The violin-shaped glossy leaves of the fiddle leaf fig or the heart-shaped split leaf philodendron? House plants come in beautiful varieties, but these two plants have won the battle of winning the hearts of all plant lovers.
The fiddle fig and monstera plant is everywhere! On magazine covers, creative photography, and Pinterest boards. So it is time to decorate your indoor spaces with these trendy plants.
Whether you are replacing your sculptural fiddle leaf fig with the tropical Swiss cheese plant or vice versa, it is important to understand the differences and similarities between the two plants.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Origin
Ficus lyrata, commonly known as fiddle leaf fig, is a tropical tree with evergreen leaves native to western Africa. This plant species belong to the fig and mulberry family Moraceae and grows in lowland tropical rainforests.
Fiddle leaf fig takes its name from fiddles, as the giant green leaves have a characteristic violin shape. The leaves are heavily veined, upright, glossy, and alternately arranged on sleek trunks.
These plants can grow up to 10 ft. indoors, but if you don’t have a green thumb, then the fiddle leaf fig will give you a hard time due to its temperamental nature.
The fiddle-leaf fig is an extremely sensitive plant and expresses dramatic reactions to small environmental changes. However, with special attention, you can grow healthy plants with stunning foliage.
Monstera Deliciosa Origin
Monstera deliciosa, a split-leaf philodendron commonly known as the Swiss cheese plant, belongs to the family Araceae.
This plant is native to southern Mexico, growing in tropical forests in a humid and warm environment.
This climbing vine with evergreen leaves is famous for its trendy leaf holes, known as fenestrations. The heart-shaped glossy leaves add a striking dimension to any room.
Monstera deliciosa, which means delicious monster, are ideal indoor plants and requires little maintenance for the growth of healthy plants.
With indirect light, suitable watering, and proper soil, Swiss cheese plants can grow up to 15 feet tall indoors.
Fiddle Leaf Fig vs Monstera Deliciosa: Differences
A fiddle leaf fig combo pack with monstera deliciosa seems like an exciting purchase. But before you click that “buy” button, understand that these house plants sometimes differ in their care requirements.
Fiddle leaf fig prefers loamy, well-draining soil that retains medium moisture.
Fiddle leaf fig is very sensitive to its soil pH, which means that any addition that can drive the soil’s pH towards acidic is beyond your plant’s suitable growing conditions.
The fiddle leaf fig favors a soil pH between 6 and 7 for healthy growth.
Monstera grows well in soil with slightly acidic to neutral pH. A pH level between 5.5 and 7.0 is ideal for optimum growth.
Monstera deliciosa loves a well-draining, peat-based potting soil; lightly moist and fast-draining.
These plants can also tolerate heavy clay or light sandy soils when growing outdoors.
Other Available Varieties
Ficus lyrata is the common fiddle leaf fig. But there are many cultivars available, such as:
- Ficus lyrata ‘Compacta’: A smaller variety with bunched, smaller and glossier leaves
- Ficus lyrata ‘Bambino’: This is a dwarf variety of the fiddle leaf fig
- Ficus lyrata ‘Variegata’: A beautiful variegated fiddle leaf fig.
Monstera deliciosa has made its mark as the most popular indoor plant, but other varieties in the Monstera genus are equally stunning.
- Monstera variegata: A beautiful color variation that boasts white or cream colors on striking green leaves.
- Monstera adansonii: Smaller leaves than monstera deliciosa, but still large holes or perforations.
- Monstera dubia: A creeping vine with heart-shaped dark green leaves and light green spots.
Fiddle Leaf Fig vs Monstera Deliciosa: Similarities
Fiddle leaf fig combo with Monstera deliciosa is popular with house plant lovers. Even though both plants have their specific care requirements that must be met with utter accuracy, the following are some care instructions that will help you bring out the best in both plants.
Monstera plants and Fiddle leaf figs both need indirect but bright light. Place your plants in front of an east-facing window to receive bright morning sunlight and indirect light in the afternoon.
Fiddle leaf fig and Swiss cheese plants have giant leaves, which require more sunlight than a typical houseplant.
Drooping leaves are a common sign that your fiddle leaf fig is not getting enough sunlight, whereas your Monstera deliciosa will react by showing yellowing or brown spots on its leaves.
When watering your Fiddle leaf fig or Monstera deliciosa, allow the soil to dry out from the top (almost 2 to 3 inches). Then water it thoroughly until it starts draining from the bottom of the pots.
Fiddle-leaf fig requires enough watering to maintain their bright green and glossy leaves. It is recommended to water the plant only when the top few inches of soil are dry during the active growing season.
When watering your Monstera deliciosa, allow the plant to thoroughly absorb the water before it comes out of the drainage holes.
Both plants need less watering during winter months.
