Monstera Dubia | Grow and Care Guide with Tips & Tricks

The monstera dubia of the Araceae family is an effortless climber that just needs a few simple things to flourish in your home.Monstera Dubia Care Infographic ~ Plant America

When you bring home a monstera dubia, all you have to remember is that it needs warmth, water, and indirect light.

Of course, there are other things to do to make your Monstera plant even more beautiful and we are going to share them with you.

What Is a Monstera Dubia?

Although the dubia is one of the smaller monstera varieties, it can still climb to great heights and have beautiful large green leaves. However, the leaves do not often fenestrate in a dubia houseplant since it does not tend to grow big enough indoors. But if it does, you will see a complete transformation.

The heart-shaped foliage is usually speckled both light and dark green and grows straight up the side of anything it can find with the help of aerial roots. In fact, give it a flat moss pole or 2×4 and it will grow flat on the surface like shingles, which is what gave it one of its common nicknames, the shingle plant.

Where Does it Originate?

Originally from South and Central America, your monstera dubia loves warmth and moisture as it gets in the wild. It is almost always found growing up the side of a tree like ivy does. But you can usually find it online or at a nursery.

Other Names

Your monstera dubia is known by many other names, some of them in error due to their more commonly known cousins, the monstera deliciosa.

You may see it advertised as:

  • Climbing holey plant
  • Shingle plant
  • Shingling plant
  • Swiss cheese plant
  • Windowleaf

How to Care for Monstera Dubia

Caring for monstera dubia is pretty straightforward as long as you understand that it is a tropical plant. As with all tropical plants, there are certain conditions that it needs to thrive.

We will go over these conditions for you here.

LightLight Requirements

Your monstera dubia likes a lot of light but not direct sunlight. It is a good rule of thumb to remember not to let the sun touch the leaves and not to let it cast a shadow. If either of these happens, you need to move your plant.

Direct sunlight may be okay for a very short period to help your plant grow but if it gets too much, it will burn the leaves and make them a bit curly. Once a leaf is burnt, you cannot usually get it back so you will have to clip that leaf and let the others thrive after moving it to a better location.

The best place for your monstera dubia is a north- or east-facing window. This way it will get the soft morning sun and the indirect light for the rest of the day. If the spot you place your plant happens to be near a window, use a curtain to divert the sunlight.

WaterWater Requirements

When watering monstera dubia, it is important to make sure the soil drains well. You want to make sure the plant gets plenty of water, but you cannot let the roots sit in water or they will get root rot. Pay attention to the guttation of your Monstera because it will start absorbing more water than it can handle which will lead to many problems.Muhamed Focus on details Image Water Requirements

Wait until the top two inches of the soil are dry before giving it a good watering and watch to be sure it is draining properly. Usually, the dubia needs water every seven or eight days but it depends on the heat and humidity as well as the amount of sunlight your plant is getting. If watering, humidity, or light is not within the acceptable limits, Monstera leaves might start drooping.

Check your plant every day by sticking your index finger in the soil. If the top two inches are dry, go ahead and give it some water. If not, wait and check it again the next day.

SoilSoil Requirements

As mentioned previously, the soil should be well-draining to keep the soil from getting waterlogged. A mixture of one part orchid bark, one part perlite, and one part peat moss is best. If you do not have perlite, use clean sand instead.

The pH for your dubia should be between five and seven. If the soil is too acidic, add sphagnum peat, aluminum sulfate, acidifying fertilizer, or mulch to the soil. If you need to raise the acidity, try adding some lime or wood ash.

Humidity Humidity Requirements

High humidity is essential to your plant’s growth so keep it over 50% humid. Since we humans are not fans of humidity, we tend to keep our homes dry, so you may need to get creative to keep your monstera dubia moist.Muhamed Focus on details Image Humidity Requirements

A humidifier near your plant is a fantastic idea as long as it is not too close and is not a cool-air humidifier. You need a warm-air humidifier that does not drench the plant but keeps it humid enough to stay happy and healthy. This will keep the plant moist without waterlogging the roots.

Another idea is to place your plant on a pebble tray to keep it moist. Add enough water until it reaches just below the pebbles, so the pot is sitting above rather than in the water. You may also want to mist the leaves once a day.

