Monstera vs Philodendron: Are They The Same?

In the vast world of indoor greenery, two names often cause a ripple of curiosity among plant enthusiasts – Monstera and Philodendron.

Their lush, vibrant leaves and impressive resilience have made them favorites among plant lovers, but there’s often confusion between these two.

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Monstera vs Philodendron: Are They The Same?

Are they the same plant? Are they cousins? Or are they entirely different species?

Let’s look into this botanical puzzle and find answers to the questions surrounding Monstera and Philodendron.

Are Monstera and Philodendron the Same?

In a nutshell, Monstera and Philodendron are not the same, but they are close relatives.

Both belong to the larger family Araceae, known as the aroid or arum family. However, they are different genera within this family.

So while they share a common lineage, they are distinct in their own right, much like cousins in a large family tree.

Comparing Monstera and Philodendron

While their family ties might confuse some, there are marked differences between Monstera and Philodendron that make them unique.

Here’s a detailed comparison to highlight their distinct features.

Leaf Appearance

Monstera is famous for its large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves that can grow between 10–35.5 in long and 10–29.5 in wide.

large monstera leaves in the garden

The leaves are often adorned with deep splits and holes, which has earned it the nickname “Swiss cheese plant” due to the resemblance to Swiss-type cheeses.

The leaves on young Monsteras are smaller and entire with no lobes or holes, but as the plant matures, the leaves soon produce lobed and fenestrated leaves.

Philodendron leaves, in contrast, are smoother and often heart-shaped, without the distinct holes that characterize Monstera leaves.

philodendron gloriosum in the front garden

Philodendrons are a diverse group of plants with a vast array of varieties.

There are approximately 450 species of philodendrons, each with its own unique characteristics. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and leaf shapes.

Some of these varieties have leaves that are almost similar in texture and appearance with Monsteras, minus the fenestrations. That’s why it can be confusing for novice indoor gardeners.

Growth Habits

Monsteras are hemiepiphytes, meaning they grow on other trees or plants and get nutrients both from the air and from the host plant.

In the wild, Monstera seedlings grow towards the darkest area until they find a tree trunk, then start to grow up towards the light, creeping up the tree​.

When grown indoors, the plant measures between 6.6 and 9.8 ft.

Philodendrons, while also climbers, have a wider range of growth habits.

Some varieties are self-heading, meaning they grow upright without the need for support, while others are trailing or climbing.

Plant Size

Given the right conditions, Monsteras can grow to be quite large. In the wild, Monstera can grow up to 100 feet high.

Check out this gigantic Monstera discovery in Panama: Unveiling The Giants: The Discovery Of The World’s Largest Monstera

Indoors, they typically reach heights between 6.6 and 9.8 ft)​.

In contrast, Philodendrons tend to be smaller and more manageable in size, making them ideal for smaller spaces.

However, the size can vary greatly depending on the specific variety of Philodendron.

Care Requirements

Both Monsteras and Philodendrons are relatively easy to care for, but they do have different needs.

Monsteras are commonly grown outdoors as an ornamental plant in the tropics and subtropics, requiring a lot of space and a rich and loose soil (ideally garden soil and compost in equal parts).

Woman watering Monstera plant

If it grows in the ground it is better to plant it near a tree, where it can climb, if not against a trellis​​.

They prefer bright, indirect light and consistent watering with a chance to dry out between watering.

Philodendrons, on the other hand, can tolerate lower light conditions.

While they also like to dry out between watering, they are generally more forgiving of overwatering than Monsteras.

Propagation

Propagation methods differ between the two plants. Monsteras are typically propagated using stem cuttings.

Monstera-cuttings-in-a-pot

The stem cutting must include at least one node (the area where the leaf and petiole meet the stem) as this is where new roots will sprout.

Philodendrons, however, can be propagated using just a single leaf, although stem cuttings can also be used.

This makes Philodendron propagation generally simpler and more versatile compared to Monstera propagation.

Can You Plant Philodendron with Monstera?

Yes, it is possible to plant Philodendrons and Monsteras together, but there are several factors to consider:

They Need Adequate Space to Grow

Both Philodendrons and Monsteras can grow quite large, especially if given optimal growing conditions.

Woman-taking-care-of-home-plant-monstera-deliciosa.-Woman-changing-white-pots.-Indoor-plants.-Home-plants-caring

They both can become quite large and may compete for space if planted in the same pot or area.

So, you need to ensure that the pot or garden bed is large enough to accommodate both plants as they grow.

Light Requirements

Both plants prefer bright, indirect light, but Philodendrons can generally tolerate lower light conditions better than Monsteras.

If you’re planting them together in the same pot or area, you’ll need to ensure that both plants are getting the right amount of light.

Watering Needs

Both Philodendrons and Monsteras like to dry out between waterings, but Philodendrons are generally more forgiving of overwatering than Monsteras.

Woman watering a Monstera in a pot

You’ll need to strike a balance when watering to make sure you’re not overwatering the Monstera or underwatering the Philodendron.

Read here for Monstera watering requirements: Watering Monstera Plants – How To, How Often & How Much

Soil Requirements

Both plants prefer well-draining soil, so they should be compatible in terms of their soil needs.

A mixture of regular potting soil with some perlite or orchid bark can work well for both.

Climbing Needs

Both Philodendrons and Monsteras are natural climbers. If they are planted together, they may compete for climbing space.

It might be necessary to provide enough support structures (like a moss pole or trellis) for both plants.

It’s also important to note that while these two plants have similar needs and can potentially be planted together, they may also do just as well (if not better) when planted separately.

This can give you more control over the specific needs of each plant.

Embracing Similarities and Differences

monstera albo, variegated monstera, philodendron florida beauty

While Monstera and Philodendron may share the same botanical family, they are distinct plants, each with specific charm and care needs.

Whether you’re a fan of the dramatic foliage of the Monstera or the versatile growth habits of the Philodendron, both of these plants make wonderful additions to your indoor jungle.

For more Monstera care tips, read here: 7 Common Mistakes Indoor Gardeners Make When Planting Monstera

Monstera vs Philodendron Are They The Same