The monstera dubia is an effortless climber that just needs a few simple things to flourish in your home.
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 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. 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.
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
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.
– Light 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 happen, 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. 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.
– Water 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.
Wait until the top two inches of the soil is 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.
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.
– Soil 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 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.
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.
– Feeding 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 the reputable sources that have good reviews.
– Temperature 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. 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
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.
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 pot 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.
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.
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. 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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 hoya genus has over 45 species but the most common besides the dubia include:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the mouth, tongue, and lips
- Swelling of the throat and airway, which can be dangerous
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.
In this guide, we covered a lot of good details about how to take care of your plant.
Just to recap and help you remember, here is a list of the highlights.
- Your monstera dubia monstera has large evergreen leaves that can grow straight up the side of a tree, moss pole, or whatever else you let it climb.
- The plant comes from South and Central America so it is a tropical plant.
- The dubia may also be referred to as the climbing holey plant, shingle plant, shingling plant, swiss cheese plant, or windowleaf.
- Your plant needs a lot of bright but indirect sunlight. Too much direct sun can burn the leaves.
- The plant needs to be watered when the top two inches is dry.
- Make sure the soil drains well or your dubia will get root rot. Use one part orchid bark, one part perlite, and one part peat moss.
- Keeping your plant moist and humid is essential to its growth.
- Use a humidifier, pebble tray, or mist the leaves daily to help keep it humid.
- You can use a time-released fertilizer stick or high-quality diluted liquid fertilizer for your monstera dubia.
- Keep your plant warm at all times and never let it get below 40 degrees.
- Do not grow your monstera dubia outdoors unless you live in a controlled tropical environment.
- You can propagate your plant using stem cuttings or root separation.
- The pests that can bother your monstera dubia include fungus gnats, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale bugs.
- There are 45 monstera species but only the dubia and 10 others are commonly grown as houseplants.
- Keep children and pets away from any monstera plant you have because it is toxic and can be life-threatening in some cases.
Once you get the gist of it, you can grow many of these stunning tropical plants from propagation to fill your whole house. You can also give them away as gifts to family and friends. Just make sure they know how to properly care for them.