Monstera Esqueleto vs Adansonii: Key Differences (with Pictures)

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In this article, we’ll tell you everything there is to know about differentiating between Monstera esqueleto vs. adansonii.

Keep reading to learn about:

•            The differences and similarities between Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii

•            The Genus Monstera

•            The different species of Monstera

•            And more!

The Monstera Species

Monstera Adansonii

The plants of the genus Monstera belong to the same family: the Araceae. The name ‘Monstera’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Monstrum,’ which means monster or abnormal. The Monstera plant types are evergreen, epiphytic, flowering plants known for their vining and fenestrations.

The Monstera was discovered in 1693 by French botanist Charles Plumier who detailed different types of Monstera he found while traveling through the tropical regions of America.

They are commonly used as houseplants and are grown indoors. Some of the most popular Monstera varieties include the Monstera deliciosa, Monstera dubia, Monstera variegate, Monstera siltepecana, and the Monstera obliqua.

Monstera Esqueleto (aka Monstera Epipremnoides)

Monstera Esqueleto

The Monstera esqueleto is a cultivar of the Monstera epipremnoides, which is native to the tropical cloud forests of Costa Rica. The esqueleto and the Monstera obliqua are the rarest and most sought-after Monstera plant species.

The term Esqueleto is taken from the Spanish word for ‘skeleton.’ It’s named as such for its characteristic fenestration that resembles the ribs.

Monstera Adansonii

Monstera Adansonii

The Monstera adansonii is a common household plant native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. The adansonii plants have also been found on the islands of the West Indies. It is considered a close cousin of the Monstera deliciosa, sharing many similar characteristics and origins.


Plant species in the Monstera genus are often called the ‘Swiss Cheese Plant. This is because these plants have fenestration which are tiny (or large) holes in the leaves that make them look like swiss cheese.

For the untrained eye, differentiating between most Monstera species is difficult since they share many similarities. Two such plant species are the Monstera esqueleto and the Monstera adansonii, which share various similarities.

Root System

The Monstera esqueleto and the Monstera adansonii have aerial root growth that grows along the drooping vines of the plants, clinging to the structures (trees in the wild) it grows on to anchor the plant.

The aerial roots allow the two Monstera species to adapt to the surroundings and make them epiphytic.

Aerial roots, also called adventitious roots, rise sporadically from the ground and support the plant in the air. It’s one of the many similarities between the two plants.


One of the main reasons that the Monstera esqueleto and the Monstera adansonii are hard to differentiate is their petiole.

The petiole is the part of the plant from which the leaf sprouts and can be considered the region between the stem and the leaf. The petiole in both plants is completely identical.

The petioles are slender, thin, and long, with a spherical shape and a similar smooth texture. The petioles in both plants are light green and grow to almost the same length.

The petiole of the adansonii grows 20-60 centimeters long, while the petiole of the Monstera esqueleto grows 30-50 centimeters long, a minute difference. Additionally, the petiole in both plants is shorter than the leaf itself.

Finally, a sheath is formed at the leaf end of the petiole in both plants.


The Monstera esqueleto and the Monstera adansonii have a thick, green-colored stem that grows continuously with the plant and the entire monster plant has a single stem (or vine).

Both plants’ stem structures do not involve stolons (horizontal branches). The nodes on the stem are equally distant and will grow new aerial roots and petioles. The nodes can be used to propagate these plants.


Monstera Esqueleto

The Monstera esqueleto leaves and the adansonii leaves are shiny, giving a waxy texture feel when you touch them. In the juvenile stages, the color of the leaves in both plants is indistinguishable.

Additionally, both plant leaves are oval-shaped or sometimes heart-shaped.

Care Requirements

Both the Monstera esqueleto and the Monstera adansonii have many similar care requirements.


Since Monstera is a tropical plant native to rainforests, they do well in indirect light and may get damaged by too much light. Placing both plants at an east-facing window is ideal as this will prevent exposure to strong sunlight.

Watering habits

Both plants do not require a lot of water, only enough to keep the soil moist. Too little water may result in wilting browning of leaves. Overwatering can lead to root rot and eventually kill the plants.

