Although it is rarer and less known than other Monstera varieties, the Monstera dubia is a stunning variegated houseplant with an intriguing growth habit. It is less common than its cousins, Monstera adansonii and Monstera deliciosa, but has pretty much the same care requirements. But while all Monsteras are climbers, Monstera dubias actually need support to grow. Their leaves lie very flat, and you can accentuate this feature by mounting your dubia on a plan wood plank. What else should you know about growing and caring for this plant? Here is a complete care guide for Monstera dubia.
Brief Overview of Monstera Dubia
The Monstera dubia is native to tropical Central and South America. It is a creeping vine that grows on support and usually climbs large plants or trees. When young, Monstera dubias have small heart-shaped leaves with dark and light green variegation. The leaves tend to lie flat against the surface on which the plant is growing – a feature many houseplant owners like to emphasize. In contrast, mature dubias have no variegation. They only grow in the wild and have large fenestrations like Monstera deliciosas. Additionally, the leaves hang from the plant’s vines rather than lie flat on the support surface.
Sometimes called the shingle plant, this tropical aroid is somewhat difficult to find in local nurseries and garden centers. According to Monstera Plant Resource, the best place to look if you want one is a specialty plant shop or online retail store. If you go with the latter option, make sure you are buying from a credible source because scam sellers are known to peddle fake seeds. Overall, the Monstera dubia is relatively easy to grow and care for.
Now that you know what the Monstera dubia is, here are some quick facts, according to The Spruce, about the plant that you should know before growing it:
- Plant Type: Perennial, tropical aroid
- Common Name: Shingle plant
- Botanical Name: Monstera dubia
- Native Area: South America and Central America
- Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
- Flower Color: Pink
- Bloom Time: Summer and Spring
- Mature Size: 10 feet tall outdoors and 3 feet tall indoors.
- Toxicity: Toxic to pets
How Much Light Does Monstera Dubias Need?
Monstera dubias naturally grow under forest canopies, where they receive filtered sunlight throughout the day. This means that, when growing them indoors, you need to provide them with bright indirect light. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is harmful and can scorch the leaves, especially if the dubia is young. Consequently, you should place your Monstera dubia next to north or south facing window. You should also use a sheer curtain to block out excess light during the day. Make sure to rotate the plant several times a day so that light hits every part.
What Is the Best Soil for Monstera Dubias?
According to Plantophiles, Monstera dubia thrives in moderately moist and well-draining soil, with sufficient organic matter. Look for a chunky soil mix specially designed for tropical aroids at your local gardening store, or prepare your own mix at home. To create this soil mix, combine equal parts perlite, coco air, peat moss, and orchid bark. You should also add organic matter or a slow-release fertilizer to keep the dubia well-fed during the growth season. Do not be tempted to plant your Monstera dubia in regular potting mix as it could be too dense for the plant and suffocate the root system. Because this plant does not survive highly acidic conditions, keep the pH of the potting soil between 5 and 7.
What Is the Ideal Temperature and Humidity for Monstera Dubia?
Because of their tropical rainforest nativity, Monstera dubias grow well under warm, humid conditions. Typical household conditions usually work well as long as you keep the plant away from cooling or heating vents and drafty windows. If you live in a dry area, increase the humidity in your home through pebble trays or humidifiers. The humidity is low if your dubia has curly or crispy edges. When it comes to temperature, your Monstera dubia will appreciate temperatures between 65°F and 80°F (18°C to 27°C). Never let the temperature drop below 60°F (15°C) because this plant is not cold-tolerant. Also keep the humidity at least 50 percent, including in winter.
How Much Fertilizer Does It Need?
The Monstera dubia is a medium feeder and will thrive under a regular feeding schedule. Apply a low-strength balanced fertilizer monthly during active growth seasons and a common slow-release fertilizer thrice a year. If your plant’s growth is stunted or it appears unhealthy, give it an immediate boost with half-strength fertilizer. Use standard liquid fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio and avoid feeding the plant during winter, which is the dubia’s dormant period.
How Often Should You Water Monstera Dubia?
