Monstera Obliqua Plant Care | Is Your Plant Really An Obliqua?

Monstera Obliqua

Genus Monstera

The Monstera Obliqua is a rare variety of Monstera that is unlikely to be found casually potted up on the office desk or kitchen windowsill. This is an extremely rare plant in the wild and often confused with the more popular houseplant Monstera Adonsonii.

Its leaves are often said to be more hole than leaf and are certainly eye-catching, but growing this plant is definitely not for the faint-hearted and more often reserved for enthusiast Monstera collectors.

They’re rare, expensive and difficult to keep alive! 

  

Quick Guide

Position Bright but indirect sunlight, leaves easily burn

Watering Water infrequently, but mist leaves regularly

Size 6–10 ft. tall (outdoors) but smaller indoors

Climate Not cold hardy. (Minimum 70° F | 21° C)

Propagate Stem stolons, and cuttings

Seasonality Evergreen, winter dormant

Flowers Not seasonal

 It is specifically the Peruvian Monstera Obliqua that is the most highly regarded and photographed variety, with its delicate, lace-like leaves.

Other Obliqua varieties with less leaf fenestration (holes) are native to the Monteverde region of Costa Rica as well as other Central and South American counties including Panama, Nicaragua as well as Peru.

Due to its rarity, a true Monstera Obliqua will command an astronomically high price tag of several thousand dollars, with cases publicized of customers paying $20,000 for large plants. If you search Google looking for an Oblique and it is priced in the $20-$50 range then it is more likely to be Monstera Adansonii.

Monstera Obliqua Vs Adansonii

Monstera Obliqua and Adansonii are remarkably similar for the first few years of growth leading to them often being mistaken one for the other. The differences only become apparent as the plants mature and Monstera Adansonii develops thick leathery leaves in contrast to the slender, paper-thin leaves of Monstera Obliqua.

Monstera Obliqua leaf
Monstera Obliqua
Monstera Adansonii
Monstera Adansonii

Other physical differences show themselves as the plants mature, namely the size difference. Monstera Obliqua is smaller when fully grown and exhibits a much slower growth rate compared to Monstera Adansonii. Obliqua also produces leafless runners known as stolons. These stolons can grow up to 60 feet in length in their natural habitat.

Aside from their price tag and scarcity, Monstera obliqua are notoriously difficult to care for. With delicate leaves that are easily scorched by direct sunlight or prolonged exposure under LED grow lights, as well as requiring a humid environment with moisture levels of 80%.

Exquisitely beautiful as they may be, there are some serious considerations to be pondered before investing in one of these unique and desirable plants. So here’s a rundown of all you need to know about caring for a Monstera Obliqua.

Monstera Obliqua Care

Position

Monstera obliqua prefers bright natural light. Avoid direct sunlight as this will scorch the delicate thin leaves. In their native Central and South American habitat, Monstera Obliqua is accustomed to humidity levels up to 90%, and a dense jungle canopy to shelter them from strong direct sunlight. 

This plant needs moisture and as we have already emphasized a bucket load of humidity. A greenhouse or warm conservatory is a good way of helping to replicate this environment. Alternatively, position in a warm and bright room with high moisture levels such as a kitchen or bathroom. You will also need to avoid fluctuating temperatures such as near radiators or drafty doors.

There are a number of ways to increase humidity levels for your plant:

  1. Mist the leaves regularly to replicate the rain forest atmosphere
  2. Place your plant next to other humidity-loving plants to create a humid micro-environment
  3. Place stones or pebbles in a tray under your plant pot, to allow water to collect and add humidity to the area
  4. Consider investing in a room humidifier

It is widely reported that Monstera Obliqua doesn’t tolerate long periods under artificial grow lights, so if you’re thinking of using a grow light then make sure your plant is positioned away from any direct rays of light. You should aim to give your plant rest periods away from an artificial setting every few days to prevent scorching its leaves.

Height And Spread

A fully mature Monstera Obliqua growing in its natural habitat can reach between 6 to 10 feet tall. When grown indoors, even given the right levels of humidity, plus the right soil conditions, Monstera Obliqua is unlikely to reach such proportions, more like 4 feet.

It is an exceptionally slow grower with modest growth of just 1 or 2 leaves per month throughout the growing season. Each leaf will grow to around 10-25cm in length.

Watering

To replicate the heavy rainfall and intense heat of the rain forest environment a Monstera Obliqua should be watered thoroughly, kept in humid conditions, and then allowed for the soil to become just slightly damp before watering again.

A common mistake made by many plant owners is to assume that you will need to beckon your watering can on a specific day each week. It is more important to be led by the moisture levels in the soil rather than by a regular watering schedule. 

