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Monstera acuminata Care and How It Differs from adansonii or Esqueleto

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Monstera acuminata is a rare houseplant that shingles while in the juvenile stage and has large, fenestrated dull green leathery pendent mature leaves. It is easy to grow or low maintenance and will give your home a unique tropical appeal.

The mature form bears some similarities with Monstera adansonii, including some of its subspecies like subsp. laniata, blanchetii or klotzschiana. However, it does have differences, as we will see later. Some people confuse it with Monstera ‘Esqueleto’, yet these plants are very different.

This post guide you on how to identify this plant and tell it from adansonii and Esqueleto. Also, we have a complete care guide should you decide to buy this adorable plant.

Monstera acuminata plant with mature leaves - Courtesy of Karousell
M. acuminata plant with mature leaves – Courtesy of Karousell.com

About Monstera acuminata

Monstera acuminata (K. Koch), first published in 1855, is a climbing plant native to Mexico to Central America. Some of its synonyms are Monstera grandifolia and Monstera karwinskyi. It is the only Monstera in the section Marcgraviopsis plant with entire margins.

Growing habits, size, and growth rate

Monstera acuminata is a robust, tropical, wet forest climbing hemiepiphyte. It has a moderate growth rate and can reach up to 98 feet (30 m) tall in its natural habitat. However, it will be about 6 to 8 feet tall at home.

How to identify a Monstera acuminata plant?

This aroid resembles a few other plants, especially Monstera adansonii, some of its subspecies, Esqueleto, and others with entire margins and perforations. Let us look at what the acuminata seedling, juvenile, and mature plants look like to help you easily identify this plant.

Monstera acuminata seedlings are terrestrial creepers. It will grow between 20-79 inches (0.5-2m) and have thin stems with relatively long internodes. Also, they produce only cataphylls, i.e., no leaves.

Juvenile Monstera acuminata has entire, sub-leathery leaves without holes and shingles (grows appressed to the climbing surface) in the juvenile stage. Its internodes are shorter, and its lamina slightly longer than wide. These leaves are highly asymmetric and have short petioles with sheaths extending to the ligules. Also, they have a curved midrib, an unequal base that may be peltate in rare instances, and a short acuminate apex.

Mature monstera acuminata plants don’t shingle. Instead, it has large, 13-26 inches long by 6-14 inches, oval, usually pendent dully green leaves. These leathery leaves have unequal (acute to truncate) bases, a curved midrib, and 10-22 primary lateral veins. Also, they usually start having elongated elliptical perforations (usually a single series) when the leaves are at least 9 inches long but may have none.

Petiole of these mature plants have long (9-18 inches), sheathed, erect petioles with persistent wings. However, the petiole is shorter than the lamina.

Lastly, this plant will only flower when 49ft (15 m) above the ground surface. So, you are unlikely to see flowers or even fruits under cultivation.

How does Monstera acuminata differ from adansonii?

Both these plants have mature plants with holes and an entire margin. However, acuminata grows much larger (up to 98 feet in the wild) and has oval leaves and more lateral veins than Monstera adansonii. Also, there are differences in seedling, juvenile, and adult plants you should not miss.

Firstly, M. acuminata seedlings are leafless runners with only cataphylls, while adansonii doesn’t have runners.

Secondly, Juvenile Monstera adansonii doesn’t shingle, i.e., grow appressed to the climbing surface like acuminata, and the leaves are not as highly asymmetric. Also, juvenile Monstera adansonii will have holes earlier, i.e., when 5 – 10 cm long, and the petiolar sheath only covers 1/3 to 5/6 of the petiole length. In contrast, acuminata’s sheath wing extends to the ligule, and juvenile plants don’t have holes.

Lastly, if you consider mature plants, acuminata usually has pendent, dull-green, leathery oval leaves with persistent petiolar wings and a curved midrib. In contrast, adansonii leaves will have sub-leathery green leaves with persistent or deciduous and not pendent with a curved midrib. Also, while the acuminata leaf base is acute to truncate, adansonii has broadly truncated to cuneate.

Monstera acuminata vs. Esqueleto

Monstera ‘Esqueleto’ is an unknown cultivar but assumed to be of Monstera epipremnoides (we doubt) but with entire, fenestrated leaves. Unlike acuminata, Esqueleto doesn’t have runners and gets holes while in the juvenile stage.

If you have both mature forms, Esqueleto has highly perforated, skeleton-like dark green leaves, while acuminata is less perforated, and the leaves are dull green. Also, Esqueleto is rarer and more expensive than acuminata and has small holes near the midrib, and the larger holes run to near the margins.

How do you care for Monstera acuminata?

