Unveiling The Giants: The Discovery of The World’s Largest Monstera Plants

Imagine yourself venturing into the heart of Central America, surrounded by a symphony of sounds that only a rainforest can produce.

As you push through the dense undergrowth, the vibrant green canopy above your head filters the sunlight, casting a soft, dappled glow on everything around you.

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Amid this natural wonder, a quest is unfolding – a quest for new discoveries in the world of botany.

In 2021, this was the exact journey embarked upon by a team of dedicated researchers.

Their destination: the rainforests of Panama.

Their goal: to uncover and document the diverse species of Monstera, a genus known for its ornate, perforated leaves that have earned it worldwide acclaim as a popular houseplant.

Little did they know, their venture was about to make history.

Among the thick foliage and towering trees, two previously unknown species of Monstera were waiting to be discovered.

These were not just any Monsteras, but specimens of unprecedented size: the Monstera titanum and the Monstera gigas.

Both species, each impressive in its own right, would set new records for the largest known Monstera, not just in height, but also in the size of their leaves and inflorescences (flower structure).

Since their discovery, the Monstera titanum and Monstera gigas have fascinated botanists and plant enthusiasts alike, capturing imaginations with their exceptional dimensions and reinforcing the marvelous diversity and adaptability of the Monstera genus.

This is the story of their discovery – a story that takes us deep into the heart of the rainforest and brings us face to face with these botanical giants.

Monstera Titanium

Monstera titanum, living up to its name inspired by the Titans of Greek mythology, has an inflorescence larger than a human head.

This magnificent species, which thrives in the rainforests of central Panama, has leaves that proudly display the iconic perforations that make Monstera a beloved houseplant.

However, it is the plant’s inflorescence that is truly awe-inspiring, with the creamy white spathe – the leaf-like covering around the flower spike – growing to more than a foot and a half in length​​.

Monstera Gigas

Meanwhile, Monstera gigas, aptly named after the Greek word for ‘giant’, stands tall with leaves that can stretch to more than nine feet in length.

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According to Mick Mittermeir, one of the discoverers of this new Monstera species, they almost missed it because it was hidden and towering above them.

Moreso, it resembled another plant variety, the Rhodospatha wendlandii.

Its ability to climb over 100 feet high and its massive foliage make it a truly remarkable find.

One could almost miss it due to its towering height, as it vines and grows over the heads of those beneath it​​.

There’s More To Learn About Monsteras

These discoveries have not only set records but also highlighted how much there is still to learn about the diversity of the Monstera genus in the wild.

The first Monstera was described more than 250 years ago, and today, there are about 60 known species – a number that continues to grow, with more than a dozen new species described since 2020 alone​.

The expanded understanding of Monstera is being driven by dedicated researchers and collaborators, including those at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the University of Costa Rica​.

While these colossal Monsteras might be setting records in the wild, indoor Monstera plants also have much to offer.

Although they can’t reach the towering heights of their wild counterparts, indoor Monsteras can still grow to an impressive 6 to 10 feet, given a large enough pot and the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer​.

Have you ever seen a Monstera grow in the wild? Check out this video below of Monsteras at the Leu Gardens in Orlando.

@fourthesakeofplants Big, beautiful monsteras. So big they touch the sky. #giantmonstera #monsteradeliciosa #planttok #plantsoftiktok #philodendron #monstera #plantlover ♬ Naturaleza – Sonidos del Bosque

The Elusive Blooms of the Monstera

Chances are, you haven’t seen a Monstera flower yet, and here’s why.

Monstera plants are famed for their lush, uniquely perforated foliage, but their flowers often go unnoticed.

Monstera deliciosa white flower blooming

This isn’t because they are less impressive, but rather due to a combination of factors related to the plant’s growth habits, lifecycle, and environmental conditions.

Firstly, Monsteras are climber plants, also known as “hemiepiphytes“. They begin their lives on the forest floor and use their long, vining stems to climb up nearby trees, often reaching substantial heights.

As such, when a mature Monstera does flower, the blooms might be located far above the ground, hidden within the forest canopy and out of our sight.

This is particularly true for the newly discovered Monstera titanum and Monstera gigas, which can tower up to 100 feet into the air​​.

Secondly, the inflorescences, or flower structures, of Monstera plants are typically covered by a large, leaf-like bract known as a spathe.

This spathe, which can be mistaken for a leaf, hides the spadix – the spike that carries the actual flowers.

In the case of Monstera titanum, for instance, the creamy white spathe grows to more than a foot and a half in length, enveloping the spadix and making the flowers hard to spot unless you know what to look for​.

Thirdly, Monsteras have a unique lifecycle. They take several years to mature and only begin to produce flowers when they reach this stage of maturity.

Even then, their flowering is not guaranteed, as it also depends on the specific conditions of their environment.

Factors such as light levels, temperature, and humidity can all influence whether a Monstera will flower.

Lastly, for indoor Monstera plants, flowering can be even more elusive.

Indoor conditions often don’t fully replicate the natural habitat of a Monstera, and the plants may not receive the necessary signals to trigger flowering.

Even with ideal care, a Monstera grown indoors might never bloom, focusing its energy instead on leaf and stem growth​.

While Monstera flowers are a sight to behold, their lofty location, hidden nature, and the specific conditions required for their appearance make them a rare and special spectacle.

But if you’re confident about your Monstera’s abilities, you can try to make it bloom with these techniques: Here’s How To Make A Monstera Bloom

Saving the Monsteras

The revelation of these new species has underscored the importance of ongoing research and conservation efforts.

hand on top pf a huge monstera leaf

Like many plants around the world, wild Monstera face threats such as habitat loss and climate change.

Each newly described species offers a starting point for further study and potential conservation initiatives​​.

In the end, the discovery of Monstera titanum and Monstera gigas has deepened our understanding and appreciation of the Monstera genus.

These two giants, with their record-breaking inflorescences and leaves, serve as a testament to the remarkable diversity and resilience of the natural world.

Want to know how to tell the age of your Monsetera? Check out this article: How Old Is My Monstera? 2 Quick Age Estimation Tips