Nature loves a good metamorphosis, from frogs and butterflies to fish that change their sex.
But this also applies to the plant world, and one of the best examples is Monstera dubia (mon-STER-uh duh-BEE-uh).
This native of Central and South America spends its youth mistaken for Rhaphidophora cryptantha, then suddenly develops fenestrations (windows) when it reaches maturity, making it a near-dead ringer for Monstera deliciosa.
This is one of the lesser-known Monsteras and one of the smaller, making it a good choice for a houseplant.
These tropical plants are commonly called the shingle plant due to its strange (and as yet unexplained) habit of laying its leaves flat against the surfaces it’s climbing in a shingle-like pattern.
Due to its similarities as an adult, this perennial member of the Araceae family is sometimes attributed with the same common names as M. deliciosa.
The most common nicknames for this plant include:
- Dubia monstera vine
- Dubia shingle vine
- Climbing holey plant
- Shingle plant
- Shingle vine
- Shingling plant
- Swiss cheese plant
Shingle Plant Monstera Dubia Care
Size & Growth
Dubia is a climbing vine that’s development and growth speed rely heavily upon how you care for it.
With proper support, it will grow anywhere from 3′ to 10′ feet tall outdoors but is known to spread out in nature to over 80′ feet.
Indoor plants are generally smaller, with an adult averaging 5 to 6′ feet tall.
In its natural habitat, the leaves of the dubia Monstera plant can grow to as big as 15″ inches in diameter and will split into fenestrations once they reach the forest canopy.
Domestically, the heart-shaped leaves of this plant generally grow to about 3″ inches long as a juvenile and 5″ inches long as an adult.
Mature foliage goes from oval to heart-shaped and displays light and dark green variegation or has touches of silver.
Sadly, indoor specimens never get big and usually fail to fenestrate, although the juvenile leaves remain highly attractive.
For unknown reasons, once the plant begins to climb, its leaves press flat against the climbing surface, adding to dubia’s exotic appearance.
Related: Monstera Adansonii is a fun vertical variety to grow.
Flowering and Fragrance
This Monstera rarely blooms, and when it does, it’s usually as the first juvenile leaves reach maturity.
The unimpressive spathe has a rose to salmon color and can only appear if the plant has adequate support.
Light & Temperature
As shingle plants compete with a forest canopy, they fare best in dappled sunlight or bright, indirect light.
It easily scorches in direct sunlight, and the variegation will fade in the shade.
It helps to rotate your dubia’s container to ensure all parts of the plant receive enough light.
Keep in mind that this vine is a tropical to subtropical plant, so humidity is a must.
Aim for an ambient humidity of 50% percent or more, augmenting with a pebble tray or humidifier, if needed.
You can grow this plant outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11 but may choose to migrate it inside to avoid the cold if you live in zones 4a or higher.
Speaking of cold, shingle plants hate it.
The plant goes dormant if temperatures fall to 55° degrees Fahrenheit and may be permanently damaged or die below 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
Try to keep indoor plants in a temperature range of 60 to 80° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Fertilizer
As with many indoor plants, shingling plant likes moist soil but can easily get root rot.
Use the finger method and water when the soil becomes dry 2″ inches down.
Feed your Monstera with a balanced liquid fertilizer at half strength every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season.
Soil & Transplanting
Your windowleaf Monstera loves well-draining soils that have a high organic content.
It has a low acid tolerance and works best in soils containing a pH of 5 to 7.
Aroid potting mixes are ideal for this plant, although you may also choose to create your own mix.
Just mix equal parts of orchid bark, aggregate (coarse sand or perlite), and organic matter (ex: coco coir and peat moss).
As with many monstera species, your dubia doesn’t like being root-bound.
However, it also gets easily stressed when uprooted, so don’t disturb the roots more than necessary.
Keep an eye on the container and only repot one size bigger in the spring if you see roots poking out of the drainage holes (usually every 2 years once mature).
Grooming And Maintenance
Little maintenance is needed, although pruning away dead or diseased leaves will encourage new growth.
You may also choose to trim the plant to maintain a preferred size.
How To Propagate Monstera Dubia Windowleaf
Monstera dubia is easy to propagate via cuttings and may be done using either water or soil as the medium.
A more difficult method is division, although the roots’ fragility makes this a more advanced technique.
Climbing Dubia Plant Pests or Diseases
Dubia is highly sensitive to cold and doesn’t like sudden drafts.
It’s fairly pest resistant but is easily affected by scale and spider mites, with fungus gnats and mealybugs posing a lesser problem.
The plant is also fairly resistant to disease but is highly susceptible to root rot.
As with all aroids, windowleaf contains high amounts of calcium oxalate, a substance that causes kidney stones and other health risks.
It is considered toxic to both humans and pets.
Monstera Dubia Uses
This plant’s claim to fame is the way it flattens its leaves as it climbs, so it’s best displayed in a setting that highlights this feature.
Plant it outdoors by trellises or add bamboo poles by the plantlets so they can climb.
The plant may be added to hanging baskets as long as a totem or sphagnum moss pole is added for support.
One of the most popular indoor display methods is to add a plain wooden plank for the plant to climb up on and show its shingle-like leaves in all their glory.