How to tell the Monstera Obliqua from a Monstera Adansonii

Monstera Obliqua vs. Adansonii: How to Tell Them Apart

The Monstera Obliqua and Adansonii are two of the most popular varieties of Swiss cheese plants. Even though they may look alike, I’ll list the differences between these two plants so you’ll know how to tell them apart.

How do you tell the Monstera Obliqua and Adansonii apart? You can tell the Monstera Obliqua and Adansonii apart by the size of the fenestrations, the difference in price, the plant’s growth speed, and whether your plant has stolons. How thick the leaves are and how wavy are other determining signs. 

In today’s article, I’ll first explain a bit about both these Monstera varieties separately. Then I’ll delve into the differences above. Since Obliqua is considerably rarer than Adansonii, many indoor gardeners want to be clear on which plant is which. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know for sure!

What Is the Monstera Obliqua?

Let’s start by talking about the Monstera Obliqua, a species of the Monstera genus. 

The Monstera Obliqua that is the most well known, grows natively in South and Central America. It’s considered the Peru Obliqua and its leaves with the wide-open fenestrations are its biggest visual trademark. 

If you get your hands on a Monstera Obliqua, you should consider yourself tremendously lucky. This plant species grows very slowly, so they’re in a much shorter supply than other species of Monstera.

As a result, the Obliqua has become extremely rare. 

You’ll want to take very special care of your Obliqua to keep it alive and healthy. The plant requires bright, indirect light and temperatures over 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Provide plenty of humidity as well.

Well-draining soil is a must for the Monstera Obliqua. You should water it when the soil begins to dry out. That might only be once weekly but can be twice per week such as in the summer.

You can then propagate your Obliqua cuttings and give the incredible gift of this rare plant to others in your life (lucky them!). 

To Learn More About Propagating Indoor Plants by Cuttings: Umbrella Plant: Propagation from Cuttings

What Is the Monstera Adansonii?

Adanson’s monstera or the Monstera Adansonii is also from Central and South America. 

The Adansonii has branched off towards the West Indies, where it grows on a variety of islands. 

They include Trinidad, Tobago, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Marie Galante, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Saba, Grenada, and Antigua.

Known as the five-holes plant, the Adansonii prefers low elevations and moist environments such as river valleys.

The leaves usually have a heart shape, giving the Adansonii appealing foliage. 

The Adansonii does best when grown in bright, indirect light. Its temperatures should never drop below 40 degrees. Use a humidifier or natural bathroom heat to induce humidity at more than 50 percent.

Provide well-draining soil for the Adansonii. If the soil has dried out about an inch deep, then it’s time to water this lovely plant. 

7 Differences Between Monstera Obliqua and Monstera Adansonii 

As I’ve established, the Monstera Obliqua is very rare whereas the Adansonii is not. That’s not a knock on the Adansonii; it’s just a lot more commonly available. 

When both Monstera species are young, determining one from the other is difficult. As the plants mature, their differences become more apparent.

You must know whether you have the rare Obliqua like you think or the Adansonii. Per the intro, here’s how you can be sure.

Fenestration Shape and Size

The Monstera genus is commonly referred to as the Swiss cheese plant. 

If you’ve ever seen a plant species in this genus, then you’ll know they’ve more than earned that nickname.

Throughout the foliage of a Monstera is a series of varying sized holes.

The holes on the monstera leaves have a scientific name, and that’s fenestrations.

The randomly sized holes on the leaves of the Monstera plant are the reason people have nicknamed the Monstera the Swiss cheese plant.

One of the easiest ways to tell the Obliqua and Adansonii apart is by looking at the fenestrations.

The Adansonii tends to have smaller and narrower fenestrations. They’re almost like slits rather than holes, especially when the Adansonii is younger.

Even once the Adansonii matures, its fenestrations never grow too large. They’re longer than they are wider and are complemented by smaller holes across each leaf. 

The Obliqua, by comparison, has huge fenestrations. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Monstera species with larger fenestrations than the Monstera Obliqua.

The perforations are so large that some people say the Obliqua has more open space than it does leaf, and that’s not unfair.

The leaves are extremely fragile since there’s so little to them. 

Of course, I must be clear that even an Obliqua has to grow into its fenestrations. You’re not likely to see these larger-than-life holes until the plant has matured or gotten close to that point. 

