This article, “Philodendron vs. Monstera,” will cover some similarities and key differences between these two popular tropical plants from different genera. Read on to discover:
- An overview of Heart Leaf Philodendron and Monstera.
- The key similarities both these tropical plants share.
- The most common differences between the two.
Heart Leaf Philodendron
Philodendrons—members of the Araceae family—are indigenous to the West Indies and tropical woods of Central and South America, with a variation count of more than 500.
If you take “Philodendron” and its Greek roots, which are “lover” and “tree,” respectively, you may get a decent picture of how these plants like to grow in their natural environment.
When young, the leaves appear nearly translucent; however, as the plant matures, their color changes to dark green. The mature Philodendrons often display spathes of white flowers.
Monstera—members of the Araceae family—are indigenous to tropical regions of South and Central America, with roughly 50 different kinds of monstera species in the group.
The Latin word meaning “monstrous” or “abnormal” is where the name of the Monstera genus comes from. This term relates to the leaves with natural holes, often seen on Monstera species.
Monstera has distinctively heart-shaped leaves and a leathery or glossy appearance; however, as the plant matures, it develops holes and displays spathes of creamy white blooms.
Split Leaf Philodendron and Monstera — Common Misconception
Despite the fact that it isn’t really a Philodendron, the Monstera, in all appearances and manners, behaves much like one. Bipinnatifidum and Selloum are the two legitimate Philodendron species known together as Philodendrons. These two tropical plants are not remotely related to Monstera; however, the same term is often used to refer to them.
READ ALSO: Monstera Varieties
Monstera Varieties That Look Like Split Leaf Philodendron
Regarding Split Leaf Philodendron vs. Monstera, some varieties of Monsteras closely resemble the Philodendron. Here are a few likely suspects you should know about:
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Monstera Borsigiana
- Monstera Dubia
- Monstera Standleyana
- Mini Monstera
Monstera vs Philodendron — Atypical Characteristics
The following are some Philodendrons and Monsteras that don’t display characteristics typical to their respective species.
- Sometimes, a Split Leaf Philodendron, also known as Philodendron Selloum or Philodendron Bipinnatifidum, may seem like a Monstera Deliciosa.
- Before the leaves begin to acquire fenestrations, the foliage of a juvenile Monstera might be confused with the foliage of a Heart-Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron Hederaceum)
- Some Monsteras, such as Monstera Dubia, Monstera Siltepecana, and Monstera Adansonii have oval leaves and resemble Philodendron more than typical Monstera.
Monstera vs Philodendron — The Name Game
In the Monstera and Philodendron trade, things may become even more confusing when common names for distinct Monstera and Philodendron kinds are used interchangeably.
One of the most prominent cases is when a Split Leaf Philodendron is marketed as a Monstera Deliciosa or vice versa; however, these two indoor plants are not the same at all.
Other misleading instances include calling Monstera Adansonii a Philodendron Broken Heart or referring to Monstera Deliciosa by its former scientific name, Philodendron Pertusum.
Even though Monsteras and Philodendrons need similar care to flourish, it is essential to be aware of the distinctions between the two plants, especially in making the right investment.
It is possible that you may end up spending more money on a closely-related plant that has an inaccurate label since some types are very uncommon and, as a consequence, more costly.
Monstera vs Heart-Leaf Philodendron — Key Similarities
Believe it or not, Monsteras are full of surprises; even better, there are approximately 50 Monstera species worldwide, and many of them look similar to Philodendrons.
However, aside from the similar native habitat of tropical rainforest, both species of the Araceae family have many similarities, which is why gardeners may confuse the two.
Wondering what makes these indoor plants from the same family so similar? Here are some features that Monstera and Heart-Leaf Philodendron share.
The Araceae Family
As previously noted, Monstera and Heart-Leaf Philodendron are both members of the same family group, “Araceae,” more frequently referred to as “aroids” or “arums.”
Native to tropical forests, there are about 3,750 species in the Araceae family, which is a huge family of different plants overall (Philodendron and Monstera belong to different species).
A characteristic shared by members of the Araceae family of plants is a flower form known as a “spadix,” characterized by its resemblance to a succulent, spear-like stem.
Monstera and Philodendron are classified as tropical plants, originating in Central and South America and the West Indies, respectively. The only difference is between the variation count.
Both Monstera and Philodendron plants tend to develop in an epiphytic manner (living on the surface of plants) because they have aerial roots that allow them to adhere to the bark of trees.
On the other hand, unlike the Split-Leaf Philodendron, these plants do not develop very robust aerial roots. As a consequence of this, their pattern of development is more horizontal.
The Root System
Although the Leaf Philodendron plant and Monsteras are completely different, they share the same aerial root (grow on the above-ground parts) and attach themselves to different surfaces to grow.
Typically, woody vines have aerial roots that act as anchors and adhere the plant to supporting structures like trellises, rocks, and walls, while others do not have aerial roots.
Regarding the root system, the most commonly seen problem with both household plants is root rot, caused by over or under-watering, lack of nutrients, or low humidity.
Philodendron vs. Monstera— Key Differences
Finally, we have discussed the core similarities between Monstera and heart-shaped Philodendron to give you an idea of the shared characteristics, now is the time for key differences.
The origin of the word “fenestration” may be traced back to the Latin word ”fenestrare,“ where it was translated as “equipped with apertures” or “circular shaped hole or translucent patches.”
