When it comes to growing plants indoors, there are no better plants than the Philodendron Xanadu and the Monstera deliciosa. Their beautiful foliage and unique features make them desirable for plant owners. However, many plant owners fail to differentiate between the two species.
Here, we will examine the similarities and differences between the split-leaf Philodendron vs. Monstera and how you can grow the two plants indoors.
What is the Philodendron Xanadu
The Philodendron Xanadu, also called the Thaumatophyllum Xanadu, is a tropical plant that belongs to the arum family Araceae and is native to Brazil and cultivated in warm climates and tropical regions.
The plant was first reported in 1983 and became part of the 500 varieties of Philodendron in the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). The Xanadu was first confused with the Philodendron bipinnatifidum (Philodendron selloum) and was addressed with many nicknames, including the Winterbourne, heartleaf philodendron, wonder leaf, the showboat plant, Horsehead philodendron, and the split-leaf Philodendron.
What is the Monstera Deliciosa
The Monstera deliciosa is one of the 48 species in the genus Monstera that is native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. The tropical plant belongs to the Araceae family and is accustomed to tropical regions and USDA zones 10-12.
The Monstera deliciosa is one of the most common Monstera plants grown indoors, with other Monstera species including the Monstera adansonii and Monstera variegata.
The deliciosa plant is known for its fenestrations, tiny holes n the leaves, that gave it its nickname, the Swiss Cheese plant. Other nicknames include the Heart-shaped leaf plant and the Mexican breadfruit plant.
Philodendron vs. Monstera: Key Similarities
Despite belonging to different species, the split-leaf Philodendron and Monstera share many similarities, so much so that some plant owners think they are the same plant.
Below are some key similarities between the Philodendron Xanadu vs. Monstera deliciosa.
One of the main reasons the two plants share so many similarities is that they belong to the same family of Araceae, which is commonly called the arum family and consists of more than 3000 species.
One of the key similarities between the plant species of the Araceae family is the development of a spadix. However, the shape and color of the spadix can vary depending on the genus.
The Monstera deliciosa and split-leaf Philodendron share similar origins, native to tropical rainforests and USDA zones 10-12.
Although the split-leaf Philodendron is found mainly in Brazil and the Monstera species are found in tropical regions of Central America, the two plants thrive in warm climates and grow on forest grounds.
Leaf Shape and Structure
One of the main similarities between the two tropical plants is that they have similarly structured leaves, although different in size.
Both plants support heart-shaped and deeply lobed leaves with splits. The splits are an adaptive feature for the plants to survive in the strong winds of the tropical rainforest.
In their native habitat, the plants attach themselves to surfaces such as rocks and forest trees and exhibit a climbing nature. This is possible because the plants develop aerial roots out of the main vine.
The aerial root anchors the tropical plant to the support and absorbs moisture from the air. As the plants mature, they start to vine and sprawl, making them ideal for growing as floor plants or hanging baskets.
As the split-leaf philodendron and Monstera deliciosa are accustomed to growing in tropical environments, their growth depends on how well you can replicate the environment.
As such, these plants have specific growing requirements that they share.
Bright Indirect SunLight
In their natural environment, the plant species adapted to the bright filtered light passing from the forest canopy. Thus, the plants prefer growing in bright indirect sunlight. However, you must keep the plants away from direct sunlight.
Keeping the plants in too much sunlight or bright direct light can cause leaf scorching and dehydration, resulting in brown and droopy leaves.
However, too little light causes a lack of photosynthesis, resulting in stunted growth and yellowing leaves.
Monstera and split-leaf philodendron plants are constantly in search of water. As such, you should water them once every week during the growing seasons and once every two weeks during the winter when plant growth is slow.
Overwatering the plants can lead to suffocating the roots and fungal diseases such as root rot. Underwatering the plants can result in dehydration and wilting of the plants.
Temperature and Humidity
In their native habitat, the split-leaf Philodendron and Swiss cheese plants are accustomed to warm climates with high humidity levels.
The plants thrive in a 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range and a humidity level above 60%. However, too much humidity could result in bacterial and fungal infections.
True split leaf philodendrons and Swiss cheese plants prefer slightly acidic soil of pH 5.0 to 5.7. Moreover, these tropical plants thrive in well-aerated soil that does not restrict root growth.
You can purchase a nutrient-rich potting mix for aroid plants, such as the split leaf plant and the Monstera deliciosa, and add perlite or coco coir to ensure drainage, and the plants love well-draining soil.
Both split-leaf philodendron and Monstera deliciosa can be propagated by stem cuttings. The cuttings should be taken from healthy plants and allowed to root in water or soil before being planted in their pot.
The split-leaf philodendrons and Monstera deliciosa plants share similar toxic traits and are toxic to humans and pets such as dogs and cats.
The Monstera deliciosa sap contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause skin irritation and throat swelling if ingested. Similarly, split-leaf plants contain oxalic acid, which can cause throat irritation, vomiting, and stomach aches.
Split Leaf Philodendron vs. Monstera Deliciosa: Key Differences
Despite their many similarities, the Philodendron and Monstera are not the same plant and show many differences that can help plant owners tell the two apart.
Some key differences between the split-leaf Philodendron vs. Monstera are mentioned below.
Although they belong to the same aroid plant family, they belong to different plant genera.
The plant taxonomy is one of the most significant differences between split-leaf philodendrons and Monstera. Split-leaf Philodendron is a member of the genus Philodendron, while deliciosa is part of the genus Monstera.
While the split-leaf Philodendron is scientifically named the Philodendron bipinnatifidum, the latter is scientifically named the Monstera deliciosa.
