Monstera Esqueleto 101: Care Guide, FAQ & Pictures

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In this article, you’ll get to know everything you need to know about the Monstera Esqueleto. We’ll also touch upon some important topics like:

  • A care guide
  • Its varieties
  • and a lot more!



The Monstera Esqueleto is a species belonging to the genus Monstera and the family Araceae. The genus Monstera consists of 48 different flowering Monstera species.

The Monstera plants are evergreen hemi-epiphytes (able to grow on trees and in the soil) and have aerial roots. These plants are native to tropical regions of America. They are commonly grown as houseplants.

A few popular species in this genus are Monstera deliciosa (famous for its fruit), Monstera adansonii, and Monstera siltepecana.

Common Names

The Monstera esqueleto was formerly known as the Monstera epipremnoides and is believed to be a cultivar. There are many common names for the Esquelato plant:

·       XL Monstera epipremnoides

·       Swiss Cheese plant

·       Philodendronon epipremnoides (although it is not a Philodendron)

Monstera Esqueleto

Botanical Names

The name ‘Monstera’ is derived from the Latin word ‘monstrum,’ which means large or monstrous. They were named as such because of their unusually large leaves with holes in them.

The name ‘esqueleto’ is Spanish for ‘skeleton,’ which refers to the esqueleto plant leaves that resemble a rib cage due to their large perforations.

Hence, the name Monstera Esquelato is translated to ‘abnormal skeleton.

Monstera deliciosa

Varieties of Monstera Plants

There are more than forty-eight species in the Monstera genus. Some common Monstera varieties that are used as houseplants and are similar to the esqueleto are:

·       Monstera deliciosa

·       Monstera adansonii

·       Monstera epipremnoides

·        Monstera dubia

·        Monstera acuminata

·        Monstera borsigniana.

·       Monstera obliqua

·       Monstera siltepecana

·       Monstera standleyana

·       Monstera pinatipartia

·       Monstera kartenianum

Origin Of Monstera Esqueleto

Monstera Esqueleto

The Monstera esqueleto is a cultured clone of the Monstera epipremnoides, originating from Costa Rica. This epiphyte plant thrives in cloud forests with high humidity and medium light.

The Monstera epipremnoides plant was first found in 1908 by Adolf Engler. Now, they can be found in regions of Central America, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In 2018, the rare plant esqueleto was released after cultivation. The Monstera esqueleto is grown indoors and is considered a rare houseplant.

Care Guidelines

The Monstera esqueleto is a delicate plant that requires care and attention for healthy growth. Below are some Monstera esqueleto plant care guidelines to ensure your esqueleto plant grows perfectly.


The Monstera esqueleto thrives in indirect and filtered light. In its natural habitat, the Monstera epipremnoides plant is shadowed under large canopies made by the surrounding forest and only receives indirect lighting that manages to pass through.

Too much light causes the esqueleto leaves to burn, turning brown, while too little light prevents the esqueleto plant from growing and developing fenestrations.

Place the Monstera esqueleto in a room that receives a lot of early morning light as it is less harsh than the afternoon or evening light. You can also place the plant near a window facing south if you live near the Northern Hemisphere. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, avoid the south-facing window.

The Monstera esqueleto does well with six to eight hours of indirect light and can even bear up to two hours of direct sunlight. You can also use LED lights for the plant as they provide a full spectrum and allow you to control the intensity of the light.


Monstera plants grow best in evenly moist soil, which is the case with the esqueleto plant. However, that doesn’t mean it likes to be submerged in water. Too much water can cause the roots to become waterlogged and could even cause root rot, while too little water can cause the plant to wilt and turn yellow.

In nature, the rain of the Cloud forests takes care of watering Monstera epipremnoides; however, in cultivation, special attention is needed when watering the Monstera esqueleto.

Generally, the Monstera esqueleto should be watered once every seven to ten days. However, this can vary depending on the environment and the pot. One good way to know when to water the plant is to check the top two inches of the soil with your fingertip to see if the soil is dry.

You could even use a moisture meter for more accurate results (a reading below six indicates it is time to water the plant).


