Monstera Peru (Monstera Karstenianum) Complete Care Guide

Monstera Peru

The monstera peru is botanically known as the Monstera Karstenianum. However, this is also considered to be an old name as the plant is classified as a Philodendron.

Even then, there’s still more confusion. While commonly known as the Philodendron opacum, its proper name seems to be Philodendron Karstenianum.

In any case, the important thing to remember is that

Monstera Peru = Monstera Karstenianum = Philodendron opacum = Philodendron Karstenianum

Yes, that’s a weird equation. But, it will save you from having problems identifying the plant in case you run into it in the future.

But, if you look around the plant world you’re bound to find a few more like it.

One example is the Philodendron bipinnatifidum, which used to be known as Philodendron selloum. And now, has reclassified into a new genus, making it the Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum.

So, things like this do happen.

Probably one reason why there’s little clarification around is that the plant is fairly rare.

The good news it is a lovely plant that is very easy to care for. It’s uniquely puckered leaves give it a very different look. Plus, they have a leathery feel to them.

That said, it is a climber. As such, giving it a vertical structure be it a trellis or a pole to go up lets it grow longer faster. You can likewise hang them from baskets where they look very beautiful.

Monstera Peru Plant Care

Monstera Peru Light

The monstera peru needs bright, indirect light to grow at its best. I it also does well under some shade. But, it depends on light to grow optimally. More importantly, it cannot tolerate more than 2 hours of direct sunlight per day. Otherwise, the heat from the sun will scorch is leaves and stem.

This makes a north facing window the best spot to keep the plant. You can also grow it in an east facing window where it receives morning light. Although, you want to keep it away from the direct path of the sun’s rays, even if the morning sun is gentle.

If you need to position it westward or southward, it is a good idea to filter the light coming into the window. Otherwise move the plant so it is a few feet away from the window and away from the sun’s rays.

On the other hand, the plant can also survive low light conditions. But, you don’t want to place it somewhere that’s dark or has too little light.

Plants need light to produce energy via photosynthesis. Lack of light hinders this process. And, as a result causes slow to almost no growth depending on how dark the location is. It also causes the plan to produce fewer and smaller leaves.

If you cannot find a bright enough spot or one that’s away from the sun’s direct path, you can supplement with artificial lighting. Here, do be careful because these devices emit heat as well.

Although some grow light produce more heat than others.

Finally, regularly wipe the plant’s leaves with a damp cloth. This will clean their surfaces to keep the plant healthy. It also improves the leaves’ ability to absorb and collect sunlight.

But, when you do, always remember to dry them after. This prevents fungal growth stemming from moisture is left on its leaves.

 

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Monstera Peru Temperature & Humidity

Your monstera Peru does best when temperature stays between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it perfect for household conditions.

Just as importantly, the plant cannot tolerate the cold or freezing temperatures. As such, if you live in USDA zones 9b to 11, you can keep the plant outdoors all year round.

But below zone 9b, you want to be on the lookout when temperature drops under 65 degrees. Before this happens sometime in the fall, you want to be able to bring the plant indoors to a cozier climate.

If you leave it outside for long at this condition, growth slows down. And, it gets worse as it gest colder, completely halting by the time it hits 50 degrees. At 40 degrees, the plant will deteriorate.

With climate, humidity is likewise an important factor.

Monstera are tropical plants. As such, you want to maintain humidity at 50% or more. The good news is it can adapt and tolerate lower humidity. As such, it doesn’t have a problem with room humidity.

Although you’ll want to watch to see how your plant responds. If you notice its leaves being to turn yellow, it is a sign you need to find a more humid place.

The first thing you can do is move it to the bathroom, provided there’s enough light there.

Other options include regular misting, placing it over a water tray or grouping it together with other plants.

 

Watering Monstera Peru

Monstera Peru

Your monstera peru likes consistently moist soil. As such, you do not want to let it completely dry out. Missing a watering session every now and then won’t hurt. But, it can only tolerate drought for short periods.

