Monstera Peru Care: How to Grow A Healthy Monstera Karstenianum

Monsteras are some of the loveliest aroids that have taken the houseplant world by storm. These tropical plants adapt incredibly well to home environments, and this includes the cousin to the more famous Monstera Deliciosa – the beautiful Monstera Peru!

M. Peru shares many similarities in terms of care to other plants in the Monstera genus, but it has a more unique look with dark green textured leaves that are said to look like a crocodile’s skin!

What sets the Peru apart more notably is the lack of fenestrations and pinnations (inner holes and outer splits) which Monsteras are typically known for.

Below, we’ll discuss a quick overview of our personal experience with the Monstera Peru, where you can buy one for yourself, all sorts of Monstera Peru care tips, and finally we’ll answer some frequently-asked questions about this plant!

My Experience With Monstera Peru

I [Allison, the editor] have cared for my Monstera Peru for only a short amount of time, but I’m already loving this stunning plant! I’m particularly in love with the ruffled, pillowy texture of its beautiful leaves and how large they are, even on such a young plant.

I’m excited to give it something to vine up as it ages, since it’s already developing some beautiful aerial roots!

Currently, I have my Monstera Peru in the nursery pot that it came in, but once it’s a little more established in my household, I plan to convert it over to LECA like I have many of my plants in.

I ordered mine online from Etsy. Monstera Peru is a rarer plant that I wasn’t able to find at any of my local plant shops. Despite its rarity, it’s not particularly expensive, so it’s great if you want to collect rare aroids but don’t want to spend a lot of money!

Where Can I Find Monstera Peru for Sale? 

Textured leaves of a Monstera Peru against a black background

It’s not easy to find Monstera Peru in local nurseries. Even though I [Allison] live in the Bay Area where there are many, many plant shops, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Monstera Peru in any of them.

I recommend buying one from an online seller near you. Since Monstera Perus are not particularly expensive, you might consider getting a fully-grown plant to decorate your home!

Monstera Peru Cuttings

If budget is a concern, or if you simply prefer the process of growing a plant from a cutting, there are several online sellers who offer cuttings of Monstera Peru for an affordable price. An average Monstera Peru cutting that is not yet rooted should cost around $10-15 plus shipping fees.

This seller sells Monstera Peru cuttings for an affordable price and has an average 5-star rating with over 7,000 reviews!

Monstera Peru Plants

Peru is relatively inexpensive so you might as well get a decent-sized plant that looks beautiful from Day 1! An average Monstera Peru will cost around $30-50 for a whole plant.

There are a number of sellers on Etsy selling beautiful Monstera Peru plants in 4-inch and 6-inch nursery pots – I suggest this seller who has a 5-star rating with over 50,000 reviews!

Variegated Monstera Peru Plants

Like its famous cousin Monstera Deliciosa Albo, the Monstera Peru can also develop variegation! This is a rare phenomenon on an already rare-ish plant, so you will not find too many sellers offering these. Be prepared to pay a lot for this, if it’s what you want!

This highly-rated seller on Etsy sells an exquisite variety of variegated Monstera Peru plants, with options for half-moon and marble variegation! Note that they are an international seller, so be sure to discuss shipping and certificates with them beforehand.

Monstera Peru Care Guide

The Monstera sp. Peru is a relatively uncommon species which possibly comes from the tropics of Peru. There’s no officially documented information on its origin, hence the “sp.” in its name. (Hint: that’s a fancy way of saying “I don’t know” in botanical terms).

Sometimes referred to as Monstera karstenianum (which is an unofficial name, by the way), M. Peru has a unique look compared to the rest of its typically-fenestrated Monstera cousins.

The Monstera Peru is like a black sheep, except for being cooler and more sophisticated than the rest of the family!

Monstera Peru has thick, somewhat rounded, deep green leaves that are leathery in texture. Its prominent veins and lumps resemble dragon scales and can be an interesting conversation starter with guests!

Interestingly, M. Peru behaves almost like a succulent and is slower in growth compared to other Monsteras. It has white flower blooms, but that’s a rare sight to see in indoor spaces.

