Monstera Lechleriana vs. Adansonii: Key Differences and Similarities

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This article will discuss some similarities and differences between the Monstera lechleriana and adansonii. However, before we talk about their similarities and differences, let’s first learn a little about the two Monstera plants.

Monstera Lechleriana and Monstera adansonii

Monstera lechleriana is also called the Monstera maxima or the Monstera henry-pittieri, accounting for the large size of the plant.

The Monstera is an evergreen climbing hemiepiphyte found in Bolivia and Colombia’s tropical regions. Panama, Venezuela, and Peru. The Lechleriana is considered a medium grower amongst the Monstera and is often confused with the Monstera adansonii.

Monstera adansonii is a popular indoor plant found in the tropical regions of South and Central America. The adansonii is commonly called the swiss cheese plant, Adanson’s Monstera, the five-hole plant, and swiss cheese philodendron,

The adansonii is an evergreen climbing hemiepiphyte characterized as a medium grower amongst the Monstera. Despite its differences, the adansonii is confused with the lechleriana plant due to the characteristics the two share.

Monstera Lechleriana

Similarities

Monstera lechleriana and adansonii share many similarities that make it difficult for a novice plant lover to differentiate between the two. Some of these similarities are mentioned below.

Taxonomy and Origin

One of the most significant similarities between the two Monstera is their classification. If you were to describe the two Monsteras on paper, it would be difficult to differentiate which one you are talking about.

Both plants belong to the Plantae Kingdom, which isn’t strange since they are plants. They also belong to the same Phylum Tracheophyta, a Phylum consisting of plants with vascular tissues containing the xylem and phloem vessels.

Additionally, these plants are part of the same Class Liliopsida, the same Araceae family of aroids, the same Subfamily Monsteroideae, and finally, the same Genus Monstera.

Monstera lechleriana and adansonii can be found in the tropical habitat of Central and South America. These two Monstera are often found throughout the rain forests of countries such as Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, and Western Brazil.

Root System

Both Monsteras have adventitious roots, also called aerial roots. These roots help anchor the plants to the tree and absorb moisture from the air.

The aerial root system of the Monstera lechleriana and adansonii is responsible for their epiphytic nature, allowing the plants to grow in moist soil and on trees.

The roots sprout along the nodes on the vine and grow outwards, either hanging in the air or attaching to a surface.

Growth Habits

The lechleriana and adansonii are epiphytes and share many growth habits. Monstera is often referred to as an understory creeper.

The two start to grow in the soil as juvenile plants but grow upward on trees as they mature. Their adventitious roots absorb water and debris from the air and grow in shallow soil.

Both Monsteras grow as vines. A new stem emerges from the node of the previous stem, rising as one big vine. These plants produce leaves attached to the tree trunk and spread towards sunlight.

This growth habit allows owners of house plants to grow them on a moss pole for similar structures as in the wild. Moss pole can be found at any plant care center. Moss pole is a good substitute for trees for Monsteras.

Their growth habits allow you to grow the Monstera in hanging baskets and other structures as you please.

Leaf Shape and Texture

Both plants have glossy green leaves with a leathery texture, which makes them difficult to differentiate. The glossy leaves are a trademark for most Monstera and make them attractive.

Additionally, both plants have similarly shaped leaves. The Monstera leaves are oval to elliptical, and some are asymmetrical.

Toxicity

Both the Monstera lechleriana and adansonii are toxic to humans and pets. This is because they contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. The sap of the Monstera can cause skin, eye, mouth, and throat irritation.

It can lead to severe problems such as stomach aches, inflammation, nausea, diarrhea, and more if ingested.

Diseases and Pests

The most common disease that the two Monstera share is root rot, caused by a fungal infection in the roots that eventually spreads to the other parts of the plant.

An identification of rot is yellow leaves, and you can treat root rot by washing the root ball with antifungal soap and cutting off dead roots and other infected parts of the plant.

The Monstera lechleriana and adansonii are infested by pests such as mealy bugs and spider mites. You can tell that your plant is infested by checking the soil and stem for pests or if the plant starts to turn brown with black patches.

You can treat infested Monstera using pesticidal soap and changing the contaminated soil.

Care Conditions

The similarities between the Monstera lechleriana and adansonii do not end in their structure but are also visible in their care conditions.

Both plants require similar care that allows for healthy growth of the plants. Some of these care guidelines are mentioned below.

