Monstera Obliqua is a rare, popular, and expensive plant. It is specifically rare due to its lack of chlorophyll, making them grow slower, hence having fewer new plants. Finding this very rare plant can be very hard, and often, gardeners grow the Monstera Adansonni thinking it is Monstera Obliqua.
Monstera Obliqua Care Guide Overview
- How To Plant (when & where)
- How To Grow (staking, watering, fertilizing, humidity, mulching)
- How To Trim And Prune
- How To Pot And Repot
- How To Propagate (when & how)
- And Pests and Diseases, Plant Species, Companions, Toxicity
- Binomial name: Monstera Obliqua
- Common Names: Swiss cheese vine, unicorn plant, Mexican breadfruit, Widow Leaf, Hurricane, Philodendron Obliqua, and Monkey Leaf.
- Origin: The Monstera Obliqua originates from the tropical forests of Mexico
- In/Outdoor: it grows indoors and outdoors in tropical areas
- Height/Structure: maximum height of 20 inches and 2mm stem thickness.
- Flower Color: Cream to white
- Temperature: thrives in temperatures of 18-25 degrees.
How to plant the Monstera Obliqua
The Monstera plants can be pretty confusing when looking for a specific species. Therefore, to be sure, seek help from a professional gardener or collector who’s willing to sell you cuttings.
You should, however, also do your homework before purchasing the plant and find a collector you can trust and won’t overprice you or dupe you into buying the wrong species.
The most suitable time to propagate a Monstera Obliqua plant is during the spring season or summertime. These are the periods that will ensure active growth. Also, to ensure that the Monstera plant has better chances of survival, only propagate when the roots start growing outside the pot from the stem.
Monstera Obliqua is recognized for its broad heart-shaped leaves with distinct perforated patterns. This pattern has been used to make patterns in many artistic designs.
A fully mature Monstera Obliqua in its natural habitat can grow up to 6-10 feet tall. However, when it grows indoors, it can go only up to 4 feet. The Monstera Obliqua grows about 2.5 meters a year in its natural habitat.
Monstera Obliqua strives under bright indirect sunlight and is happy under bright natural light. Direct sunlight will burn the foliage, and sear young plants’ fragile, thin leaves, but adult plants can withstand up to 3 hours of direct sunlight due to their thick leaves.
The Obliqua has a specific taste regarding soil. It prefers well-drained peat-moss coco-coir soil combined with 1 part perlite and 4 part pine back fines. It thrives in dense, rich nutrient soils that have good drainage but also hold moisture. The soil mix should also have a slightly acidic pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5.
How to grow the Monstera Obliqua
A Monstera plant can reach towering heights in its natural habitat due to the aerial roots that help them climb the forest to reach the sun. Aerial roots anchor plants to trees, unlike everyday roots that anchor plants below the ground. As a juvenile, the Monstera Obliqua grows into a bushy compact form. However, it can be coaxed to climb walls, trees, or rails.
If you want to prevent the plant from growing further, repotting it into the same pot signals to the plant that it shouldn’t grow further instead of sizing it up.
Now, before planting a Monstera Obliqua, you need to know that even if it won’t grow high, it is a climbing plant and will need support from a stake/moss plant or another larger plant. This plant grows aerial roots that help anchor the heavy stems. This growth can be tasking for the roots, and so staking helps take the weight off them. The staking should be done while repotting to avoid damaging the roots. It would help if you placed the stake behind the Monstera to allow the plant to grow away from the stake, hence leaning on it.
Watering a Monstera Obliqua isn’t as hard as you might think. When watering, only add water to it until the top of the soil dries off. It does not need frequent watering, and once or twice a week is enough during the summer and every two weeks during the winter. Consistency is key. The Monstera Obliqua primarily benefits from filtered water and water that has settled overnight.
Monstera Obliqua likes indirect sunlight and can tolerate temperatures between 18-25 degrees. During the winter, put the Monstera Obliqua in a temperature-controlled room with a thermostat. That is critically relevant during temperature drops of below 4 degrees that can cause the Monstera to die.
All plants require fertilizers for maximum growth. The Monstera requires slightly less quantity than other plants due to its slow growth. During the growing period, add house plant feed to the young plant every two weeks.
The Obliqua requires a ratio of 3-1-2, N-P-K; 3 part nitrogen; 1 part phosphorus; 2 part potassium. You should fertilize the plant at least once a month. Follow the instructions here and don’t exceed the ratio for the fertilizer can burn the foliage of the Monstera.
All tropical plants enjoy hot and humid environments, and the Monstera is no exception. It thrives in humid places; hence misting your houseplant frequently on a hot day is highly advisable. You can also put the plant next to a bathroom, in the kitchen, or a room with a humidifier. The most preferred humidity level for such a situation is 85% or more.
Pruning and trimming
Pruning your Monstera or any there plant helps the plant’s growth process and keeps it healthier. Dying leaves can cause the plant to lose its health, stunt its growth, and suffer the risk of spreading any diseases to the rest of the plant. Plant infections and stem rots are not uncommon, and you should remove such leaves.
Pruning should, however, be done before the growing season of spring. Pruning during winters isn’t advisable because the plant enters a dormant period due to lack of sunlight. The plant might go into shock and die slowly due to that.
Any plant is taken away from the larger Monstera and is viable for propagation to produce new Monstera Obliqua plants. The big question, however, is where to cut.
- If you don’t want your Monstera to outgrow its living space, you’ll need to trim back its nodes.
- Suppose you need to get rid of dying or damaged leaves; you’ll cut them off from the stem. Take care not to cut too high or too low since the stem will start rotting if it’s too long.
- For propagation, you’ll need to cut beneath a node. Nodes are where the leaves meet the stems. Older plants have nodes with several leaves growing out of them, making it easier to know where to trim.