On average you’ll be watering about once or twice a week during the hotter months of the year. And, only need to every 3 to 4 weeks during winter.

There is no exact science here, because the:

  • Sizes of the plant
  • What soil your use
  • How much sun it receives
  • The temperature in the room
  • Humidity level
  • Pot material
  • And a few more factors

All of these affect how quickly or slowly soil dries.

For example, the more sun it gets, the faster moisture dries. Plastic containers allow retain water better than clay ones. And, warm weather in your locale or at different times of the year will increase evaporation. So, soil dries quicker.

The opposite conditions would cause soil to stay moist longer.

As such, following a regular schedule or someone else’s watering routine almost never works. That’s why I won’t be able to tell you exactly when to water your plant.

However, there is an accurate way to do it. in fact, there are two ways that work best.

  • Moisture meter. Stick the device in the soil and it will give you a digital reading. This is as exact as it goes. After a while, you know which moisture level to target based on your plant’s response to that kind of watering. It’s cheap, effective and easy to do.
  • Use your finger. With more experience, you can stick your finger down 2 inches to the topsoil and feel the wetness. If it is dry, it is time to water. Otherwise, any moist feeling means to wait a little longer. Then, test again.

By testing each time before you water, you’ll avoid overwatering or underwatering. Of the two, the former is much worse at it can lead to root rot.

 

Soil

Since the plant is susceptible to overwater, you want to provide it with an environment that allows excess moisture to dry fairly quickly.

This means you don’t want to use heavy soil which tends to retain water longer. Or sandy soil, that’s too light since it drains too quickly.

You want something in the middle. This allows the soil to retain enough moisture for the plant to get sufficient water and nutrients. But, not hold the water for too long that the plant ends up sitting in water for long periods of time.

If this happens frequently enough, its roots can rot. This is a dire problem since your plant absorbs water and nutrients from the soil (including fertilizer) via its roots. Once damaged enough, it won’t be able to get enough or any sustenance.

Thus, you plant will soon die.

In order to improve draining, you can use perlite, vermiculite or bark. You can also use peat moss if you want to improve water retention as well.

In addition to well draining soil, soil with pH of between 5.0 and 7.5 helps to provide optimum growth.

 

Fertilizing

Your monstera peru is a moderate feeder. As such, giving it a balance liquid fertilizer once a month during its growing period will keep it happy.

You can likewise use slow release fertilizer if you want to let the dosage be dispersed over  a period of time. The biggest benefit of this is consistent feeding as opposed to a larger dose that’s dumped on the soil at once.

This reduces the concentration at any given point in time. And, since less is more with fertilizer due to the damage it can cause, many growers prefer this method.

That said, one thing you may notice is that the plant grows faster in well-lit conditions compared to low light. That’s because of photosynthesis.

As such:

  • If your monstera peru receives a lot of light, you can work your way up to every 2 weeks. But, do so gradually so you can observe how the plant responds. As long as its growth improves keep adding slowly until you get to a biweekly rate during the growing season.
  • If it gets lower light, it is a good idea to stay at once a month or every 5 weeks.

Don’t fertilize in the winter. This will increase the risk of fertilizer salt buildup in the soil which will ultimately burn your plant’s roots.

Finally, because the plant is a climber, giving it a moss pole or vertical structure to climb onto will help it grow faster as well.

 

Monstera Peru Pruning

Your monstera peru is a fast growing plant. As mentioned it is a climber as well. although you can put it in a hanging basket and allow its vines to drop downwards as well.

In any case, because of this, it is a good idea to regular prune the plant to keep it neat and nice looking. Additionally, it helps keep them healthy.

The plant when left unpruned outdoors will grow up to 20 feet long. It will be smaller indoors. Nevertheless, you can imagine that some of this growth will eventually get messy.

As such, trim it back to maintain size and shape when needed.

Also, removing any dead or discolored leaves keeps it from spending valuable resources on these.

Hard pruning is fine with this plant as it can tolerate this.

And, the best time to prune is during the spring or summer when the plant is growing.