The Monstera esqueleto is a Tropical plant that is accustomed to warm climates. Ideally, placing your esqueleto plants in an environment with a temperature of around seventy to eighty degrees Fahrenheit would be best. This range can vary, but it should not go below sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit or above eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep the plant away from direct heating, such as fireplaces or stoves. Avoid putting it in an area that receives cold winds from the air conditioner, as it could freeze the leaves.


Like other Monstera plants, esqueleto plants also require a humid environment. The Monstera epipremnoides is a tropical plant endemic to the forests of Costa Rica, which stays humid year round. The Monstera epipremnoides cultivar, esqueleto, also prefers a humidity level of around sixty to eighty percent is optimal for plant growth.

One way of providing the plant with a humid microclimate is by placing the esqueleto plant with other plants, each giving off moisture. Another way is to spray the plant with water regularly. You can also use a humidifier or a damp pebble tray to keep the environment surrounding the plant humid.


Fertilizers are a great way of stimulating plant growth, creating lush foilage, strong roots, and thicker stems. The Monstera esqueleto does not necessarily require fertilizer, so you must add fertilizers sparingly. Excessive fertilizer can cause leaching, which can cause soil moisture loss.

Generally, the esqueleto does best with a liquid fertilizer that you should add three times a year in summers and springs (the growing periods).

It is essential to add a fertilizer that is diluted in water. Add it gently to the plant’s top surface. Avoid fertilizing the soil in winters as the plant does not grow much during the season and does not take up many nutrients.

Keep in mind that your pot mix might come with added fertilizer, so read the label before adding liquid fertilizers.

Soil Mix Recommendations

Monstera esqueleto requires an aerated and well-drained soil high in organic matter. The best soil for the esqueleto plant is loamy, with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.

You can use different soil mixes to ensure the proper growth of the plant. Many gardeners use perlite potting mix and coco coir potting mix for their water retention abilities, which can suck moisture away from the root.

Pine bark potting mix is also an excellent choice as it provides better aeration that allows the plant’s roots to grow without restriction. You could also use sphagnum moss and vermiculite in your soil mix.

Avoid using dry or sandy soil as they can constrict plant growth and prevent water from reaching the roots.

Pot Types and Pot Sizes

Choosing the right pot for your esqueleto is essential to ensure healthy growth.

Pot Type

There are three main types of pots that you can use to grow the Monstera esqueleto.

1.       Clay: clay pots are used by many gardeners because they can retain water and prevent root rot. They also do not dry too quickly, so you will not have to worry about watering the plant regularly.

2.       Plastic: plastic pots are often used for juvenile Monstera esqueleto. They are suitable for water retention and the optimal choice for dry environments. However, for an adult Monstera esqueleto, plastic pots are too weak as they can either break or topple over.

3.       Ceramic: ceramic pots are rarely used because they are expensive and do not provide proper drainage. However, they are aesthetically pleasing and are perfect for growing a fully mature plant of the Monstera esqueleto.

4.       Terracotta: terracotta is a type of red clay, a form of earthenware with a high iron concentration. Additionally, they are highly porous, which makes them good for drainage.

Pot Size

Pot size is an important matter to consider when growing Monstera plants. The plant’s pot needs to be changed regularly as the entire plant grows quickly, and a small pot can result in root damage and dry soil. You can not buy a large pot from the start because if too large, the pot will not be able to hold moisture and cause root rot.

For a juvenile Monstera esqueleto, the smallest plant pot you can consider should at least be twenty centimeters in diameter. For a mature Monstera esqueleto, the smallest pot you can consider should at least be ninety centimeters in diameter.

When picking out a new pot for the Monstera esqueleto, choose a pot two to three inches larger than the root ball, allowing room for the root to grow and not compromising on the drainage.


Monstera esqueleto grows slowly, so an adult esqueleto plant only needs to be repotted once every few years. Some signs that your plant needs to be repotted are:

·       Roots are coming out of the drainage holes

·       Roots are coming out of the topsoil

·       Loss of drainage

·       Stunted growth

·       Cracked pots

Once you’ve picked out a new pot of an appropriate size and drainage, gently pull out the esqueleto from the old pot. Loosen the roots from the soil by rubbing the root ball gently. Place the plant in the new pot and cover the roots with soil. Once the soil settles, add some water to the soil mixture.

As a general rule, repotting should be done during the growing periods of the esqueleto (spring and summer). Avoid repotting during winters.


