What’s The Difference Between Monstera And Philodendron

Nearly 500 different species of Philodendron exist, each with a unique appearance. Because of this, it can be challenging to identify a Philodendron plant in a way that “fits all.” But the name itself has one hint.

What’s in a Name?

The word “philodendron” is Greek in origin. Combining the words “philo,” which means “love,” and “dendron,” which means “tree,” creates this term. Philodendrons enjoy climbing trees to reach the top canopy, where they have better access to light, using their aerial roots. These aerial roots can grow on even kinds that don’t appear to be climbers, as the Philodendron Prince of Orange.

Falling Cataphylls

Although philodendron leaves vary in a variety of sizes and forms, they always share cataphyll. This is a tiny, modified leaf that guards the developing new leaves.

When the leaves develop, this cataphyll will fall off in the case of vining Philodendrons like Philodendron micans or the heartleaf Philodendron. The cataphyll on some types, particularly epiphytic Philodendrons, dries out but stays on the plant like a Monstera.

Philodendron Varieties That Look Like Monstera

Given the diversity of species, it is only expected that some will exhibit characteristics that are more frequently seen in Monsteras.

These repeat offenders are listed:

  • It can be very simple to confuse split-leaf philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum), which is frequently sold under the name Monstera deliciosa. The two differ in terms of the size and shape of the leaves. The philodendron has smaller, divided leaves as opposed to fenestrated leaves. In contrast to Monstera leaves, which are round and heart-shaped, they also resemble feathers.
  • Philodendron minima is a challenging plant to grow. It is frequently identified in the plant trade under names like “mini monstera” because of its oval-shaped, split leaves that resemble those of a Monstera. But it’s neither a Monstera nor a Philodendron with holes. It is a member of the Rhaphidophora genus and is known by the scientific name Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.

Are philodendron and monstera the same thing?

Actually belonging to a distinct plant family, monsteras are cultivated for their fruit in Mexico and Costa Rica. The enormous, tasty fruit that they produce gives the plant its name, Monstera deliciosa. Their leaves grow enormously, so the term “monster fruit, and can be rather spectacular, with almost-white variegation patterns.

The same family as pothos includes trailing vines called philodendrons. Actually, philodendron’s translation is “love tree, possibly due to their leaves’ heart-shaped design. Their leaves develop much more like a pothos and never become as large as monstera leaves.

And this is when it becomes complicated. There are two actual split-leaf philodendron species, however they don’t have as as striking of leaves as the monstera deliciosa.

Is a Monstera a Philodendron?

No! A philodendron is more closely linked to the pothos, the most popular houseplant in the world, even though they both belong to the same broader family. The peace lily and monsteras are more linked to one another.

Philodendrons make excellent hanging plants since they are somewhat simpler to grow and trail down from their containers like vines. Variegated types of them are easier to grow, more widely available, and less expensive.

Monsteras don’t grow well as hanging plants and require a little more light than philodendrons, at least if you want the dramatic split-leaf pattern on their leaves. In fact, a monstera that lacks adequate light and loses its divided leaves resembles a philodendron quite a bit.

Monstera vs. Split-Leaf Philodendron: Which Should I Buy?

I’m a huge fan of indoor plants, so both! Each houseplant enthusiast should have both in their collection, along with your fiddle leaf fig and ferns, as they are actually quite different. Put your philodendron in a hanging container next to a pothos in a dimly lit area. It will flourish in practically any situation and slowly enlarge like a vine.

Place your monstera in more light and watch out for over-watering. (Read our comprehensive guide to watering monsteras here.)

Watch out for signs of leaf drop, yellowing, or losing the split-leaf pattern on its leaves. Give your plant additional light if you notice these issues. (Click here to view the Monstera Leaf Care Ultimate Guide.)

No matter which houseplant you decide to buy—a monstera, a philodendron, or both—make sure to give it enough of sunlight, not too much water, and weekly attention.

A philodendron or a monstera?

Millennials’ love of houseplants has been reignited through social media. One plant in particular has achieved fame—at least on Instagram. Huge, glossy, dark green leaves with intriguing perforations that don’t even suggest carelessness quickly bring to mind a tropical rainforest. It’s a delicious Monstera plant. Or is it a philodendron with split leaves?

The tropical monstera, as it is commonly known, is a native of Mexico and is mostly valued for its fruit (hence the scientific name). However, it also does well as a houseplant: It can grow remarkably big, tolerates moderate levels of sunlight, and doesn’t require much water.

This plant has several different names, some of which refer to its attractive foliage and others to its excellent fruit (“fruit salad plant” and “monster fruit”). If the conditions are right, those leaves grow holes. One monstrous term for the holes is “Swiss cheese plant.” Split-leaf philodendron is an additional.

