Monstera Obliqua: What You Need to Know?
Monkey Mask Monstera
Monstera Obliqua are close in appearance to Monstera Adansonii. They grow similarly-shaped holes inside the leaves, and the leaves themselves are narrow rather than oval or arrow-shaped.
Differences between the two are subtle but important: the leaves of the Obliqua are paper-thin and will be more hole than a leaf; the Adansonii is usually more leaf than a hole and is subtly textured to the touch.
World expert on Monstera, Dr Thomas B. Croat claims there have only been seventeen sightings of the Obliqua in the wild, and many of these have since been called into question. To wishful Obliqua owners, he says ‘trust me, as much as I want this to be true, you do not have a Monstera Obliqua. It’s a botanical unicorn.’
How Do You Identify A Monstera Plant?
You’re probably familiar with the Swiss Cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), the most common of the Monstera genus. Bloombox Club’s speciality is the Monstera Adansonii (or Monkey Mask), harder to find than the Swiss Cheese, with holes inside the leaves as opposed to leaf splits along the perimeter.
Recently, controversy has arisen over whether the incredibly rare Monstera Obliqua, which pop up from time to time in-plant shops, are genuine. From what we have learned about these plants so far, it would be quite surprising for them to be popping up in commercial stores.
If it became a really serious issue of fraud, genetic testing might have to take place to determine whether or not they were genuine.
Monstera Obliqua Vs. Monstera Adansonii
One issue is that, in infancy, it can be tricky to tell the difference between Obliqua and Adansonii. As they grow, their differences from one another will become apparent but this could mean months or years of uncertainty.
Secondly, plants are organic matter: no two are the same, and they may subtlety mutate or hybridise. Keen to believe that they’re in possession of an Obliqua, suggests Dr Croat, that growers, botanists, and plant retailers alike will mislabel Monstera Adansonii that don’t look quite like the norm.
We have personally received three batches of Monkey Masks, each from different growers. The first came with a hanger, simply titled ‘Monkey Mask,’ the second under the name Adansonii and the third came with printed ‘Monstera Obliqua’ labels stuck resolutely in each pot.
We put them side by side and looked at the differences. Certainly, the larger hanging Monkey Mask had wider leaves than the other two, and the labelled Adansonii had fewer holes than the so-called Obliqua. Touch-testing split the team, with some refuting significant difference and others convinced the Adansonii was thicker and rougher.
On this occasion, we’ve decided to label all of the non-hanging Monstera as Adansonii, but we’ll leave the Obliqua labels in and let you decide whether you’ve got something extra special.
Caring for Monstera Obliqua: Basic Guidelines
Do you need to be a veteran plant parent to care for a Monstera Obliqua? Well, we think it’s best to leave it to more seasoned gardeners. Because of its rarity, you wouldn’t want your Monstera Obliqua to simply wilt away and die - you have to know what to do!
The Monstera Obliqua does not need frequent watering. You do need to have a keen eye, though. Dehydrated Monstera Obliquas will often turn brownish-yellow. Overwatering, however, will cause leaves to turn yellow and have collapsed stems.
The Monstera Obliqua also likes bright natural light, but not in direct sunlight. It also prefers high humidity as it is a tropical plant. The ideal temperature is between 16°C and 20°C. The Monstera Obliqua may suffer during the winter season. Make sure the temp doesn’t get too cold!
As for food, the Monstera Obliqua doesn’t need much. It is a slow grower. It only needs fertiliser during the growing season.
Monstera Plant Alternatives
If caring for a rare plant looks daunting to you, don’t worry! The monstera plant is part of the Araceae family, and Bloombox Club has a few more members under them. Here are three plants you might want to check out.
The Syngonium podophyllum 'Pixie' is known by many names. It is also called the dwarf arrowhead vine, butterfly plant, or goosefoot plant. They require similar, but not as difficult, care as the Monstera plant. This is a great plant to start off with before getting into more rare plants under the Araceae family.
Anthurium 'Jungle King'
Another tropical beauty, this plant adapts well to indoor environments. Its got beautiful large leaves and can be the focal point in any indoor garden. A unique feature of this plant is its protruding roots!
Another member of the Araceae plant family that has big, beautiful leaves is the Philodendron Squamiferum. You can let this plant’s leaves hang or let it climb! This particular plant from Bloombox Club comes with a bamboo frame so that you can teach it to climb up.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I provide my Monstera Obliqua with the best care at home?
While its plant care seems basic on paper, it seems that the Monstera Obliqua benefits from routine. It needs a certain temperature and specific humidity level (we discussed this earlier!) to stay happy and needs pruning so that it can stay healthy.
Feeding and light requirements are also important to take note of! Listen to what your Monstera Obliqua is telling you and watch for visible signs of disease.
Why is my Monstera Obliqua growing so slowly?
The Monstera Obliqua is naturally a slow grower, so don’t let that deter you from getting one! A little bit of fertiliser during the growing season (use small amounts of mild fertiliser) may help it grow a bit faster. If you skip the fertiliser, it may grow slower than usual.
Why are Monstera Obliqua plants so pricey?
That’s mainly because of their rarity. Supply and demand! You won’t find Monstera Obliquas as often as you would other plants. That’s why their price tags are often higher.
At Bloombox Club, we have some ways you could save your hard-earned money. We offer you the choice to skip the decorative pot and just get your plant in a standard grow pot at no additional cost.
Why does my Monstera have brown spots?
Brown spots might indicate that your Monstera is getting too much water! Brown spots could also indicate root rot, which Monstera plants (especially the Monstera Obliqua) are susceptible to.
What do yellowing leaves on my Monstera mean?
This is quite tricky. Yellow leaves could mean one of many things. Overwatering can cause yellowing of leaves as well as underwatering. You can find out what the problem is by checking if the soil is dry or soggy! Yellowing leaves could also indicate problems with temperature. As we said, this plant needs a specific temperature to stay happy.