Monstera Esqueleto

You can prune Monstera esqueleto to maintain proper shape. Although it does not require much pruning, cutting off dying or diseased plant areas might be necessary. Use sterilized scissors or pruners to trim the plant. You can also cut off some stems to control the growth of the esqueleto.

Pruning should be avoided in the winters and only should be done during the spring and summer growing seasons.

Ideal Growing Zones

Although Monstera epipremnoides are found in Costa Rica, they can also grow in different areas. The ideal Monstera esqueleto growing zones are areas of USDA hardiness zones from 9b to 11. These zones are known for their warm climate, with an average minimum temperature of around 25°F to 30°F.

They consist of Central and South American areas, including parts of Florida, South Carolina, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Louisiana.

Monstera Esqueleto


You can propagate esqueleto similar to how you would propagate Monstera epipremnoides. The Monstera Esqueleto can be propagated using stem cuttings placed in water or soil. First, using sterilized scissors, cut a stem with at least two or three nodes and at least one healthy leaf. Suppose the node is already growing roots, great. The nodes are pluripotent areas of the plant from which new stems grow.

Place the stem cutting in water for water propagation, ensuring that only the nodes are submerged and not the plant’s leaves. Place the jar near indirect light and once the roots have grown three inches long, place the cutting in the soil.

For soil propagation, repeat the same steps as in water propagation, but instead of placing the cutting in water, you will have to place it in a potting medium. Again, only the nodes should be buried and not the leaves.

The cutting will grow an intense network of roots in four to six weeks. You can check the root growth by gently tugging on the stem or checking the soil. Although, the less you bother the plant, the better.

Growing From Seed

Growing Monstera Esqueleto from seed is more difficult and time-consuming than propagating them. Monstera epipremnoides produce grape-like fruits with seeds in nature. However, it is difficult to get the esqueleto to flower under cultivation, so there is a low probability of getting seeds from fruits. However, you can purchase the Monstera Esqueleto seeds.

Soak the seeds in water for up to twelve hours and once they’ve swelled up a bit, transfer the seed to the soil. The seed will germinate roots in about two to three weeks.

Pests and Diseases


Indoor plants rarely get infected with pests. However, there are some pests that you need to be cautious of. Pests that affect the Monstera esqueleto include spider mites, aphids, scale, fungus gnats, and mealybugs.

You can tell your plant has a pest infestation by checking the roots, stem, and leaves for damage or yellowing. You can also check the soil in the pot.

Spider mites often appear as colored dots on the leaves, and the leaves gradually begin to lose color. Spider mites are more common in plants that are underwatered or fed too many nutrients, especially nitrogen.

Mealybugs are common in warm climates and are mostly found in the plant’s root ball and potting mix. Mealybugs pierce the leaf or stem and feed on the sap, causing the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Dead leaves are a big indicator of mealybug infestation.

If infected, isolate the plant and wash it with pesticide soap.


The Monstera esqueleto is impervious to many diseases. However, the most common disease affecting the plant is root rot, a fungal infection of the roots.

Root rot is caused by numerous fungi and is often due to overwatering. Some signs of the infection are stunted growth, wilting, and leaf drop.

Foliage & Leaf Shapes

Monstera Esqueleto

The Monstera epipremnoides and its cultivar Monstera esqueleto are epiphytic, which means they can grow on the ground and climb trees. It has large green leaves built around large fenestrations. The fenestrations and the leaves cover equal amounts of surface area. The fenestrations are much larger than those seen in Monstera adansonii leaves, albeit smaller than those seen in Monstera obliqua.

The stems of the esqueleto Monstera remain flexible throughout their life span and allow the esqueleto to grow upwards on a tree. There are fewer leaves on the plant’s vines as they stretch out towards the light.

A popular characteristic of the esqueleto is the plant’s foliage, known for its lush green leaves with large fenestrations.

Growth and Maturation

Monstera Esqueleto

Monstera esqueleto is a slow grower; the plant’s vines can grow up to fifty centimeters long and thirty-five centimeters wide. The entire plant itself can grow up to fifteen feet tall.

It can take the juvenile Monstera esqueleto anywhere from three to five years to become a mature Monstera esqueleto.

