Monstera Obliqua, also known as the Swiss Cheese Vine or Philodendron Monkey Mask, is a rare and highly sought-after plant species among collectors and plant enthusiasts.
Its unique, delicate appearance and distinctive perforated leaves make it a stunning addition to any indoor garden or tropical landscape.
Despite its popularity, Monstera Obliqua is notoriously difficult to cultivate, as it requires specific environmental conditions to thrive. And while you might find this plant variety in prints or photos, seeing one in person or owning one is far more uncommon.
In this article, we will explore the fascinating characteristics of Monstera Obliqua, its care requirements, and some tips for growing this elusive plant species.
Quick Summary Guide
- Sunlight: Monstera Obliqua requires bright, indirect light to grow well.Soil: The plant should be potted in well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter.
- Watering: Monstera Obliqua prefers consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged.
It’s best to allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
- Humidity: Monstera Obliqua thrives in high humidity environments, with a preference for humidity levels around 60-80%.
- Fertilizing: Fertilize every 2-3 months with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer can help promote growth. Avoid fertilizing during the winter months
- Toxicity: Monstera Obliqua is toxic to humans and pets if ingested.
There are many fans of this gorgeous plant- myself included! The obliqua is among the rarest and most challenging Monstera varieties, and only the most enthusiastic plant lovers attempt to grow this treasure.
Originally from the South and Central American jungles, the obliqua frequently grows against tree trunks or soil. This plant is from the geographic regions of South America to Panama. Its also found in Costa Rica, Peru, and the Amazon. Unfortunately, this distinctive plant is rare even in these vast regions.
This species is very pricey and often confused with Monstera adansonii; however, the adansonii is thicker with fewer holes in the leaves. The two species come from the same family named Monstera and belong to the group of Araceae.
You can likely walk into any garden store and acquire a Monstera Adansonii. On the other hand, Monstera Obliqua is pretty uncommon; therefore, you would have to obtain it from a specialized collector.
Monstera Obliqua Plant Characteristics
The obliqua is often known for its tiny leaves with perforated holes without symmetry. It does have various other appearances depending on the region; in other words, not all obliquas have holes, which is its most notable feature.
The Monstera obliqua can settle itself on the root section of larger trees. It does not quickly climb, so that it can thrive on smaller trees as well. The obliqua can successfully grow on other plants and obtain nutrients from the elements around them.
The small plant can reach maturity in compact spaces because of its slow growth process, particularly as a house plant; however, when it’s in its natural habitat, the rate of growth increases because of humidity, temperature and lighting culminate into a rich environment.
This lovely flora reaches maturity at only a few meters high.
The stem of the Obliqua matures to about 2 millimeters in thickness as a house plant. When it’s in a more natural environment, the growth is about 5 meters in thickness, significantly bigger. The plant also produces leafless runners that drop to the forest floor, known as stolon.
These stolons can grow horizontally for 20 meters until it finds a new tree to attach itself to and begin to thrive.
Overall, obliquas do not have a particular flowering season. They will bloom at any time. The obliqua generates up to 8 spadices, a cluster of small flowers around a fleshy axis. Obliquas bloom a little over a year after germination.
There is a green spathe in the obliqua fruit. At first, the spadix becomes a greenish-white color and then a bright yellow color. The fruit, orange berries, are apart from each other, unlike other Monstera plants.
Monstera Obliqua Requirements
Obliqua should be placed near a window, but not directly in front of one. A shadowy location allows it to flourish nicely. Avoid direct sunlight.
Obliques can grow well using hanging containers or baskets from which water can drain at the bottom. Soils must be damp, not wet. See below for full list of needs.
This plant needs an indirect amount of light because it usually grows near trees; therefore, it should not be in direct sunlight if it’s outside. The pot should remain in the shade if you have the plant on the patio. The shade will give it the right amount of light without getting dried out.
Put up see-through curtains on the windows if you find that the light coming through the glass is too bright. They will filtrate and decrease the sun’s rays’ strength so the plant’s leaves won’t burns. If the room is too dark, find a lamp with LEDs.
The most complicated and tricky part of caring for the obliqua is possibly watering. It will need daily watering, but the plant could start dying out if you overwater it. The point is to find out how long between watering periods is enough to keep the plant moist and healthy.
Keep in mind that the soil’s surface should be moist when you plant it in the pot. Put your fingers in the container, and see if you’ve given it enough water. Test the soil’s moisture before adding more water. If it’s moist, leave it alone. It is time for another watering if the lower layers of soil are dry.
