Monstera vs. Birds of Paradise (Key Differences and Similarities)  

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The Monstera and Bird of Paradise plants are among the most aesthetic plants to grow indoors. However, given the size of these two plants, it can be a challenging choice for a plant enthusiast who only has room for one.

To make the best choice, you must know the similarities and differences between the two tropical plants and decide which one would look good in your home.

What is a Monstera Plant?

Young Monstera in a pot

Monstera is a genus of 48 plant species that belong to the arum family Araceae. Monstera plants are found in the tropical regions of Central and South America, typically in Southern Mexico.

The name Monstera is derived from the Latin word “Monsteras,” which means abnormal. The name was given to the Monstera in the late 18th century due to its unique characteristics and large leaves.

Monstera are unique due to their split leaves and characteristic fenestrations. Fenestrations refer to tiny holes on the Montsera leaves that the Monstera species developed to protect itself from the strong winds of the tropical rainforests.

The same family contains many variegated plants that are low maintenance and aesthetic, making them perfect as houseplants.

These tropical plants possess aerial roots that grow out from the stem and help the plant anchor to a support such as a tree trunk and are responsible for the plant’s hemi-epiphytic nature. The aerial roots can absorb moisture from the atmosphere and sustain The plant’s growth.

Monstera plants are known by several names, including the swiss cheese plant, the monkey mask plant, and the Mexican breadfruit plant.

What are Birds of Paradise Plants?

Birds of Paradise flowers close up

The Birds of Paradise plants, scientifically called Strelitzia reginae, or the crane flower, is part of the Strelitziaceae plant family native to regions of South Africa.

The plant is closely related to Musaceae and is often confused with the banana plant.

The Birds of Paradise is known for its beautiful orange flower shaped like a crane. While traditionally known for their bright orange color, there are several varieties of plants that produce different colored flowers.

Monstera vs. Birds of Paradise: Similarities

propagating Monsteras

The two tropical plants share many similarities, and it is common for some beginner plant parents to confuse the two.

If you own the two plants, you will notice that they share several different characteristics, especially regarding growth requirements. Below are some similarities between the Monstera and Birds of Paradise plants.


Birds of Paradise near the beach

Like many tropical plants, these are accustomed to the bright light from the forest canopy above. Over time, these plants adapted to their natural habitat and thrived in bright indirect light. As a houseplant, they do well in medium-light conditions.

Therefore, these plants do well in bright indirect sunlight when grown indoors. However, they do not do well in bright direct light as it can cause leaf burn. Similarly, they do not prefer low sunlight conditions as they can slow growth, so ensure that they get plenty of bright light.

You can use grow lights for these plants indoors. However, you can also place them near a west or east-facing window where it can get plenty of indirect light. Knowing how much light to give the plants is part of being a plant carer.


Tropical plants such as the Monstera and Bird of Paradise require frequent watering, once every week during the growing season and once every two weeks during the winter.

However, the exact watering needs of your tropical plants can vary depending on several factors.

You have to be careful not to over these plants, as it could lead to fungal infections such as root rot that can cause the plant’s roots to deteriorate. Moreover, underwatering the plant can result in dehydration and wilting.

You can use a hygrometer to measure the water level in the soil. Alternatively, you can use the finger test to know whether your plants require water. Check the top few inches of the soil with your finger, and if it feels dry, water your plants.


These tropical plants prefer high-temperature levels, a condition they adapted to in their natural environment. As such, you must keep these plants in a warm area of the house with a temperature range of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


Both the Monstera and Bird of Paradise prefer slightly acidic soil. Plant them in a well-draining soil that allows the plants to grow roots without restriction.

You can add perlite to the soil mix to improve aeration and allow oxygen to reach the roots. Moreover, you can add peat moss to help improve water retention.

You can also buy a potting mix for aroid plants to help with healthy growth.


Monstera Deliciosa Leaves

One of the biggest similarities between the two tropical plants is that they are both highly toxic to pets and minimally toxic to humans.

The Monstera sap and Birds of Paradise sap contain calcium oxalate and tannin, respectively. These toxins can cause gastrointestinal problems if ingested, such as diarrhea, pain, nausea, and vomiting. Moreover, they can cause skin and eye irritation if it comes in contact.


Both plants are extremely susceptible to common household pests such as mealy bugs, thrips, and spider mites. These pests suck out the food from the plants, leaving them to die. Moreover, they quickly spread from one plant to the other.