Potting Mix and Soil

Both plants do well in aerated and well-draining soil that allows the roots to grow without constricting. Loamy soil is acceptable for both plants, allowing you to use the same potting mix for them.


Both the Monstera esqueleto and adansonii plants do well with regular liquid fertilizers with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio of 5-2-3 in the growing period of summer and spring. Cut off the feeding during the winter season.

Temperature and Humidity

The two tropical plants are accustomed to high humidity levels of 80%, which can be achieved using a humidifier or placing the plants in a humid environment in your home (such as the kitchen or the washroom).

The two plants grow best at temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pruning and Repotting

Trimming dead leaves from the two plants, or trimming to control the plant’s growth, is necessary and should only be done during the growing period of summer and spring.

Mature Monstera should be repotted once every two years, and the plant’s pot should be a few inches bigger in diameter than the previous one, with drainage holes at the bottom. Pots made of porous material, such as clay pots, prove ideal for Monstera growth.


Both plants are propagated similarly. There are two methods of propagation: soil propagation and water propagation. To propagate the plants, cut a piece of stem with at least one leaf from the node with a pair of sterile scissors and place the stem cutting in water or soil, ensuring that the leaf is not submerged in the soil or water.

You should be able to see new leaves grow in about four to six weeks.

The only difference between water propagation and soil propagation is that for water propagation, the stem cuttings are put in water until you see roots growing and then transferred to the soil. In contrast, stem cuttings are placed directly into the soil for soil propagation.

Growing From Seed

Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii seeds are grown in the same way. The seeds are submerged in water for 12 hours, and once they have swollen up, they are sowed in the potting mix.


Despite their many similarities, there are several slight differences between the Monstera esqueleto and the Monstera adansonii plants. These differences help us identify the two species of Monstera.


The Monstera esqueleto is native to tropical regions of the Costa Rica cloud forests, where they get the ideal humidity, warm temperatures, and enough water for growing.

The Monstera adansonii is native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. It is also found in some areas of southern Mexico and the Caribbean.


Monstera Adansonii

Fenestrations are the biggest indicator of what kind of Monstera species you’re dealing with. Fenestrations can be defined as holes in the leaves, a characteristic famous in the Monstera genus. The Monstera develop this fenestration pattern to cope with the environmental stress of excessive rainfall and strong winds.

The Monstera adansonii has leaves with thin holes that vary in size and shape. These fenestrations usually appear as an ellipse or a flattened circle. The holes in the leaves are unbroken and whole.

On the other hand, the Monstera esqueleto has leaves with larger and greater holes that usually appear oblong and start at the mid-rib towards the leaf’s edge.

Leaf Color

While juvenile Monstera esqueleto and juvenile Monstera adansonii are similar in color, they change as they develop mature leaves.

The Monstera Esqueleto leaves are a lighter shade of green with a yellowish tinge, while the Monstera adansonii has dark green leaves.

Leaf Texture

The texture of the leaves of the two plants is one of the major differences between the two.

The leaves of the esqueleto plant have a more leathery texture, while the leaves of the adansonii plants have a smooth texture.

Leaf Size

Leaf size is the best way to distinguish between the Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii.

Monstera esqueleto has smaller leaves. According to the NC State University, the esqueleto leaves can grow up to 30 to 50 centimeters long and 30 cm wide.

Monstera adansonii has much larger leaves. According to Planet Care Today, the Monstera adansonii leaves grow up to 50-70 centimeters long and 50 centimeters wide.

Growth Patterns

Both the Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii are known as climbers. As mentioned before, they grow one continuous stem (vine) that sprouts roots that attach and anchor the plant to a surface. However, there are distinct differences in the growth pattern of these vines.

The Monstera adansonii is a much more proficient climber of the two plants. It grows quicker than the Monstera esqueleto and can latch on to almost any surface, making it a better choice as a houseplant if you want to grow Monstera in hanging baskets.

In comparison, the Monstera esqueleto grows on the ground in its juvenile plant stage and only starts climbing once it’s mature, making it a hemi-epiphyte. While the adansonii are fast growers, the esqueleto are better characterized as medium growers.

