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Turquoise Puya

Monstera dubia - Shingle Plant

This is a close look at the fascinating "Shingle Plant" - Monstera dubia.  This unusual vine climbs up trees with its leaves flat against them, giving the appearance of shingles on a house.  Its terrifically variegated leaves make this a choice houseplant that looks great when mounted to a piece of wood.  Despite its exotic looks, it is surprisingly easy to grow.  It is rarely seen for sale.

Monstera dubia - Shingle Plant

The plant comes from tropical rainforests of Central and South America.  The leaves of young plants have a silvery top surface with contrasting green veins.  The silver areas become especially bold when grown in bright light, as seen here.  The purpose of the shingle-like growth is not completely understood by botanists.  Like most vines in the Aroid family, the leaves make a radical transformation when the plant grows taller and climbs into brighter light.  Once the vine reaches about 6 feet tall, the leaves grow much larger and become perforated, as seen here.  I keep my plant pruned shorter, so it maintains its shingled growth indefinitely.  The juvenile leaves are about 2 to 3 inches long, while adult leaves reportedly can get over 4 feet long - possibly the largest of all Monstera species!

It is easy to grow when given the right conditions.  It prefers temperatures above 60 degrees F.  It can tolerate cool conditions, but it probably can't survive frost.  It likes bright light, although it might need some protection from strong afternoon sun.  It grows well in a pot in a loose, fertile soil mix enjoyed by most tropical Aroids.  A typical mix is equal parts of fine-grain orchid bark, potting soil, and perlite or pumice rock.  Try to keep the soil evenly moist, and give regular, light feedings.  Over about 50% humidity is recommended.

Some plants sold as "Monstera dubia" are actually other species, including Rhaphidophora species, and other Monsteras.  I offer the true Monstera dubia.

Check availability

 

Photo #1 courtesy of Dick Culbert

 

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