There is a variegated form of the Monstera sp. Peru (which looks stunning, if you ask us!) but for this article, we’ve decided to focus on care tips for the regular variety.

Monstera Peru Light Needs

Like most houseplants, Monstera Peru thrives in medium to bright, indirect light

M. Peru’s dark-colored leaves are able to store a lot of chlorophyll, which means it has a certain tolerance to lower light conditions. But be careful! Too much shade can stunt your plant’s growth.

Another important thing to watch out for is that M. Peru cannot handle direct sunlight for more than a couple of hours a day. It’s best to place your Monstera Peru about 3 feet away from a window, or use curtains to recreate the dappled light it’s used to receiving in the wild.

If you’re still unsure how much light to give your Monstera Peru, its appearance will usually give you a hint! Browning edges and curling leaves indicate excessive light. A leggy stalk without leaves means it’s time to move it out of the shade.

Monstera Peru Watering Needs

M. Peru has thicker leaves compared to other Monsteras, which means it is able to store water for longer periods of time. To avoid overwatering, allow your soil to dry out half-way through the pot before giving your Peru a thorough drench.

One cheap way of checking for moisture is by poking the soil all the way down using a wooden skewer or a pencil. If it comes out with a lot of soil still sticking to it like mud, then you should probably skip watering until 3-5 days later.

When the soil is dry, water your plant generously. As long as your pot has drainage holes, don’t be afraid to let the water flow through for a minute or two. This will help saturate your soil and flush out any excess salts and minerals that can eventually burn the foliage.

Your M. Peru will let you know that it’s thirsty if it has droopy leaves that are folding inwards.

If you notice more growth than usual, it’s time to increase the volume and frequency of watering! On the other hand, when the growing halts during periods of dormancy (usually in colder months), slow down on watering too.

Other factors that may increase the watering needs of your Monstera Peru are porous terracotta pots which dry the soil faster, warmer temperatures, and brighter light exposures.

Monstera Peru Soil Needs

Monstera Peru prefers a porous, chunky soil mix which will allow its roots to breathe. Most tropical houseplants don’t do well in regular garden soil because it is too compact, too low in nutrients, and can be full of harmful pathogens.

When shopping for a substrate for your M. Peru, choose aroid-friendly products such as LECA balls or store-packed aroid potting mixes. 

If you have time and access to resources, preparing your own soil mix can be a fun activity! We recommend this DIY Aroid recipe!

Inorganic materials such as perlite, pumice, LECA, or sand contribute to better drainage and faster root growth. Organic materials such as worm castings, coco peat (or coco coir), and sphagnum peat moss improve water-retention and provide nutrients to the plant. 

Monstera Peru Temperature & Humidity Needs

Monstera Peru is a warmth-loving plant that does well in the average room temperature of 64-80°F (18-27°C). When temperatures become colder than that range, growth will begin to slow down. Anything lower than 50°F might put your plant in dormancy or even kill it!

During the winter, keep your plant away from open windows to avoid cold drafts. But don’t put it too close to a heater either, as this will zap the humidity away from the plant!

Monstera Peru also favors a damp environment, so keep the humidity level between 50%-70%.

To keep your Monstera Peru happy, use humidifiers, place a bowl of water nearby, use a pebble tray, or mist the leaves occasionally. Keeping plants near each other also increases the overall humidity in a room.

Monstera Peru Fertilization Needs

Houseplants typically don’t need a lot of plant food because they don’t use up a lot of sunlight to grow. If you must fertilize your Monstera Peru, only do so during spring and summer, or when new buds are actively growing.

There is a wide variety of plant food options to choose from:

  • Powdered or crystallized fertilizers can be dissolved in water and applied every 2 weeks. 
  • Liquid fertilizers can be diluted in water and poured on the plant during usual watering schedules.
  • Slow-release fertilizers simply need to be scattered on the topsoil every 6 months. These coated pellets have a mechanism to detect the soil’s composition and release nutrients only when needed.

