The Monstera acuminata is a beautiful tropical plant usually grown as a houseplant in the USA. This is considered to be an ornamental plant with beautiful leaves and yellowish-white blooms, and it's known as a shingle plant. Even new gardeners find this plant quite easy to care for. Read on to find out the specifics of Monstera acuminata.
This tropical climbing plant is abundant in the wild. The plant originates in Guatemala, and it's also found in Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize. The dark green leaves are beautiful, with an entire margin around the edges of each leaf. These are the only Monstera plants with full margins, making them slightly different from others. When they mature, the leaves have holes in them, called fenestrations, to give them immense character and interest. The acuminata is one of the smaller Monsteras, making it very popular as an indoor plant because it doesn't take up so much space as some of the larger ones do. Some variations of Monstera plants can get really a bit out of hand and need trimming back to be inside your home as they grow to staggering heights in the wild and the forests.
Plant Care Guide for Monstera Acuminata
The plant care is pretty straightforward, and this lovely houseplant is easy to keep alive and healthy as well. It takes the normal types of care with the appropriate light, water, location, fertilizer, and pruning, just like most of all your houseplants. You can grow Monstera acuminata outdoors as well in the right conditions.
Does Monstera Acuminata Need Too Much Light?
The Monstera acuminata requires bright but indirect light to be healthy and grow properly. The plant will have stunted growth if the light is too dim, and the leaves will turn yellow and wither. Too much direct sunlight from placing your tropical plant near a window will burn the leaves and make them turn brown or black and shed from the plant.
For inside plants, you may place the pot near a window for indirect sunlight for part of the day. Be aware that if your window faces east or west, the sun will be quite bright in the morning or afternoon, respectively. In this case, you may close sheer drapery panels to diffuse the light, so your plant doesn't burn. Otherwise, you can move it farther away from the window. If your home is quite dark inside, you may need to install grow lights for good plant health.
For outside plants, they will need the same type of diffused or indirect light. You can place them under a tree that will give them some shade from the hot sunlight. This is where they actually grow naturally in the wild. The aerial roots reach onto some of the largest trees in the forest and grip them as the plant grows upward. Otherwise, you could cover it with shade cloth or put it in a greenhouse to protect your lovely tropical plant.
How to Water Monstera Acuminata Properly
This plant is pretty forgiving in the area of watering it. If it gets a bit too dry, it will still survive after adding moisture. However, it hates "wet feet" or too damp soil. This will make your beautiful plant die pretty quickly if it's sitting in water as it causes root rot.
You should always have a potted houseplant in a pot with drainage holes in the bottom to drain the excess water into a plant saucer underneath the pot. The most important thing to do before adding water to your Monstera acuminata is to test the dampness level in the soil first.
You can test the soil by inserting a finger into the soil to a depth of about 2 inches from the top of the soil line. Pull your finger back out and observe if there is any damp soil on it. If so, the damp soil will stick to your finger, and it will not need irrigation at this time. If the soil is dry to the 2-inch deep area on your finger, your finger will not have any damp soil on it, and it's time to add water. If you don't want to use your finger, some home gardeners use a wooden dowel to observe the moisture level the same way you can use your finger.
Most indoor Monstera acuminata's need watering about once a week. Put it moderately and evenly in the pot for good growth when you do water. This plant does not like soggy soil at all. If an excess of water drains into the pot saucer and it sits there for over 20 minutes or so, it's best to pour the excess water out of the saucer, so the plant's roots don't stay too wet.
If your Monstera acuminata is in a hot and dry climate, it may need watering twice a week. In a moderate climate, a watering schedule is about normal once a week. If your Monstera acuminata is near a window that gets pretty bright light, it will need water more often than one that is not near the sunlight because the warmth of the sun will cause the water level to evaporate more quickly.
The light, temperature, and humidity levels all come into play when determining the watering schedule for plants. If your Monstera acuminata is too dry, it will have yellowing leaves with brown spots on them, and they will be drooping downward. If you see your potting soil or growing medium pulling away from the insides of the pot, it's an indicator that it's too dry. Dry plants also have crispy leaves that become wrinkled from dehydration.
In the winter, your watering frequency will be less than in the summer because of the decrease in temperatures, humidity levels, and sunshine levels as well.
