How to Grow and Care for Monstera Peru

This rare monstera is surprisingly easy to grow indoors

A small monstera Peru (Monstera karstenianum) in a white and orange pot on a shelf with a photo frame and vase next to it.

The Spruce / Cori Sears

In This Article

Move over monstera deliciosa—the monstera Peru (Monstera karstenianum) is climbing in popularity among houseplant lovers thanks to its unique foliage and ease of care. Unlike other monstera varieties such as monstera dubia and monstera adansonii, the monstera Peru does not develop fenestrated leaves but instead, its thick leaves are characterized by a deep ridge-like texture (similar to some peperomias) and dark green color. This small monstera plant rarely grows taller than 6 to 8 feet indoors with leaves topping out at about 9 centimeters long.

Looking to add a monstera Peru to your houseplant collection? Its care differs from other monstera species, so make sure you know how to keep it happy.

Botanical Name Monstera karstenianum 
Common Name Monstera Peru 
Family  Araceae 
Plant Type  Perennial, vine 
Mature Size  6-8 ft. tall 
Sun Exposure  Partial 
Soil Type  Loamy, well-draining 
Soil pH  Acidic, neutral 
Bloom Time  Summer 
Flower Color  Green, white 
Hardiness Zones  10b, 11a, 11b, 12a, 12b 
Native Area South America
Toxicity Toxic to pets, toxic to people
Overhead view of a monstera Peru (Monstera karstenianum) showing the detailed ridged leaves against a white background.

The Spruce / Cori Sears

Monstera Peru Care

While they can be difficult to acquire, monstera Peru are surprisingly low-maintenance plants that thrive in indoor environments. They require less light and water than other species in the monstera genus and are known for being slow-growing as well, meaning they aren’t likely to outgrow your space any time soon (we’re looking at you Monstera deliciosa).

As an epiphyte, the monstera Peru naturally has an upward, vining growth habit and does well when provided with a support to climb such as a moss pole or trellis.

What Is an Epiphyte?

An epiphyte is a type of plant that derives moisture and nutrients from the air and often grows on other plants. However, epiphytes only grow on other plants for support and are not considered parasitic.

That being said, you can also choose to grow your monstera Peru in a hanging basket or planter and allow its vining foliage to trail downwards. While monstera Peru flower when grown outdoors, it is extremely rare for them to flower indoors—so don’t panic if you don’t see any blooms on your plant, this is normal.

Warning

Unfortunately, as a species of monstera, the monstera Peru is considered toxic to dogs, cats, and humans, similar to its cousins the monstera deliciosa and monstera adansonii. Exercise caution with this plant if you have pets or children in the home.

Light

Surprisingly, the monstera Peru does not require very much light in order to thrive indoors. A north-facing window that receives several hours of bright, indirect light is perfect for these tropical understory plants. Avoid locations that receive direct sunlight as the thick leaves of the monstera Peru are easily susceptible to sunburn and scorching.

Soil

As an epiphyte, the monstera peru does best in rich, airy, well-draining soil. A mixture of one part coco coir, one part orchid bark, and one part perlite provides the perfect amount of drainage, moisture retention, and nutritional content for these monsteras. 

Water

The thick leaves of the monstera Peru make this monstera species more drought tolerant than many of its cousins, and it should be allowed to dry out completely between waterings. This monstera should not be allowed to sit in wet soil for an extended period of time as it is susceptible to root rot.

Temperature and Humidity

Monstera Peru is native to the tropical regions of Peru and requires warm, humid temperatures in order to survive. Ideally, keep temperatures between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 30 degrees Celsius) and choose a location that is naturally humid—such as the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. Alternatively, you can increase humidity around the plant by placing a pebble tray beneath the pot or putting a humidifier nearby.

Fertilizer

Monstera Peru appreciates regular fertilization with a mild, balanced fertilizer throughout the spring and summer months. Apply the fertilizer once every 3 to 4 weeks during watering. Avoid fertilizing your monstera Peru during the winter when the plant goes into dormancy.

