Home Houseplants Monstera vs Philodendron

Monstera vs Philodendron – GIY Plants

monstera vs phildendron leaves

The difference between monstera vs philodendron plants isn’t always obvious.

Typically, monstera leaves are rounder while philodendron leaves are split. But some varieties can look similar, and closer observation is necessary.

Unlike most philodendrons, monstera leaves have a “joint” called pulvinus or geniculum.

While they both feature a protective leaf called a cataphyll, it usually only permanently remains on monsteras.

Monstera vs Philodendron Care

The care for Monstera and Philodendron plants is quite similar and easy overall.

The two genera like being watered once every week or two. In addition, they both thrive in humid environments and prefer temperatures of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, one of the biggest differences in their care is the amount of light they require.

Monstera and Philodendron plants are both naturally found in rainforests. This means that they’re used to getting indirect light as they reside under a lush canopy of trees. However, Philodendron plants are more tolerant of the shade than their Monstera counterparts.

With a lack of lighting, Monsteras will begin to lose their signature split leaves. Meanwhile, Philodendron leaves are prone to burning if they receive too much sunlight.

In addition, Philodendrons are more likely to need regular trimming as many of them are trailers. Due to their climbing nature, people often prefer to keep their Philodendrons in hanging baskets to accommodate their growth patterns.

Generally, Philodendron houseplants are a little easier to grow than Monsteras.

Split Leaf Philodendron vs Monstera

One of the biggest troubles with differentiating between Monstera and Philodendron is the fact that some of their varieties look similar.

Some may even have the misconception that the two genera are one and the same. Thus, they might use “Monstera” and “Philodendron” interchangeably.

The Split-Leaf Philodendron, for instance, is commonly confused with a Monstera. As discussed, Monsteras are known for their split leaves. And with the Split-Leaf Philodendron also exhibiting perforated leaves, it makes sense why some would mistake it for a Monstera.

So, how can one identify whether a plant is a Split-Leaf Philodendron or a variety of Monstera?
Monsteras, such as its Swiss Cheese variety, tend to have more prominent perforation than the Split-Leaf Philodendron.

Additionally, the Split-Leaf Philodendron plant tends to have leaves that are more heart-shaped. Monstera leaves, on the flip side, are rounder and typically larger in diameter.

Philodendron Swiss Cheese vs Monstera Adansonii

Many people accidentally refer to the Monstera deliciosa, which is nicknamed the Swiss Cheese Plant, as Swiss Cheese Philodendron.

The latter confusion is due to the fact that this Monstera variety is very similar to the Split-Leaf Philodendron. Their fenestration makes them both look like a piece of swiss cheese, hence the swiss cheese name reference.

While Monstera deliciosa is the true Swiss Cheese Plant, sometimes Monstera adansonii is also called by this name. This is because the two Monsteras look quite alike. Again, they both have a swiss cheese-like appearance.

So, then, what is the difference between the two?

Adansonii plants have smaller leaves, smaller and more narrow leaf fenestration, and smoother edges. Also, Monstera adansonii lack a ruffled geniculum, unlike Monstera deliciosa. Last but not least, the deliciosa variety is less of a crawler than adansonii houseplants. Yet, adansoniis have shorter vines.

The price of these plants is the last major difference between the two. Monstera deliciosa or Swiss Cheese Plants are much more costly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Swiss Cheese Plant a Monstera or Philodendron?

The Swiss Cheese Plant is a monstera variety. Also called Monstera deliciosa, the tropical houseplant features philodendron-like leaves given their heart-shaped appearance. Also like many philodendron plants, Swiss Cheese Plants are natural climbers. However, genetically, it isn’t a philodendron at all.

What are the Holes in Monstera Called?

The natural splits or holes in Monstera plants are referred to as leaf fenestration. This is a common characteristic in plants of this genus. However, they aren’t the only plants that have this leaf feature. Some Philodendron varieties also have fenestration, which can leave people confused.


Philodendron and monstera plants can seem quite distinctive at first. The more plants you come across, though, the more difficult it can be to determine which of the two it is. The key to identifying which one a plant is all comes down to closer observation. This way, you can provide the best care for your monstera or philodendron houseplant.

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