Pruning Monstera Peru

Pruning back unwanted growth will help you manage the overall look of your Monstera Peru. If your plant is getting too tall (or too long), take your garden shears and trim the stem where you want it to branch out.

If M. Peru doesn’t get enough light, it will sometimes grow long stalks with nodes and sheaths but with no actual leaves. Trim off those stalks and set them aside for propagation. The chopped part of the stem will callous over and sprout new buds soon enough.

How to propagate Monstera Peru? We’ll tell you below!

Propagating Monstera Peru

The usual practice of water-propagating houseplants is not advisable for Monstera Peru. Some people have claimed that their M. Peru cuttings had been sitting in water for up to 4 months with zero root growth.

When taking cuttings from your plant, it is always best to choose a healthy section with fresh growth and a node. A node is a brown or white bump where new buds and roots will sprout. Don’t forget to sterilize your gardening tools beforehand! 

To propagate your Monstera Peru, we recommend three methods:

1. Stem cuttings: Take a cutting from your M. Peru with at least 2 nodes for better chances of success. Dip the cutting in rooting powder if available. To avoid rot, airdry the cutting for a couple of days. Once the wound has calloused over, plant the cutting directly into sterile soil. Frequently moisten the soil and keep the pot in a bright shaded area with good airflow.

2. Sealed perlite box: What appears to be the most successful way of propagating M. Peru copies the damp and warm conditions ideal for starting seeds. Take a flat container or a Ziploc bag and fill it halfway with damp perlite. Lay the M. Peru cuttings on top and slightly bury the nodes in perlite. Seal the container to trap moisture. After 2-3 weeks, check to see if the cuttings have enough roots to be potted in soil.

3. Air-layering: This method is typically utilized for rare plants or sensitive varieties that need extra care. Marcotting, as it’s also called, can help reduce loss of lower leaves while waiting for the chosen branch to grow roots. Using cling wrap, enclose the stem that you want to propagate with a layer of wet sphagnum moss. Once you notice aerial roots poking out, cut the stem and transplant it into soil.

Repotting Monstera Peru

In its natural habitat, Monstera Peru doesn’t need to establish its roots deep in the ground as it climbs nearby trees for support. With a shallow root system, your M. Peru can take a long while before it is root-bound and ready to be repotted. 

Ideally, you would want to repot your Monstera Peru during the spring or summer so the roots can recover faster from transplant shock. Avoid applying fertilizers or any organic and chemical treatments while waiting for your plant to stabilize.

To help prevent root rot, use a porous pot made of clay, baked terracotta, unglazed ceramic, or concrete. Make sure there is at least one drainage hole.

Monstera Peru FAQ

While we’ve told you all you need to know about caring for your plant, there are still more things to learn about the lovely Monstera Peru!

We’ve answered some frequently-asked questions about its availability, growth potential, common problems, and some extra tips for healthier growth.

Is Monstera Peru a rare plant?

Because Monstera Peru grows slowly, it’s not easy to propagate and mass-produce, making it a rare variety (but with an affordable price tag, thankfully!). 

While it’s not easy to find a M. Peru in local nurseries or home improvement stores, you should be able to purchase one from online specialty shops.

In recent years, the Monstera Peru has been gaining popularity across Europe, Canada, and USA.

Before long, there may be enough growers, distributors, and direct sellers for the M. Peru to become a common variety.

How big can Monstera Peru grow?

Unlike its aptly-named Monstera cousins, M. peru doesn’t grow leaves that are quite so monstrous in size! It is possible, however, that there simply hasn’t been enough observations of this plant when allowed to grow in a wild environment.

People who’ve had the Monstera Peru in their collection for years are seeing an average plant height of 6-8 feet indoors, with mature leaves up to 3.5 inches in length.

In optimum outdoor conditions, the Monstera Peru can grow up to 20 feet in height! 

Giving your M. Peru a pole or a trellis to climb on can result in bigger leaf growth. You can also hang it up as a trailing plant, but you should be prepared to see the leaves getting smaller as the stalks grow longer without support.

Does Monstera Peru have fenestration? 