Tip: When pruning, use a sharp kitchen knife to cut through the stems to avoid damaging or compressing the stems.
Potting and repotting
First, ensure that the container you wish to plant the Monstera Obliqua has drainage holes during potting. Find substantial pots and avoid plastic pots since the Monstera roots are pretty strong and can break the pot. Your pot of choice should also have enough space for plant growth to avoid suffocating the plant. Next, collect well-drained soil that has peat moss for your Monstera.
Secondly, fill 1/3 of the pot with the soil, then add some water to moisten it. Put the propagated Monstera Obliqua into the pot and top it up with the soil until all the roots are covered. However, leave some space for feeding and watering. You can also choose to use hanging pots.
Repotting does not come along for quite some time for a Monstera Obliqua, going up to even a year. However, if you feel your plant is ready but unsure, use your fingers to gently pull aside the plant and move the soil to reveal its roots. If there is still enough room for the roots to grow, hold off on repotting. On the other hand, if the roots are compact, then it’s time for repotting.
Now before repotting your Monstera, you should know that even though this tropical plant will not grow high, it is a climbing plant and will need a moss pole/stake to support its growth.
For starters, make sure that the new pot is bigger than the old, has enough depth to support the plant, and has drainage holes. Then fill 1/3 of the pot with soil, then introduce a stake or moss pole since the plant grows bigger. Ensure that the moss pole or stake is behind the plant using the direction its leaves are facing. Now fill the pot with soil leaving enough space only for feeding and watering.
Ensure that the soil around the stake/moss pole holds it firmly in place to support the plant well. Having done this, place your plant in a corner and start a regular feeding and watering routine for a happy Monstera.
What is propagation?
Propagation is the breeding of specimens of a plant from the parent plant by natural means. Watching and caring for your plant has been a happy time, and now your plant is quite extensive, but instead of chopping it off, you want to keep it. Well, you can keep it all. You’ll have to propagate. You can grow many new Monstera Obliqua plants from cutting and replanting from the mother plant.
The Monstera Obliqua has nodes where a leaf grows from on each runner. This node is also where the root grows after propagation, and with every node lies the potential for another new Monstera Obliqua.
Therefore, cut below each node and ensure that every section has 2 or 3 leaves. These cuttings will not have roots, so the first step is to care for them in bags of potting mix. Put the new cuttings in water or moist bags and keep them in a moist area. After a few weeks, your plant will have new growth coming out, meaning it’s ready for potting.
That is another method of propagation. Stolon propagation is problematic because the Monstera Obliqua does not produce a stolon often and requires high humidity and patience. However, once a stolon appears, cut the part with the stolon and put it in the potting mix. After it develops roots, mist the stolon until the root system develops, then do the transplant process.
Divide and transplant
Transplantation is the last step in propagation. The first potting is done in favorably small pots to avoid overwhelming the plant. For better luck with your transplant, ensure that the fuzzy roots have developed enough and have started to branch into smaller roots.
Then remove the propagated plant from the potting mix carefully to avoid losing the soil that already holds the roots and place it gently into the new pot with moist soil. Cover the plant to the stem with soil and water regularly during the first month. If the plant withers and dies slowly, throw away the whole potting mix and start afresh with a new plant.
Dividing an already mature Monstera is relatively easy. What you have to do is gently get the large Monstera out of its potting, then, using a sharp knife, divide the plant evenly into the number of sections you’ll see fit. It would be best if you winged it here. Ensure that every section has plenty of roots and stems and avoid too much hacking. What is left to do is transplant all the Monstera Obliqua.
Pests and diseases
Monstera Obliqua, like all other plants, are prey to common pests that attack most tropical houseplants like spider mites, fungus gnats, mealy bugs, thrips, and scales. These insects are called phytophagous because they feed directly on plant tissues.
The Monstera plant is also susceptible to root rot, botrytis, southern blight, and red leaf spots. To get rid of these pests, pick them using your finger or toothpick and if they’re persistent, spray the plant with houseplant leaf armor, gentle insecticide soap, or neem oil.
Monstera Obliqua falls under the genus Monstera with over 48 plant species, kingdom Plantae, family Araceae.
There are many species of Monstera genus plants, they include:
- Monstera Dubia
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Monstera Adansonii
- Monstera Acuminata
- Monstera Borsigiana
- Monstera Pinnatipartita
- Monstera Standleyana
- Monstera Thai Constellation
- Monstera Karstenianum
- Monstera Epipremnoides
- Monstera Siltepecana
The Monstera Obliqua or any other Monstera is a beautiful plant, but don’t go French kissing it, especially after pruning or cutting. The sap produced by this plant may not be harmful but can cause a severe rash if it comes in contact with your skin. It can also cause nausea and vomiting if ingested.
For cats and dogs, it is quite toxic. Early symptoms of exposure include oral irritation, swelling of the mouth, lips, and tongue, pain, vomiting, excessive drooling, and difficulty swallowing. However, despite all these, your animal will be fine; nothing is about to shut down despite the swelling.
Flowering and fruits
Monstera Obliqua doesn’t have a flowering season. However, it flowers any time of the year, 1.5 years after germination. It develops a cream to white flower in color that is 5-6 inches long. The flower is in the form of sequential inflorescences. While other Monstera species produce two spadices per cluster, the Monstera Obliqua produces up to eight.
The Obliqua also has a fruit called Globose berry that has a green spathe. The spandex changes color with every developmental stage and eventually turns deep orange. The berries grow free from one another, unlike other Monsteras that have closely arranged berries.
Finally, you can pair the Monstera Obliqua with plants like pothos, philodendron, and Schefflera. These plants have similar characteristics and blend well when planted in the same pot as the Monstera Obliqua.