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How to Find Rare Monsteras: 9 Rare and Beautiful Monstera Varieties For Your Urban Jungle

chris_dagorne
Published on July 20th 2020
20
A close up of a tree

Monstera deliciosa - Swiss Cheese Plant

Monstera deliciosa is undeniably in the cultural zeitgeist right now, but, just like every cool new thing (from Snapchat to painting your walls in ‘Millennial Pink’), it begins to lose its charm when your parents pile in. And, after decades out of the limelight (I remember my mum’s sad-looking 70’s moss pole Monstera from my childhood), the ‘Swiss Cheese Plant’ is now back in a big way. According to Google Trends, interest in this split-leaved sensation is at its highest point for the past 15 years and still trending up.
Welcome to 2020 - the year that Monstera deliciosa hit the mainstream and started popping up in the background of your parents’ Facebook photos. What can you do to avoid the mainstream and find those edgy Monstera species that haven’t yet hit the big time? We’ve compiled a list of Monstera plants that are flying under the radar in the UK and going for big bucks on marketplaces right now.

Where to buy Monstera deliciosa:

Monstera deliciosa care tips

If you want to propagate this plant, there are three ways to go about it:
  1. Wrap an adventitious root (i.e. a root coming out of the stem) in wet sphagnum moss.
  2. Take a stem cutting with bumps (nodes) on it and stick it on some moist soil
  3. Take a cutting just below an adventitious root and stick that in water.
For all these propagation methods, the idea is to encourage further roots to form, then pot this Monstera baby into fresh compost.

Monstera pertusum and 'Monstera borsigiana'

Monstera deliciosa f. borsigiana
A Monstera deliciosa f. borsigiana leaf - allegedly!
OK, so the first one is a bit of a red herring - you’ll see many people searching for ‘alternative’ Monsteras like M. borsigiana and M. pertusum right now. It turns out that M. pertusum is just an old name for M. deliciosa. So if you’ve been sold a ‘rare Monstera pertusum’, then you might have been ripped off!
On the other hand, Monstera deliciosa f. borsigiana is a 'form' of Monstera deliciosa, which allegedly grows a little faster and has smaller leaves in adulthood. The difference between these two forms is negligible in an indoor setting, so it's probably not worth paying extra for M. borsigiana.

Monstera adansonii - ‘Monkey Mask’

Monstera adansonii cutting propagated in water
Monstera adansonii cutting in water
This cute little Monstera breaks away from the clichéd leaf splits of its famous namesake, opting for holes instead. The frequently-used common name of ‘Monkey Mask’ is really spot on - you could absolutely imagine a monkey wearing this to rob a bank, or whatever it is they get up to in disguise. The small size of the plant as it’s usually sold is actually quite misleading -Monstera adansonii can grow up to 6 metres in height!

Where to buy Monstera adansonii:

Monstera adansonii care tips

Having kept this one myself, I can confirm that it doesn’t really like draughty or dry conditions. A quick mist of water every few days will help the holey leaves unfurl properly. Otherwise, they can get stuck while trying to open and go yellow or brown. It enjoys bright, indirect light and can tolerate shade because it is used to growing under the canopy of a rainforest.

Monstera obliqua

Monstera obliqua in its natural habitat
An unbelievably-rare Monstera obliqua in the wild
Image credit: Ben Phalan CC BY 4.0
This is the next most popular Monstera species after Monstera adansonii by search traffic, but it’s much harder to find online or in plant shops. Monstera obliqua looks like an M. adansonii that got stuck in a wind tunnel - the holes are so big that some leaves are only held together by tiny filaments.
These fragile leaves, coupled with their thin stems, make it very hard to ship. That means buying a real M. obliqua online is almost impossible. Most of the M. obliqua specimens you’ll see listed are actually M. adansonii. In fact, world expert Dr Thomas Croat claimed in 2018 that only 17 wild specimens of Monstera obliqua have ever been found!

Monstera obliqua care tips

Watch your wallet and don’t get ripped off - a real Monstera obliqua would go for £1000s online! If you do manage to get hold of one, Monstera obliqua enjoys a warm, humid environment (we're talking 85% humidity minimum).

Monstera deliciosa variegata - ‘Variegated Monsteras’

A close up of a plant
Monstera deliciosa 'Thai Constellation'
So this plant is more popular in searches than M. obliqua, but it’s not a true species. It’s actually a variety of the common Monstera deliciosa, with striking white patterns on its leaves. The scientific name for the most popular of these varieties isMonstera deliciosa ‘Thai Constellation’, and this plant profile is one of our most popular. This popularity explains why a simple rooted leaf of this plant sells for over £100 online.
Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo Variegata’ is another type of deliciosa with white leaf markings. This one tends to be a bit cheaper than ‘Thai Constellation’, but you’ll still need to pay upwards of £80 for a rooted cutting. You can easily find a few these on Candide.

