Philodendron ilsemanii and Monstera variegata, two houseplants with similar leaf structure, can be confusing to identify as they are very similar in appearance. However, it’s actually quite easy to tell the difference between the two; you just need to know what to look for. If you are trying to decide between one or the other or need help remembering which is which, keep reading! We’ll go over the main characteristics of each plant, how to take care of them, and how to tell them apart so that you can have both!
According to Phytosanitary Plants, a site dedicated to botanical terms and their purposes, Monstera variegata is commonly called variegated or Christmas-wreath philodendron. It’s an evergreen perennial that grows from a rhizome (think thick root) and thrives best as an indoor plant. Albo, a term that applies to several species of philodendrons, means white; for example, albo variegated philodendrons include P. ilsemannii, which features creamy white leaves with green veins. The leaves can grow up to 10 inches long and 4 inches wide—pretty big for houseplants! They’re also delicate, so be careful when handling them. If you have kids or pets, keep them away from these plants! While they aren’t poisonous, they are poisonous if ingested by humans and animals. So keep your little ones safe!
How Do They Grow
Both monsteras (Monstera deliciosum) and philodendrons (Philodendron spp.) are tropical plants from arid areas of Latin America, Southeast Asia, or Africa. They enjoy indirect sunlight, lots of water—even when it’s dry outside—and regular fertilization. In other words, they need to be babied a bit if you want them to thrive. But they’re worth it: Monsteras have heart-shaped leaves that can grow up to 4 feet long, while philodendrons have variegated leaves that change color throughout their life cycle. They also make great houseplants for those who don’t have outdoor space for greenery. And did we mention how pretty they look? Monsteras produce clusters of small white flowers, which give way to little yellow fruits. Philodendrons will eventually produce bright red berries. The only downside is that both require pruning—they’ll get out of control quickly if left alone! While they may not win any awards for being easy plants to care for, these beauties are sure to add some punch and personality to your home decor!
Monsteras come in a variety of sizes, from small tabletop plants to 10-foot giants that can be difficult to care for indoors. It’s best to research your monsteras thoroughly before you buy—but if you want something that’s guaranteed large right off the bat, look for Monstera deliciosas with variegated leaves; they grow exceptionally big. Since these plants are used to dealing with desert heat, they also do well outside. However, if you live in an area where it gets below freezing during winter months, bring them inside until spring arrives. If you have any questions about caring for either plant (or any other houseplant), just ask! Garden centers are often staffed by knowledgeable employees who love talking about their favorite plants. The more you know, after all, the better able you’ll be to take good care of your new friend.
Neither monsteras nor philodendrons need much room to grow, but they both thrive when you give them as much light as possible. They’re both tropical plants that need air temperatures of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so they shouldn’t be grown outdoors year-round—but if you live in a climate that’s mild enough for outdoor gardening all year long, plant them outside. If not, keep them indoors near a sunny window with plenty of natural light. If you want to move your plant outdoors during warmer months (or bring it back inside during winter), do so gradually over several days by slowly introducing it to lower temperatures until it can withstand full sun again. Be sure to water your plant thoroughly before moving it or bringing it back inside; dry soil can cause root rot, which will kill your plant.
Do I have room for them?
If you’re short on space, don’t worry—these two plants are perfect for an apartment. They both require minimal care, yet add a touch of personality to any room with their unique coloration. They make great housewarming presents, especially when you purchase them from https://legitvariegatedplants.com. I purchased my monsteras from a vendor on https://legitvariegatedplants.com, and I could not be happier with my purchase. She was quick to respond to questions and provided excellent customer service throughout the entire process. Plus, her prices were much more reasonable than other vendors that I found online. Definitely check out her website if you’re looking for quality variegated plants!
How do I care for them?
The two varieties—Monstera deliciosa variegata and Philodendron ilsemanii—are both relatively easy to care for. Because of their tendency to drop their leaves, it’s wise to give them some room so that they don’t touch when they grow. Soil should be rich in peat moss or potting soil, with a good amount of lime added so that your plants are not acidic. Watering should be done regularly, but only enough to keep the soil moist; overwatering can cause root rot. If you have pets or small children, you may want to consider placing these plants out of reach as they do have poisonous sap inside their stems and leaves. As long as you follow these guidelines, your plant will thrive! It’s also important to note that neither of these plants like direct sunlight. They prefer indirect light, which makes them perfect indoor houseplants. However, if you choose to place them outside during summer months, they will tolerate full sun as well.
Any other tips to care for my new plant(s)?
Many people shy away from monster-variegated plants because they look like they’ll be difficult to care for. Not so! Given plenty of light, water, and food, these plants will thrive! Try giving them three to four hours of sun a day (if it’s indirect sunlight that you have available, that’s still a good start), while also remembering to water them regularly with room-temperature or warm water. And don’t forget about fertilizer! I use Miracle Gro every two weeks during my plant’s growing season. I find that just one tablespoon per gallon of water is enough to give my plant all it needs. Finally, remember to provide ample space between your new addition and other houseplants; variegated plants are more susceptible to spider mites than green ones.
The philodendron ilsemanii thrives when given enough space to grow. When potting a new plant, use an 8 or 10 planter (depending on how big you’d like your plant to get) and repot only when necessary. Use a peat-based potting soil, like Miracle Grow’s 2X Miracle Grow Potting Mix, for plants that require acidity in their environment.
Like most plants, philodendrons need soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter. The soil needs to drain well and be slightly acidic; if your tap water tends to be hard or alkaline, add some peat moss or composted bark to help adjust pH levels. You can also use a commercial potting mix formulated for houseplants.
In most cases, houseplants don’t need fertilizer unless you notice signs of nutrient deficiency (excessive yellowing in older leaves, for example). If you do choose to fertilize, buy a high-quality all purpose plant food that contains no more than three ingredients: nitrogen (in a form like ammonium sulfate), phosphorus (like calcium phosphate) and potassium (potash). Mix according to package directions. Use sparingly—you can always add more later if needed.
GROW ZONE & LIGHT
The philodendron ilsemanii is native to Brazil and prefers to grow at elevations between 1,500–1,800 meters (4,900–5,900 feet). You’ll want to keep your plant in a sunny area with plenty of exposure. Avoid drafts and be careful not to over water. The philodendron ilsemanii is extremely sensitive to both cold temperatures and direct sunlight.
WHAT IS THE SHIPPING SIZE
The proper shipping size for a philodendron ilsemanii is a 20 inch box with each plant individually wrapped in plastic and tucked into cushioning styrofoam. It will be shipped fully mature but only need water every two to three weeks. If you’re planning on moving your philodendron within a week or two of receiving it, we recommend keeping it potted until you move so that it can acclimate slowly to its new environment.
BEFORE YOU PLANT OUTDOORS
Check for hardiness in your area. The tropical ilsemanii grows best in zones 10–11 and will survive temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but you should protect it from frost. If you live outside of its hardiness zone, grow it indoors or plant it outdoors during warmer months. (Note: It’s a good idea to check with local garden centers before purchasing any plant.)