Monstera standleyana is a stunning and unique monstera variety that will make the perfect addition to your plant collection.

Unlike most monstera varieties, Monstera standleyana doesn’t develop fenestrations, or holes, in the leaves. But most of these plants are beautifully variegated and prized for their gorgeous, glossy, lance-shaped leaves. (If you’re interested in non-fenestrated monstera varieties, check out Monstera dubia!)

Because this plant bears such a resemblance to philodendrons, Monstera standleyana is often mistakenly referred to as Philodendron standleyana or Philodendron cobra even though they are completely different species. (They both belong to the aroid family, however, which is a vast group of vining, climbing plants.) 

Monstera standleyana is also sometimes called the five holes plant, despite the fact that it doesn’t actually develop holes, or fenestrations. To make things more confusing, Monstera adansonii is also called the five holes plant. 

The bottom line, make sure to read labels carefully to know what you’re getting!

Like other monstera species, Monstera standleyana is an epiphyte and grows by climbing up trees and other surfaces in tropical rainforests. (In this case, the rainforests of Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, etc.)

A smaller monstera species, this plant can reach heights of 20 feet in the wild but will stay under 5 feet when grown in a pot. So if you’re looking for a beautiful variegated monstera species that won’t try to take over your space, look no further! Your plant will also spread a maximum of 3 feet if you allow it to trail instead of climb, which is quite manageable for many plant owners. 

Although the leaves are also smaller than those of other monstera species, they’re still large enough to be impressive! Mature leaves will grow up to 9 inches in length and around 4 inches wide.

The real draw of the standleyana is its variegation. Even Monstera standleyana cobra, the “base model,” if you will, usually sports some flecks of white or yellow. The variegation of Monstera standleyana albo is downright dramatic, with large patches of white that sometimes take up more than half the leaf!

This plant is also known for its unusually perky leaves that tend to point straight up even when the plant is allowed to climb. 

Overall, this plant is beautiful and relatively easy to care for, and will make a stunning addition to your space!

Monstera Standleyana Care

This monstera variety is surprisingly un-fussy and is a great plant for beginner to intermediate houseplant parents. If you’ve cared for other aroids like pothos, philodendron, or another monstera variety, you’re more than ready to care for a Monstera standleyana!

Here are the basics of Monstera standleyana care:

Position and Humidity

This plant will thrive in fairly bright but indirect sunlight. Keep it out of direct sunlight, because this will scorch the leaves in no time!

An east-facing window is a safe bet as long as the sun’s rays never fall directly on the plant’s leaves. South- and west-facing windows will provide plenty of light, but make sure to filter the light with a sheer curtain or place your plant far enough away that it won’t receive any direct sunlight.

A north-facing window can work, but it might not provide enough light for some plants. If your monstera shows signs of insufficient light exposure, it’s time to move it or supplement with a grow light!

Humidity is also important for keeping your Monstera standleyana healthy. This plant will do best with high humidity, between 55-80%. If you live in a dry area or use indoor climate control, you might want to set up a humidifier near your plant, place it in a steamy bathroom, or use a humidity tray to increase humidity around your plant. You can purchase one of these at a gardening center or make your own by filling a tray with pebbles and water and sitting your plant’s pot on top. Just don’t let the roots touch the water!

Misting regularly also helps keep your plant’s leaves healthy, but be careful not to soak your plant or let hard-water deposits build up.

Watering

Like most monstera varieties, Monstera standleyana does best in evenly moist but not soaked soil.

Water when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch or when a moisture meter reads 3-4. (Here’s the meter we recommend, by the way.)

This might mean you’re watering up to once or even twice a week during the warmer months when your plant is using more water, and less during the cooler months.

When you water, soak the soil by adding water to the top of the pot until it just starts to drain out the bottom. Empty the drainage tray right away, or place the plant in a sink or bathtub for a few hours to let it drain.

Soil and Potting

This plant does not like wet feet or sitting in soaked soil, so make sure to select a pot with drainage holes! It’s also best to pick a pot that’s just a few inches larger in diameter than your plant’s root ball. This way, the pot won’t hold on to more water than your plant can use, and it will also provide a little room for the roots to stretch out and grow.

Pot your plant in a chunky, well-aerated potting soil that drains well. The ideal pH for a monstera plant is neutral, between 5-7.5.

Most ready-made potting soils are too dense for monstera plants, so you might want to add aerating ingredients like orchid bark, perlite, or vermiculite to a bagged potting mix. 