FertilizingFeeding Requirements

Your dubia will grow slowly if you do not add fertilizer to the soil once in a while. One way to do this is to add a time released fertilizer plug or stick that allows the fertilizer to seep into the soil slowly. You can also use a diluted liquid fertilizer.

Make sure your fertilizer is a good quality brand. While others may be more inexpensive, the cheaper brands usually have a lot of salt, which is not good for your plant. Stick to reputable sources that have good reviews.

TemperatureTemperature Requirements

The monstera dubia likes to stay warm as it does in the wild so keep it between 65 and 85 degrees. Anything under 55 degrees will cause your plant to go dormant. Never let it get under 40 or it may go permanently dormant (a.k.a. die).

– Growing Outdoors

Unless you live in a tropical area in zones 10 through 13, you should not leave your monstera dubia outside.Muhamed Focus on details Image Growing Outdoors

In fact, even if you live in one of these zones, you have to be careful because it is difficult (if not impossible) to control the sunlight, moisture, and soil conditions.

If you do decide to put your plant outside to get some sun, keep it in the pot, do not plant it in the ground. This way, you can bring it in if conditions are not ideal or if it gets too cold. Also, you can turn the pot as needed for better sun exposure.

How to Propagate Monstera Dubia

Monstera dubia propagation is not difficult. You can do it by stem cutting or root separation. The choice is up to you since both ways are effective and easy but if you choose to use root separation, do it during the spring.

1. Using Stem Cuttings

Propagating with stem cuttings should also be done in the spring for best results. Use pruning shears that have been sterilized with isopropyl alcohol to cut a stem between four and seven inches long below a leaf node with at least two leaves.

Leave it out in the sun for about a week until the end of the stem is calloused and then plant that end about two inches below the soil in a new pot. Use a small stick or straw and string to hold the cutting upright.

You can also place your stem cutting in a jar with water, so the bottom of the stem is in the water. Once you see the roots grow to about one inch, pot it in fresh potting soil. Pretty soon, you will have another healthy monstera dubia to enjoy. You can also propagate your Monstera without a node.

2. Propagating with Root Separation

Using root separation is not as simple but can be done by anyone. Remove the plant from the soil carefully and use your sterilized pruning shears to cut the roots into two equal sections. Then plant them in separate pots and care for them as you usually do.

– When to Repot

You need to repot your plant if you see the roots growing out of the drain holes or if the plant is starting to look stunted. Just carefully remove the plant, clean the soil from the roots, and place it in a pot about one or two sizes larger with fresh soil. Make sure you give the plant a bit of water when you repot it.

Common Problems

Your monstera dubia leaves can tell you when there is a problem so always pay attention to how they look and feel. Certain water or sunlight issues or pest infestations can cause the leaves to change color, shape, or fall off. Monstera’s also have issues with diseases such as bacterial leaf spot and mosaic virus.

Here is what to look for.

1. Yellow Leaves

If your monstera dubia foliage starts to turn yellow, you may be giving it too much water or the soil does not have proper drainage. This can also cause brown spots, fungus in the soil, and soil that never dries.Muhamed Focus on details Image Yellow Leaves

Pay attention to the soil and drainage, and if it does not dry within a few days, you may need to take it out and dry the roots.

2. Dried Out Leaves

On the other hand, if your plant does not get enough water, the leaves will dry out and start to turn brown. They may even fall off if it has not gotten any water in a long time. It may be draining too fast, so the roots do not have enough time to get a drink.

Common Pests

Just like any other plant, the monstera dubia can be infested with a variety of insects or bugs. Your plant can be susceptible to fungus gnats, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and scale bugs. Here is how to identify and get rid of them.

1. Fungus Gnats

These little pests are attracted to moisture, so they typically do not infest a plant that is watered properly. However, if you water it too often or the soil does not drain well, the fungus gnat will often lay their eggs in the wet soil. And these bugs multiply quickly.Muhamed Focus on details Image Fungus Gnats

To get rid of these gnats, remove the top two inches of soil and replace it with clean soil mixed with a small amount of diatomaceous earth to prevent reinfestation. You can also set yellow sticky traps on the soil to catch the parent gnats before they can lay their eggs.

