Most online plant sellers or nurseries often sell Friedrichsthalii (a sub-species of Monstera Adansonii) as Monstera Obliqua (the rarest Monstera species to exist), deliberately or unintentionally.
Knowing the similarities and differences between both species is important to identify them correctly.
Read on to find out the following about these popular houseplants.
- Information about Monstera Obliqua Origin
- Information about Monstera Friedrichsthalii
- Key Similarities
- Key Differences
- Frequently Asked Questions
Monstera Obliqua Origin
Obliqua is the rarest and most delicate Monstera variety, native to the Central and South American tropical regions, including Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia.
Also called the Botanical Unicorn, it has been seen in the wild and collected for study only a limited number of times throughout botanic history.
Most plants sold as Obliqua are Monstera Adansonii – another Monstera or the Swiss Cheese Plant species that look pretty similar. If not 100% Adansonii, they are more likely to be hybrids than pure Obliqua.
The wide open fenestrations on its leaves are the most defining characteristic of Monstera Obliqua.
Some Monstera Obliqua forms are 90% holes and just 10% leaves, while others have few or no holes. This unique species also has distinct leaf texture, flowers, edges, and size.
Adansonii is a widely popular species that belongs to the Monstera genus of the Aracaeae family – native to the tropical rainforests of Central America.
Some common names for this plant are the Swiss Cheese Vine (due to cheese-like leaf perforations), Monkey Mask (due to the leaves structure resembling a cheeky monkey), and the Mexican Breadfruit plant.
Friedrichsthalii is a name used as a synonym for referring to a more mature version of Adansonii, with larger and longer leaves.
Monstera Adansonii Friedrichsthalii is found in several varieties and forms that mainly differ in leaf shape, size, and foliage. The most common forms are as follows:
- Regular Form: Monstera in this form doesn’t look much like Monstera Obliqua because it has small holes away from the leaf frame.
- Round Form: The leaf perforations on Adansonii in this form are rounder and larger, appearing without any symmetry.
- Variegated Adansonii Monstera: This is a type of Monstera Adansonii plant featuring variegated leaves. Parts of the leaves are a different color than the rest., which creates a striking and unique appearance for the plant, with patterns ranging from subtle to bold.
- Narrow Form: This form of Adansonii is most likely to be mistaken as Monstera Obliqua because it has narrow leaves with larger holes, similar to Obliqua.
Both Obliqua and Adansonii are part of the order ‘Alismatales’ and the Araceae family. Moreover, they both belong to the Monstera genus, which consists of numerous other species and varieties, including Monstera Deliciosa, Monstera Dubia, and Monstera Siltepecana.
Like other tropical plants, both Obliqua and Friedrichsthalii require lots of bright natural light to thrive.
Since the holes in their leaves mean they have less chlorophyll in them, you must keep them in an adequately lit spot.
However, direct sunlight can burn these plants’ delicate, paper-thin leaves, so it’s vital to ensure that the light is indirect. Your plant ideally needs six to eight hours of bright indirect light.
Generally, watering once every two weeks in the growing seasons is sufficient to keep these plants healthy.
However, you should adjust your watering frequency depending on factors like humidity, season, temperature, lighting conditions, etc.
Avoid overwatering because it can lead to root rot. Droopy and yellow leaves may indicate that your Monstera is receiving inadequate or excess water.
Both plants are epiphytes. They grow aerial roots (also known as adventitious roots) to cling onto other trees to climb upwards and absorb nutrients from the environment.
Monstera Obliqua and Adansonii are tropical rainforest plants that thrive in environments with high humidity, typically around 65% to 80%.
The more humid it is, the larger the leaves will grow and develop prominent fenestrations. You can use regular misting, a humidifier, or placing a pebble tray beneath the pot to maintain humidity.
They require well-draining soil so that the roots don’t rot because of sitting in the water for too long.
Moreover, the soil must be well-aerated and slightly acidic (with a pH level between 6 and 6.5) for optimal growth.
You can create your own unique soil mix or buy an aroid potting mix from the market, typically including peat moss, coco coir, compost, pumice, bark, and worm castings.
For quick and healthy growth of both varieties, you can add an all-balanced fertilizer to their soil once or twice a month during summer and spring. Remember that they don’t need any fertilizer in winter.
Both Monstera Obliqua and Adansonii are poisonous to humans and pets. They contain toxic oxalate crystals that can cause several health issues if ingested, such as stomach pain, fever, vomiting, irritation in the throat and mouth. The sap can also cause skin problems if it comes into contact.
The Adansonii plant typically has smaller and narrower fenestrations that resemble slits, particularly when the plant is young.
Even as it matures, the fenestrations do not grow significantly larger. Moreover, they tend to be longer than they are wider, accompanied by smaller holes across each leaf.
In contrast, Obliqua holes are much larger. Some mature Peruvian forms of Obliqua have more open space than the actual leaf area.
Leaf Thickness and Texture
The leaves of Monstera Obliqua are significantly thin, smooth, and very fragile – almost like paper, probably because there are more holes than the actual leaf.
On the other hand, Adansonii is more leaf than holes. Its leaves are thicker with a rough, leathery texture.
Leaf Edges and Size
When plants are young or still growing, it can be challenging to differentiate between them based on leaf size alone. This is because the leaves of all juvenile plants tend to be smaller.
However, their leaf sizes will vary significantly as they reach maturity. Adansonii leaves are much larger than the Obliqua leaves.
Another clear difference between both Monstera plants is the edges of their leaves. The leaves of Adansonii have straight edges, whereas Obliqua have slightly wavy edges.
Adansonii varieties grow faster than most Monstera plants. Comparatively, Monstera Obliqua are extremely slow growers. Even in its wild natural habitat, it can take Obliqua years to climb just a few feet.
The typically stunted growth of Obliqua means it stays smaller than Adansonii, even when fully grown. Hence, you don’t have to worry about repotting or running out of space with an Obliqua.
True Monstera Obliqua grows stolons, while Adansonii doesn’t.
Runners or stolons are specialized plant stems that grow horizontally along the ground, just above or below the soil surface.
These thin, elongated structures have nodes that allow new roots and plants to grow. They are commonly seen in spider and strawberry plants.
Since Obliqua is an extremely rare plant, it is more expensive than an Adansonii variety. You can’t get your hands on a genuine Obliqua unless you make a hefty investment and buy from trustworthy vendors or rare house plant collectors.
One distinguishing difference between Obliqua and Adansonii is the number of flowers on the inflorescences – the flowering structure of aroid that consists of a spadix and spathe.
Adansonii’s spadix is densely packed with numerous tiny flowers. In contrast, Obliqua develops fewer flowers on its spadix.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s The Difference Between Monstera Adansonii And Obliqua?
The most obvious difference is in their leaf shape. Monstera Adansonii has heart-shaped leaves with wide holes or perforations, while Obliqua has narrower leaves with smaller holes.
Another major difference is their growth rate and leaf size; Adansonii grows rapidly, and its leaves are relatively larger than Monstera Obliqua.
Is Monstera Esqueleto The Same As Monstera Obliqua?
No, Monstera Esqueleto and Obliqua are not the same. Although Monstera Esqueleto is also known for its highly fenestrated leaves, the level of fenestration is not as extreme as the rare and costly Monstera Obliqua.
How rare is Obliqua?
The fact that this plant has been spotted and collected in the wild a limited number of times in history emphasizes how rare Monstera Obliqua is.
This is why it is also known as the Unicorn plant. The main reason for its rarity is the slow and stunted growth rate compared to other Monstera varieties.
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.