The Monstera Subpinnata is rare, uncommon species of monstera plant is expensive with a price of $100 and above depending on where you buy it from.
It is unique in that it looks very different compared to its more popular relatives including the Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii.
That’s because of its deeply pinnated green leaves. These start out small and spaced quite far from one another. But as the plant grows, the leaves get bigger and longer. They eventually end up much thicker as well, able to grow as long as 12 inches and 8 inches wide.
As with other monsteras, it likes to climb and will get bigger as it does. In fact, it is only able to reach it maximum growth potential this way.
Monstera Subpinnata Plant Care
The Monstera Subpinnata thrives in moderate to bright light. But make sure that the light is indirect, diffused or filtered. The plant cannot tolerate very strong or intense light including direct sun.
Thus, the best spots to position it are in the:
East – near a window. Here, it can take the gentle direct morning sun which the plant actually appreciates
- North – you can keep the plant here provided that your home gets enough illumination from the norther exposure. An easy test to do is to take a book or magazine and sit where you plan on placing the plant. Then read. If you can read the text in the publications without any added lighting or lamps, the plant will get enough light there. Often, late fall and winter are when less light can become an issue in this location.
- West – distance the plant a few feet from the window away from the sun’s rays. Your Monstera Subpinnata needs protection from the afternoon sun which is what the western exposure receives. Alternatively, you can use a shade cloth or sheer curtains to filter the light.
- South – keep the plant away from the window. The south gets the longest exposure and the strongest one at that (from 11:00 until mid-afternoon). This is when the sun is harshest. So, try to keep it at least 4 feet or farther from the window. Because the light is strong here, you can place the plant 10 or even 15 feet from the window provided the room is well-lit.
On the other hand, the Monstera Subpinnata can tolerate low light. But like strong light, too little light also poses a problem for the plant.
Here, the opposite happens.
That’s because like other houseplants, it relies on photosynthesis. Therefore, too little illumination will slow growth, cause it produce fewer and smaller leaves. You’ll also notice its aerial roots are really thin.
In order to cope and try to survive, it will reach out to the light source causing it to become leggy.
When these symptoms appear, it means the plant needs more light.
A few extra tip:
- Rotate the plant every other time you water so that all sides get enough light. This will let it stay balanced as it grows.
- Clean the leaves when you see dust start collecting. This keeps the pores clear of debris so their can transpire properly. It also allows them to absorb more light. Use a damp cloth to clean the leaves.
The Monstera Subpinnata is native to South America where the weather is sunny all year round. Similarly, is consistently hot most of the year with some pockets of moderate climate and rain.
This makes the plant used to temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And it prefers the higher end of that range if possible.
Keeping it within these levels will allow it to grow optimally.
On the other hand, avoid letting it stay in cold conditions, especially for prolonged periods of time.
It is not accustomed to the cold. And anything below 50 degrees will make it struggle. The lower the temperature gets the and longer it stays there, the higher the risk of sustaining damage.
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Similarly, another aspect of tropical and subtropical regions is high humidity. On average, humidity tends to stay around 55% to 75% depending on the time of year. It can also reach 90% when the rains come.
This makes the plant enjoy moderate to high humidity environments. In fact, it does best when humidity is kept at 90% or so. Unfortunately, you can only achieve this in a greenhouse or terrarium.
If you live in the northern hemisphere like here in the United States, average home humidity is lower and tends to stay between 30% and 50%.
Fortunately, the plant can tolerate lower humidity. But try to keep it at least 40% and above.
This will prevent browning of the leaf tips and crisping.
If you see any of these symptoms on your Monstera Subpinnata’s foliage, it means the air is too dry.
You can mist the plant, use a humidifier, group it with other plants or place in on a pebble tray to help boost humidity around it.
How Often to Water Monstera Subpinnata
The Monstera Subpinnata is a fairly easy going plant which tolerate a wide range of different living conditions. You’ve seen this with regards to lighting, temperature and humidity.
But water is the one thing it can get a little fussy with.
That’s because the plant enjoys moist soil. Unfortunately, like other Aroids, it is prone to overwatering which is very dangerous considering it can lead to root rot.
This means you always want to check the soil before adding more water.
On average, the Monstera Subpinnata needs to be watered once week during the summer. This goes down to about once every 2 weeks or a little more come wintertime.
However, before you add water, always stick you finger into the soil down to the second knuckle. This is roughly 2 inches into the soil. Wait until the soil at that depth is dry before watering.
Doing this will ensure that you don’t water too often. And in the process avoid overwatering.
The best way to water your Monstera Subpinnata is to soak it thoroughly. Deep watering will let the roots get enough to drink. Thus, keep pouring until the entire root ball is saturated and the liquid starts dripping form the bottom of the pot.
When watering, don’t just pour in one spot also. Try to distribute it around the soil on different sides.
Then allow the water to completely drain and throw out any moisture that pools below the pot (if you have a saucer or container that catches the liquid).
This final step is very important as allowing the water to completely drain will prevent the plant from standing in water.
If you leave water sitting or pooling in the saucer or outer container, the soil will eventually reabsorb the it which can lead to overwatering.