You can keep an eye out for these pests, and if you notice that your plants are infested, you can treat them with pesticides. You can also use neem oil to prevent further infestation.


You can propagate the Monstera and Birds of Paradise similarly. You can either use plant cuttings or propagate from seed.

Propagating plants from cuttings is easier than seeds and has a higher success rate. Cut a piece from the stem of the plants using a knife or pruning shears. For bigger plants, you can use larger tools.

Make sure your stem cuttings have a node or two with a few leaves. Then, you can put the cutting in a new pot with potting mix. You will see new growth after a few weeks.

Propagating is perfect for adding more large houseplants to your collection, especially since they require occasional pruning and you want the pieces to be well-spent.

Monstera vs. Birds of Paradise: Differences

Monstera Deliciosa Leaves

Despite their many similarities, the Monstera and Birds of Paradise are two different plants. These plants differ greatly, so you cannot confuse the two without prior knowledge.

Below are some main differences between the Monstera and Birds of Paradise plants.


To start with, the two plants are inherently different species and are part of two different taxonomic groups.

The Monstera genus belongs to the plant family Araceae, order Alismatales, and superorder Loilanae. The plants are monocotyledons and consist of 48 flowering species.

On the other hand, the Birds of Paradise plants belong to the genus strelitzia, plant family Strelitziaceae, order zingiberales. These plants are monocotyledons, and the genus consists of only five plant species.


Birds of Paradise Leaves

Monstera species feature differentiating growth characteristics. Among them, the Monstera deliciosa can grow about 15 feet in a couple of years.

However, the Birds of Paradise can take around three years to fully mature and reach 30 feet. Compared to the Monstera, the bird of paradise is a slow grower.

Moreover, the Monstera growth is more vining while the Birds of Paradise grows like a tree.

Aerial Roots

Potted monstera with aerial roots

Monstera plants are known for their aerial roots. These aerial roots help anchor the plant on tree trunks, helping the plant grow upwards to get more light. You can even add a moss pole to support the upright growth of Monstera.

On the other hand, the only roots that Birds of Paradise have been found in the soil. The root system of the Birds of Paradise is deeper than the Monstera, which is more shallow and on the surface. The Birds of Paradise roots can grow around two feet in length.


Birds of Paradise Foliage

Monstera supports heart-shaped leaves that appear light green when young and grow to produce dark green leaves with a glossy appearance. The Monstera leaves are long and broad and feature fenestrations. These fenestrations are natural characteristics of Monstera developed to withstand strong winds.

On the other hand, the Birds of Paradise leaves are broader than the Monstera. These leaves appear more closely packed together than Monstera leaves which are further apart. Moreover, these leaves are thick and leathery, which makes them susceptible to tearing.

Flowering and Fruits

Birds of Paradise flower close up

The Birds of Paradise produce beautiful flowers and can take around three years to mature and start flowering. The plants usually flower in early spring or late winter. The Birds of Paradise flowers appear bright orange on top of a horizontal spade. This is why they resemble birds and are often called such.

Moreover, these flowers grow into small clusters of fruits supporting numerous seeds.

On the other hand, the Monstera deliciosa can flower after a couple of years when it reaches maturity. However, they rarely flower indoors.

The Monstera flowers consist of a cream-colored spade that surrounds the elongated flower. The flowers then grow into a fruit that resembles pineapples.

Monstera Deliciosa Leaves

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What plants are similar to Monsteras?

Many plants look similar to Mosnteras, so much so that it is difficult to differentiate them. Some of the biggest Swiss cheese plant look-alikes include:

  • Split Leaf Philodendron
  • Rhapidophora Tetrasperma
  • Epipremnum Pinnatum
  1. Can I put my Monstera plant in the bedroom?

You can grow your Monstera anywhere in your home, given that it receives the proper care. YOu can place it in your bedroom if it receives plenty of indirect light, warm temperatures, and high humidity. Since you would not want your bedroom to be humid, it is best to keep it somewhere else.

You can find a room that gets plenty of sun. However, you must ensure that it gets bright indirect light from the window. Direct sunlight can be harmful to these plants.

 3. What other houseplants can I grow?

Monstera deliciosa and Bird of Paradise are popular houseplants. However, you can also grow other popular plants, such as the snake plant. The indoor plant is a beautiful addition to your home and creates arching leaves that continue to grow taller.