Usually, it’s good to take a few days to break between waterings, but this can change from period to period depending on the moisture. You should water the plant more frequently in spring and summer since the temperature is high, the humidity is low, and water quickly evaporates. It can come down to only one or two waterings a week during winter.
Listening to the plant is always the easiest; it will tell you if you are doing something negative or positive. Furthermore, using the perfect combination of soil and mix could prove useful in retaining the moisture.
Plant Soil Requirements
Proper soil is essential if you want to get the desired results. First, you should ensure that the pH of the soil is right. It must be mildly acidic if you are concerned about the ground being far too acidic, keeping it between five and seven.
It is best to fill the soil with peat. You can purchase this online, or you can make it yourself. Peat is critical because it holds moisture, allowing the plant to consume it gradually.
One other ingredient that the soil might have is loam. It will establish tiny pockets so that all the nutrients produced can reach the roots. Other components that retain water, such as coconut coir, can be contained in the soil. Keep everything organic if possible.
Location and Temperature Needs
Your plant will grow inside or outside, depending on where you live and the seasons. You can keep the plant on your deck during spring and early summer, and when winter comes, find a place inside for it so that it stays warm.
Of course, the temperature is more superficial indoors, just as with lightning. The temperature range for the obliqua is around fifteen and twenty degrees centigrade.
It is easiest to control indoor gardens’ temperature conditions, where the atmosphere can easily be kept steady. Position the plant in an area where the temperature is regulated if you don’t have a greenhouse. This temperature control is essential during the winter. When the temperature falls below four degrees Celsius, this plant will die.
Obliqua plants are related to philodendrons and resembled them in texture. In the tropical Southern parts of the United States, they should be outdoors.
In the Northern part of the United States, indoors, direct winter sun and bright reflected light are suitable for the remainder of the year; leaves will be tiny in dim light and typically located on long, droopy stolons.
If you have a large enough plant that is beginning to struggle at the root, take it out and plant it in a bigger vessel along with a more youthful one; You could also trim it back to allow it to regenerate from the new growth.
Special Requirements For the Obliqua
On the subject of humidity, you should follow these particular requirements. Humidity is high in Brazil’s forested areas, so you might find that this species does best in a warm and moist location like a bathroom. You can place the plant by a window or even place it in a garden if the air is warm and you can mist often.
Do not panic if you can’t fulfill the same environment of a rain forest. Even without super humid air, your plant will flourish. Check the soil’s moisture periodically, look at the foliage, and spray the plant if you think the air is becoming too dry. Typically, for healthy development, that is enough.
Placing it in a space with a humidifier is another option you could try. You should replace the water every week to ensure that bacteria does not breed or rot the plant.
Be cautious not to over moisten the plant. If water settles and you see not being absorbed, dry out the plant immediately to avoid root rot.
Plant Feeding/fertilizing Requirements
Find out if the soil you purchase has slow-release feeding before you buy it. This type of inquiry needs to be done before you begin to fertilize the plant. Much peat-based dirt has this type of fertilizing capability. If you get this type, the plant will not need fertilizing for several months after being in a new container.
It would be best if you fertilized again after a few weeks have passed. Obliquas reacts best to water-mixed liquid fertilizers. These 20-20-20 fertilizers are most useful with one tablespoon diluted in a gallon of water.
Avoid drowning the plant with direct fertilizer. Spray the water-mix a few inches above it or away from the root. After a few weeks, repeat the fertilization process for the best growth.
Usually, it will need further feeding during the spring and summer, but you can avoid fertilizing entirely during the winter.
The type of fertilizer formula can be tricky. Make sure that it does not have too many salts in it. The plant can dry out from artificial fertilizer with a large number of salts. The result can cause damage to the root of your plant.
For growing, this plant does not need constant fertilizers, but they boost the process and help with leaves and root growth. The growth rate would be much slower if you don’t use any fertilizer, and the plant won’t have leaves that grow very large.
Additional Tips For Success with The Monstera Oblique
You now know how to look after your rare, exotic plant. Nevertheless, you will have to be patient to see it flourish. The obliqua grows slowly and can be fragile, especially if it is being cared for as a house plant. This process would be even slower if you choose not to fertilize it.
Adding fertilizers to the water is one way to help your obliqua grow. Another way is to recreate conditions from their natural environment, such as high humidity, plenty of light, proper temperature, and frequent watering, which will help expedite the plant’s growth.
It is almost impossible to grow a large quantity of these plants. The main reason is it’s challenging to replicate the natural growing environment; thus, they tend not to grow quickly as standard house plants.