Where to buy Monstera deliciosa 'Albo Variegata':

Variegated Monstera care tips

Like most variegated varieties, these plants wouldn’t survive for very long in the wild - the white patches on their leaves make it harder for them to absorb sunlight, so keeping them in a dark room is a bad idea. Otherwise, look after them the same way as a regular Monstera deliciosa - allow it to dry out between waterings and give it support to allow the plant to climb.
Read our top tips on purchasing your first variegated plant, find out what's behind that hefty price tag and delve into the science behind variegation below:

Monstera minima - Mini Monstera (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma)

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma 'Monstera Minima' cutting
Monstera minima Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cuttings can be propagated in water
Image credit: plantattic
While it looks exactly like a miniature Monstera, this newly-popular houseplant is actually Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, a plant from a completely different genus. Like Monstera, Monstera Minima can put on a lot of growth, reaching a maximum height of 5 metres in the wild. At the time of writing, you could buy R. tetrasperma 'Mini Monstera' in the Candide Marketplace.

Where to buy Monstera Minima:

Monstera minima care tips

This is a hardy little houseplant that can tolerate various conditions but does best in humid conditions, in a sunny window.

Monstera karstenianum - Monstera Peru

Monstera karstenianum on an outside table
Monstera karstenianum soaking up the sunshine.
Photo: Mike_1
But wait, is it really a Monstera?! This species looks very little like its better-known relatives, but the oval leaves and climbing habit signal it belongs in the Monstera genus. Perhaps this wouldn't be your first pick as a Monstera alternative, as M. karstenianum looks more like a Pothos, but it's a robust plant that can be picked up much more cheaply than the other Monsteras on this list. In fact, at the time of writing, this plant is for sale on Candide.

Monstera karstenianum care tips

This plant is used to environments with high humidity and, while it does OK when the soil dries out, it's important to mist the leaves regularly.

Monstera standleyana - Silver Monstera

A green plant
A Monstera standleyana cutting
Image credit: greensplantsandprints
Like M. karstenianum, this isn't the obvious choice for an alternative Monstera, as it looks more like a Pothos than to Monstera deliciosa. However, the young silvery leaves are quite striking and, like M. karstenianum, it's considerably cheaper to acquire than the rarer forms of Monstera. Older leaves also begin to develop the fenestrations (leaf splits and holes) that have made all Monsteras so popular.
Find Silver Monstera on Candide.

Monstera standleyana care tips

This species is known to suffer badly from mealybug infestations, so make sure any new plants are bug-free when they arrive.

Monstera dubia - Shingle Plant

Shingle Plant in its natural habitat
Monstera dubia in its natural habitat
What a fascinating and unique-looking Monstera this is! It's definitely on the rarer side, with plants selling from £25 to £125 depending on their size. Monstera dubia is the perfect example of a plant that requires something to grow up - in the wild, the mature leaves lie almost flush with the surface of tree trunks, like shingles on a roof, protecting them from wind damage.
Like many other plants on this list, the young leaves are intact, and only older leaves (as the plant matures) develop the characteristic leaf splits or 'fenestrations'. As a seedling, this plant is very similar in appearance to Satin Pothos, but let it grow for a few months or years, and the older leaves will be much larger and more distinctive.

Monstera dubia care tips

To get the most out of your plant, it needs to be positioned in bright sunlight - without it, the leaves will remain in their immature stage.

Monstera propagation tips

Once you've got your hands on a rare Monstera, your thoughts might turn to propagation. Here's how to propagate your Monstera successfully.
  1. Wrap an adventitious root (i.e. a root coming out of the stem) in wet sphagnum moss.
  2. Take a stem cutting with bumps (nodes) on it and stick it on some moist soil
  3. Take a cutting just below an adventitious root and stick that in water.
For all these propagation methods, the idea is to encourage further roots to form, then pot this Monstera baby into fresh compost.

How to Buy Rare Monstera

We have a range of Monstera plants available to purchase. By buying through Candide, you will be directly supporting the small businesses which propagate these exotic species.
Browse plants to buy from any of the plant profiles on Candide, look out for the Marketplace button on plant profiles.

Explore all Monstera plants available to buy on Candide here:

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