Light

Since both Monsteras are tropical plants, they are accustomed to filtered, indirect light. They grow in roofed habitats with large trees and leaves, so the Monstera evolved to be happy with the indirect sunlight they received.

Too much direct sunlight will harm the leaves, burning them and turning them brown on the edges. For optimal bright indirect light, place the roof near a south-facing window or in a room that does not receive direct light.

However, these plants can survive and do well in direct sunlight during hours when the sun isn’t so harsh, like the early morning or late evening. However, it’s best not to take that chance with direct sunlight.

Optimally, six to eight hours of indirect light is suitable for a healthy plant.

Temperature and Humidity

As tropical plants, the Monstera lechleriana and adansonii grow well in temperatures of around 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. While the adansonii plant can handle higher temperatures, the two Monstera share optimal temperature requirements.

A temperature of higher degrees may increase water loss and result in stunted growth of the plants, causing the plant to wilt and eventually die.

The tropical rainforests, the natural habitat of the two Monstera, are known for their humid environment. So, the lechleriana and adansonii do well at high humidity levels above 50% but can also survive at a humidity level between 30-50.

You can ensure that the plants receive optimal humidity by using a humidifier, misting the leaves, or using a moist pebble tray. You can also place the plants clustered together with other plants so they share their humidity.

Alternatively, since the Monstera plants have a high threshold for temperature and humidity, you can place them in the kitchen or near the bathroom.

Soil Mix

As previously mentioned, the two Monstera plants have adventitious roots that prefer well-aerated soil. Compact soil can constrict the growth of plants. Moreover, they prefer slightly acidic soil of pH levels 5-7.

For the adansonii and lechleriana plant, a potting mix made of coco peat and sphagnum moss is an excellent choice. Coco coir and peat moss have moisture retaining qualities and well-draining soil that can prevent diseases like root rot.

USDA Hardiness Zone

Monstera lechleriana and adansonii grow well in USDA hardiness zone 10b to 12. These zones have the optimal temperature as the lechleriana and adansonii do not tolerate freezing temperatures.

If you are in these zones, you can grow these plants outside in the garden throughout the year.

Repotting and Propagation

The Monstera genus is made up of plants that grow quickly, especially in juvenile stages. As juvenile plants, the lechleriana and adansonii will need to be repotted once every few weeks.

As mature plants, they will need to be repotted less frequently, almost once every two years. An indication of repotting is when the root ball grows out of the drainage hole.

When repotting, choose a pot bigger by a few diameters than the previous one and has drainage holes. A clay pot with drainage holes works best for Monstera plants as it is cost-effective and can retain moisture.

The two Monstera species are propagated similarly from stem cuttings. You must cut the node from the stem with at least one leaf. It would be best if the node is already sprouting roots.

Place the stem cutting in water, ensuring the leaf is not submerged. New roots will emerge after two weeks when you need to shift them to the soil. Alternatively, you can place the cutting directly in the soil with the node in the pot and the leaf out of the ground.

Differences

Despite their similarities, there are many ways to differentiate between the Monstera lechleriana and adansonii based on their different characteristics. Some of these characteristics are mentioned below.

Plant Size

The adansonii can grow up to 20 feet long in its natural habitat, averaging around 13 feet. As indoor plants, adansonii grows about 8 feet long and about 3 feet wide.

Monstera lechleriana can grow to 23 feet in its natural habitat and up to 6 feet high as a house plant.

However, the growth and size of the plants depend entirely on the light, water, humidity, temperature, and soil it receives.

Monstera Leaves and Fenestrations

Monstera lechleriana leaves are fewer, having around ten leaves on the top of the stem, and are larger. Mature Monstera lechleriana leaves can reach approximately 45 inches and a width of 20 inches.

In contrast, Monstera Adansonii leaves are more in number and are shorter, with juvenile Monstera adansonii leaves being four inches long. Mature Monstera adansonii has about 20 inches long and 15 inches wide leaves.

Monstera species are known for their fenestration, referring to the holes in the leaves. These fenestrations are an adaptive feature exhibited by the Monstera to protect it against strong winds.

As juvenile plants, the two Monstera do not have any holes in their leaves, making it difficult to tell the two apart. However, as mature plants, they begin to differ. Lechleriana and adansonii may not have holes in some leaves, but when they do, they differ entirely.

Lechleriana leaves support larger circular fenestrations, while adansonii has smaller and longer holes. These holes start from the leaf’s midrib and move to the blade. Additionally, Monstera adansonii has more holes in its leaves, gaining the name: Swiss cheese plant.

