Known for its unique, palm-like foliage, Monstera subpinnata is a tropical vine that features alternating leaflets on either side of the leaf. This is known as a pinnate growth pattern and is in contrast to the usual fenestrated growth seen on Monstera plants. The plant makes a wonderful addition to houseplant collections or tropical outdoor gardens.
As a fast-growing vine, you might prefer to keep Monstera subpinnata in a container. Keep in mind that if the vine has no support or structure to climb, it will take on a horizontal growth habit. When kept indoors, this plant grows to a total length of about six feet, with each leaf growing to about 12 inches in length. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, it is important to note that the Araceae family contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic to pets and people.
|Common Name||Monstera subpinnata|
|Botanical Name||Monstera subpinnata|
|Mature Size||30 ft. tall (outdoors), 6 ft. tall (indoors), 3 ft. wide (outdoors), 3 ft. wide (indoors)|
|Sun Exposure||Indirect sunlight|
|Soil Type||Loamy, Well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, Neutral|
|Flower Color||Yellow, White|
|Hardiness Zones||9-11, USDA|
|Native Area||South America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets, toxic to people|
Monstera Subpinnata Care
When given the right conditions, Monstera subpinnata can successfully be grown as an indoor vining plant or outdoors in a tropical garden. The key is to create an environment similar to its natural habitat. These plants are found in tropical Ecuador in warm, humid areas, protected from harsh light under the canopy of trees.
Because it is a tropical plant, keeping it in warm temperatures with plenty of humidity is key. It is also a hemiepiphyte, so ensuring that the soil is light and airy is essential because the roots cannot tolerate heavy or wet soil. Providing this plant with a moss pole or structure to climb will also encourage healthy vertical growth. Common problems include aphids, scale, mealybugs, spider mites, leaf spot, and root rot.
Monstera subpinnata thrives in bright, indirect lighting both indoors and outdoors. Set it near a bright window indoors or in a protected area outdoors. Just be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight. Too much sun will burn the leaves and damage the plant.
Monstera subpinnata are found growing up trees and other structures. They require an airy, light soil mixture to ensure that the roots receive aeration and do not become soggy. Use a mix of potting soil, orchid bark, and perlite to ensure the plant roots have sufficient oxygen.
Although these tropical plants like humid conditions, soggy soil can cause problems. It is best to allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again. How often this needs to be done will depend on the plant’s environment. Test soil moisture with your finger tips to determine when the plant needs water. It will need less water in the colder months while the plant is dormant than it will need in warmer months of the year.
Temperature and Humidity
Because Monstera subpinnata is a tropical plant, it enjoys warm temperatures and high humidity. Keep the plant in an area that stays between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. If your plant is kept outdoors, be sure to bring it indoors when temperatures dip below this range. As for humidity, it prefers 60 to 90-percent humidity levels. If kept indoors, you might need to mist the leaves, place the plant on a tray of pebbles and water, or place a humidifier near it. These plants also do well when kept in humid greenhouses.
Like most plants, Monstera subpinnata does well when fed monthly during the spring and summer. They respond well to balanced, liquid fertilizer given at half strength. Withhold fertilizer throughout fall and winter, because the plant will not be growing as much.
Pruning is not required for Monstera subpinnata to be healthy. However, you might wish to prune the plant if it outgrows its space, especially when grown indoors. Simply prune the vines to the desired length with a pair of sharp, clean snips.
Propagating Monstera Subpinnata
The best and easiest way to propagate Monstera subpinnata is by cuttings. To propagate with cuttings, you will need a sharp pair of snips, a small pot, well-draining soil, a plastic bag, and a small stick. Here's how:
- Cut a vine that is about five to six inches long, snipping below a node.
- Remove the leaves from half of the cutting. keeping two or three leaves intact.
- Dip the cut end into the rooting hormone. Shake away excess rooting hormone.
- Poke a hole into the damp, well-draining soil. Then slide the cutting into the hole and firmly press it in place.
- Place the plastic bag over the cutting to keep maintain humidity. Be sure the bag does not touch the cutting by propping it up with sticks.
- Place the cutting in a warm area that receives bright, indirect lighting.
- Keep the soil moist and air out the bag daily. Roots should form in three to six weeks. Remove the bag when roots begin to grow.
Alternatively, you can start a cutting in water. Simply place the cutting into a jar of water rather than in potting soil. Place the jar in bright, indirect lighting and change the water every few days. Be sure that no leaves are submerged in the water. Roots should form in a few weeks, at which point you can transplant the cutting into potting soil.
Potting and Repotting Monstera Subpinnata
Monstera subpinnata does well when grown in pots. It is a medium-to-fast growing plant, so it will need to be repotted every year or two. When choosing a pot, be sure to pick a pot with drainage holes. Pots are made of various materials, but one made from a porous material such as clay or terracotta is best. This will help keep the soil airy and prevent excess water from pooling inside.
When it is time to repot, select a pot that is a couple of inches larger than its current pot. Gently slide the plant out of its pot and repot it with more well-draining soil. Water and place it in an area with bright, indirect lighting.
When kept inside in a warm home, nothing special is needed to overwinter these plants besides cutting back on water and withholding fertilizer. When kept outdoors, be sure to bring the plant indoors if temperatures are dropping below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Get Monstera Subpinnata to Bloom
Monstera subpinnata produces whitish-yellow flowers that consist of a spathe and spadix. However, they rarely flower indoors and should be kept outdoors if you wish to see them bloom.
To encourage Monstera subpinnata to flower, it will have to be kept outdoors in a tropical growing zone. Ensure the plant receives plenty of humidity and warmth and protect it from direct sunlight. Provide the plant with well-balanced fertilizer throughout spring and summer.
Common Problems With Monstera Subpinnata
The most common problems to occur with Monstera subpinnata have to do with water and humidity. Although this plant is generally trouble-free when given the right environment, it can be hard to get these conditions just right when growing it indoors or in other areas where it is not native. Let’s take a look at what to watch out for.
Curling Leaves and Dry, Brown Edges
If these signs are present, the leaves might also wilt or fall off. This is a sign of underwatering or too little humidity. Check the soil and water thoroughly if it feels very dry. You might also need to increase the humidity around the plant by placing it near a humidifier or misting the leaves.
Yellowing, Mushy Leaves
This is a sign of overwatering and can lead to root rot. If the soil is soggy, it would be wise to repot the plant with potting soil that drains better. While reporting, if you notice that root rot is present, cut away any infected roots. Cut back on watering and only water when the top several inches of the soil feels dry.
Should you mist Monstera subpinnata every day?
This depends on your environment and humidity levels. Monstera subpinnata appreciates medium-to-high humidity levels, so if you keep it in an area with low humidity, you might need to mist the leaves every day. You could also place the plant near a humidifier or in a small greenhouse.
Can Monstera subpinnata grow in direct sunlight?
No. Although it is a tropical plant, it grows under the protection of tree cover and cannot handle direct sunlight, which will burn the leaves. Monstera subpinnata needs plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.
Should I clean Monstera subpinnata leaves?
Cleaning plant leaves is always a good idea, as this will allow them to breathe better and prevent a buildup of dust. Simply wipe them off with a damp cloth to keep them clean and healthy.