Always wait for the top two or three inches of the soil to dry before watering your Monstera dubia. Water thoroughly until excess water drains from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Generally, you do not need to worry about missing a few waterings as Monstera dubia is not very fussy when it comes to watering. You can let the soil dry out completely every once a while in winter to prevent root rot. However, do not make a habit of this.
Pruning Monstera Dubia
Monstera dubias are slow climbers so they will need very little pruning and only from time to time. Only prune mature plants as pruning a juvenile dubia could stress it due to its slow growth rate. Generally, you only need to trim dead, yellow, damaged, or infected leaves. Always use a sterile pair of sharp scissors or shears and cut close to the main stem.
It is time to repot your Monstera dubia when its roots start protruding from the drainage holes. On average, you may need to repot every two to three years to a pot one size bigger than the current one. When repotting, be careful not to break the delicate roots.
Propagating Monstera Dubia
You can propagate your Monstera dubia to save a dying mother plant, ensure a steady supply, grow your collection, or share the plant with your friends. Whatever your motivation, the propagation process is similar to that used for other vining aroids.
Common Pests and Diseases That Affect Monstera Dubia
Root rot is a common problem affecting many houseplants, including Monstera dubia. Your dubia is likely to experience root rot if you overwater it or if the soil is so compacted it causes water logging around the roots. To prevent this problem, plant your Monstera dubia in loose, chunky soil that is well-draining and does not hold water. You should also allow the top of the soil to dry out before watering. Monstera dubias are also vulnerable to common brown scale and red spider mites. According to Colorado State University, you can identify a spider mite infestation through tiny white patches on the leaves. Because they are sap-sucking, these pests can greatly harm your dubia or even kill it. You can prevent this by inspecting the leaves and vines regularly for signs of infestation. If you identify pests on your plant, treat the affected areas with rubbing alcohol or neem oil. You may need to remove scale insects manually with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs because they tend to stick.
Troubleshooting Common Monstera Dubia Issues
In addition to the pests and diseases discussed above, your Monstera dubia could exhibit several problems. Here is an overview of some common ones you should look out for:
Brown spots on the leaves and vines could be an indicator that your Monstera dubia has root rot. As explained, root rot is caused by overwatering and poorly drained soil. These conditions inhibit oxygen supply around the roots causing infection and death. If you notice brown spots on your plant, check for a rotten smell coming from the roots – this is a sure sign of root rot. To deal with root rot, you first need to take the plant out of its pot to examine the roots. Be careful not to snap any healthy roots during this process. If some or all of the roots are dark brown or black and mushy, root rot is present. You can salvage healthy roots, if any, by using a sterilized pair of scissors to snip the rotten roots. If all the roots are rotten, there is no hope for your dubia. Once you have removed the affected roots, run the rest through distilled water and disinfect them with alcohol. Allow them to dry, disinfect the pot, change the potting mix, then repot your dubia.
Wilting or curling leaves is an early sign of dehydration. It means you are not providing your Monstera dubia with enough water. If you do not increase your watering frequency, the leaves might start drying and dying off. The solution to this problem is to keep the soil moist and to water it thoroughly once the top two or three inches dry. You should also maintain the humidity at 50 percent at all times.
Yellow Monstera dubia leaves are caused by nutrient deficiency. They are a sign that you are not feeding your plant enough. Consequently, the solution is to follow the feeding frequency discussed earlier and only fertilize your Dubia in spring and summer.
Is Monstera dubia fast-growing?
When compared to other Monsteras, Monstera dubia is relatively slow growing. According to Houseplant Authority, its spread speed is moderate and depends on the amount of space available.
Why is my Monstera dubia not growing?
A Monstera dubia plant may stop growing if it is stressed due to unideal environmental conditions or nutrient deficiency. The most common causes of stunted growth for this aroid are direct sunlight, pest infestation, root rot, underfeeding, overwatering, and underwatering.
Are Monstera dubias toxic?
Like most Monsteras, Monstera dubia is toxic so you should keep it away from kids and pets. The plant’s sap contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and swelling if ingested.
Monstera dubia is one of the smallest members of the Monstera family. Nonetheless, this tropical aroid has excellent climbing habits and a stunning distinctive look that will breathe life into your home. It is relatively easy to grow and care for and is not fussy as long as you provide it will loose, well-drained soil, bright indirect light, and sufficient water.