Types of monstera: deliciosa, adansonii & more


Having grown up in the countryside, nature and self-sufficiency have always been big part of my life. I live and breathe nature and had the chance to delve even deeper into this interest during my studies in agricultural systems science at university.

Favourite fruit: apples, blackberries and plums
Favourite vegetables: potatoes, peppers and courgettes

If you are looking to cultivate a monstera plant, you won’t be stuck for choice! However, not all monstera species make perfect houseplants. Here are some of the best monstera species for indoor cultivation.

Large and small monstera species with different leaf shapes
Monstera species differ significantly in leaf shape and growth height [Photo: Soloveva Kseniia/ Shutterstock.com]

The swiss cheese plant, monstera, is a much-loved ornamental foliage plant that comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Read on for some of the best monstera species to cultivate as houseplants, and don’t forget to read our article on monstera care!

Wide variety of monstera species

There are over 50 different types of monstera worldwide. Many have adapted to our climate and are suitable as houseplants in the UK. Here are some of our favourites!

Monstera deliciosa

The most well-known member of the monstera family is the Monstera deliciosa. Reaching up to three metres tall, and with 50cm wide, slitted leaves, it is one of the largest species of monstera. No surprise then, that it is often on display in spacious rooms. Monstera deliciosa has large, green-white variegated leaves. The leaves can be slightly poisonous to humans and animals; they tend to irritate mucous membranes, however the plant’s flowers are edible. In fact, in its tropical home, deliciosa flowers are considered a delicacy – hence the name: “delicious monstera”. Unfortunately, Monstera deliciosa rarely flowers in the UK, even with the right care. In summer, Monstera deliciosa is perfectly happy outdoors. The only thing to remember: water it well. This tropical evergreen needs plenty of water to support its growth. There are many different varieties of Monstera deliciosa. Among the most popular are the Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’, ‘Marmorata’, ‘Aurea’ and ‘Borsigiana’, each of which differs in leaf colour and leaf pattern.

Green and white streaked leaves of monstera deliciosa variegata
The leaves of the monstera deliciosa can be variegated depending on the variety – here is the Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’ [Photo: denise1203/ Shutterstock.com]

Monstera adansonii

Reaching no more than one metre tall, Monstera adansonii is considerably smaller than other Monstera species. It has plain, green leaves that change shape with age – the younger leaves tend to have holes, and the older leaves tend to have slits – and strong, aerial roots that help the plant climb. Monstera adansonii is quite sensitive to temperature. Although it will tolerate drought or excessively wet soil for a short time, it cannot be left in temperatures below 15°C for too long, especially in winter. And because of its sensitivity to light, there is no need to use a plant lamp during winter. Instead, place your plant about 1.5 to 3m away from a window – just avoid south-facing windows! Popular varieties include Monstera adansonii ‘Monkey Leaf’, ‘Monkey Mask’ and ‘Variegata’, which is particularly well-known for its streaked leaves.

Young monstera monkey leaf plant with holes in leaves
Young Monstera adansonii leaves have a complete edge all the way round with holes in between [Photo: denise1203/ Shutterstock.com]

Monstera obliqua

In addition to its second botanical name: Monstera expilata, Monstera obliqua is also known as the swiss cheese vine and window leaf plant. In contrast to Monstera adansonii, the lush green leaves of Monstera obliqua display many large holes that are present throughout the plant’s life. Monstera obliqua grows up to two metres tall, requires little care, and can even flower given the right conditions. The most important thing to remember is that Monstera obliqua is sensitive to excessively wet soil. As such, ensure that water can drain from the plant well. The most popular variety of this species is Monstera obliqua ‘Leichtlinii’.

Mature swiss cheese plant with holey leaves
Monstera obliqua keeps the holey leaf shape throughout its life [Photo: Damian Lugowski/ Shutterstock.com]

Monstera acuminata

Reaching no more than one metre tall, and producing strong, green, pointed leaves, each about 15cm wide, Monstera acuminata is one of the smallest species of monstera. As such, this evergreen makes for a perfect houseplant, especially for small rooms, aquariums and terrariums. This fast-growing tropical plant will not react well if you move it to a new location in summer or winter. Instead, you will need to keep your Monstera acuminata in the same bright location, at about 18 to 22°C, indoors, year-round. For optimal growth, this monstera appreciates tropical, high humidity.

Monstera acuminata plant with holey leaves
The small-growing Monstera acuminata sometimes forms leaves with holes or slits [Photo: untungsubagyo/ Shutterstock.com]

Inspired by these monstera species? Want to discover more beautiful plants? Have a read of our article on planting and caring for calatheas.