Have you ever wondered what the lovechild of a Monstera and a succulent might look like? Look no further, because that is what the Monstera Peru embodies in its hemiepiphytic lifestyle and rubbery, almost leather-like leaves. The species name of this plant is karstenianum (try saying that fives times fast), and while that is more likely a cultivar name, that doesn’t stop it from climbing onto the stage to become the star of any space it’s on.
Monstera karstenianum is known to be a relatively low maintenance plant once it has had a moment to get used to its new space, especially in a large open (or closed, we think both are great) terrarium. The leaves of this plant start out a medium green but grow to reveal a deeper green network of lacy veins that almost resemble look like an internal spiderweb. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it attracts spidermites – at least, no more than most!
At a Glance
Where to Buy Monstera Peru
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Terrarium Plant Guide
Monstera Peru Care & Growth
In its native countries of Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru (hence the name) the Monstera karstenianum has become evolved to be satisfied with diffused and filtered sunlight. In a terrarium, they would be happiest with the same, but can endure a few hours of direct light once in a blue moon. Moderate light should feed this plant enough to grow strong without also giving it a sunburn.
Because of its thicker leaves, we can see that the Monstera Peru has grown accustomed to being slightly underwatered and needing to store moisture in its leaves for future use. As long as the hydrologic cycle in your terrarium is returning moisture to this plant once a week, it’s probably receiving all it needs to thrive, and no additional water should be needed.
The Monstera Peru prefers well-draining, breathable soil mixtures because it hates sitting in water for long periods of time. Perlite, orchid bark, and coco coir are all perfect additions to your usual mix for this plant, but avoid anything that doesn’t retain at least some moisture (like sand or succulent mixes). If your Monstera karstenianum is initially planted into a soil it doesn’t like, there’s a chance it will always be slightly stunted, even after being repotted into something more fitting.
Temperature & Humidity
Monstera karstenianum are not fans of the cold and, if it were ever a human, would probably be a snowbird. Because this plants originally grows in rainforest-like conditions, it is happy to soak up all the warmth and humidity it can get. While this plant baby can withstand the occasional dry day, it’s important the Monstera Peru’s leaves are misted if its terrarium is not generating enough humidity.
The Latin word Monstera means “monstrous,” and that absolutely applies to the karstenianum. If given enough space, this fast grower can climb up and attach to trees as high as twelve feet. In a smaller space, this plant would vine or climb as high as it could if given a moss or coco coir pole to attach itself to. The Monstera Peru can be a wonderful background or front-and-center piece in a terrarium environment.
Stem cutting is the best method to propagate your Monstera karstenianum, and while it can take a while for this plant to root, a little rooting powder can always help. Make sure your have one or two nodes submerged in at least a few inches of water in a clear container to track its growth. Once your Monstera Peru has enough roots to go into soil, plant them with a structure or another plant so it can climb and give it extra humidity to make the transition easier.
Varieties & Similar Plants
As a member of the Monstera genus, this plant is related to the world famous Monstera deliciosa, though it shares more in common with the Monstera adansonii (also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant). While the Monstera karstenianum doesn’t have holes (the scientific term for this being fenestrations), the leaf shape and green hue are seen on both species. Although it is rare, Monstera Perus can occasionally be found with green-white variegation, too!
The Monstera Peru is not a terribly difficult plant to care for as long as it is given the proper soil and regular waterings. If your terrarium has any cracks in its walls, not only will cold drafts shock your plant, but mealybugs may also enter and find themselves attracted to the Monstera karstenianum’s beautifully green leaves.
Should you see brown spots on this plant baby, it’s most likely due to inconsistent watering, so keep a tight schedule and water only when necessary; if you don’t have a scheduled watering day for this plant and think it’s time, give it another day.
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