Planting the Monstera Obliqua
A hanging container will work fine for these plants. Also, you don’t have to keep changing pots. This slow-growing plant can do well in the same container for around three years. An indication that the plant will need a new container is when the plant’s roots begin to grow out of the drainage holes.
When pruning, start by removing brown or dying leaves. In other words, removing the plant’s trash promotes the most optimum conditions for new growth.
Always use sterile scissors or shears while pruning to decrease the risk of bacterial and fungal diseases. In the case of illnesses or bacterial infections, never cut through the yellowed area. Cutting this can cause more damage.
Concentrate on making clean slits because too many cuts can stun and damage the plant. Not being cautious can result in a lack of growth and health deterioration.
While the aerial roots are not exactly attractive, as this may stress the plant and potentially weaken it, you must not remove them.
It is simple to propagate this plant, and there are a couple of tricks that might help you. Even though the process is uncomplicated, the plant grows at a slow rate. Unless conditions are perfect for them to spring quickly, it will take a while to see real progress.
This plant does not regularly develop too many stolons. It takes time for stolons to appear. Stolons are stems but without leaves. In one area, they usually appear and then begin to spread to other sections. You can utilize that portion of the plant to propagate when you spot them.
They don’t have to be removed and placed in a separate pot from the original plant. Many growers generate the leaves and stem from them while they are still connected to the main plant. They use the runners.
This plant will require high humidity, which can be tricky unless you can create the environment. It will begin to grow roots by putting a little soil beneath the stolon. When the leaves begin to emerge, trim the stolons and place them in the soil in a new container.
Make sure that it has a leaf. It doesn’t have to be many leaves. Also, make sure it has nodes when cutting the runner. In a pot, place peat and loam compost, and water the top layer generously. The roots will grow naturally in a couple of weeks, and the plant will slowly begin to develop.
You will have to change your plant to a bigger pot, not immediately, but as it outgrows the container. The obliqua grows at a slower pace, so before re-potting is necessary, a few months will likely pass.
Usually, gardeners take a look at the roots when determining whether to re-pot the plant or not. If it becomes necessary, remove the plant and put it aside. Get the best-fertilized soil, carefully replace the plant in the new container, and make every effort not to damage the plant or its roots.
If the roots are still developing, you can hold off on the re-potting process. It could even take the plant a year to outgrow the container. Make sure that the new pot will accommodate the plant before making changes. It needs to have holes in the bottom and be deep enough to drain the excess water.
The size of your pot seems to be the most crucial thing. Insert the plant and fill most of the container with soil before placing it in the plant.
Be sure to cover the roots as you apply the rest of the soil, but leave about two inches from the first set of leaves and the mix. Also, ensure that the roots have enough soil because they must stand securely and sustain the plant’s growth.
After re-potting, whatever you used before will work when it comes to the sort of soil you can use; it is best to use peat-based soil, but if you have found another form that works for your plant, use that one. Add water to the top portion of the soil after putting the plant in the pot with fertilizer.
As the obliqua grows to about a mid-range height, you should trim it when you find that it has outgrown its space. Doing this procedure allows you to use the cuttings for raising new plants.
Take note of mealybugs, spider mites, scale, thrips, and whiteflies around the leaves’ holes and undersides. Root rotting, botrytis, leaf-spots, and southern blight are common diseases associated with obliquas.
For gardeners with pets, toxicity is generally a concern. Cats and dogs enjoy chewing on plants and leaves as part of their play.
Agitation or persistent vomiting can occur if your pet has eaten the leaves. Placing the plant away from your pets is the only option. Place it on the top shelf or other surfaces that your pet is unable to climb quickly.
Monstera Obliqua FAQ
Q. Is obliqua allowed to root in water?
This plant can root in both water and soil. There is very little difference between rooting in water or choosing to place it in the soil; both techniques work. Position the stolons in water, then in the dirt once the shoots expand.
Q. How can obliqua be distinguished from Monstera Adansonii?
As previously stated, Monstera adansonii is often mistaken for obliqua by many people, and it even happens to collectors and experienced gardeners. The obliqua possess much thinner leaves with a soft texture. The Monstera adansonii has thicker leaves, grows more extensive, and the texture is not as smooth.
Because the Monstera obliqua is rare, you should seek a private grower or maybe specialized plant bidding websites.
Because they are so expensive, you should read the vendor reviews, get pictures of the actual plant or cutting that is being sold, and ask about insurance or give a money-back guarantee.
I have seen many plants for sale on Etsy for over $900 or ebay for thousands. Always be cautious when buying form an unknown seller. If you are able to purchase this lovely plant, please let us know how you enjoy caring for it.