 

Propagation

Monstera Peru

Monstera peru is most commonly propagated via stem cuttings. Although there are other methods you can use, this is the easiest. Thus most growers use it.

With stem cuttings, you have the option to root in water or soil. Both work. but they also have their pros and cons.

  • Propagating in water. This is an extra step since you can go directly to soil As such, it take more work. But it roots faster and from experience has higher rate of success. You also get to see the roots develop right before your eyes sine the jar is made of glass. But, water can cause rotting. So, you want to watch out for this.
  • Propagating in soil. This skips rooting in water. By planting directly into soil, you take fewer steps and do less work. But, you can’t see how well the roots are developing. So, they may or may not grow during the 4 to 6 weeks you wait. Or, there might be some problem you won’t be aware of until later on cine the soil prevents the cutting beneath the surface from being visible.

So, the choice is up to you.

How to Propagate Monstera Peru from Stem Cuttings

  • Start by choosing a healthy stem with at least 2 leaves on it. You want to stem to be long enough to dip into water or stand up out of soil (2 inches deep). So, something about 4 to 6 inches long works well.
  • Use a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut off them stem just below the node. About a quarter to a half inch below works.
  • Place the cutting in to a jar of water. Change the water every couple od days or so.
  • Prepare a small pot and fill with well draining potting mix. You’ll move the cutting to this after it roots.
  • In a few weeks you’ll start seeing roots from the cutting.
  • Once the roots grow to about an inch or two in about a month or month and a half, move it to the potting soil.
  • If you decide to go directly into potting soil, you can insert the cutting into soil.
  • Alternatively, you can let the stem cutting callous first. Depending on how thick the stem you too is, this can take a few days up to a week or so. While time consuming, it helps improve the odds of rooting. Once if callouses, plant into the soil
  • Water the soil and keep it moist.
  • Keep the plant in a warm, humid place. Also make sure there is bright, indirect light.
  • After 4 or 5 weeks, gently pull on the cutting to see if it has rooted. If it resists, that’s a good sign. But, don’t pull hard since the roots are very young and not established yet.

 

Transplanting & Repotting Monstera Peru

On average, you’ll need to repot your monstera peru once every 2 years. It can be sooner than this or longer, depending on the conditions you give it. The better the conditions, the faster it will grow.

Just as importantly, don’t just repot for the sake of doing so. The plant doesn’t live being moved from its home.

As such, only do so if needed. This means waiting until it becomes rootbound. That is, the roots start showing out of the holes in the container.

When this happens, it tells you the plant is searching for more soil beyond the pot because it has outgrown its current living space.

When moving to a new pot, make sure of 2 things:

  • Drainage hole/s at the bottom. This is essential to avoid waterlogged soil. You want sufficient holes to allow for excess moisture to escape.
  • Go up 1 to 2 inches max in pot size. Overly large pots will stress your plant. Plus, it allows for much more soil relative to your plant’s root. When you water, the soil gets soak. That means a lot more water which take a lot longer to dry. Thus, your plant’s root sit in water for long periods.

 

Toxicity

The plant is toxic. So, it is a good idea to keep it away from young children, dogs, cats or horses who might get curious and chew on the plant.

Ingesting it can cause mouth and throat irritation and swelling. This can escalate to difficulty breathing, swallowing, diarrhea and vomiting.

 

Pests and Diseases

Monstera peru is fairly resilient to pests and disease. As such, you won’t need to worry a lot about them. But, that’s not to say you shouldn’t be vigilant.

While it is resistant, it is by no means immune to them. So, they can happen.

The most common pests, if they do occur, are spider mites, mealybugs and scale. These pesky creatures will chew on your plants causing damage.

In case, you didn’t know there are over 1,000 kinds of spider mites. So, they’re not all the same.

If you spot any of them, you want to take immediate action. Treatment involves spraying with insecticidal soap.

With diseases, root rot is your biggest enemy. This is very problematic if it happens because there is no cure. As such, you want to prevent it.

The only thing you can do is trim the mushy and blacked roots and repot to a drier spot. Then hope the plant recovers.

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