Monstera acuminata care is similar to any other Monstera plant. It needs a warm, humid area with bright, indirect light. Feed it once a month, and water it when the top few inches feel dry. Regularly prune it, repot it after 1-2 years and give it a place to climb like a moss pole.

Let us talk a little more about acuminata care:

1. What are the ideal growing conditions

I grow all my Monstera plants, including acuminata, in a warm (60-80°F), humid (50% or more) with bright indirect light.

This plant will easily get sunburned if grown in direct sunlight except for early morning sunlight. Also, too little light will make it leggy and have paler, new growth. I use a grow light for all my plants in darker rooms.  

Too little humidity will make it less lush, and leaves will feel dry. In extreme cases, it may have crispy edges and some leaf yellowing or browning. Buy a humidifier, have a pebble tray, or group your houseplants. Also, misting it a few times a day may temporarily raise the humidity.

These plants don’t tolerate frost or freezing conditions for long. So, ensure the temperature remains above 55°F and does not drastically change. Also, avoid places near heat sources or vents, as too much heat stress this plant.

Lastly, if you grow your acuminata outdoors, select a shaded place and ensure you are in USDA zones 10 to 11. Also, move any outdoor plants inside when temperatures go below 50°F.

2. Which soil is best for Monstera acuminata?

The best potting mix for acuminata must be airy, well-drained, and rich in organic matter. They don’t mind even soilless media.

You will find many recipes suggested, but I recommend you buy an aroid mix or make one. I take about 50% potting soil and add perlite, bark chips, peat moss, and compost (worm castings).

3. How should you water your Monstera acuminata?

Watering is one area where most people get it wrong. As a beginner, I also had the challenge since I tried following the schedule suggested online – a costly mistake. I ended up overwatering or underwatering this plant.

The correct way is to feel the soil and water your Monstera acuminata only if it is dry up to the first knuckle of your finger. I prefer a moisture meter and water when the reading is in the dry zone, three or less for most meters.

4. Does it need feeding?

This Monstera is a medium feeder. Feed it once a month with an all-purpose balanced (like 10:10:10 or 20:20:20) liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month when it is actively growing. You are free to use a slow-release formula too.

However, it doesn’t always have to be balanced so long as it has all the necessary nutrients. Bonide, Miracle-Grow, Osmocote, Espoma, J R Peters Jacks, and Joyful Dirt have good houseplant fertilizers, including liquid and slow-release formulas.

5. Pruning and grooming tips

Cut any dead, damaged, or diseased plant parts with sterilized gardening scissors. If it grows too large or you want to keep its shape, you can cut back no more than 25% of the stems during the growing months. Also, don’t forget to clean or wipe dirty or dusty leaves with microfiber gloves.

6. How often should I repot this plant?  

Repotting is after 1-2 years or if it is rootbound – roots growing to grow drainage holes and spiraling around the pot wall. Use a pot 2-3 inches wider than the current one.

7. Stake or a moss pole

As a climber, this plant grows best when given a moss pole, trellis, or any other place to climb if you want it to grow large mature leaves. Use twist ties or gardening tapes to guide and train it on the stake.

Where to buy it?

Start with Etsy.com, Facebook, and Instagram. Also, you may find a few vendors at eBay or via search engines.


Scientific nameMonstera acuminata
Native habitatMexico through to central America
Growing conditionsWarm, humid area with bright, indirect light
Best soilA slightly acidic to neutral, well-drained and aerated soil rich in organic matter
WateringWhen the top 1-2 inches of the potting mix feels dry
FeedingMonthly with a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer
PruningRegularly. Cut any dead, damaged, or diseased leaves
SupportProvide a climbing moss pole, trellis, or any other vertical support
PropagationStem cutting in soil or water
Toxicity Mildly toxic to pets (cats or dogs) and humans since it has calcium oxalates.
IssuesLeaf discoloration (yellowing, browning, or turning brown, including spots and edges) and curling if wrong care or growing conditions. Also, it may have pests, diseases, and root rot (may be an issue if you overwater this plant).

Frequently asked questions

Is Monstera acuminata rare?

Yes. Monstera acuminata is both an uncommon and rare plant to find with very few vendors. You will find only a few vendors in popular places with Etsy.com, Facebook, or Instagram.

Is there Monstera acuminata variegated form?

No. While it could exist due to a rare mutation, we have not seen anyone with any vendor with a variegated Monstera acuminata. If you know any, let us know.

How much does Monstera acuminata cost?

Despite being hard to find, this plant isn’t expensive. On average, you will spend between $20 and $60 for a cutting to an established plant. But these prices may vary depending on where you are.