If you enjoy gardening, you’re probably already familiar with several of the flowering plants of the philodendron genus, such as the peace lily. Technically speaking, the monstera isn’t even a philodendron.

The arum family, a much bigger group of plants that also contains the perennially well-liked pothos, one of the nicest and simplest houseplants in the world, comprises both monstera and true philodendrons. The requirements for water, light, and climate are identical among all of these plants, and they all contain calcium oxalate, which makes them poisonous to both people and animals. Numerous of these plants feature unusually shaped leaves, such as those with lacy fingers, wide lobes, heart-shaped leaves, or vivid pink veins. Even though the monstera isn’t a philodendron, it undoubtedly behaves and looks like one.

This is where things become challenging. The names split-leaf philodendron refer to two actual philodendron species, Philodendron bipinnatifidum and Philodendron selloum. Despite being wholly different species from monstera, these two plants sometimes share the same moniker. It’s no wonder we’re perplexed!

It might be difficult to name plants because they can have completely different names depending on where you are or who is describing them. Even the names of common plants can vary by generation and locale. You should probably start reviewing your Latin names!

Is the Swiss cheese plant a philodendron or a monstera?

Monstera deliciosa, also known as the split-leaf philodendron, Swiss cheese plant, or windowleaf, is a tropical plant that is native to the rainforests of Central America, ranging from southern Mexico to Panama. It is frequently grown as a foliage houseplant. In England, it was first put into cultivation in 1752. It is the only aroid that is planted both for adornment and for fruit. Despite having the same family name as the genus Philodendron, which it was previously assigned to, it is not a member of that genus despite having the same common name (Araceae). It has glossy, leathery leaves with spherical or heart-shaped shapes that age into deep clefts and oblong holes. The leaves, which are mounted on foot-long leafstalks, can be up to 18 broad. The leaves of the cultivars “Variegata” and “Albovariegata” are variegated and typically somewhat smaller than those of the species.

This plant is actually an epiphytic vine that climbs or trails through the rainforest canopy and is an evergreen liana in nature. It rarely branches and can reach heights of up to 70 feet. The rough, cylinder, 21/2–3-inch stems are covered in leaf scars.

As it climbs, it develops numerous, long aerial roots that resemble tentacles and adhere to adjacent branches and tree trunks. The thick stem produces robust roots that grow downward and take root if they come in contact with the earth.

Young plants have a drastically diverse appearance. Until they come across a tree, seedlings move in the direction of the darkest area and then move higher. The leaves, which are small and devoid of lobes or holes, develop in a stage known as “shingle plants” as they grow closely atop one another up the tree trunk. As they become older, they start to get the adult plant’s distinctive leaf. Theoretically, the fenestrations (holes in the leaves) are a technique to prevent severe winds from shredding the huge leaves.

The flowers are a sort of Jack-in-the-pulpit that are 8–12 long, creamy–white, and hardly ever seen on houseplants. The boat-shaped spathe is positioned all around the fleshy upright spike (spadix) that has small flowers on it. The fruit takes just over a year to fully develop, growing into a nine-cone structure that resembles a green cob of corn with hexagonal kernels. The edible fruits, also known as cerimans or monsteras, are rich in potassium and Vitamin C and are said to taste like a blend of banana, pineapple, and mango. They can be eaten fresh or used to flavor ice cream and beverages. Ripening occurs across the entire fruit. The off-white, custard-like pulp beneath the thick, hard rind of hexagonal plates or “scales covering the separate segments is sliced away from the inedible core to be eaten. Normally, there are no seeds, but occasionally, certain segments may contain firm, pale-green seeds the size of large peas.

All portions of the plant—aside from the ripe fruits—are deadly because it contains oxalic acid. Young fruit with the covering still firmly on carries enough calcium oxalate crystals that resemble glass to irritate the throat immediately and excruciatingly.

Split-leaf philodendron thrives in bright light in the summer and direct sunlight in the winter as indoor plants. It can grow under fluorescent lighting, but insufficient light prevents the development of the leaf perforations. Once acclimated, it can tolerate a wide range of environments but prefers a warm ambient temperature and medium to high humidity. However, below 50°F, plants cannot develop, and frost will cause their death.

Grow split-leaf philodendrons in a rich soil mixture with lots of root space to encourage the development of larger leaves. They have a tendency to grow quickly, thus support is necessary to prevent the stems from breaking. Give the aerial roots something to cling to, such as tree bark or a sturdy, moss-covered support inserted into the container. It will work nicely to wrap sphagnum moss around a wooden slat and fasten it with monofilament fishing line or nylon thread. Be sure to water the moss-covered support as well so the aerial roots may get water and nutrients. Water thoroughly and let the soil dry out a little between applications. If the growing media is overly wet, the leaves will begin to “sweat.” Reduce watering to avoid root rot if this occurs.