Monstera esqueleto is best grown in USDA Growth Zones 9b to 11, while Monstera adansonii is best grown in zones 10b to 12.

Flowers and Fruits

If you are growing the Monstera as indoor plants, chances are that they will not bloom. However, the Monstera tend to bloom beautiful flowers in their natural habitat.

The Monstera adansonii flowers are yellowish-white in color, which then bear fruit in the right environmental conditions. This fruit is edible, and the taste is somewhat like a banana and a pineapple.

You can identify Monstera esqueleto through its flowers which are a dark shade of greenish-white color and then bear fragrant white-colored fruit that resembles berries.


The Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii are both toxic to humans and pets. They contain oxalate crystals that, if ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. The sap of these plants can irritate the throat and eyes. Hence, they are best kept out of reach of children or pets.


The Monstera esqueleto is an extremely rare plant that is only found in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. Due to their rarity, this specie is difficult to find and can cost anywhere from $100 to more than $200. Depending on the age and size of the plant, it can even cost up to $500. You can find Monstera esqueleto online at sites such as Etsy.

The Monstera adansonii are much more common and exotic houseplants. Depending on the age and size of the plant, the plant can be pretty expensive. However, variegated Monstera adansonii might cost more. You can buy Monstera adansonii online at Amazon or Etsy.

Care Requirements

While the general care of the Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii is similar, there are certain delicate differences in the care needed by the two Monstera. Esqueleto plant care is a bit more difficult as the requirements are more specific.


While Monstera esqueleto does better with six to eight hours of filtered sunlight, the Monstera adansonii only requires four to six hours.


The Monstera esqueleto grows best in loamy soil with a pH of around 5.5. The Monstera adansonii grows best in organic-rich soil with a pH of around 6.0.

Monstera Adansonii

Important to Know

The points below can sum up the similarities and differences between the Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii in the following points:

·       The two plant species belong to the same genus: Monstera. Hence, they share many similarities, such as root system, petiole, stem, care requirements, etc.

·       However, the two Monstera also differ a lot from each other such as in origin, growth pattern, leaves, fenestration pattern, and price. You can distinguish the esqueleto and adansonii based on the plant’s foliage.

·       Before growing a Monstera plant indoors, familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the Monstera plant you want and its growing conditions.

·       Monstera are toxic for humans and pets and should be kept out of reach.

·       Both Monstera are susceptible to diseases and pests. They are most commonly affected by root rot and spider mites.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      Are Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii the same plant?

Despite sharing many similarities, including the same genus, the two are different species of plants with many characteristic differences.

2.      How do I increase the humidity levels?

Since both Monstera plants require high humidity levels, you can place them in a humid area of the house, such as the kitchen or the washroom. Alternatively, you can use a humidifier or mist the leaves of the plants regularly with a spray.

3.      Are Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii toxic?

As with many other Monstera species, the esqueleto and adansonii are toxic to humans and pets, causing irritation in the mouth and eye and, if ingested, may cause vomiting and diarrhea.

4.      How can I differentiate between Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii in the early stages?

Juvenile esqueleto is indistinguishable from a juvenile adansonii plant since most differentiating characteristics appear in mature plants. The best way to prevent mixing the two when you’re buying them is to get a cutting of an adult plant and propagate it yourself.

5.      How quickly do Monstera plants grow?

The Monstera adansonii is a faster grower than the Monstera esqueleto; the entire plant grows 30-60 centimeters yearly. If you want to slow down the plant’s growth, you will need to prune it once every one or two years. You can add liquid fertilizers to the mix to speed up the growth and give the plant thick stems and healthy leaves.

6.      What to do if my Monstera is infected or has pests?

If infected with a disease, separate the plant from the others and carefully remove it from the pot. You can wash the infected roots with antimicrobial soap and cut off diseased parts of the plant. If infested with pests, separate the plant and gently wash the plant with pesticide soap.

You can tell the treatment worked if your Monstera gets back its green leaves.

7.      Is Monstera esqueleto rare?

The Monstera esqueleto and the monstera obliqua are considered the rarest Monstera among the species and one of the most expensive ones.

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