Monsteras have become quite popular among indoor plant enthusiasts due mainly to their natural fenestrations.
The word fenestration is an old term that means window.
Indeed, those not familiar with monsteras might be shocked when the interior of the leaves begins to split open, but this is a perfectly natural process.
While the reason for this strange behavior is unknown, botanists believe that the fenestrations allow light to reach lower leaves, making photosynthesis more efficient.
Two species of monstera are sometimes confused for each other—Monstera adansonii and Monstera lechleriana.
However, while there certainly are similarities between the two species, there are also a lot of differences.
Monstera Lechleriana vs Monstera Adansonii (Differences And Similarities)
Online sellers sometimes mix up these two species.
However, once you know what sets them apart and how they’re similar, it becomes a lot easier to tell the two apart.
Differences Between Monstera Adansonii and Monstera Lechleriana
The differences between these two plants are quite apparent once pointed out, and not knowing how to tell the two apart can actually lead to harming your monstera.
When looking at these two plants, especially when they’re young, the fenestrations will be the most obvious difference between the two.
The fenestrations usually begin near the midrib and open towards the margins.
Monstera adansonii tends to have a lot of smaller, oval-shaped fenestrations, which appear when the leaf is still young.
In fact, up to ⅓ of a mature leaf’s surface can be covered in fenestrations.
Monstera lechleriana is a bit different. Young leaves have very few fenestrations and may even lack any fenestrations.
As the leaf gets older, it will develop only a few fenestrations, but they will be large and round.
Thus, if you see leaves with no holes or only a few large round ones, you’re dealing with a Monstera lechleriana.
If there are many little oval fenestrations, it’s a Monstera adansonii.
Monstera adansonii is a far more delicate plant than Monstera lechleriana, which becomes apparent in a few care needs.
One noticeable difference in care needs is the amount of fertilizer.
Monstera adansonii is a fast grower who needs a decent amount of feeding in spring and summer.
Monstera lechleriana is less demanding, and while it should also be fed in spring and summer, it doesn’t require feeding as frequently to maintain healthy growth.
Foliage And Shape
While these plants have similar growth habits, they have somewhat different appearances.
Monstera adansonii has smaller leaves that tend to be around 4” inches long and a little thinner in width.
The plant is a little shorter but with fuller growth and more leaves in general.
Monstera lechleriana has larger leaves that can reach up to 10” inches long under ideal conditions.
Overall, it has fewer leaves, so it isn’t as full in appearance. However, its larger leaves allow it to achieve a taller height.
Finally, Monstera adansonii is far more sensitive to watering, especially overwatering.
You’ll want to keep the soil consistently moist, watering when the soil is dry around 1” inch deep.
On the other hand, Monstera lechleriana is more resilient and can be watered when the soil is dry 1 ½” to 2” inches down.
Similarities Between Monstera Adansonii And Monstera Lechleriana
While there’s a lot these two plants have in common, these similarities are less important to know than the differences since they won’t harm your plant if you don’t know which one you have.
General Care Needs
With the exception of watering and feeding your plant, these two species have pretty much identical care needs.
Bright, indirect sunlight and a decent, well-draining soil or potting mix will work wonders for both plants.
Repot them every 2 to 3 years or as needed to prevent root binding, and you’ll have a happy monstera.
As monsteras, both of these species are native to Central and South America.
Monstera lechleriana tends to grow a little further north, but the natural ranges of both plants overlap.
Finally, both of these plants are vining epiphytes.
Epiphytes are plants that cling to trees or other vertical surfaces for support.
You can get them to grow taller by providing a moss pole or other support for them to cling onto.
Additionally, both are considered to be vining plants, meaning the central stalk is a vine instead of a stem or trunk.
Vining plants are more flexible and can wind around a structure easier than a stemmed plant.
However, the overall structure isn’t much different from non-vining epiphytes.
So Which Is Better?
These plants have their own pros and cons, but the final decision tends to come down to personal preference and how much work you want to put into the plant.
Monstera adansonii has a slightly shorter height but a bushier, fuller shape.
Its smaller leaves are covered in small fenestrations, making it a Swiss cheese plant that really lives up to the name.
However, you will need to feed it more often and be more careful with watering, which means it’s not as good for households that are frequently on the go.
Meanwhile, Monstera lechleriana is a little less picky about care and can tolerate a missed feeding or watering now and then.
It grows a bit taller and has larger leaves but isn’t as well filled out.
Also, while the fenestrations are larger, they’re far less frequent, and some leaves may lack them altogether.