Monstera Epipremnoides Care | Monstera Esqueleto

Monstera Epipremnoides

Monstera Epipremnoides

Monstera Esqueleto

Monstera Epipremnoides is a rare, tropical plant from the Araceae family of plants. It is easily identifiable as belonging to the Monstera genus due to its lobed leaves.

What distinguishes this exquisite plant from other Monsteras is the size and fenestrations of the leaves. They can measure as much as 50cm long and 35cm wide.

It’s not only the size of the leaves that set this beauty apart from its most closely related cousin Monstera Adansonii. Its leaves also feature deep incisions and spherical holes starting at the center of the leaf and continuing to the edges.

  

If you have been fortunate to see a Monstera Epipremnoides plant for yourself you’ll know it is a sight to behold. And a rare one at that! So much so, there is currently much debate about whether the cultivated Monstera Epipremnoides is the same as that found in its natural habitat.

Also called Monstera Esqueleto it grows in the central region of Costa Rica in the cloud forests of Monteverde that sit between 1300 – 1800 meters above sea level. This particular region is mountainous with an annual rainfall of approximately 118 inches and a dry season that lasts from March to December.

Quick Guide

Position Bright spot without direct sunlight

Watering Keep soil slightly moist & mist leaves regularly

Size Leaves: 50cm x 35cm (smaller indoors)

Climate Not cold hardy. Zone 10-12 (Min 64° F | 18° C)

Propagate Stem cuttings

Seasonality Evergreen, winter dormant

Toxicity Toxic to cats and dogs

Monstera Epipremnoides Care

Unsurprisingly, a Monstera Epipremnoides plant is quite particular about where it grows and therefore has quite specific care needs as far as an indoor plant goes. Read on to hear about my top tips and expert advice if you want Monstera Epipremnoides to thrive in your home.

Position

Monstera Epipremnoides is accustomed to the mountainous regions of Costa Rica where for a large part of the year early mornings bring murky mist and high levels of moisture and afternoons are intensely hot and humid.

These plants grow happily surrounded by the dappled shade of other tropical foliage so are used to long periods with just indirect sunlight as their major source of energy.

To do well as a houseplant this plant will benefit from a bright spot that can offer the less intense warmth of morning sun and somewhere that is away from any direct and intense afternoon sunlight. An east-facing spot for those living in the northern hemisphere is ideal. Too much sunlight or overexposure will damage its delicate leaves.

To achieve the high levels of humidity that Monstera Epipremnoides needs, a great position would be in a greenhouse or warm conservatory. Since I have neither a greenhouse nor a conservatory, I position my monstera plants in my bathroom but away from the draft of the window. A kitchen or a bathroom can provide increased levels of humidity as typically they tend to be warm compared to other areas of a home, just be sure that wherever you position yours, there is ample light from a large-sized window.

There are a number of other ways to increase humidity levels for your plant, these include:

  • Misting the leaves regularly
  • Placing next to other humidity-loving plants
  • Putting stones or pebbles in a tray under your plant pot, to allow water to collect and add humidity as it evaporates
  • Invest in a room humidifier

Height & Spread

Possibly one of the most impressive features of Monstera Epipremnoides is the size of its leaves.  They can measure an impressive 50cm in length and 35cm in width when observed in their native Costa Rica.

With each stem measuring between 2-3 cm in diameter, it is no wonder how those that have seen them in nature are captivated by their beauty and skeptical about the true origins of the cultivated varieties.

Unsurprisingly, when Monstera Epipremnoides is grown as a houseplant, they do not reach such staggering sizes. 

Like all other Monstera plants, Monstera Epipremnoides is a climber and will do well if allowed to creep and climb against a moss pole or trellis. Indeed, this also provides an opportunity to showcase leaves in an impressive display.

Watering

Monstera Epipremnoides need to be watered and misted frequently to mimic the mist-drenched, tropical climate of the cloud forests of Costa Rica. With that being said, it is important to understand the difference between regular watering and frequent watering as the two are quite different. 

Rather than watering your Monstera in a set day or days each week, it is far better to be led by the moisture levels in the soil. So rather than just reaching for your watering can each Saturday morning, use a soil moisture measure or place your finger a few inches into the soil. 

If the soil is dry on the surface and slightly damp when your finger is fully immersed in the soil, then it is time to water your plant.  If the soil is damp or bordering on soggy below the surface, wait a few days before checking the moisture levels again and giving yourself the green light to water. 

When it is time to water your Monstera, place the plant pot in a sink and use a long-spouted watering can to direct water towards the soil of your plant.  Allow water to seep through the drainage holes freely. Return to an ornamental container or drip tray once the water has stopped dripping from drainage holes. Do not allow excess water to collect for long periods in the drip tray or container.

Other factors to get right and that is just as important as the frequency and amount of water needed in allowing this plant to thrive, are intense levels of humidity and well-draining soil. Both of these factors will allow moisture in the soil to evaporate so that enough oxygen can reach the roots in between watering. Let’s now look at the right soil type for Monstera Epipremnoides now.

Soil

In its native environment, Monstera Epipremnoides grows in soil that is rich in nutrients and is also well-draining. Avoid any soil that retains moisture for any length of time as these plants will not tolerate damp roots. Indeed, long periods exposed to damp soil will just lead to irreversible damage to the roots of your Monstera.

A peat-based potting mix combined with perlite or charcoal, bark, and composted animal matter will help to provide both a quick-draining environment and one that is filled with nutrients.  

There are some really good quality, well-draining potting mixes readily available to purchase online. My personal favorite is a purpose-made Potting Soil from Monstera Plant Resource Center and it is available to buy from Amazon.com by clicking this link.