Plants cultivated in a dry environment will grow more slowly. Winter means less water. Regularly fertilize from spring to fall. If the humidity is too low, the leaf edges will become brown. Periodically wipe the leaves to remove dust. There aren’t many indoor pests for this plant, although it could get aphid, mealybug, scale, or spider mite infestations.

Plants growing in containers must be often replanted to make room for the root system. For the summer, they can be put outside, but they must gradually become used to the increased light levels to avoid becoming sunburned.

You can propagate at any time of the year using stem cuttings from mature plants, air layering, or straightforward layering. Just below an aerial root, trim the stem tip, then pot the cutting. If you want to grow more plants, cut the vine into 1-foot sections, bury them halfway in a bed of rooting medium (such a combination of leafmold and sand), and transfer them after their roots have taken hold. Plants can be grown from seeds, but seedlings grow slowly and need warm temperatures.

Why are monsteras such a favorite?

One of the most well-liked indoor plants in the world, Monstera deliciosa grows quickly and requires little maintenance. Variegated forms of this plant can fetch prices in the hundreds of dollars, and its striking, punctured leaves are frequently seen on everything from posters to pillow slips.

Monstera uses aerial roots to climb trees in the Central American jungle where it lives in order to reach the forest canopy. Josh Gray and Clare Keleher Gray’s ability to climb signifies a change in their surroundings. The duo works in a crucial koala habitat in the hinterland of the Gold Coast.

“According to Gray, who works for Envite, an organization that promotes ecological restoration, invasive weeds are the second biggest threat to our biosphere after land destruction.

Small roots and rapid development enable the Australian giants Toona ciliata (Australian red cedar), Eucalyptus grandis (flooded gum), and Eucalyptus tereticornis to be reached by Monstera (forest red gum). Koalas and other animals primarily eat from these trees. “Koalas cannot obtain food when a tree is completely covered in something that has the potential to change the environment, such as monstera, according to Gray.

Keleher Gray, a bush regenerator, observes the connection between pests and potted plants on the sites where she works. “I work with individual landowners that want to promote the regrowth of natural vegetation. They aim for more than just aesthetic beauty in their gardens. They want them to serve as wildlife habitats.

Her methods of management include painting vines with pesticide and scraping the roots of vines “With monstera, there is a problem with the climbing vines’ small size and aerial roots. Their small leaves make it difficult to treat them without also damaging the host tree.

Fortunately, monstera infestations are still regarded as localized events for the time being.

What distinguishes a Monstera from a split leaf?

The split leaf philodendron and Monstera’s leaves differ mostly in size, shape, and the type of splits they develop. The splits on philodendron leaves extend to the edge of each leaf, however on Monstera leaves, they do not. Monstera leaves are also rounder than philodendron leaves, which resemble more feathers.

Below are some more specifics on how they differ from one another:

  • their leaf size and shape Both plants have what appear to be holes in their leaves, yet the actual leaves differ greatly from one another. In other words, the Monstera’s leaves are more heart-shaped. However, compared to Monstera, the split-leaf philodendron tends to have rounder, smaller leaves.
  • many hole types
  • The distinctive holes that appear when your Monstera leaves split are known as “fenestration,” and they don’t typically reach the leaf’s edge (although they can when the holes get big enough as the plant matures and its leaves grow). The philodendron, on the other hand, also contains gaps in its leaves, but these are invariably complete splits that extend all the way to the edges.
  • Origin
  • The 70-foot-tall Monstera deliciosa is native to tropical regions like Mexico and Central America. In their natural environment, the vines encircle the tree trunks. On the other hand, the split-leaf philodendron grows without clinging to anything.
  • fruit is produced
  • This plant can yield the tasty edible Monstera deliciosa fruit, but the rest of it is poisonous. The fruit is usually only visible when Monstera grows naturally. Fruit is not produced by philodendrons with broken leaves.
  • FlowersA Monstera deliciosa develops a cluster of flowers in the wild that are encased and shielded by a spathe that resembles a boat. The blossoms eventually turn into fruit. The split-leaf philodendron is incapable of producing fruit, although still being stunning.
  • Oxalic acid, which is harmful, is present in all parts of the Monstera deliciosa plant, including the unripe fruit. On the other hand, the split-leaf philodendron contains the toxin calcium oxalate, which can be harmful to handle or even ingest. Given that both the split leaf and the Monstera are harmful to cats, dogs, other pets, and children, one similarity between the split leaf philodendron and the Monstera is that both plants should be kept aside from pets or children.