Leaf Edges

You can continue studying the leaves of these Monstera plant species to discern one Monstera plant from the other. 

The next area to inspect is the leaf edges. 

Although this is a subtler difference, if you held up a true Obliqua and an Adansonii, you would notice the leaf edges are not the same.

The Adansonii grows leaves with traditionally straight edges whereas the Obliqua leaf edges have a slightly wavy shape. 

Leaf Size

Are you still debating whether you have an Adansonii or an Obliqua? The size of the plant’s leaves can be a giveaway.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I must stress that your plant must be mature for leaf size differences to be especially apparent. 

Obviously when the plants are young or still growing , the leaves will be smaller and using the size of the leaves to tell the difference will be much harder. But once the plants are mature, the sizes will be very different from one another.

The Obliqua does not have particularly large leaves. The leaves of the Obliqua are often measured in centimeters, which tells you a lot.

The average size of an Obliqua leaf is 10 centimeters or 3.93 inches to 25 centimeters or 9.84 inches. 

An Adansonii leaf is a lot larger. No centimeters here, as one leaf is between 20 and 30 inches in maturity.

If both your plants are fully grown, then you should have no problem deciphering whether yours is an Adansonii or Obliqua. Just take a measuring tape and assess the dimensions of the leaves. 

Comparing the size of their leaves will tell you all you need to know! 

Leaf Thickness

This is the last foliar difference between the Obliqua and Adansonii, and it’s a bit of a subtler one. You’d need both plants for comparison to really see how these plants diverge.

The Adansonii–likely because there’s more leaf to it–has thicker leaves. The texture of the Adansonii is leathery and rough. Not at all as fragile as the Obliqua.

The Obliqua, unsurprisingly, has much more delicate leaves. They’re thin and almost paper-like, so try not to touch them for very long, and certainly not with a lot of force! 

Growth Speed

If you’re still scratching your head over whether your Monstera is an Adansonii or an Obliqua, measure its growth rate over time.

As you’ll recall from earlier, the Obliqua grows very slow.

This is part of what makes it so rare, as there are far fewer of these plants around.

The Adansonii,grows fast and will even stand out for its fast growth. 

In about a month, it’s not uncommon for the Adansonii to have grown several feet. Yes, I said in only a month.

The Obliqua does grow, but at its own pace. That pace just happens to be very, very slow, even agonizingly slow.

To see growth of several feet from the Obliqua usually takes years.

This is the case even in its native environment where the plant has everything it needs to thrive.

Of course, I have to remind you that growth in a plant is not guaranteed. You must provide the right conditions for the plant in your home or office.

If you do that and you’re growing an Adansonii, then the plant will reward you with quick, generous growth.

The Obliqua will not. That can make caring for this plant all the more frustrating despite its rarity. 

Runners or Stolons

Runners or Stolons on a Monstera Obliqua

Does your Monstera have runners? Whether it does or it doesn’t, you have your answer as to whether you’re caring for an Obliqua or an Adansonii.

First, allow me to explain what runners, also called “stolons” are. 

Runners or stolons are horizontal stems. 

In most instances, they appear right at the top of the soil, but stolons can also grow underneath the soil where you can’t see them. 

From a stolon on the node develops a series of adventitious roots. These roots can appear in non-stolon plants when the plant is stressed. In a plant with a stolon though, adventitious roots are a part of regular growth.

The best example of a plant species with stolons is the strawberry plant. When the stolons grow, more strawberries can develop. 

If you don’t see any of these horizontal roots on your Monstera, then yours is an Adansonii. This species is not known for developing stolons.

The Monstera Obliqua is known for growing stolons, especially if you’re caring for the plant correctly, so keep an eye out for them! 

Price Discrepancy 

The last difference between the Monstera Obliqua and Adansonii is the cost, and boy, are you likely to see a huge difference here.

An Adansonii is priced similar to most other common indoor plants. You can expect to pay between $15 and sometimes $30. It’s relatively inexpensive.

On the other hand, as one of the rarest and trendy houseplants, an Obliqua is going to cost you a lot more than a common houseplant easily found at your local plant store or nursery.

At the very least, you’re going to pay $100 for a Monstera Obliqua. Depending on the size and amount of leaves, $250 and higher can be considered a fair price for these slow growing

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