In its juvenile stage, the M. Peru is often mistaken for a Monstera Pinnatipartita with slightly rounder leaves. However, new owners of M. Peru will soon learn that this plant is unique from other Monsteras because it is unlikely to fenestrate in most cases. 

While most authorities in the plant industry will claim that there has been no recorded observations of a Monstera Peru having fenestrations, it is actually NOT an impossible occurrence!

If you don’t believe us, take a look at this Facebook post by UnitedNatures Design. There is a person on the comments section who shared a photo of her lovely Monstera Peru with obvious fenestrations. 

The plant in question was sold by Steve’s Leaves Inc, a company which has been in business since 1976 and was founded by an acquaintance of Roberto Burle Marx himself.

[Note: For those who don’t know, Burle Marx was a pioneer in the preservation and discovery of tropical plants in South America.]

Both the seller company and the original grower have confirmed that the plant observed to have fenestrations is indeed a Monstera Peru!

Here is another example of a mature Monstera Peru having fenestrations from a video posted in the International Aroid Society Facebook group.

After seeing the evidence, we can therefore conclude that M. Peru, albeit in extremely rare cases, is capable of developing fenestrations. Anything is possible in nature after all!

How do you encourage Monstera Peru to be bushy?

In some people’s experience, the Monstera Peru can be a slow-grower that takes a while to push out new leaves. In that case, pruning your plant is the best way to encourage new growing points for a bushier look.

More often than not, people don’t realize that leggy stems with wide gaps between leaves can be fixed simply by giving the plant more light.

Just remember to acclimatize your M. Peru to direct sunlight by starting low, then gradually adding more hours of exposure each week.

Why is my Monstera Peru not growing leaves?

Interestingly, there are conflicting reports from websites and collectors alike discussing whether the Monstera Peru is a slow-grower or a fast-grower. One thing we’re sure of is that cold temperatures can cause M. Peru to go dormant and stop growing.

If you’ve been caring for your Peru for months but it appears unchanged, don’t worry! Increased lighting, warmer temperatures, and added nutrients can jumpstart its growth.

Start by moving your plant to a brighter spot. If you don’t have access to a sunny window, full-spectrum LED grow lights are a wise investment for indoor plants. Just be sure to follow your chosen brand’s recommended distance to avoid leaf burn.

If temperatures are too cold, placing a heat pad under your M. Peru’s pot can wake it up and signal it to start growing.

Adding some vermicompost to your soil mix can also provide a nutrient boost for faster growth. 

Why is my Monstera Peru turning yellow?

Yellowing leaves of Monstera Peru are usually a sign of overwatering or lack of light. When it comes to plants, light exposure and watering schedules go hand in hand.

Moving your Peru to a sunnier area will dry the soil faster, thereby removing the risk of overwatering.

In most cases, an overwatered M. Peru will have leaves that are turning yellow or dropping prematurely. To avoid this, allow the soil to dry out before giving your plant a drink. Use terracotta pots with drainage holes, and make sure your soil is chunky and aerated.

Another reason for concern are scattered yellow spots which are caused by pests. Unfortunately, the M. Peru is susceptible to thrips and spider mites. The ridges on the underside of its leaves provide a perfect hiding spot for bugs.

It is always a good practice to clean and check your plants so you can catch potential infestations early on. Using a microfiber cloth, gently wipe the leaves with diluted Neem oil once or twice a month for that extra shine and for protection against pests. 

Of course, yellowing leaves can also be a natural phenomenon that simply means that the leaf is spent. The plant is now diverting its energy to grow other leaves.

If only one leaf is yellowing (especially if it’s one of the oldest leaves), this is usually not a sign of anything wrong. If this is the case, simply pluck it off when it has gone all the way yellow.

Why are my Monstera Peru leaves curling?

The curling leaves of Monstera Peru are typical indicators of underwatering or lack of humidity.

If your M. Peru’s leaves are folding inwards, that means you need to water it more frequently, or you need to increase the air moisture in your plant’s location. 

Cold air can also be a potential cause of curling leaves. Protect your plant from sudden drops in temperature by closing windows during fall and winter.

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