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Monstera lechleriana Including Variegated Profile and Care

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Monstera lechleriana is a lovely houseplant whose mature plant has large leaves with elliptical perforation. You can go for the green or variegated form. They are both easy to care for or low maintenance.

Some people confuse this plant with Monstera adansonii or laniata. But it is a unique species with leaves borne on a tight head. Also, it is larger than these two.

Learn more on Monstera lechleriana, including how to identify it, its variegated form, care, and prices. We will also tell you it differs from look-alikes like Monstera laniata and adansonii.

Juvenile Monstera lechleriana variegated plant
Juvenile Monstera lechleriana variegated plant: Check latest prices.

About Monstera lechleriana

Monstera lechleriana (Schott), first published in 1860, is a Monstera species native to Panama all the way to Venezuela and Bolivia. Traditionally folks used it medicinally. Please don’t use it, as it is toxic to pets and humans.

1. Growing conditions, growth rate, and size

Monstera lechleriana is a lower tree trunk evergreen climbing hemiepiphyte that grows in wet and humid tropical climates. It has a moderate growth rate and can grow up to 23ft (7m) in the wild and about 4 to 8 feet at home.

2. How do you identify a Monstera lechleriana?

Monstera lechleriana has leathery, glossy green leaves with a sheathed petiole whose wings are persistent.

Juvenile plants are terrestrial creepers with smaller, exerted, erect leaves. These leaves have petiolar wings only ½ to 5/6 the petiole length and an oval to lance-shaped lamina with a cuneate base.

Mature Monstera lechleriana in the wild
Mature Monstera lechleriana in the wild. Photo credit. mercedestrujillo, via Inaturalist CC BY-NC.

On the other hand, mature lechleriana has larger, 30-47 inches by14 -28 wide, oval leaves with a moderate oblique base that may be slightly cordate to broadly truncated.

These mature leaves are almost twice as wide as long and may have none to several series of elliptical to narrowly elliptical holes. Also, they have 20-40, but sometimes 16 parallel primary lateral veins.

If you look at the petioles of mature leaves, they are nearly as long or shorter than lamina and are widely vaginate, with the persistent wings reaching near the curved geniculum.

A unique feature in lechleriana plants is that the stems have short internodes with leaves borne on a tight head or cluster of 10-15 leaves. Also, you cannot see the stems of the foliated part since the overlapping petiole base completely hides it.

Lastly, these plants flower, i.e., produce inflorescences after 6-8 years and when climbing. So, you don’t expect flowers or fruits under cultivation.

Are there Monstera lechleriana variegated plants?

Yes. There are variegated Monstera lechleriana plants. The most common one is the albo characterized by cream to whitish streaks, marbling, sectors, and rarely half-moon variegation. You should be able to get one for a price of $55 to $300.

Also, there are aurea (yellowish variegation) and mint (light, vibrant green) variegated lechleriana plants. However, they are extremely rare and may cost you slightly higher. Always compare prices, as some vendors sell their variegated lechleriana for crazy high prices. I am talking about $1000 to $2500.

Monstera lechleriana variegated care isn’t much different from what we will look at in the care section. However, they need strictly bright, indirect light and try to maintain slightly higher humidity. We have noticed that wrong growing conditions easily affect the variegated parts.

Lastly, like other variegated Monstera plants, it occurs from a rare chimeral cell mutation. This mutation is unstable, and plants may revert. To avoid it, prune the plant before the last leaf that is variegated. Also, ensure optimum growth conditions.

How does Monstera lechleriana differ from laniata?

Monstera adansonii subsp. laniata closely resembles lechleriana. It has leaves with an entire margin that may be perforated or not. Also, its petioles are vaginate. However, there are differences.

The most obvious difference is that Monstera lechleriana has leaves borne on a tight-headed cluster of 10-15 leaves with short internodes, while Monstera adansonii subsp. laniata leaves don’t grow on clustered tight-head, and internodes are not as short. Also, it is smaller than lechleriana in all aspects, including lamina size and petiole length.  

The other difference is that lechleriana petiolar wings persist while in laniata, they quickly fall, i.e., deciduous.

Monstera lechleriana vs. adansonii

This plant is an independent species, not a subspecies or variation of Monstera adansonii. Some people mislabel it as Monstera adansonii var. lechleriana or Monstera adansonii lechleriana. That is incorrect.

Besides lechleriana being larger than Monstera adansonii in all aspects, it has leaves borne on a tight-head with 10-15 flowers, while adansonii doesn’t. Also, ecologically, adansonii occurs at higher altitudes and has more but smaller holes than lechleriana.  