The polarity in their classification is due to the differences in their physical characteristics.
One of the key differences between the two plants is the size of the leaves.
A true split-leaf philodendron has large leaves around three feet long and one foot wide. However, these leaves are much narrower than the Monstera deliciosa leaves.
On the other hand, the Monstera deliciosa is famous for its abnormally large leaves, which reach three feet in length and about two feet in width.
While juvenile leaves may appear similar, these plants develop distinct characteristics in their mature leaves.
The similarity between the two leaves ends in their heart shape. Monstera produces deep green glossy leaves in texture than split leaves. Moreover, these leaves are more flat and shiny and support tiny fenestration (holes) near the midrib. Monstera splits are fewer, dividing the plant leaf into ten sections.
On the other hand, the split leaf philodendron produces splits that divide the Philodendron leaves into 20 sections, and the plants form leafy fingers. Moreover, the philodendrons do not have any fenestrations and are leathery in texture.
Moreover, split-leaf philodendrons have falling cataphylls. The falling leaves are common as the plant matures, where the old leaves dry and eventually fall off. On the other hand, Monstera cataphylls stay on the plant even in maturity.
The split-leaf plant has a woody stem with shallow nodes that are closer together. On the other hand, Swiss cheese plants have thinner stems, varying between 0.8 to 3.0 inches, and are less woody. Moreover, the nodes on the Monstera stem are more spaced apart.
Split leaf philodendron is smaller than Monstera, growing around 6.5 feet indoors and 15 feet in the wild. The Monstera deliciosa grows around 10-15 feet as a plant indoors and up to 70 feet in the wild.
However, the size of the plants can vary depending on their growing conditions. In the right conditions, the split leaf philodendrons can reach around 15 feet tall and eight feet wide.
Monstera and philodendron plants follow distinct growth patterns. The philodendrons grow horizontally rapidly and can double in height quickly.
On the other hand, the Monstera plant is an excellent climber and climbs upwards on tree trunks. The aerial roots absorb moisture and nutrients from the host trees and increase in height.
Flowering and Fruits
Once the deliciosa plant reaches maturity, it can develop beautiful spathe flowers in the spring. The deliciosa is known for producing edible fruit, which is why it is often referred to as the “fruit salad plant.” The fruit is a greenish-white color and has a unique, pineapple-like flavor. However, it is rare for potted Monsteras to develop flowers.
In contrast, split-leaf Philodendron does not produce edible fruit.
Tips for Growing Tropical Plants Indoors
Now that you know the similarities and differences between the Philodendron Xanadu and Monstera deliciosa, you must know how to care for them to successfully grow a healthy plant.
Below are some tips you can use to successfully grow the two houseplants.
- Place the plants in a warm area of the house that receives plenty of indirect light. You can place them near a west or east-facing window. Alternatively, you can use grow lights to ensure optimal light intensity.
- Use a humidifier to maintain a high humidity level. You can also use a pebble tray filled with water and place it under the plant pot.
- Investigate the roots if you notice signs of root rot, such as yellowing Monstera leaves and black spots. Cut off damaged parts and treat the rest of the plant with a fungicide.
- If you see signs of a pest infestation, such as damaged philodendron leaves, isolate the plants and treat them with insecticides. You can use neem oil to prevent future infestations.
- You can add liquid houseplant fertilizer to the pot to speed up the growth of the plants. However, only feed the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer in the growing season. Overfeeding can result in root blockage and damage to the plant.
- Use a hygrometer to check soil moisture before watering the plant to avoid overwatering. Alternatively, you can check if the soil is dry using your fingertip.
- Use a clay pot for your tropical plants, as they have good moisture-retaining abilities. However, you must ensure the pot has enough drainage holes to maintain adequate drainage.
While split-leaf philodendron and Monstera deliciosa have many similarities, there are also some key differences between the two plants. Understanding these differences lets you choose the plant that best fits your needs and preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Split-leaf Philodendron?
A split-leaf philodendron or the philodendron selloum is a nickname used for many philodendron species. These species are tropical plants found in Southern tropical regions and are famous for their characteristic growth features and splits.
Are Monstera and Split-leaf Philodendron the same plant?
No, the two are very different plants. Since they belong to the same Araceae family of plants, they share many similar characteristics, such as foliage color and splits. Due to these characteristics, many believe that they are the same plant.
However, these plants have many distinct differences that make it clear that they are different species and offer different aesthetic values than houseplants.
How do you identify a Monstera plant?
A Monstera plant has many distinct features that can help gardeners identify them. Among their many characteristics, their huge leaves, aerial roots, split leaves, and fenestrations are the most helpful when trying to tell the Monstera plant apart from other indoor plants. Moreover, Monstera produces delicious fruit in the wild, and the heart-shaped leaves with splits make it easier to identify the Monstera genus.
However, most of these characteristics develop as the plant ages, so you might have difficulty identifying a juvenile Monstera.
Can you cross Monstera plants with Split Leaf Philodendron?
While they may belong to the same family, they are completely different species. As such, you can not cross a Monstera with a philodendron. This means that you can not take pollen from the flower of a Monstera deliciosa and use it to create a hybrid seed in the Philodendron plant.
Can I Grow Variegated Monstera and Philodendron plant?
Variegated Monstera plants are extremely rare. The same is true for variegated species of Philodendron. The variegation in the leaf of tropical plants occurs due to a lack of chlorophyll resulting from a natural mutation. The mutation results in variegated leaves with contrasting green, yellow, and white colors.
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.