The Monstera dubia is a rare, lesser-known variety of Monstera than the common Monstera deliciosa or Monstera adansonii, but it's gorgeous variegation and interesting growth habit make it a great addition to any houseplant collection.
In its native habitat of tropical Central and South America, Monstera dubia is a creeping vine that climbs trees and large plants. Juvenile plants are characterized by small heart-shaped leaves with both light green and dark green variegation and the leaves lie flat against whatever they are growing on. In contrast, mature Monstera dubia plants, which are usually only seen in the wild, closely resemble Monstera deliciosas with large fenestrations and no variegation. Unlike juvenile Monstera dubia leaves, the mature leaves hang from the vines.
This tropical aroid, which is sometimes referred to as the shingle plant, is not readily available at most garden centers or nurseries and will likely need to be purchased online or from a specialty plant shop. Beware of scam sellers or fake seeds being sold online and always ensure you are purchasing from reputable sellers. Despite how difficult it can be to find, Monstera dubia is relatively easy to care for.
|Botanical Name||Monstera dubia|
|Common Name||Shingle plant|
|Mature Size||3 ft. tall indoors, 10 ft. tall outdoors|
|Sun Exposure||Partial sun|
|Soil Type||Loamy, moist but well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Hardiness Zones||9 to 11|
|Native Area||Central America, South America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets|
Monstera Dubia Care
While the Monstera dubia is less common than the Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii, its care is nearly identical. However, while all Monsteras enjoy climbing a totem or support, Monstera dubias require that support in order to thrive. Because the leaves lie so flat, many indoor gardeners choose to mount their Monstera dubia on a plain plank of wood to show off this unique feature.
In their native habitat, Monstera dubias grow below the forest canopy where they receive dappled sunlight throughout the day. That means that they should be exposed to bright indirect light when grown indoors. Avoid prolonged periods of direct sunlight because this can burn the leaves of young plants.
Monstera dubias grow well in loose, moist but well-draining potting mixes with lots of organic matter. A chunky soil mix designed for aroids is best for these tropical plants. This can be easily created at home by mixing together equal parts orchid bark, peat moss or coco coir, and perlite. This mixture is ideal for Monstera dubia because it is loose and rich in organic matter and will retain the right amount of water without waterlogging the plant. Avoid using a regular potting soil for your Monstera dubia at all costs because it will likely be too dense and suffocate the root system.
Water your Monstera dubia when the top few inches of the potting medium is dry. Ensure that you are watering well and allowing the excess water to drain from the pot. These monsteras can tolerate a little bit of neglect when it comes to water and they won’t die if the soil dries out completely every once in a while (especially during the winter), but in general, do not let them dry out too often.
Temperature and Humidity
Monstera dubias are native to tropical rainforests, which means they thrive in warm, humid environments. Generally, typical household temperatures and humidity levels are fine for these plants; just ensure that you don’t place your Monstera dubia near a drafty window or heating or cooling vents.
If your house is unusually dry, you might need to provide your Monstera dubia with additional humidity. Leaves curling off the totem or developing crispy edges are both indications that your plant needs more humidity. Placing a pebble tray filled with water under the plant or a humidifier nearby are both great options.
These aroids are considered medium feeders and appreciate regular fertilizing. Use a common slow-release fertilizer three times a year and a low-strength balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing period to help encourage strong growth.
Propagating Monstera Dubia
Monstera dubia can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. This process is the same that is used for propagating other monsteras such as the Monstera deliciosa or Monstera adansonii, as well as other vining aroids such as pothos and philodendron.
First, cut the stem just below a node and then place the new cutting in water so that the stem and node are submerged but the leaves are not. Place the cutting in a location that receives bright but indirect light. Wait until the roots are approximately an inch long before transferring the cutting from water to soil, which usually takes a couple of weeks. After transferring the cutting to the chunky aroid soil mix, keep the soil regularly moist for the first couple of weeks to ensure that the plant doesn’t go into shock.
Common Pests and Diseases
One of the most common problems that people experience when growing a Monstera dubia is root rot which occurs if watering is not properly managed, or if the Monstera is planted in soil that becomes overly compacted and waterlogs the roots. Ensure that you are using a loose, chunky potting mix to avoid overly-wet soil.
Monstera dubia are also susceptible to two main pests: red spider mites and common brown scale, both of which are sap-sucking pests. Ensure that you are regularly inspecting your plant for pests so that you can catch any infestations early. Both of these pests can be treated with neem oil or rubbing alcohol sprayed onto the affected areas of the plant. Scale insects will need to be manually removed from the plant with cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol because when they adhere to the stems they are difficult to get off.