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Potting Soil for Monstera Subpinnata
The Monstera Subpinnata needs well-draining soil that can stay moist. It also appreciates soil that is rich in organic matter.
Therefore, the best soil for the plant is a light and airy Aroid mix. You can pick one up from your local garden center if they carry it. Otherwise, you can make your own with this simple Aroid mix recipe I like to use for my monsteras and philodendrons.
- 1 part organic potting mix
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part orchid bark
- ½ part horticultural charcoal
If you prefer simpler potting mixes with fewer ingredients, you can use either:
- 1 part potting soil with 1 part coco fiber (or peat moss)
- 1 part potting soil with 1 part orchid bark (or coco chips)
All these potting mixes work well. The important thing is to make sure that there is enough drainage and the soil does not dry overly fast.
I also like adding a layer of worm compost as topdressing. This will give the plant more organic matter. It also reduces the amount of chemical fertilizer you need to use.
Does the Monstera Subpinnata Climb?
The Monstera Subpinnata is an epiphyte that climbs up tree trunks in the wild. Thus, it likes to climb and will do so when given the chance.
In fact, it gets bigger, grows faster, thicker and becomes bushier when you give it a support like a moss pole, trellis or stake.
The Monstera Subpinnata is not a fast growing plant. But it will eventually get big. And to help it along and stay healthy you want to feed it.
This is the most important thing when it comes to fertilizer – the plant needs it.
However, be careful not to overfeed the plant.
All the plant needs is once a month feeding during the spring and summer. You can use a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength.
There’s no need to feed it during the winter.
Alternatively, you can use a slow-release fertilizer or fish emulsion.
In its natural habitat, the Monstera Subpinnata can grow up to 30 feet as it climbs up large trees. The plant relies on light to grow. And the brighter the light, the bigger it will grow.
Similarly, allowing it to climb also lets it grow bigger.
That said, you can use these factors to limit its growth if you don’t have a lot of space in your home. Thus, it is up to you on how you grow the plant.
Thus, how much pruning you’ll need to do will also depend on how long and bushy the plant gets.
In most cases, the Monstera Subpinnata is pretty sparse and will take a while before it gets full. But this patience will pay off as the plant looks wonderful when you let the leaves get big and the plant becomes bushy.
When the time comes you can prune the plant if it gets too big or the leaves stretch out too far.
How to Propagate Monstera Subpinnata
The Monstera Subpinnata can easily be propagated through stem cuttings. It roots quite well in both water and soil propagation so you can place the stem cuttings in either.
Here’s how to do it.
- Take a 4 to 6 inch stem cutting. Make sure that you get at least once leaf node with the cutting. Ideally, it should also have a few leaves on it.
- For water propagation, place the stem cutting into a glass container filled with water. Remove any leaves that get submerged in water. Change the water once a week to keep it clear.
- For soil propagation, dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone. Then plant it into the soil. Keep the soil moist especially for the first month. But be careful not to overwater it. You can likewise cover the pot with a plastic bag to increase humidity which will speed up growth.
- Place the cutting in a warm location with bright indirect light. Avoid the rays of the sun as the new plant won’t be able to tolerate its intensity.
- In about 4 to 6 weeks the roots should grow.
- If you rooted the plant in water, you can pot it up when the roots grot to between 2 to 4 inches long.
How to Repot or Transplant Monstera Subpinnata
You’ll need to repot your Monstera Subpinnata once every 2 years or so. But the exact time will depend on how fast it grows.
Younger plant will grow quickly and require repotting more often. But as it matures, this pace will slow down. Move up one pot size each time you repot. Avoid jumping up a few sizes to save the time to repot.
This can be dangerous since the excess soil will increase the risk of overwatering.
If at some point the plant gets too big for where you like to keep it, divide it. The Monstera Subpinnata propagates well through division.
This will let you get multiple smaller plants instead of the one bigger parent plant.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The leaves and stems of the Monstera Subpinnata are toxic when ingested. Thus, keep it away from young children, cats and dogs who may accidently consumer parts of the plant.
Similarly, when you prune the plant, you’ll notice it will “bleed”. This is its sap which is toxic.
While most people won’t experience any issues. if you have sensitive skin or allergies it can cause irritation. Therefore, wear gloves to stay safe.
Monstera Subpinnata Problems & Troubleshooting
Spider mites, scales and mealybugs are the most common pests that will try and attack your plant.
While the Monstera Subpinnata is fairly resistant to pests and diseases, there’s no way to ensure that they never happen.
Therefore, regular inspection and cleaning the leaves goes a long way.
Early treatment is the best way to deal with pests because they grow in population very quickly. The fewer they are the easier it is to get rid of them.
Leaf diseases and root rot are usually the main things you want to watch out for. Both are caused by overwatering so keep a close eye on moisture.
Leaves don’t like staying wet for long periods of time. This increases the risk of bacterial and fungal infections. It also attracts fungus gnats.
Also, allow soil to dry between waterings and use well-draining soil. Doing these two things will keep the plant from experiencing root rot.