You can also make your own potting mix from scratch! We love this aroid soil recipe from Kaylee Ellen on YouTube

In a large bowl, mix together: 

  • 5 parts orchid bark
  • 4 parts coir 
  • 5 parts perlite
  • 2 parts activated charcoal
  • 2 parts worm castings

If you can’t be bothered to buy all the separate ingredients and make your own potting mix from scratch, we highly recommend our Premium Monstera Potting Mix. This soil is perfect for all varieties of monstera and other aroids because it has the optimal balance of drainage and moisture retention. The pH levels and nutrient content are also ideal for your Monstera standleyana!

Since this is a climbing plant, it’s also a good idea to provide your Monstera standleyana with something to climb, like a store-bought or DIY moss pole or a houseplant trellis. (We like these minimalist metal ones!)

Fertilizing

Monstera standleyana is a fairly light feeder, but it still needs nutrients to grow those beautiful, fenestrated leaves.

A few months after you pot your plant, start using a gentle liquid fertilizer regularly during the spring and summer months when your plant is most likely growing. Don’t worry about fertilizing in the winter. 

We recommend Monstera Plant Food because it’s specifically formulated for monstera plants with its 5-2-3 NPK ratio. It’s also gentle enough to use with each watering, which means you won’t have to remember a fertilizing schedule during the warmer part of the year! Just add a bit to your watering can each week. It couldn’t be easier!

Repotting

Plan on repotting your Monstera standleyana every year or so in the spring or summer. This will refresh the soil to promote aeration and nutrient content, and also give the plant a little more room to grow over the next year.

Make sure to go up a pot size every year, or choose a pot that’s 2-3 inches larger than your plant’s root ball. And always choose a pot with drainage holes!

How to Propagate Monstera Standleyana

You can propagate Monstera standleyana through stem cuttings or by separation. It’s best to do this in the spring or summer when your plant will most likely be growing. This way, it’ll have an easier time growing and recovering from being cut or separated.

Separation is an excellent choice if you’re already repotting and/or if your plant is spreading too wide and outgrowing its pot.

To separate, simply unpot your plant by tipping it on its side and carefully wiggling it out. Massage the root ball to remove as much soil as possible. Then start untangling the roots. If you can separate the plant into two or more smaller plants this way, great; if not, use a sharp, clean knife or shears to cut the roots apart.

Then pot the smaller plants into their own pots and give them a good watering. Hold off on fertilizing for at least a month to avoid burning the vulnerable roots. That’s it!

To propagate with cuttings, the first step is to locate a cluster of two or three young, healthy leaves with a node nearby. A node will look like a little brown nub on the stem opposite from a leaf. Your cutting MUST contain a node because this is where the new roots will grow!

Once you’ve done that, use a pair of sterilized (with alcohol or hot water and soap) scissors or shears to cut off the section of leaves below the node so that the node is included in the cutting.

Place the cutting upright in a clean glass container of water, with the cut end in the water. Don’t let the leaves touch the water. It also helps to add a little Propagation Promoter to the water to encourage rooting and ward off infection. 

Place the glass in a bright place and change the water every week. Within a month or two, you should start to see new baby roots starting to grow. When those little roots are at least an inch long, it’s time to plant the cutting in soil. Plant in a small pot with a fast-draining soil like Monstera Potting Soil and care for your new baby monstera like a mature plant.

Monstera Standleyana Problems

These plants are fairly easy keepers, but they can still develop health problems or fall prey to household pests. It’s important to know the signs to watch for and how to treat them so you can keep your monstera healthy and beautiful!

Here are some common issues to look out for:

Pests

Monstera standleyana is vulnerable to common household pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips. 

If you notice small brown or red dots, cottony webbing, or sticky residue on the leaves, you might have an insect problem! The best thing to do is try to remove as many of the pests from your plant as possible before treating the leaves. To do this, try washing your plant with a showerhead, kitchen sink sprayer, or even a kitchen syringe. (Make sure you tip your pot a little to avoid washing insects and excess water straight into the soil.) In the case of mealybugs or other species of scale (these will look like hard brown bumps), you might need to use a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab.

Once you’ve removed the insects, spray down your plant with diluted Leaf Armor or diluted neem oil and wipe off the excess with a clean, soft cloth. Neem oil has a bit of a funky smell, so do this outside if possible. If the pests return, you might want to consider using an insecticidal soap to remove them and prevent them from coming back.

Yellow Leaves

Yellowing monstera leaves usually mean that you’re overwatering your plant. Check the soil to see if it still feels wet several days after you last watered. If it does, you might be watering too often or your soil or pot isn’t draining properly. (This is a more common cause of overwatering than actually overwatering.)

If the soil feels dry, the plant might be underwatered. 

But how can you tell the difference? 

Generally, if the lower leaves are yellow and soft, the plant is likely overwatered. If the yellowing leaves appear all over the plant and come with some dry, crispy spots, underwatering is likely the culprit.