Temperature and Humidity Requirements of Monstera Acuminata
It is possible to grow Monstera acuminata outside in a warm climate, either in a pot or in the ground, if you live in USDA hardiness zone 10b to 12. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees outside, you can take your potted outdoor plant inside to protect it or put a freeze cloth over it if it's planted in the ground.
Inside your home, the Monstera plant likes its normal tropical environment as it would have in the wild. It needs to be both warm and humid to grow very well in tropical climates. The ideal inside temperature is between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, although if it gets a bit cooler, it will still survive. At 55 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, your tropical plants will grow very slowly.
Remember not to put your potted plant where the temperature changes often occur, such as a window or door with a draft or the air conditioning and heating air vents in your home. It's also best not to place it near an entryway to your home, as the doors can cause drastic drops or rises in temperatures when someone comes in or leaves the house.
The Monstera acuminata enjoys very humid conditions of 60% or more to grow vigorously. It can tolerate humidity levels of 40% to 50%, though. If the humidity level is too low, your leaves will look dry and have brown and crispy feeling edges to them.
You can increase the humidity level in a few ways. You can mist your plant with plain water on the leaves about twice a week. Instead, you may decide to use a pebble tray underneath the pot with water in it so that the water evaporates and creates humidity, or you can group several potted plants closely to raise the humidity level. If you enlist the help of a pebble tray, make certain that the pot rests on the pebbles and there are enough pebbles, so the top of them are not wet. Otherwise, your pot will be sitting in damp conditions, and it can cause root rot very quickly.
Which Fertilizer is Ideal for Monstera Acuminata?
The best fertilizer for your Monstera acuminata is a balanced fertilizer in which the three numbers on the label are all the same. The numbers are the amounts of nutrients in the fertilizer by weight. It's called NPK, as the first letter N is for nitrogen, the second letter P is for phosphorus, and the third letter K is for potassium.
The most commonly used fertilizer is Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food in a 20-20-20 fertilizer. It's simple to use. You merely mix a half teaspoon of the plant food into 1 gallon of water and use it when you water your plant in the active growing seasons.
When is The Time to Fertilize Your Monstera Acuminata?
Houseplants don't need fertilizer in the fall and winter when they are dormant and not actively growing. If you fertilize an outdoor plant in the non-growing season of fall, you risk it putting on new tender growth that can very easily freeze when temperatures drop. Fertilizing about once a month is all that is needed for great growth and beautiful green ornamental leaves.
If you don't use the entire gallon of fertilizer in one watering session, store it with a lid on it in a container, such as a gallon milk jug with a lid on it. When you use it again the next month, shake the jug or container to make certain it is still mixed together. Please don't leave the lid off the container, or it will start to evaporate and get stronger, which could burn your plant by being too strong.
Is Propagation Complicated?
No, propagation isn't complicated at all. You can take stem cuttings, and either place them directly in a pot with compost or a jar of water. Your cuttings will root faster if they are in the soil in a pot, though. The best time to propagate plants is early in the spring.
Put your growing medium in a pot and water it very well. You might want to do this outside to drain the extra water onto the ground. Select a healthy stem on your Monstera acuminata 4 to 6 inches long. It needs to have at least two nodes where the aerial roots grow. Sterilize your pruners or scissors with rubbing alcohol and snip the stem at the area just below the two nodes.
Remove the lower leaves on the stem so that only one or two at the top of the stem remains. Dip the stem into some rooting hormone to help it root faster. Poke a hole in the soil and place the cutting in it while tamping the soil down around it to hold it upright. Add a moss pole to support the cutting and hold it upright as it grows horizontally and vertically.
Mist your cutting and place a large plastic bag over the plant, touching the moss pole but make sure it's not touching the leaves. Cut a small hole in the top of the plastic bag. This creates a sort of mini-greenhouse to maintain the humidity level of the cutting. Place it near a window for indirect sunlight and remove the bag a few hours a day while checking the moisture level and misting it if it needs water.
It usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to start rooting, but it can take several months, and all the cuttings may not root at the same rate.
If you want to watch your stem cutting root, you cut and prepare the cutting in the same manner as if you are putting them in compost or soil in a pot. Take some filtered water and let it sit out overnight to help dissipate any chlorine in the water. Place the lower end of the cutting in the water in the jar, making sure that the leaves are trimmed back and don't touch the water. If any leaves are in the water, they will rot.