2. Mealybugs

The mealybug is a pale white bug that is similar to a scale bug and covers itself with wax or a cottony material. You will often see them on the backs of lower leaves and where the stem attaches to your plant. These little bugs suck the nutrients right out of the plant, leaving it unhealthy and stunted.

Getting rid of mealybugs can be difficult if the infestation is large because of their waxy coating that deflects insecticides. You may be better off trimming off the infested leaves and then treating the rest of the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil. If you have aphid pest problems, you can also get rid of them.

3. Spider Mites

Although these are not really spiders, they are related to them and they make webs, which is what usually alerts you to their presence. You may also notice tiny holes all over the leaves that look like pinholes. This is how the spider mites get the sap from your plant. Keep in mind that bigger holes on Monstera leaves are normal.

Give your monstera dubia a nice warm shower with a sprayer you can aim at the webs to make sure they are washed away. Once you get rid of them, treat the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil once a week for several weeks.

4. Scale Bugs

These common pests are hard to see but you may notice small brown or tan bumps on the underside of your plant’s leaves. They may also leave a sticky or shiny residue on the leaves and stems. There are two types: soft and armored.Muhamed Focus on details Image Scale Bugs

The armored scale secretes a wax-like coating that is not part of the actual bug. The soft scale bugs have soft armor that is a part of their body. Either way, you have to remove them, or they will suck the life out of your monstera dubia.

Give your plant a hard shower and scrape away any stragglers before treating the whole thing with insecticidal soap. You can also use neem oil or some other type of oil that will smother the pests. You can even use canola oil.

Different Varieties of the Monstera Genus

The Monstera genus has 59 species but the most common besides the dubia include:

  1. Monstera acuminata is one of the smallest monsteras and is also a shingle plant like the dubia. The leaves only get about six inches long, but they are thick and waxy. They do not usually fenestrate unless the plant is able to grow in the wild.
  2. Monstera adansonii has leaves that are more hole than leaf, giving it the common name swiss cheese plant or window plant. The adansonii reaches about eight feet in height with leaves about 12 inches long and eight inches wide.
  3. Monstera borsigiana is actually a subspecies of the deliciosa but this one is smaller and grows faster. Also, this one grows variegations that give the foliage a striking look.
  4. Monstera deliciosa is one of the most common monsteras as it is the most popular as well. They are well-known for the natural holes in the leaves, giving it a swiss-cheese or window look.
  5. Monstera epipremnoides is considered to be the big sister of the adansonii because its leaves get so much larger, but they are just as holey. It can grow up to 13 feet tall with leaves that can reach 21 inches long and 13 inches wide.
  6. Monstera karstenianum grows best as a hanging plant and will grow very fast but the leaves do not get as large as the other monsteras.
  7. Monstera obliqua is one of the rarest types of monstera and is hard to find anywhere, even in the wild. The leaves are almost 90% hole with barely any leaf at all.
  8. Monstera pinnatipartita has slits instead of holes so it is often mistaken for a slotted leaf philodendron. It only grows about three feet tall but slotted leaves are large.
  9. Monstera siltepecana is one of the rarest types of monstera but it has a unique silvering of the leaves that gave it the common name of silver monster. The leaves do not fenestrate until they are fully mature, so they go through a major transformation like the dubia.
  10. Monstera standleyana is one of the most stunning types of monsteras with large glossy and oval leaves that can reach about a foot long. The plant itself can easily grow to 20 feet in the wild but indoors, it will usually stay under five feet tall.

Monstera Dubia Toxicity

The monstera dubia has a substance called insoluble calcium oxalate that is toxic to animals and children so you have to place it in a spot where the kids and pets cannot get to it. The crystals in the sap are sharp and usually keep kids and pets from eating too much because of the pain.

However, it can cause some serious symptoms if ingested such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Swelling of the throat and airway, which can be dangerous
  • Vomiting

What to Do for Toxicity

If you think your child or pet has eaten any of your monstera dubia, rinse out their mouth with milk to remove any pieces of the plant and to help with the pain. The calcium in the milk bonds to the calcium in the oxalates to ease the pain.

It is important to take them to a professional if they show any signs of breathing trouble. The sap and crystals in the oxalates can cause inflammation of the throat and airway, making it difficult to breathe.

Your child or pet may need medication to reduce the swelling and help to keep their airway open. Also, vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, which can be dangerous in a small child or pet.

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