Monstera Acuminata vs. Esqueleto (Key Differences and Similarities)

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This article, “Monstera Acuminata vs. Monstera Esqueleto,” will cover everything you need to know about the two popular Monstera plants. Read on to discover:

  • An overview of the origin of the ever-popular Acuminata and Esqueleto.
  • A detailed explanation of similarities between the two Monstera plants.
  • A detailed description of the differences between Acuminata and Esqueleto.
  • Answers to some frequently asked questions about the two Monstera varieties.

Monstera Acuminata Origin

Monstera acuminata on a coco pole

Native to tropical rainforests of Central and South America, primarily in the wet biome, Monstera Acuminata, or shingle plant, is a species of flowering plant in the Araceae family.

Monstera Acuminata is commonly known as the shingle plant due to its habit of growing up the trunks of trees and forming large, flat, overlapping leaves that resemble roof shingles.

Monstera Esqueleto Origin


Native to the cloud forest of Costa Rica, first discovered in a remote region of the Mexican rainforest, Monstera Esqueleto, or skeleton plant, is a rare cultivar of Monstera Deliciosa.

“Esqueletos” means skeleton in Spanish. The plant is commonly known as such because of its unique fenestration (holes in the leaves), which resembles the skeletal structure of a leaf.

Monstera Acuminata vs. Monstera Esqueleto—Key Similarities

While Acuminata and Esqueleto have extremely distinctive features, they also share many similarities. Below we’ll explore them so you can better understand the two plants.

Epiphytic Habit

Monstera Acuminata and Esqueleto are epiphytic plants, also known as air plants, which means when the plant matures, it grows on other plants, typically trees, for support.

They use their aerial roots (grow above the ground) to anchor themselves onto the bark of the host plant and absorb moisture and nutrients from the air and surrounding environment.

In case you don’t know, these plants don’t harm the host plant/tree, as they don’t rely on it for sustenance but rather as a support structure to climb and reach direct sunlight.

Aroid Family

Monstera Acuminata and Esqueleto are members of the Araceae family, a large monocotyledonous flowering plants that include more than 100 genera and 3,000 species.

The plants that belong to the Araceae family are known for their distinctive flowers, arranged in a spadix (a fleshy stem-like structure) and surrounded by a spathe (a leaf-like structure).

The fragrance of these flowers is a common characteristic, which helps attract pollinators like flies and beetles to aid in reproduction—necessary for transferring pollen between the plants.

Tropical Origin

Acuminata and Esqueleto are native to tropical regions, often found in rainforests with warm and humid conditions, where they grow on most Monstera trees and other support structures.

The ideal temperature range for both plants is between 18-27°C (65-80°F). They cannot tolerate cold temperatures or frost and should be kept away from drafty areas or air conditioning units.

Both plants require high humidity levels to thrive, with an ideal range of 60-80%. They can suffer from leaf browning and other issues if the air is too dry, especially in winter.

To maintain high humidity levels, misting the leaves regularly, using a humidifier, or placing a pebble tray of water near the plant to increase moisture in the air is recommended.

Air Purifying Properties

Acuminata and Esqueleto can remove harmful toxins and pollutants from the environment, including formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide, often found in indoor spaces.

The huge leaves with long stems and large surface area allow them to absorb these harmful compounds and release clean oxygen into the air, making them excellent natural air purifiers.

Ornamental Value

Monstera Acuminata and Esqueleto are popular in the horticultural industry due to their unique foliage, ranging from simple to highly fenestrated (larger holes) and deeply dissected.

They make excellent indoor and outdoor plants, and their easy-to-grow nature and low maintenance requirements make them a popular choice for true Monstera enthusiasts.

These plants can be grown in pots or on the ground and are often used in landscaping and interior design to add a tropical touch, especially humid tropics, to any indoor space.

Light Requirements

Acuminata and Esqueleto require bright, indirect sunlight, similar to Monstera Deliciosa. Direct sun can damage leaves; however, Esqueleto may tolerate slightly lower light levels.

What is Indirect Sunlight?

Indirect sunlight refers to the light filtered or diffused by another object, such as a window or a sheer curtain, before reaching the plant. This type of light is less intense than direct light and is often preferred by houseplants that cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to direct sun.

Common Pests

Both Monstera Acuminata and Esqueleto can be affected by common houseplant pests, including mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects, causing damage to the plant overall.

It is important to keep a close eye on the plants and take immediate action to control and eliminate any infestations by using insecticidal soap to ensure a healthy stem and leaves.

Soil Requirements

Both Acuminata and Esqueleto have similar potting soil requirements. They both prefer a well-draining potting soil rich in organic matter, such as peat moss, coco coir, or compost. These materials provide abundant nutrients, retain moisture, and promote healthy root growth.

In addition to well-draining potting soil, both Monteras require a potting mix that includes orchid bark, which helps to improve drainage and prevent root rot due to overwatering.

Moreover, both Monsteras can benefit from adding sphagnum moss to their potting soil, which helps retain moisture while promoting the healthy growth of the juvenile plant.