Propagating Monstera Peru

The monstera Peru can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Propagating is a great way to start new plants, or to fill out existing plants by replanting the newly rooted cuttings back in the original pot. Follow these simple steps to propagate your monstera Peru.

  1. Identify the part of the stem where you will take the cutting. Each cutting should have 3 to 4 nodes along the stem for the best chance of success. 
  2. Using a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears, cut directly below a node.
  3. Remove the bottom 1-2 leaves from the stem cutting to expose the nodes along the stem, leaving 1-2 leaves on the top of the cutting.
  4. Fill a small glass or vase with water and place the cutting in the water, ensuring that the exposed nodes along the stem are submerged in water while the top leaves remain above the water.
  5. Place the cutting in a location that receives medium to bright indirect light, and change the water once a week to help prevent rotting. 
  6. After a few weeks you should begin to see small white roots growing from the nodes below the water. Once the roots reach at least an inch in length, you can transfer the cutting back to soil by planting the cutting in a pre-moistened, well-draining soil mixture.

Common Pests 

The monstera Peru is susceptible to a range of common houseplant pests, particularly fungus gnats, mealy bugs, scale, spider mites, and whiteflies. Regularly inspecting the plant for signs of pests is the best way to prevent an infestation. If you notice signs of pests on your monstera Peru, be sure to isolate it from your other houseplants and treat it with the appropriate insecticide until the infestation has subsided.

Common Problems With Monstera Peru

Generally the monstera Peru is a low-maintenance houseplant that is relatively problem-free. However, there are a few common problems that you may encounter as you learn to care for these tropical plants indoors. 

Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves are usually an indication that your plant is not receiving enough sunlight, or that your plant is overwatered. Ensure that your monstera Peru is receiving several hours of bright, indirect light every day. It should never be placed more than a couple feet away from a bright, sunny window otherwise it may begin to show signs of distress such as yellowing leaves. Avoid overwatering your plant by waiting until the soil has dried completely before watering again. 

Faded Leaves

Pale, faded leaves can be a sign that your plant is receiving too much sunlight and can sometimes be accompanied by scorched or sun-bleached spots on the leaves. Avoid exposing your monstera Peru to any extended period of direct sunlight. Remember that these monsteras do not require as much light as other species of monstera such as the deliciosa or adansonii.

Dropping Leaves

If your monstera Peru is dropping leaves, it is likely either overwatered, or underwatered. If it is overwatered, you should also notice stems that look wilted or rotted and soil that stays moist for an extended period of time. If it is under watered, you may notice that the leaves have crispy edges, or that the soil is dry and compacted.

A monstera Peru (Monstera karstenianum) showing signs of faded leaves and scorched spots on the leaves.
A monstera Peru showing signs of faded leaves with scorched spots.

The Spruce / Cori Sears

FAQ
  • What is the difference between monstera Peru and monstera siltepecana (or silver monstera)?

    Often confused for one another, the monstera Peru and monstera siltepecana can be differentiated in two key ways. First, the monstera siltepecana has a silvery sheen to its leaves (hence its common name “silver monstera”) while the leaves of the monstera Peru are a dark green color. Second, the monstera Peru has deeply ridged leaves while the monstera siltepecana has relatively flat leaves. It is also important to note that mature monstera siltepecana leaves can develop fenestrations, while the monstera Peru rarely does.

  • Is the monstera Peru toxic to pets?

    Unfortunately, similar to its cousins in the monstera genus, the monstera Peru is considered toxic to dogs and cats.

  • How fast does the monster Peru grow?

    Compared to other monsteras such as the deliciosa which is known to be a vigorous grower, the monstera Peru is considered a relatively slow-growing houseplant. Providing your plant with a moss pole or trellis to climb may help to encourage its growth.

Article Sources
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  1. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Cutleaf Philodendron.” Aspca.org. N.p., n.d. Web.

  2. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Cutleaf Philodendron.” Aspca.org. N.p., n.d. Web.