The scientific name for plants producing holes or transparent sections in their leaves is referred to as “fenestration.” It is a natural occurrence in certain plant species like Monstera.
Monstera’s dark green leaves have slits or holes, but Philodendrons do not. The spill between Philodendron leaves may give the impression of fenestration; however, this is not the case.
Fruit and Flower Production
In contrast to Philodendrons, M. Deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant) produces fruit and blossoms (hence the “delicious fruit” portion of its name) that may be used to help the plant reproduce.
This is true for some species of Monstera, such as the Monstera Deliciosa, which is known for producing deliciously huge fruits with a flavor similar to bananas and pineapples.
In addition, most Monsteras produce fruit and flowers in the middle of summer and do so for around 2-3 months, while the Heartleaf Philodendron is an exception to this rule.
Leaf Size and Structure
Even though Philodendron is a large plant with glossy leaves, some generally have smaller leaves, making it simple to differentiate them from the other plant’ leaves or different species.
The fenestration seen in Monstera leaves causes the leaves to become bigger. For example, the size of a Monstera leaf is around 1 meter; however, a Philodendron has smaller leaves.
Certain varieties, like the Philodendron Brazil, which only look like a temperamental diva, have vivid green patterns visible on their surfaces, giving an appearance of a bigger leaf shape.
The Growing Habits
Monstera is a small, vine-like climbing plant that grows by spreading across surfaces, while the Philodendron is a larger evergreen plant with trailing vines that takes the appearance of a fern and grows by connecting its aerial roots to the branches of other love trees or plants.
Additionally, Monsteras favor vertical growth, while Philodendrons are more suited to horizontal development. Monsteras bear fruit and blossoms, while Philodendrons do not.
Philodendrons are much simpler to grow since they hang down from the pots, while Monsteras don’t make effective hanging plants because of the difference in growth habits.
Philodendron flourishes in low light conditions; the leaves are rather small and do not split. However, the plant can produce huge leaves with holes if exposed to direct sunlight.
Monstera needs bright, indirect sunlight and a temperature between 60-80° F during the growing season. The best place is near a window facing either the south or the east.
Even though it is a hardy plant that can endure in virtually any setting, the ideal lighting for a philodendron is the same as monstera. That is to say, it thrives in bright, indirect sunlight.
The ideal soil for Monsteras, like Mini Monstera and Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant), is a well-draining soil that is somewhat acidic and has lots of room for the roots to breathe.
Standard, all-purpose potting soil has too much density for the Monstera genus, which may cause the young Monstera plant to get compacted and prevent adequate drainage.
To prevent root rot, Philodendron prefers well-draining soil that contains sand and perlite in equal parts. Only a container with drainage holes can prevent the plant’s healthy growth.
Leaf Philodendron vs. Monstera — Things to Know
Finally, we have covered the similar and contrasting features of Monstera and Heart-Leaf Philodendron; it is now time to unveil some interesting facts about the two.
- Monstera and Split Leaf Philodendron are both completely different plants.
- Split Leaf Philodendron is related to pothos, while Monsteras to peace lily.
- When it comes to the plant’s leaves, both have dark green heart-shaped leaves.
- Mature Monstera leaves have fenestration, while Philodendron does not.
- Monstera leaf and root infusions allegedly come in handy for snake bites.
To conclude, it is not necessary to choose one houseplant over another since both Philodendrons and Monsteras may contribute significantly to the value of your property.
If, on the other hand, you are seeking a specific plant, particularly one easily mistaken for another, it is helpful to be aware of both the similarities and the distinctions between them.
Frequently Asked Questions
This brings us to the end of this article. As a bonus, we’ve taken some time to answer some questions about Monstera and Heart-Leaf Philodendron. Read on.
How Different Are Monstera Leaves and Philodendron Leaves?
The leaf form, size, and texture differentiate the two plants from one another. Philodendron leaves are more likely to be split leaves than fenestrated due to the plant’s small size and structure, while Monstera Deliciosa leaves are round and heart-shaped.
Is Monstera Deliciosa and Split Leaf Philodendron the Same Plant?
There is a common misconception that a Monstera Deliciosa is a Split Leaf Philodendron and vice versa; however, the two plants are entirely different. Even though they grow in comparable environments, they are not the same plant and belong to different families.
Split Leaf Philodendron vs. Monstera Plant
The splits that develop on the leaves of Split Leaf Philodendrons and Monsteras are the primary distinction between the two species. Others include the size and shape of the leaves.
Why Are My Split Leaf Philodendron’s Split Leaves Turning Brown?
When Split Leaf Philodendrons go brown, it is typically an indication that the plant needs either more water, particularly when the temperature is high or more humidity.
Which Plant in the Philodendron Family Looks Like Monstera Plants?
It is relatively simple to confuse the Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum) with the M. Deliciosa since this Philodendron species are often sold under the Monstera plants rack.
Split Leaf Philodendron vs. Selloum
There are many names for the plant Philodendron Selloum, including Split Leaf Philodendron and Split Leaf Elephant Ear. It is basically a member of the Philodendron plants family.
Do Monstera Plants Grow Well in Tropical Climates?
Yes, Monsteras grow best in tropical climates since they’re native to tropical regions of South and Central America. Overly-moist soil may lead the plant to various root problems.
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.