Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii are two of the most popular varieties of the Monstera genus. These two plants share a lot of similarities, especially at first glance, which is why they often get mistaken for each other. If you take a closer look at the two, however, you will realize that they are actually quite different. Their leaves have different perforations, textures and colors.
In this article, we will discuss more about the differences of these two plants, as well as some of their similarities. So, if you wish to learn more about either or both plants, just keep reading.
Monstera esqueleto vs Monstera adansonii
One of the most obvious differences between these plants is the size of their leaves. The esqueleto has bigger leaves than the adansonii. They can measure up to 20 inches long and 12 inches wide, while the adansonii’s leaves are around 15 inches long and 9 inches wide.
Like other Monstera varieties, the allure of these plants is largely due to the placement of the perforations, or holes, in the leaves. The perforations add a certain mystique and give the leaves a delicate look despite their size. These perforations are not just present for an aesthetic purpose, though. Some scientists theorize that they are an evolutionary change developed by the plants over time to adapt to the rain and strong winds they face on a daily basis in their natural habitat, the rainforest. These holes do not appear immediately when the leaves are young; they become more and more prominent the older the leaves and the plant become.
Both these varieties have perforations, but the esqueleto’s are bigger and more abundant. The holes run from the center of the leaf to the tip.
The adansonii has smaller, thinner holes, usually in the shape of an ellipse or a thin circle. The holes are often narrow and unbroken.
Aside from the leaf size and the difference in the perforations, the color of the two plants’ leaves can also help you tell them apart. The esqueleto is the lighter shade of green between the two, and even has a yellowish tinge. Its leaves are thicker with a glossy finish, and will feel waxy and leathery to the touch.
The adansonii’s leaves are a deeper, richer shade of green and also have a waxy texture when touched.
Just like other Monsteras, these plants are climbers and grow as a vine, meaning they grow as a continuous stem, sprouting aerial roots in the process and finding structures nearby to which to anchor themselves. Because they do not have to form thick stems or stalks, they can use most of their nutrients and resources on extending the vine, which is why they grow quite quickly.
Of the two plants, the adansonii is the more aggressive viner, so it is the better choice for those looking for a variety they can display as a drooping vine. It grows well and looks beautiful in hanging baskets and pots, or over a trellis.
If either plant seems to be growing a little slower than normal, you might need to repot it. Check the roots to see if they have become crowded in the pot, because this is a common cause of stunted and slowed growth. One of the first signs that your plant needs repotting is if you can see roots growing out of the drainage holes of the pot. That means that new roots literally no longer have any space in the pot.
Of the two varieties, the esqueleto is the more expensive, selling for as much as 200 dollars, although the price is dependent on the size and the age of the plant. This is because the esqueleto is rarer than the adansonii.
If you are shopping for Monstera plants online and you are unsure whether the plant you see in the picture is an adansonii or an esqueleto, base your judgement on the price of the plant. Adansoniis are less expensive and do not normally sell for more than a hundred dollars.
Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii: Similarities
Both Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii have the same stem structure. The entire plant grows in a single long stem, or vine, which sprouts aerial roots that keep finding a structure to anchor onto.
Both plants’ stems are thick and green, and they do not produce stolons. If either of your plants grows a stolon, you might be growing a completely different variety of Monstera.
Nodes will grow along the vine, and this is where new roots will grow out from if you propagate the plant.
The petiole is the structure that holds the leaf onto the vine, and looks like a small stem. On Monstera plants, the petioles are thin and slender.
The petioles on both these varieties are quite similar and have a smooth texture.
As mentioned above, both plants have aerial roots growing along the vine, and these roots are what will cling to structures as the plant seeks to anchor itself. Having aerial roots is one of the reasons Monstera plants are so resilient, because they can adapt to growing either on the ground or on the sides of trees and other plants.
Both plants are native to the rainforests of Central and South America, so the best kind of light to give them is to simulate the light they might get in their natural habitat. They grow on the ground and up the trunks and stems of other plants, and the light that reaches them is the stippled sunlight that gets through the forest’s tree canopy.
If you are growing either plant in your home, it is best to place it in a spot where it can get lots of bright, indirect light. Do not place it directly under the sun because this may cause the leaves to scorch and burn.
An east-facing window in your home is ideal, because this way the plant is just exposed to sunlight for a few hours a day and will be in a shadier position for other hours. If the only window in your home is letting in too much light, you can place a sheer curtain over it to diffuse the intensity.
During the fall and winter months, when there is little to no sunlight, you may need to buy grow lights to help your plant.
Watering a plant may seem easy enough, but there are actually a lot of considerations you need to take into account in order to do it properly. Water the plant enough that the soil never completely dries out, but make sure you do not water it so frequently that it drowns.
Overwatering is a definite possibility when growing either of these plants, and it can lead to root rot. Root rot is a condition that develops when the plant’s roots are constantly standing in wet soil. The roots will drown, and opportunistic pathogens will then attack the dead roots and exacerbate the spread of the rot to the rest of the plant. Eventually, if left unchecked, the entire plant will die.
The best way to avoid overwatering or underwatering your plants is to know exactly when to water them. You can do this by touching the top two inches of soil in the pot. If the soil is dry, water the plant, but if the soil is still damp, wait one or two days before checking it again.
Adjust your watering habits according to the climate where you live, the current weather and the season. Reduce the frequency and the amount of water during the colder months, and increase the frequency during the warmer months.
Soil and pot requirements
Both plants prefer a potting mix that is airy and well-draining. This is so that, if you accidentally overwater the plant, the excess water can simply drain out of the soil.
The pot you use should also have drainage holes at the bottom and should be made of a porous material such as terracotta or clay. Refrain from using a pot made of plastic or steel.
Temperature and humidity
Keep these plants in an area where the temperature is between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that they are from the rainforest, so they do not do well in cold weather. If the temperature outdoors is starting to dip below 65 degrees, you should bring your plant indoors, where the temperature is more stable.
Because they are from the rainforest, these plants like a higher humidity than most other houseplants. If you live in a dry, arid place, you can help the plant out by placing it in the bathroom, which is one of the most humid rooms in a house. You can also mist the plant’s leaves every once in a while, or place a water pebble tray under the plant’s pot. When the water in the tray evaporates, it will moisten the soil in the pot as well as the plant’s foliage. If you have the budget, you can also buy a humidifier to automatically regulate the humidity in the room, so you do not have to worry about it.
The Monstera esqueleto and Monstera adansonii both belong to the same genus: Monstera. They are often mistaken for each other, but they actually have some very obvious differences when you look more closely. The esqueleto has bigger leaves and its perforations are more pronounced, while the adansonii has slightly smaller leaves with less pronounced perforations, and a deeper green color.
The esqueleto is the rarer variety of the two, which is why it can run you a few hundred bucks when you buy one.
Image: istockphoto.com / indah nurul wardani