Common Problems and How to Fix Them

The esqueleto is a delicate plant that should only be grown by enthusiasts who own plants and are familiar with Monstera esqueleto care. Like other houseplants, the Monstera esqueleto also has its fair share of problems you may experience when growing the plant. Here are some problems that you may face:

Yellow Leaves

Tropical rain forest jungle plant Monstera Adansonii with holes in the leaves in the greenhouse

Yellow leaves indicate that your plant is being overwatered. Overwatering creates wet soil that can cause the roots to become waterlogged, and the roots can not absorb the nutrients from the soil. Before watering the plant, check the top three inches of the soil with your finger.

Fungal infections in the root might also cause yellow leaves. Treat the plant with antifungal soap and wash the roots carefully.

Brown and Droopy Leaves

Leaves that are turning crispy and are browning at the edges indicate that the plant is being underwatered. Maintain the humidity of the environment around the plant with a humidifier or by misting the plant.

Stunted Growth

Stunted and poor growth is often signs of malnutrition or infections. Overwatering the plant can lead to less nutrient uptake and fungal infections that can stunt the plant’s growth. You can treat the plant by controlling the amount of water being fed to the plant by checking with a moisture meter. You can also treat the plant by adding more organic fertilizer.

Care Tips

Here are some Monstera esqueleto plant care tips to ensure healthy growth:

·       Mist the plant regularly

·       A terracotta pot made of mud will be a great choice for the esqueleto Monstera.

·       Ensure well drained and aerated soil.

·       Ensure the pot has drainage holes.

·       Keep at a temperature of fifty-five to eighty degrees Fahrenheit.

·       Use diluted fertilizers instead of slow-release fertilizers.

·       Place a moss pole in the pot to help the esqueleto Monstera climb.

Where to Buy

The Monstera esqueleto is an extremely rare houseplant. It might be difficult to find Monstera esqueleto in shops except for very few nurseries. However, you can purchase them online at Etsy, Carnivero, and Aroidmarket.

Toxicity to People & Pets

Monstera esqueleto is toxic if ingested by humans and pets (mainly dogs and cats). Ingesting the esqueleto can lead to irritation in the mouth and throat. In extreme cases, it may cause nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and diarrhea.

The Monstera esqueleto sap contains chemicals that can irritate the eyes. The toxic chemicals can lead to dermatitis if they come in contact with skin and cause hypersensitivity.

Similar Plants and Monstera species

The Monstera esqueleto is often confused with other Monstera varieties due to their similar structures. However, to a trained eye of a plant enthusiast, many delicate differences can be seen between them.

Monstera Obliqua

Monstera Obliqua

The Monstera esqueleto is confused with the famous Monstera obliqua because of their large leaves and fenestrations. However, the esqueleto has thicker leaves with thick stems, and the obliqua fenestrations are random and uneven, covering a larger space than the leaf itself, which is a lighter shade than the esqueleto.

Monstera Adansonii

Monstera Adansonii

A juvenile Monstera esqueleto looks similar to the adansonii due to the green-colored leaves. Esqueleto and Monstera adansonii might have some similarities but differ if looked at closely.

The mature esqueleto leaves are much thicker and larger than Monstera adansonii leaves. Monstera adansonii leaves have a lighter green color compared to the Monstera esqueleto plant. Additionally, fenestrations of the esqueleto are much larger and greater in number.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      What is the difference between Monstera esqueleto and Monstera epipremnoides?

The two Monstera species are the same. The only differences between the two are their names and the fact that while Monstera epipremnoides were found in nature, the Monstera esqueleto was cultivated from the Monstera epipremnoides.

2.      Is Monstera esqueleto rare?

Yes. The esqueleto plant is considered one of the rarest tropical plants and can not be found in most nurseries and nature. It is only found in the cloud forests of Costa Rica.

3.      Can Monstera esqueleto be variegated?

Theoretically, yes. All Monstera species can be variegated as variegation occurs due to mutations in the plant. However, there is no evidence of a variegated esqueleto; if there is one, it’s extremely rare.

4.      Is Monstera esqueleto used in medicine?

Yes, esqueleto has been used in many traditional medicines for its antimicrobial properties.

5.      Can Monstera esqueleto reduce pollutants in the air?

Yes. Monstera esqueleto leaves have proven to be very effective in treating polluted air.

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