A water-soluble fertilizer is recommended to feed both house plants, once in spring and then every month during summer.
A fiddle leaf fig grows well with high nitrogen fertilizer during the growing season. In comparison, a monstera deliciosa loves a balanced liquid fertilizer.
Temperature and Humidity
Both plants love humidity and warm temperatures as their preferred growing conditions.
Fiddle leaf fig and Swiss cheese can do well in normal room humidity levels but love it when you give them extra humidity.
Installing a humidifier or a plant mister near your plant can provide better humidity.
Both fiddle leaf fig and Monstera are toxic to cats and dogs.
According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the toxicity of fiddle leaf fig is contributed to the insoluble calcium oxalates, which can produce oral irritation and excessive burning of the mouth.
Similarly, the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service states that Monstera deliciosa plants have calcium oxalate crystals in all plant parts, which cause immediate burning and swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat.
Although Monsteras do not have a high level of toxicity to humans, they can be dangerous to both dogs and cats as they contain poisonous substances. In the event of pet exposure, various symptoms may manifest, including mouth irritation, swelling, and discomfort in the lips, tongue, and mouth. Furthermore, affected animals may exhibit excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulties in swallowing.
Both plants respond well to pruning. Pruning improves the growth and health of your plant by removal of dead branches, making room for new growth, and protecting your plants from damage.
Fiddle leaf fig benefits from having damaged leaves, crossing branches, and overgrowth removed. However, if you plan on major removal of stems and branches, then you should wait until early summer or spring so that there is plenty of light to help your plant recover.
Trimming the aerial roots of a monstera deliciosa is ideal so that they do not get unruly in a confined indoor space. Pruning will help your Monstera grow into a healthier plant.
The propagation method of fiddle leaf fig and Swiss cheese plants is also very similar.
Both plants are easy to propagate using stem cuttings. Allow the stem cut to root in soil or water.
When cutting a stem for propagation in Monstera plants, find a stem with a couple of nodes. Having a stem cutting with no nodes will not produce new plants.
Fiddle Leaf Fig vs Monstera: Differences
Just like monstera deliciosa started replacing the famous fiddle leaf fig as a muse of every interior designer, another beauty in the house plants category is progressively stealing the limelight.
The leaf shape of a Monstera plant and a Fiddle Leaf Fig is dramatically different.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
It has large sagittate or arrow-like leaves having lobed or undulated margins.
Monstera deliciosa has gigantic heart-shaped leaves with internal holes. The leaves are held on 2 to 3 feet long petioles.
Monstera deliciosa leaves are large, oval, and perforated on both sides of the midrib.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Most leaves of Fiddle Leaf Fig genus plants emerge from the soil rather than from a stem.
The leaves have a distinctive pinnate venation, typically cream-colored, which offers a stark and variegated contrast on the otherwise deep green leaf.
The lead arrangement in a monstera deliciosa is alternate. The large leaves are held on flattened and stiff 2 to 3 feet long petioles.
The leaves are heavily veined with a lustrous surface.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fenestrations or leaf holes are small perforations on the leaf surface, just like little windows.
Fiddle Leaf Fig species lack fenestrations. Their leaf margin is lobed, but the plant forms leafy fingers but has no cut-out holes on the leaf surface.
Monstera plants are well-loved for their lacy holes and distinct perforations resembling palm-like leaves.
The gaping holes on the Monstera plant’s leaf surface are an evolutionary modification that allows the plant to capture maximum sunlight in its native habitat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know the major differences and similarities between these trendy and beautiful houseplants, we will end the discussion with a few questions you might be curious about.
What Is So Special About Fiddle Leaf Figs?
It is a popular and expensive houseplant. The reason is that the plant makes a statement due to its striking and bold foliage. The tree is very rewarding and grows beautifully under proper care and attention. Fiddle leaf fig plants became popular due to their unique appearance that contrasts modern décor.
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs High-Maintenance Indoor Plants?
Fiddle leaf fig is highly susceptible to pests and readily reacts to fluctuations in environmental temperatures, soil moisture, and sunlight intensity.
However, they are fairly low-maintenance if you have a green thumb and can care for their basic growing preferences. Once you understand the basic requirements of this plant, it is easy to grow it into a healthier and mature plant.
Do Fiddle Leaf Figs Need a Lot of Bright Light?
Fiddle leaf fig grows well in at least 6 hours of bright light exposure every day. These plants love natural sunlight, and lots of it!
It is better to place your plant close to a south or west-facing window where it can receive bright but indirect afternoon sunlight.
If your fiddle leaf fig is not getting enough sunlight, it can get leggy. You can check the distance between leaves to tell if your plant is getting lesser light than its requirement. A fiddle leaf fig receiving less light will sprout leaves that are far away from each other, in search for sunlight.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.