There are many variables that contribute to an effective watering schedule including temperature changes, the amount of light your plant receives each day and whether your plant is in a growing season or in a period of dormancy. Sounds a bit ‘far out’ but plant owners need to be in tune with their plant rather than rely on a calendar, spreadsheet or app to tell them when their plant needs watering, and this is certainly the case with Monstera Obliqua.

Check the moisture level in the soil with a soil moisture measure or by placing your entire finger an inch or two deep into the soil.  Alternatively, prod the soil around the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.  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. 

Yellow leaves on the lower part of the stem and close to the roots are often a signal of overwatering.  It is possible to recover your plant by allowing the soil to dry out before resuming a less frequent watering schedule and also observing the variables mentioned above that all contribute to how much water your plant needs. 

Soil

A Monstera Obliqua has specific soil requirements and needs to be planted in a well-draining peat-based potting mix that is combined with perlite and bark and also rich in nutrients. 

Good quality potting mixes are readily available to purchase online like Monstera Plant Resource Centers purpose-made Potting Soil. You can buy it here on Amazon.com

Most Monstera Obliqua suppliers tend to have their own potting mix formula that they are happy to share with you if you have bought a plant from them. 

monstera potting soil

Flowering

Monstera can flower any month of the year and the Monstera Obliqua will only flower 18 months after germination. However, when it blooms it does so like no other variety of Monstera, typically producing multiple spikes that are clustered together and contain delicate and tiny flowers. Other Monsteras usually produce just two of these signature spikes.

Feeding

A Monstera Obliqua will benefit from the addition of nutrients during its growing season.  A once per month and half-strength liquid fertilizer will be adequate from Spring until the end of the growing season in Autumn. For convenience I like to use Jobe’s fertilizer spikes to give a consistent slow-release feed of 13-5-5, you can find them on Amazon.com here. This plant will not need feeding during the winter dormant period.

Pruning

As your Monstera Obliqua slowly creeps and climbs it may need a little pruning from time to time.  Go easy, this is a slow grower remember! You’ll 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

Since Monstera Obliqua is a slow-growing plant it should not need repotting very often. Indeed, Monstera plants are notoriously stressed by damaged roots when repotted, so try to keep to a minimum and be as gentle as possible if needs must.  Some general guidelines when repotting any Monstera include:

  • Always repot in Summer during the growing season as this is when your plant will be actively growing and will stand the best chances of recovering from any stress. 
  • Repot your Monstera two days after you last watered it.  The damp roots will be softened and this will help them ease away from the edges of the pot and cause them less damage. 
  • Be careful not to pull on the stems of your Monstera plant as these 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. 
  • Remove as much soil as possible from the roots by carefully brushing it away. 
  • While the roots are exposed, take time to thoroughly inspect them, looking for any signs of damage or disease.  You’re looking for roots that are firm to the touch and cream or white in color. 
  • When you repot your Monstera choose a pot or container that is slighter larger than the last and one that 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.
  • Be careful to bury the roots and just enough of the stem for the plant to be stable enough to stand upright. Press the soil around the stem gently but avoid covering it too much. 
  • Use 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. 

Your Monstera may take a few weeks to settle and will need time to adapt to a new, slightly larger environment. The stress of being disrupted will subside and your plant should bounce back before too long when new growth should begin again.

How to Propagate Monstera obliqua

Monstera obliqua propagation

Propagating Monstera Obliqua can be achieved using either the stem or the stolon. Both methods require high levels of humidity in order to be successful.  

Before any propagation can take place, careful consideration must be given to the selection of the stem or stolon cutting.  The stem or stolon needs to be healthy-looking and have 2 or 3 nodes attached to have any level of success in propagation.

These nodes are from where the new roots will appear so it is critical they are in tip top condition and not damaged in any way.   

How to Propagate Monstera obliqua From A Stolon

A Monstera Obliqua will periodically produce side-shoots known as Stolon. They typically grow without any leaves but instead, will intermittently have nodes along the length. 

Once you have identified a healthy stolon you can place a clump of sphagnum moss or potting compost around each node of the stolon.  The plant should be fed and watered as normal and humidity levels are optimized.  Within 4-6 weeks tiny roots should appear from the nodes.

Wait for these roots to attach themselves to the sphagnum moss or potting compost before removing the section of stolon using sterile scissors or a sharp knife.  Gently transfer to a pot containing potting compost and continue to keep humidity levels high while you wait for the roots to develop further and for new growth to begin.

To replicate high levels of humidity you could keep your cutting warm by covering it with a plastic bag to seal in moisture. If you do this remember to remove the bag for a few hours every few days to allow air to circulate.  

You’ll then need to be patient and wait for the first signs of new growth to appear above the soil. This should take 4-6 weeks. Once new growth has appeared, you can remove the plastic bag and begin watering as you would for a Monstera Obliqua plant.

