Monstera represents a genus of flowering plants that comprises no less than 45 species discovered until now. With its beautiful, lush foliage specific to the tropical forests of the Americas, Monstera is one of the most popular indoor-grown plants.
The word Monstera means abnormal in Latin, which probably refers to the unusual form of their leaves. The most popular types of Monstera for those wanting to grow this plant inside are Monstera Deliciosa and Monstera Borsigiana – in fact, these plants get commonly confused with each other and many inexperienced growers will vow they are one and the same.
These plants are extremely similar looking, so it is only understandable this may happen for the untrained eye – they are also both called the Swiss Cheese Plant due to the cuttings in their leaves.
Still, if you learn to spot the differences, you’ll know whether you came home with a Monstera Borsigiana and you should continue reading this article, or switch to our Monstera Deliciosa guide.
Monstera Borsigiana vs. Monstera Deliciosa
- The main observable difference between a Deliciosa and a Borsigiana is the leaf size. Monstera Deliciosa has big leaves that can grow up to 3 feet in length, whereas the Borsigiana’s leaves will only reach about 1.6 feet. Borsigiana plants happen to grow faster than Deliciosa but will always be smaller when they reach maturity.
- Another difference you will observe is in the way they grow. If your monstera seems to be growing a bit messy and with a nesting-type leafstalk, you most definitely have a Deliciosa. If, however, your Monstera’s leaves grow neat, with a longer stem, you got yourself a Borsigiana.
- If you want to be sure of which type of Monstera you are caring for, the best way to do so is by checking their geniculum. This is the joint that connects the stem to the leaf. If you find the geniculum is wavy, ruffly looking, then this is a Monstera Deliciosa, but if the geniculum is straight, it’s surely a Borsigiana.
Now that we made things clear and you are sure a Monstera Borsigiana resides in your home, it’s time to learn how to care for it.
About Monstera Borsigiana
- Monstera Borsigiana originates in South Mexico’s lush tropical forests but can be found throughout all of South America.
- Because it comes from the jungle, this plant thrives when placed in a moist, humid environment.
- Propagating your Borsigiana plant can be easily done using stem cuttings.
- This plant does not react well to overwatering, so keep your Borsigiana in well-draining soil.
- The Swiss Cheese plant needs partial sunlight to develop its fenestrated foliage.
- Borsigiana plants can grow very quickly and will start to become quite disobedient, especially after their third year.
- To prevent it from becoming overwhelming, you need to start pruning it and propagating new baby plants.
- You can prune your Borsigiana plant any time of the year, even during the winter season.
- Because it grows quite fast, your Swiss Cheese Plant will need to be repotted every two years.
- This plant likes to climb on trees, so make sure you provide her with something to climb on, such as a small ladder, bamboo stick, or moss-covered rod.
Monstera Borsigiana Features: An Overview
- One of the main features of Monstera Borsigiana is its fenestrated foliage.
- Monstera Borsigiana is an evergreen vine, meaning it retains its green leaves for more than one season.
- Its beautiful foliage can easily burn if the plant gets too much sunlight, so look out for that sign.
- Borsigiana has a straight stem from top to bottom, compared to a Monstera Deliciosa whose stem has a ruffled portion where it meets the leaf.
- In their natural habitat, Monstera Borsigiana plants develop flowers every year. However, in a potted environment that rarely happens.
- The flower of Borsigiana is of a whiteish colour and has a stem in the middle. When the fruit matures, it eventually falls off.
- Although beautiful, Monstera Borsigiana can be toxic in its natural environment.
- Potted Borsigiana plants are less toxic, but you should still keep your dog, cat, bunny, or any other animal from chewing on its leaves.
- It also has a variegated version, with beautiful green and white foliage, but it will be pretty hard to find one in common plant shops.
Growing Monstera Borsigiana
If you ever visit the forests of Panama or South Mexico, you will most definitely find lots of Monstera Borsigiana plants growing in the shade, climbing up on tall jungle trees. This means Monsteras generally love the shade and do best if you keep them in a room with filtered sunlight and occasional partial shade.
To grow healthy, Monstera Borsigiana needs soil that drains well and is rich in organic matter. Consider mixing your potting soil with pumice or perlite, to aerate it and maintain moisture.
To mimic Monstera’s natural habitat, provide your plant with a rod to cling on. There are moss-covered rods at most plant shops, so it should not be too difficult to find one to your liking. Simply place it in the middle of the pot, for better support. If you can’t find a moss rod, you can also use a bamboo stick.
Because they live in a tropical area, they thrive when there is a lot of moisture in the air. Aim for an environment with medium to high levels of humidity and keep your Monstera Borsigiana out of dry air.
You can invest in a humidifier, but if you don’t want to splurge, there is a cheaper way to help your plant. Make a wet pebble tray by using a shallow tray that you fill with pebbles (unexpected, I know), then place the Monstera pot on top of it. Pour some water into the tray and you have yourself a DIY humidifier. Refill, when necessary, but make sure the pot does not touch the water, to prevent overwatering.
Watering Monstera Borsigiana
Some say overwatering your plants is a sign of empathy – you do it out of too much care. It happens to the best of us, but this is where the perlite we discussed above can help. Because Monstera Borsigiana is susceptible to root rot, you need to make sure you do not overwater it.
Your Borsigiana will enjoy moderate watering, meaning you leave the top 3 inches of the soil to dry before you water it again. One way to prevent excess water from causing rot is to water your Monstera until the water comes out of the pot’s drainage holes. Let the plant sit for about 5 minutes, then remove the pot tray and pour out any excess water that drained. Then, you leave it be until you test the soil, and the top three inches are completely dry. Now you can water it again.
If you manage to find the ideal watering schedule, Monstera Borsigiana can be very easy to care for, so you can enjoy its company for years. If you are uncertain about its watering habits, keep in mind that underwatering is a much smaller problem than overwatering, so when in doubt, wait another day to wet your Monstera.
Propagating Monstera Borsigiana
You can easily propagate your Monstera Borsigiana by using stem cuts. We will try to explain the process as detailed as we can:
- Use a sterilized knife to cut a stem from your plant.
- Make sure the cut is made just below a node. The perfect cutting needs to have at least two leaves and one node.
- Put some water in a jar and place the fresh cutting in it. It should be enough water so that the stem stays underneath it, while the leaves are kept above.
- You will start noticing that the cutting starts developing roots in a few days.
- Let the roots grow for another few days, then you are ready to pot your new baby Borsigiana.
The bonus part of the propagation process is that Monstera cuttings look amazing when waiting in their water jars to develop roots, so they are a pretty addition to any room. You will soon be wanting baby Monsteras all over your house!
Make sure you keep the baby plants in medium to bright indirect sunlight, to help stimulate their growth. Choose to water them during the morning, when the sunlight is less strong, and water can be absorbed without evaporating too fast. You can build pebble humidifiers for baby Borsigiana plants as well, to simulate a tropical environment.
Monstera Borsigiana may seem like an intimidating plant, as it can grow quite big, but it is a very friendly house plant, and quite easy to care for as well. If it has enough air humidity, is kept in a partially shaded room, and you make sure not to overwater it, your Monstera Borsigiana will live a long and healthy life.
What may initially drive you to a Borsigiana is its lush foliage, but you will also appreciate how easy it is to keep happy. And, when it has everything it needs, your plant will grow quite fast – a very rewarding experience for any grower!