Propagation and Pruning

Monstera Acuminata and Esqueleto can be propagated through stem cuttings with at least one node. Once cut, the cuttings can be propagated in water or directly in the soil.

It’s important to keep the soil or water moist. The roots should start to develop within a few weeks, and the new plant can be transplanted into a pot once it has a good root system.

Both can also benefit from pruning to promote healthy growth and remove damaged or dead leaves. However, avoid over-pruning, as it can affect the plant’s health.

Monstera Acuminata vs. Monstera Esqueleto—Key Differences

To help you decide which Monstera is best for your houseplants collection and gardening style, let’s take a closer look at the distinct features of Monstera Acuminata and Esqueleto.

Leaf Shape

Monstera Esqueleto

Monstera Acuminata has large, flat, overlapping leaves reminiscent of shingles on a roof. These leaves are usually uncut, turning into simple oval leaves or heart-shaped leaves.

In contrast, Esqueleto has deeply cut, fenestrated, thinner leaves that appear similar to the skeletal structure. These leaves are deeply dissected, giving them a lacy or filigree appearance.

Leaf Size

Acuminata’s leaves are typically smaller compared to Esqueleto. Acuminata grows up to 10-15 cm in length, while the leaves of Esqueleto can be much larger, growing up to 90 cm in length.

Leaf Color and Texture

Monstera Acuminata has dark green leaves (bright green/deep green) with a glossy leaves texture, which adds to its lush and tropical appearance. In contrast, Esqueleto has larger, lighter green leaves with a matte finish, which gives it a more delicate and refined appearance.

Leaf Venation

Monstera Acuminata has prominent veins running parallel to the leaf edges, while Esqueleto has veins that are more randomly distributed across the leaf surface (indumentum or vesture).

Fenestrations (Holes)

Monstera Esqueleto

Monstera Acuminata typically does not have the distinctive “Swiss Cheese” holes common in Monstera Deliciosa and Adansonii, while Esqueleto can have smaller holes in its leaves.

Growth Habit

Monstera Acuminata is primarily a climbing plant that attaches to tree trunks, walls, or other supports. It is well-suited for indoors and can be trained to grow on a moss pole or trellis.

In contrast, Esqueleto has a more versatile growth habit and can grow as a climbing or trailing plant, depending on its support. It can be grown in hanging baskets, moss poles, or trellises.

Care Requirements

Both require similar care, with a preference for indirect light, regular watering, and pruning; however, Esqueleto may require more attention and care due to its rare and delicate nature.


Acuminata is a relatively common species widely available in the horticultural market, local nurseries, or online plant shops, making it an accessible option for beginner gardeners.

In contrast, Esqueleto is a rare plant not commonly found in most nurseries or plant shops. It can be challenging to find, and its rarity makes it a highly sought-after plant for collectors.


Due to its rarity, Esqueleto can be significantly more expensive than Acuminata. The price of Esqueleto can range from a few hundred to a thousand dollars, depending on the availability.

It’s important to note that these differences between Acuminata and Esqueleto may not apply to every plant, as individual specimens can vary in their growth habit and leaf characteristics.

Bonus: Magnificent Monstera Varieties You Should Know

Monsteras are well-loved for their unique leaf shapes and striking appearance, making them popular among houseplant enthusiasts. However, besides the famous Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant), did you know there are many different varieties of Monstera?

In this bonus section, we’ll introduce you to some of the most magnificent Monstera varieties you may not have heard of before. Get ready to be amazed by the beauty of the following:

monstera deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, is an iconic plant with large, heavily fenestrated leaves and is commonly grown as a houseplant, mostly in a hanging basket.

monstera adansonii

Monstera Adansonii, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, Swiss Cheese Vine, and the Five Holes Plant, has smaller, heart-shaped fenestrated leaves and is mostly grown indoors.

monstera OBLIQUA

Monstera Obliqua, also known as Window-Leaf Monstera, is a rare species of Monsteras with incredibly thin dark green leaves that are highly perforated (more empty space than leaves).

monstera epipremnoides

Monstera Epipremnoides is a rare Monstera species that is highly sought-after among plant enthusiasts due to its unique variegated leaves and extremely distinctive fenestrations.

MINI monstera

Mini Monstera, also known as Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, looks like several species, which is why it’s often mistaken for a Monstera and sometimes Philodendron due to its split leaves.

monstera pinnatipartita

Monstera Pinnatipartita is among rare Monstera varieties with deeply lobed leaves with a unique appearance. Native to Central and South, it can grow as a climbing or trailing plant.

monstera siltepecana

Monstera Siltepecana, also known as Silver Monstera, is a vining plant with heart-shaped, deep green leaves that are velvety to the touch and have distinct markings along the veins.

monstera subpinnata

Monstera Subpinnata is a unique Monstera climbing plant among plant lovers with deeply divided leaves and a unique white midrib—a great species to watch grow and climb indoors.

monstera karstenianum

Monstera Karstenianum, also known as the Monstera Peru, is a trailing plant with hearted light green leaves and distinctive perforations. Monstera Peru doesn’t develop fenestrations.

monstera dubia

Monstera Dubia is a rare species of Monstera with small, glossy leaves that grow in a unique pattern. It is native to South America and can grow as a climbing or trailing plant.

