so much as popular. Obliqua has been seen in the wild a MAXIMUM of 17 times. And some of those sightings are disputed.
I don’t understand why anyone would want to pay that much money for something that looks so similar to another plant that they’re mislabelled but is harder to care for than the cheaper version.
I mean, it’s a plant.
I’m going to write a whole article on this, but if I spent in excess of £2,000 on a plant I would NEVER SLEEP. What if it got thrips? Or root rot?
If I ever make enough money that I can drop £2,00 on a plant I’m going to slap myself and give the money to a food bank.
By the way, I’m not slamming collectors that buy them – it’s absolutely an investment in the right hands, but those hands are not mine.
It’s like skydiving – go ahead if that’s what you want, but don’t try to convince me to join you.
If you ever think you see a real obliqua for a fraction of its value, please remember that #itsneverobliqua became a hashtag for a reason.
How much should I spend on a Monstera adansonii?
In the UK, you shouldn’t spend more than £30, but you can find smaller specimens for cheaper. I’ve seen them in Sainsburys, so I think they’ll be everywhere in supermarkets in summer of 2021.
If you’re in the US, there’s a lot of variation in prices. If you can only find expensive ones in local stores, then try Etsy. There’s usually a good selection. I’ll put links to three stores that have them at the moment (jan 2021), though you should be able to search Etsy and find reputable sellers.
Though Monstera tend to ship well in general , they can look battered when they arrive and then recover well (the roots if not the leaves).
If you’re really on a budget, a lot of Etsy sellers sell adansonii cuttings. I’d try to find a rooted cutting because unrooted cuttings can be a bit of a lottery.
You can also get variegated adansonii, but they’re (at the time of writing) erm, prohibitively priced (THEY’RE HELLA PRICEY), so I don’t have one. Nor do I plan to get one, unless they drop the price to, oooo, £50? And that’s for a full plant, not a cutting.
I hope I answered any questions you had about adansonii care, but if there’s something I didn’t cover, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message on Instagram.