Flowering and Fruits

Monstera adansonii flowers are borne on a cream-colored spadix and consist of a spathe that covers the spadix. The spathe is commonly yellow or cream-colored with a slightly green tinge. The spadix begins to fruit and turns green. As the fruit matures, the spadix turns yellow. The fruits are grey and have a single black seed.

Monstera lechleriana flowers at a mature age of six to eight years. Its cream-colored flowers are borne on a spadix covered with a white and leathery spathe. Additionally, the flower stalk is green in color with a  white base, measuring about ten inches long or more.

The spadix turns cream-colored or yellowish as it begins to fruit. The lechleriana fruit is similar to berries and contains a brown seed.

Growth Conditions

While most of their growth conditions are similar, Monstera lechleriana care and adansonii care differ in their requirements for certain factors.

Watering

Both Monsteras do not require much water to grow, but they differ in what little water they need.

Monstera lechleriana grows well with more water than adansonii because the Monstera lechleriana is larger and absorbs more water.

While both plants do not like dry soil, overwatering can harm the roots. This is essentially a problem when you water the lechleriana and adansonii at the same time.

Generally, the two Monstera need to be watered once a week during their growing stage (in summer and spring). A good way of checking to see if the plant needs water is to feel the top two inches of the soil with your fingertip to see if it is dry.

Fertilizers

You can use the same potting mix for both the Lechleriana and adansonii. However, potting mix generally comes with some fertilizer added in, and the two plants differ in their fertilization needs.

While both plants do well with organic fertilizer, the Monstera adansonii absorbs nutrients faster, requiring frequent fertilizing once a month during the growing stages. Fertilizer can increase the growth of the Monstera and result in thicker leaves and stems.

An excellent fertilizer to choose is a liquid fertilizer that can be added to the top of the soil. However, too much fertilizer can cause the roots to block and lose water, leading to wilting and drooping leaves. In this regard, the Monstera lechleriana is more able to survive in highly fertilized soil.

You can add activated charcoal to ensure optimal levels of fertilizer.

Important to Know | Monstera lechleriana vs. adansonii

Now that you know the similarities and differences between the two plants, you can decide which one to buy and identify the plant so you don’t get scammed. If you already own plants, you know how different each of them is from the other houseplants.

However, there are some things you need to know before you decide which of the two Monstera is better. The Monstera lechleriana and adansonii plants have pros and cons, and you can not decide which to get based on their physical characteristics alone.

The Monstera adansonii has shorter leaves that are greater in number, so the plant looks bushier and grows quicker. However, the adansonii is more sensitive in its care conditions and requires frequent fertilizing and watering.

On the other hand, the Monstera lechleriana care is more laid back in its conditions and grows larger leaves. However, it has fewer amounts of leaves, so it looks more shaved than full.

Additionally, Monstera adansonii has more fenestrations in the leaves, whereas the lechleriana plant may not even have fenestrations in some leaves.

Furthermore, suppose you are looking for Monstera to grow indoors. In that case, you can also choose the Monstera deliciosa, Monstera borsigiana, Monstera epipremnoides, Monstera laniata, Monstera acuminata, and numerous other species that can go well with the Monstera lechleriana and adansonii.

Finally, if you want to jump up a level on uniqueness, you can choose the variegated Monstera lecleriana or the variegated adansonii plant. The variegation occurs due to a genetic mutation in the plants, causing the leaves of the Monstera to possess different colors.

Pay proper attention to the Monstera and ensure that it receives sufficient light and is not kept in bright light or direct sun. Additionally, keep an eye out for yellowing leaves and repot if the roots grow out of the pot or the drainage hole.

Monstera adansonii

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      Is Monstera Lechleriana rare or is Monstera adansonii rare?

Yes, Monstera lechleriana is one of the rare plants that are difficult to find in most plant nurseries. Additionally, variegated lechleriana is extremely rare.

Although difficult to find, Monstera adansonii is not a rare plant and can be found in most gardening centers. However, variegated Monstera adansonii is rare and extremely costly.

3.      Why is Monstera called the Swiss cheese plant?

Monstera is often referred to as the Swiss cheese plant due to their fenestration which are tiny holes in the leaves, making the leaf look like Swiss cheese.

4.      Can I use orchid bark for Monstera?

Yes. Peat moss or orchid bark substrate gives the Monstera lechleriana soil ideal conditions for aroid plants such as Monstera as it has well-draining and moisture retaining abilities.