Tip: If your soil is hard and compacted, it’s possible for the top of the soil to be dry while the root ball is still wet because the soil struggles to both absorb and release water. A moisture meter is a great way to tell what’s happening deeper in the pot. 

Wilting Leaves

Wilting, drooping, or curling leaves can have a lot of different causes. 

If you recently moved or repotted your Monstera standleyana, chances are it’s just in shock. Give it some time to adjust to its new environment and it should perk up within a week or so!

If nothing about your plant’s environment has changed recently, think about the last time you watered. If the plant is too dry, it will wilt due to a lack of turgor pressure in the leaves and stems. 

Drafts can also cause your plant to wilt, so make sure it isn’t near a poorly sealed window or vent that might be emitting cold air.

If your plant’s leaves are actually curling like a scroll, this is a sign of light stress, because it may be trying to reduce the amount of surface area exposed to overly bright light. Move your plant a little farther from its light source and see if that takes care of the problem. 

Brown Spots

Brown spots can also develop for a number of reasons, so it’s important to pay attention to the color and location of these spots as well as other environmental factors.

If the spots are dark brown, soft, and concentrated on the lower leaves, they could indicate an issue with overwatering or even root rot (especially if they’re accompanied by brown, squishy stems). 

If you’ve just been watering too often, you might be able to get away with just waiting longer between waterings. But if your soil doesn’t seem to be draining well, the best way to treat this is to repot into a fresh, fast-draining soil (and a pot with better drainage, if necessary). If you notice any rotting roots (these will be mushy, dark, and smell terrible), trim those off. After repotting into a clean pot, go a little easier on the watering for a while and consider using our Root Supplement to help the roots heal.

If the spots are lighter brown and crispy, your plant might be severely underwatered. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to give your plant a drink!

Dry spots can also be a sign of scorching, especially if the leaf has an overall “bleached” appearance. If this seems to be the case, move the plant to a more appropriate spot with softer light.

Once leaves develop brown spots, they won’t heal. It’s best to prune these leaves off so your plant can redirect energy toward healing and healthy new growth.

Monstera Standleyana Varieties

Monstera standleyana comes in a few different varieties, and the main difference is the level of variegation. But they’re all gorgeous in their own ways!

Monstera Standleyana Cobra

This is the less variegated variety of Monstera standleyana. These oblong, pointed leaves are mostly green but with some wispy flecks of white or yellow on most leaves. This will also be the easiest variety to find.

This variety needs slightly less light than its more variegated counterpart, so it might be a little easier to care for.

Monstera Standleyana Albo

This is the more variegated variety, which boasts much more dramatic streaks and splashes of white on top of the deep-green coloring. You might even see leaves that have more white than green!

Like all variegated plants, Monstera standleyana albo requires more light than its deeper-green cousin in order to maintain its variegation. This is because the leaves contain less chlorophyll, the substance that allows plants to convert sunlight into energy, so the plant will need more sunlight to work with. 

Due to the lack of chlorophyll, these leaves will also be more photosensitive and susceptible to scorching, so make sure to provide your albo with sufficient but indirect sunlight, with the sun’s rays never shining directly on the leaves. 

Other than light requirements, care for this cultivar is the same as that for Monstera standleyana cobra, the less variegated cultivar.

Monstera Standleyana FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common Monstera standleyana questions.

FAQ Can you grow Monstera standleyana in a semi-hydroponic growth medium like LECA?

Absolutely! Monstera plants (and most aroids) grow well with hydroponics and soilless mediums. Learn more about growing monsteras in LECA and hydroponics here.

FAQ Are Monstera standleyana rare?

While these plants aren’t incredibly rare, they’re fairly uncommon and tricky to find in stores. 

You won’t likely find them in the gardening section of big home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, or IKEA, but your local boutique gardening store or nursery might carry them (especially if you ask). They’re also fairly easy to find online through plant retailers or sites like eBay, Etsy, or even Facebook Marketplace and your local Craigslist.

FAQ When will my Monstera standleyana’s leaves get holes?

Well…it won’t. While most monstera varieties are known for their dramatically fenestrated leaves, Monstera strandleyana is more about the variegation and does not develop holes at all. If you’re looking for those iconic slotted monstera leaves, you’ll be better off with a Monstera deliciosa or Monstera adansonii.

If you’re a die-hard monstera fan like us (and why wouldn’t you be?), Monstera standleyana is the perfect addition to your monstera collection. Grab one of these lovely, highly variegated plants to add some spunk and color to your space!

Remember to check out these resources to improve your monstera care skills and knowledge and grow the most beautiful monstera plants around!

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