How to Propagate Monstera obliqua from a Stem

Remove a healthy cutting from the main stem using a sterile and sharp pruning knife or pair of scissors and dip the cut end and the nodes in a good quality rooting hormone. 

Place the cutting in a small pot with drainage holes and fill it with potting soil. Position in a bright spot but not in direct sunlight and keep the soil slightly damp. Keep your cutting warm by covering it with a plastic bag to seal in moisture but remember to remove the bag for a few hours every few days to allow air to circulate.  

You’ll then need to be patient and wait for the first signs of new growth to appear above the soil. This should take 4-6 weeks. Once new growth has appeared, you can remove the plastic bag and begin watering as you would for a Monstera Obliqua plant.

Common problems with Monstera obliqua

Root Rot

Root Rot is a common problem for Monstera Obliqua and is caused by roots remaining wet for extended periods of time. To avoid this always use well-draining soil, a container or pot with good-sized drainage holes, and only water your plant when the soil is almost completely dry.   

To check for signs of root rot, you will need to carefully remove your Monstera from the pot or planter.  Since this can cause stress to your plant you should take extra care when removing it.

To avoid excess stress remove your plant from the pot two days after you last watered it.  This will ensure that the roots are softened slightly so that as you lift the plant and soil from the pot it is likely to minimize any root damage.   

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 the soil around the roots away to remove as much soil as possible. Roots that appear brown or black and are soft and mushy will need to be trimmed away using a sterile and sharp knife or pair of scissors. 

After repotting using fresh soil, allow you plant a few weeks to recover before resuming a less frequent watering schedule.

Insect Infestations in Monstera Plants

Monstera Obliqua can be prone to an infestation of a number of common pests. These include whitefly, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. Whilst unsightly and inconvenient these pests are unlikely to be detrimental to the health of your plant provided they are treated promptly.

Firstly, move your plant away from all other plants and check for any signs of infestation on them. 

Using a wet cotton tip or cotton pad, gently dab away as much of the infestation as possible.

Use a household insect spray, neem oil, detergent, or soapy water to wash as much of the remaining infestation away. Repeat regularly until all signs of the infestation have subsided.

Make sure you move your infested plant away from all other plants to avoid further infestation.

Now, here is a run-down of how to identify mealybugs, scale, spider mites and whitefly what to look out for on your plants. 

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are tiny white dots that produce a distinctive cotton-like mass on the plant’s surface. They feed on the plant’s sap by piecing their straw-like mouth into the foliage.

These tiny wingless insects are often a result of the humid and damp conditions in which Monstera Obliqua thrive.  They hide out in crevices and leaf junctions where water can collect. 

Use a damp cotton tip or cotton pad to gently remove as much of the infestation as you can see. Follow this up by using a household insect spray, neem oil, detergent, or soapy water to wash away any remaining infestation.

Repeat regularly until all signs of the infestation have subsided.

Scale

Scale are static shell-like parasites that sit on the underside of the leaves and feed on the plant sap. Infestations lead to the plant looking sick and wilted.

Treat scale in the same way as for mealybugs by using a cotton pad to wipe off as much as possible and then washing the remainder away with a diluted detergent or soapy water.

Spider Mites

These tiny, almost invisible bugs are known for extracting chlorophyll from the leaves of plants. They are typically found on the underside of leaves, along the spine where they cluster in small webs that appear as yellow bumps.

Treat by dabbing the affected area with a cotton pad to remove as much as possible and then wash the remainder away with a diluted detergent or soapy water.

Whitefly

These are winged insects that are soft bodies and closely related to mealybugs.  These tiny pests are triangular in shape and are found clustered together on the underside of leaves. 

They are easily spotted as they tend to be most active during the daytime and disburse quickly when disturbed. 

They use their mouthparts to pierce plants and then extract moisture.  They are then able to produce a sticky substance known as honeydew. This honeydew will cause fungal diseases to form on the leaves of your plant if unattended.

In time and if left untreated, plants will quickly wilt, turn pale, stop growing, and eventually leaves may shrivel and drop off the plant. 

Treat them by thoroughly spraying all affected areas of your plant with a powerful spray bottle. 

Follow this up by using a household insect spray, neem oil, detergent, or soapy water to wash away any remaining infestation. Repeat until the infestation has cleared. 

Over Exposure to light or direct sunlight

Monstera Obliqua needs a bright and naturally lit position that is away from direct sunlight.  If leaves become curled and brown on the edges, this could indicate that your plant is sunburnt.  It is impossible to recover leaves that have been scorched.  They will need to be removed and the plant repositioned to a position with softer lighting. 

Low Humidity

Leaves that appear yellow or brown at the tip may not be exposed to high enough levels of humidity.  If spotted early and corrected, a Monstera Obliqua can still recover by increasing humidity levels up to 80 to 90% and misting the leaves of your plant regularly. 


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