To increase the well-draining element required for these plants, always make sure that you plant your Monstera Epipremnoides in a pot that has good-sized drainage holes. 

How to fertilize Monstera Epipremnoides

Feeding a Monstera Epipremnoides will provide a beneficial boost of nutrients but be warned that too much can lead to a build-up of fertilizer in the soil and can cause root or leaf burn.

To avoid damaging your Monstera use a half-strength liquid fertilizer once per month or a slow-release granular fertilizer that will get to work straight away and will keep working for up to six months.

More often I am using fertilizer spikes as they are just so much more convenient. Okay, they are more expensive in the long run, but once I push two spikes into the potting soil, I just water over the top of them and that’s it!

I have found Jobes fertilizer spikes to be the best value and performance overall. You can find Jobes fertilizer spike on Amazon here.

jobes houseplant fertilizer spikes

Pruning

As a Monstera Epipremnoides is allowed to slowly creep and climb it may need to be pruned from time to time.  Go easy because this is a slow grower and leaves take time to mature fully. At best, you will only need to trim away any damaged, yellow or dead foliage. 

Always, use a sterile and sharp pruning knife or pair of scissors and cut as close to the main stem as possible.

Repotting

Monstera Epipremnoides is a slow-growing plant and so should only need to be repotted occasionally. Monstera plants are well-known for suffering a degree of stress after they have been repotted because it is so easy to damage their roots. With that in mind try to keep repotting of Monstera plants to a minimum and be as gentle as possible if needs must.  Here are some general guidelines in the best way to do it:

  • Repot during the growing season. A Monstera that is actively growing will stand the best chances of recovering from any stress. 
  • Water your Monstera and then wait two days before repotting it. Damp roots will be softened and will be easier to remove from the edges of the pot. This will help to prevent root damage. 
  • Don’t pull on the stems of your Monstera plant because they can become easily damaged. Instead, tip the pot on its side and loosen the soil around the edges of the pot with your finger.  This will make it easier to slide the plant from the pot or container. 
  • Brush away as much soil as possible from the roots. Use a soft brush or your fingers to do this and avoid damaging roots.
  • While the roots are exposed, have a good look for any signs of damage or disease.  You want roots that are firm to the touch and cream or white in color rather than brown and mushy. 
  • When you repot your Monstera choose a pot or container that is slighter larger than the last and also has good-sized drainage holes.  Clay or terracotta are great at helping to draw moisture away from the soil and will help further with drainage.
  • Bury roots and just enough of the stem for the plant to be stable enough to stand upright. Press the soil up and around the stem to help with support. 
  • Always replace the soil with fresh well-draining potting soil and do not fertilize your Monstera for at least 4 months once you have re-planted it.  Fresh soil will already contain a healthy dose of nutrients and any more may be too much for your plant to absorb. 

Expect your Monstera to take a few weeks to recover and settle back into a slightly larger environment. The stress of being disrupted will subside and Your plant should bounce back once the stress of being disrupted has subsided and you’ll begin to see new growth within a month or so.

How to Propagate Monstera Epipremnoides

The best way of propagating Monstera plants is either in soil or in water and for either method you will need a healthy stem cutting.

To select a healthy-looking stem look for one that has 2 or 3 nodes and is lush and green, and free from any damage or discoloration.  Take the stem between your thumb and forefinger and gently hold it away from the main stem. Use a sterile and sharp knife or pair of scissors to remove the cutting and sure you get as close to the stem as possible.

If you choose to propagate your stem cutting in water use either a propagation station or jar. Fill it with water and place your cutting inside. Remember to change the water frequently. You’ll need to position it in a bright spot but not in direct sunlight.

When propagating in the soil dip the stem cutting into some good quality rooting hormone and then place it into a small pot of well-draining potting mix.

My preference is to propagate in water simply because being able to see the root growth is more fun than guessing what might be happening below the soil.

Whatever method you choose, be patient. The beginning of new roots and shoots may take 6-8 weeks.

Common problems with Monstera Epipremnoides

Like many Monstera houseplants, Monstera Epipremnoides can be sensitive to over watering. This can be caused by a number of factors including:

  • Watering too often and not allowing the soil to dry sufficiently before watering again
  • Not using well-draining soil
  • Not using a pot or container with good-sized drainage holes
  • Allowing your plant to sit in water for too long and not allowing excess water to run off.

Common symptoms of overwatering include yellow leaves and/or root rot. Clearly, yellow leaves are easier to spot and when this occurs, you’ll need to adjust the amount of water and make sure you are adhering to the points above. If symptoms persist, however, you’ll need to investigate further by examining the roots.

To do this carefully and cautiously remove the plant from the pot or planter. The best way to do this is to wait for two days after you have watered your plant and then lift it out of the pot. This will ensure that roots are softened and will come away easier from the edges of the pot. Tip the pot on its side rather than pulling at stems and loosen the soil around the edges of the pot with your fingers as you ease it out.

Once out of the pot remove the soil that remains around the roots with your fingers or a soft brush and then have a thorough inspection of the roots. Roots that appear brown or black and are soft and mushy are diseased and all traces will need to be trimmed away using a sterile and sharp knife or pair of scissors. 

Once you have removed all areas of the root that are diseased and you are left with just white or cream and firm roots, you are ready to repot. Always use fresh potting soil and a clean pot with good-sized drainage holes. For the finishing touches, why not invest in an ornamental pot or planter to really showcase your Monstera Epipremnoides?

Give your plant a few weeks to recover before resuming a less frequent watering schedule.