Growing conditions and caring for Monstera lechleriana

Monstera lechleriana grows best in warm and humid places with bright indirect light. Grow it in a chunky, airy, well-drained potting mix high in organic matter, water it when the top 2-3 inches of the soil feel dry, and feed it once a month with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer.

Also, this aroid needs support (moss pole or trellis), pruning, and repotting after about a year or two.

1. What are the ideal growing conditions?

Place your lechleriana in a humid (at least 40% plus relative humidity), warm place (60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) with bright, indirect light.

Avoid direct sunlight, freezing or temperatures below 50°F, or cold drafts. Also, don’t place it near a heat source or vent. All these will stress or damage your plant.

If your home is poorly lit, buy a grow light or move your plant to a place with brighter light. And if humidity is low, a humidifier is the best remedy. However, you can have a pebble tray, mist your plant or group them, among other ways.

Lastly, you can grow this plant outdoors in zone USDA 10 to 11. However, pick a shaded area and move them inside if temperatures fall below 50°F.

2. Which soil is best for this plant?

Good soil for Monstera lechleriana should be airy, well-drained, and high in humus. Buy an aroid mix or make one at home. I use a mixture of potting soil (50%), perlite coconut coir (20%), perlite (10%), bark chips (10%), and worm castings (10%). My plants seem to flourish.

3. Here is how to properly water Monstera lechelerina

Proper watering is one area you cannot afford to go wrong. Too little, and your plant will grow slowly. Also, leaves will curl, have crispy brown tips or edges, etc. Too much, on the other hand, will cause leaves yellowing and root rot.

We recommend you water your lechleriana when the potting mix feels dry up to the first knuckle or when the top 2-3 inches feel dry, and if you have a soil moisture sensor or meter, water when the reading is three or less (in the dry zone). Never follow a watering schedule, as your conditions and other factors will affect your plant’s water needs.

Slowly saturate the potting mix when watering until excess water flows from drainage holes. If you have a saucer, discard any water that collects after 15 minutes.

4. Feeding your lechleriana

Lechleriana needs moderate feeding. So, feed them about once a month with an all-purpose, preferably balanced houseplant fertilizer during growing months only. However, you can also use a slow-release formula.

5. Should I prune or groom this plant?

Regularly check and remove any damaged, dead or diseased leaves. Also, wipe or clean any dusty or dirty leaves, and if it becomes too large or you want to control their shape, you can trim a few of the stems during the growing months.

5. How often to repot?

After every one to two years, repot the plant to a pot 2-3 inches wider than the current one. Also, you should repot it if root bound or has root rot.

6. Is a stake or moss pole necessary?

Yes. This plant is a climber and will reward you with large, fenestrated leaves if you give it a place to climb. A moss pole, trellis, burlap-wrapped pole, or any stake will work well.

Where to buy this plant?

Are you considering buying a Monstera lechleriana, including variegated forms? The first place I would recommend is Etsy.com. It has many vendors worldwide who offer excellent prices. Also, you can try Facebook, Instagram, eBay, or some online vendors near you.


Scientific nameMonstera lechleriana
SynonymsMonstera henry-pittieri and Monstera maxima
Native habitatBolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Panamá, Venezuela, and Peru
Growing conditionsA warm, humid place with bright, indirect light
Best soilAerated, well-drained potting mix high in organic matter
FeedingFeed once a month with an all-purpose, liquid fertilizer, preferably a balanced one.
PruningRegularly remove dead, damaged, or diseased leaves and occasionally, during growing months, cut back some stems to control the size or shape.
RepottingRepotting is every one to two years or when rootbound
Stake or supportA climber that requires a moss pole, stake, trellis, or any other vertical support
PropagationStem cutting in soil or water
ToxicityMildly toxic to dogs, cats, and humans due to the presence of calcium oxalate

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Are Monstera lechleriana rare?

Not really. While the big box stores and large-scale growers don’t have them, lechleriana are not so rare or hard to find. Many vendors, including Etsy.com, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, etc., sell these plants at affordable prices.

What is the price of Monstera lechleriana?

The price of lechleriana (green form) is $10 to $50; if you want a variegated form, you will spend $55 to $300. However, some vendors sell the variegated lechleriana for as high as $2,300. Also, these prices may vary elsewhere in the world. You don’t expect the prices in Australia, Canada, and the UK to be the same as in the US.