Monstera Subpinnata: Plant Care & Growing Guide

Monstera Subpinnata

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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 6 feet, with each leaf growing to about 12 inches in length. Whether kept inside or outside, 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
Family Araceae
Plant Type Vine
Mature Size 30 ft. tall (outdoors), 6 ft. tall (indoors), 3 ft. wide (outdoors), 3 ft. wide (indoors)
Sun Exposure Full, Partial
Soil Type Loamy, Well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, Neutral
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Yellow, White
Hardiness Zones 9-11, USA
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 as 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 to be alert to include aphids, scale, mealybugs, spider mites, leaf spot, and root rot.  

Light

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. 

Soil

Monstera subpinnata are found growing up trees and other structures. They require an airy, light soil mixture to ensure that the roots get enough aeration and that they do not become soggy. Use a mix of potting soil, orchid bark, and perlite to ensure the plant can breathe.  

Water

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. Simply check the soil with your finger 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 may 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.  

Fertilizer

Like most plants, the Monstera subpinnata does well when given fertilizer monthly during the spring and summer. They respond well to balanced, liquid fertilizer given at half strength. Withhold fertilizer throughout fall and winter, since the plant will not be growing as much. 

Pruning 

Pruning is not required to keep a healthy Monstera subpinnata. However, you may wish to prune the plant if it outgrows its given space, especially when kept 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 means of 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. Then follow these instructions. 

  1. Cut a vine that is around 5 to 6 inches long, snipping below a node. 
  2. Remove the leaves from half of the cutting. Leave 2 or 3 leaves intact. 
  3. Dip the cut end into the rooting hormone. Shake away excess rooting hormone. 
  4. Poke a hole into the damp, well-draining soil. Then slide the cutting into the hole and firmly press it in place. 
  5. Place the plastic bag over the cutting to keep the humidity in. Be sure the bag does not touch the cutting by propping it up with sticks. 
  6. Place the cutting in a warm area that gets bright, indirect lighting. 
  7. Keep the soil moist and air out the bag daily. Roots should form in 3 to 6 weeks. Remove the bag when roots appear.

Alternatively, you can start a cutting in water. Simply place the cutting into a jar of water rather than in dirt. Place it in bright, indirect lighting and change the water every few days. Be sure the water does not submerge any leaves. Roots should form in a few weeks, at which point you can transplant into 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 good drainage holes. Pots are made of various materials, but one made from a breathable 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. 

Overwintering

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 outside 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 that it is protected 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 kept indoors or in other areas it is not native to. Let’s take a look at what to watch out for. 

Curling Leaves and Dry, Brown Edges

If these signs are present, the leaves may 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 may 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, you may wish to repot the plant with better draining soil. 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.  

FAQ
  • Should you mist Monstera subpinnata every day?

    This depends on your environment and humidity levels. The Monstera subpinnata appreciates medium-to-high humidity levels, so if you have it in an area with low humidity, you may 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, as it will burn the leaves. Monstera subpinnata needs plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. 

  • Should I wipe 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.