Place your jar in a warm area with indirect sunlight to maintain the temperature and humidity levels. A good area is a windowsill. Every 3 or 4 days, change the water in the jar. When the roots form, you can plant your rooted cutting in a pot in some compost. Don't leave the cutting in the water after you see roots for very long, or the roots will rot off, and you will lose your cutting.
How to Repot Monstera Acuminata?
Repotting your tropical plant is quite easy. It should only need repotting about every 2 to 3 years. If you see roots growing out of the drainage holes at any time, then your plant is root-bound, and needs repotting. Repotting should be done in the spring or summer when it's the growing season for the best results.
Choose a pot 2 to 3 inches wider in diameter for your new pot. Water your plant thoroughly and grasp all of the stems at the bottom near the top of the potting mix level. Tip the pot over sideways and pull the plant out very gently. Untangle the roots with your hands and place some of your growing medium, sphagnum moss, or peat moss in the new pot. Put the plant on top of the soil and backfill the pot close to the top with the soil. You should leave about one inch of the pot at the top empty of soil to accommodate watering it without the water splashing out on the floor inside your home. Water your Monstera acuminata soil and young plant in its new pot very well and let any extra moisture drain out, then take it inside.
Monstera Acuminata Common Problems and Solutions
It's very helpful to know the signs of a plant that isn't thriving and solve these problems. All plants will give you some sort of signs, and commonly, it's the leaves that will notify you that your plant needs some TLC.
Leaves are Changing Color and Wilting
If your Monstera acuminata has yellow leaves, it is either undernourished and needs fertilizer, or it's an overwatered Monstera acuminata. If it is overwatered, the yellow leaves will be sweaty. If your leaves have brown edges, either the humidity level is too low, or it's too dry.
Remember to always check the soil moisture before watering your plant. It would help if you gave it an extra dose of liquid fertilizer to add nourishment to the soil for better growth. You can mist your plant to add humidity for good growth habits or put a pebble tray underneath your plant.
Brown spots usually indicate rust fungus on Monstera acuminata. The spots can be on the tops or bottoms of the foliage or both, and they can vary in size. The most common cause of this fungus is when water splashes on the lower leaves when watering your plant. Rust fungi spread by producing powdery spores that then get on the other leaves of your plant. When you water your houseplant, make sure to water the soil slowly and don't splash water onto the leaves.
When growing Monstera acuminata inside your home, it's very unlikely to have any pests on your plants. If you see any bugs on them, take your plant outside and spray the leaves with a strong stream of water from the garden hose to remove them. Common pests on outdoor Monstera acuminata include spider mites, thrips, aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs. If you see any signs of bugs on your outdoor plants, spray them on the top and bottom of all the leaves with neem oil to get rid of them. You may have to repeat this every few days to get rid of an infestation.
Can a Monstera acuminata kill a cat?
If a cat eats Monstera acuminata, it can kill it. It contains very sharp needles of calcium oxalates that can pierce the mouth and gut lining. So, it's best to keep it away from pets and small children.
What is the difference between Adansonii and Acuminata?
For the Monstera acuminata vs. Adansonii, these two plants look much alike, but there are some notable differences in the leaves. The acuminata leaves are darker than the Monstera adansonii, and they are smaller, ranging from 4 to 10 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide. Monstera adansonii's leaves are about 14 inches long. The holes in the acuminata are smaller and more uniform in shape than the Monstera adansonii.
Why does my Monstera acuminata have no holes?
A young and juvenile plant has heart-shaped leaves without holes in them. As the plant ages, holes will appear in the leaves, and the leaf growth will make the leaf blade longer.
Can I put my Monstera acuminata outside?
You can put it outside as long as it gets indirect sunlight so it doesn't burn, and, in winter, you will likely need to bring it back inside the house or provide protective cover to keep it from freezing.
Should I prune my Monstera acuminata?
You can prune your tropical plants. Many people prune off the aerial roots when they get pretty long as they can be unsightly. If you have any broken stems on your plant, it's best to cut those off as well.
Monstera acuminata grows best in fertile compost for the growing medium. It's a great idea to use a Lomi countertop composter to put your vegetable scraps in and make nutrient-rich minerals for your plants. This way, you know you are using organic soil that is packed with nutrients. This tropical plant is quite forgiving, and it's cherished for the beautiful green foliage as an ornamental houseplant.