monstera standleyana

Monstera Standleyana, also known as the Five Holes Plant, is a climbing plant with heart-shaped leaves and oval-shaped holes. It is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for.

monstera acacoyaguensis

Native to Mexico, Monstera Acacoyaguensis, also known as Monstera Cacoyaguensis Matuda, is a rare species of Monstera with large, hearted leaves with a unique glossy texture.

monstera laniata

Laniata, also known as the Ribbon Plant, Swiss Cheese Plant, or Swiss Cheese Vine, is a climbing plant in the Monstera genus with long, narrow leaves with a unique ribbed texture.

monstera friedrichsthalii

Monstera Friedrichsthalii, also known as the Nicoya Giant, is a climbing plant with large, deeply divided darker green leaves that have a unique and attractive appearance.

monstera lechleriana

Monstera Lechleriana is a rare species of Monstera with elongated and fenestrated leaves. It is native to Central and South America and makes a unique addition to any plant collection.

Interesting Facts About Monstera Varieties

  • Monstera Adansonii is known as the “Swiss Cheese Vine” due to its unique leaf shape.
  • The unique holes and splits on the leaves of Monstera Adansonii resemble Swiss cheese.
  • Monstera Obliqua is one of the world’s rarest and most expensive houseplants.
  • Monstera Obliqua has more fenestrations (holes) than leaves, making them quite delicate.
  • A genetic mutation causes the striking silver variegation on Silver Monstera.
  • Mini Monstera (Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma) is often mistaken for Monstera Deliciosa.
  • Monstera Pinnatipartita has unique foliage that has deep lobes and jagged edges.
  • Monstera Pinnatipartita leaves aren’t fans of direct sunlight (prefer indirect sunlight).
  • Monstera Siltepecana is known for its unique velvety, almost felt-like leaf texture.
  • The mature Monstera Siltepecana has completely different leaves than the juvenile form.
  • Monstera Karstenianum is called Philodendron Peru, even though it’s not a Philodendron.
  • Monstera Dubia is called the “shingle plant” because its leaves lie flat against the trees.
  • Monstera Dubia is an elusive wild species, only found in a few locations in South America.
  • Monstera Standleyana is called Philodendron Cobra, even though it’s not a Philodendron.

To conclude, both Monsteras have many key similarities and differences. While they belong to the same genus and share some characteristics, they have distinct features that set them apart.

Overall, choosing between these two Monstera varieties—Monstera Acuminata vs. Esqueleto will depend on personal preference and the specific growing conditions of your space.

Regardless of which one you choose to add to your collection, both are unique and striking Monsteras that are sure to bring a tropical vibe to your residential or commercial property.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read on for some frequently asked questions about both plant species.

Is Monstera Esqueleto Rare?

Yes, Esqueleto, formerly monstera epipremnoides, is rare, and it can be challenging to find and purchase compared to more common varieties like Monstera Acuminata or Monstera Deliciosa.

Is Monstera Acuminata Rare?

The Monstera acuminata is not considered a rare plant, but since it’s not commonly known as a houseplant, you may not be able to find it in every store that sells the plant or stem cuttings.

Where Can I Buy Monstera Acuminata and Esqueleto?

Acuminata and Esqueleto can be purchased from various sources, including online retailers, plant nurseries, botanical gardens, Etsy, Amazon, and specialized shops.

What Are Some Greatest Monstera Acuminata Care Tips?

Monstera Acuminata thrives in well-draining soil, such as a mixture of orchid bark and peat moss. It requires indirect sunlight and should be kept away from direct sunlight to avoid leaf burn. These plants grow rapidly; thus, regular pruning is essential to prevent leggy stems.

What Are Some Greatest Esqueleto Care Tips?

Esqueleto is a relatively low-maintenance plant that still requires some care to thrive. One of the most important care tips for Esqueleto is to provide bright, indirect light.

This plant also prefers consistently moist soil, so water it regularly but not too much to avoid waterlogging. Additionally, a well-draining soil mix (as discussed above) and adding a natural/organic fertilizer every few weeks can help keep your Esqueleto healthy and vibrant.

Another important care tip is to keep an eye out for pests, such as spider mites or mealybugs, and take action quickly if you spot any. Finally, pruning your Esqueleto regularly can help promote healthy growth and prevent the stem from becoming too leggy or overgrown.

How Many Monsteras are Called Swiss Cheese Plants?

Two monsteras are commonly called Swiss cheese Plant: Monstera Deliciosa and Monstera Adansonii because of the distinctive holes/split in their Swiss-cheese-like leaves.

Is Monstera Esqueleto the Same as Obliqua?

No, Esqueleto (Monstera Adansonii ‘Friedrichsthalii’) is not the same as Monstera Obliqua. Both belong to the Monstera family but have many distinguishable features.

Is Monstera Acuminata Pet Safe

When pets come in contact with these plants, they may exhibit a variety of symptoms, such as mouth irritation, swelling, and discomfort in the lips, tongue, and mouth. Furthermore, affected animals may suffer from excessive drooling, vomiting, and challenges with swallowing.