You cannot go through a home décor Insta page and not notice a Fiddle Leaf Fig or a Monstera. These plants are the easiest way to add a tropical look to your home.
Fiddle Leaf Figs plant gets its name from its leaves shaped like a fiddle. The Monstera or Swiss Cheese Plant has stunning holes in its heart-shaped, glossy leaves.
Looking to learn more about these two plant species and how they stack up against each other? Read on to know more.
What is a Monstera Plant?
Commonly known as the Swiss cheese plant, monsteras’ scientific name is Monstera deliciosa. Monsteras are native to Latin America and Hawaiian tropical forests.
Belonging to the Monstera genus, this flowering plant has abnormally large leaves with distinctive holes inside.
The Monstera plant’s delicious fruit, Mexican breadfruit, has solid tropical flavors of banana, pineapple, and coconut.
They are exceptionally versatile and adaptable plants that can thrive in various soils and environments, including marshes, roadsides, gardens, and other landscapes.
How Can You Identify a Monstera Plant?
The leaves of a Monstera deliciosa can be identified by how the leaves and the stem are attached. The design and size of the holes are also clear indications.
Monstera leaves are heart-shaped. The dark green leaves and the hanging fruits are helpful when trying to distinguish between the Fiddle Leaf Fig and Monstera.
Common Examples of Monsteras
There are 47 variants of Monstera plants in the Monstera family. A few of them are:
- Monstera siltepecana
- Monstera deliciosa
- Monstera adansonii
- Monstera albo
- Monstera borsigiana
- Monstera lechleriana
- Monstera esqueleto
These types differ in colors, sizes, and other variables. The Monstera plants are unique and beautiful creations that stay green throughout the year.
What is a Fiddle Leaf Fig?
Fiddle Leaf Fig is a quickly-growing tree of African origin that can reproduce by cuttings and seeds.
Like other members of the Ficus genus, this plant requires a skilled pollinator to distribute viable seeds and can be managed using herbicides.
It is suggested that the pollinating wasp of Fiddle Leaf Figs may be discovered in some parts of Western Australia, suggesting that this tree might be invasive.
How Can You Identify a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant?
Fiddle leaf fig plants do not grow fruit (figs), nor can they play a fiddle! However, they have blunt-edged and guitar-pick-shaped leaves that tend to lilt at all angles. All the leaves of a Fiddle Fig plant have tactile veins.
Fiddle Leaf Fig VS Monstera: Key Differences and Similarities
Monstera belongs to the Araceae family. They are commonly known as arums or aroids; the Araceae family branches into 114 genera and nearly 3750 plant species, including Alocasia, Titan Arum, Helicodiceros muscivorus, Jasarum, and Taro.
The Araceae has several distinct features that set them apart from their related families. Their bifacial leaves have a parallel or netted venation, and their flower (spadix) is shaped like a fleshy spear.
They also have multi-crystal druses and needle-shaped raphide crystals where calcium oxalate accumulates.
Fiddle Leaf fig or Ficus lyrata stems from Moraceae’s fig/mulberry family. This popular evergreen indoor plant has heavily veined and large violin-shaped leaves growing upright on a smooth trunk.
Its leaves are famous for being alternately oriented and displaying foliar polymorphisms.
This means that the leaf shapes might vary depending on the stage of the plant’s life, which is a rather unusual feature. The leaves of most plants retain the same form throughout their lifetimes.
Monstera is a tropical plant initially found in Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies. In their native habitat — rainforests, these plants can grow up to 70 feet!
Displaying an epiphyte-style growth, these plants use long aerial roots that attach themselves to nearby tree trunks and branches and absorb water and nutrients from those host plants.
In other parts of the world, they can be grown in soil, so you can find them growing in gardens, swamps, and roadsides as part of urban landscaping.
The fiddle leaf fig plant originated from the West African coast. They have been growing in the wilderness in various West African countries for millions of years.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig plant thrives in the lowland tropical rainforests of Sierra Leone and Cameroon.
Monsteras are so diverse in their leaf size, pattern, shape, and coloring that few other plant genera can come close.
Their hybridization is easy. Gardeners and horticulturists regularly introduce new cultivars and varieties to the market.
Valued attributes, such as fenestration and variegation, are encouraged among new variants.
There are three varieties of Fiddle Leaf Fig, the typical plant with a fast growth rate and irregular shape, the Fiddle Leaf Fig “Bambino” that grows slowly and densely, usually in a straight direction, and Fiddle Leaf Fig “Variegata,” an uncommon variety and its leaves are a unique mix of cream and green.
Monstera deliciosa’s leaves are glossy, gigantic, smooth, split, and fenestrated. In native environments, they can grow as big as three feet tall.
In young plants, monstera leaves are small in size and get bigger as the plant reaches maturity in about three years.
Indoor Monsteras don’t grow as big, owing to environmental conditions, but they quickly make their presence known in a room.
New fiddle leaf fig leaves sprout from the top of the plant and should be as large as or larger than the foliage underneath. This is how the plant retains its lovely lollipop shape.
In some cases, the new leaves turn smaller than the older ones, disrupting the structure of the plant.
Adjusting the watering schedule, moving the plant closer to light, adding fertilizer to the soil, and repotting it can get you large green leaves within a few weeks.
Fiddle-leaf figs demand bright, indirect light to grow fast and look their best. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves, especially in the scorching afternoon heat.
Plants housed in low-light conditions tend to grow slowly.
The Monstera plant, like the Fiddle Figs, also needs indirect sunlight. Your best bet is to place your pots near a south or east-facing window.
These plants can grow in low-light settings, but the growth rate will significantly decrease.
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can scorch the foliage, so the outer plants should always have a shade above to prevent the plant from dying over time.
Ideal Temperature and Climate Conditions
Monsteras and Fiddle Figs prefer warm conditions, moderate temperatures, and higher humidity levels.
The monsteras and Fiddle leaf Figs indoor variants will grow well at room temperature, provided they are kept from air conditioners and natural drafts.
The monsteras and Fiddle leaf figs can tolerate 50% humidity levels but will grow best when the humidity levels are above 60%.
Mist them often or place a humidifier near your potted plants to help them thrive by replicating the conditions they would have in the jungle.
These plants can tolerate small exposures to below 16 degrees temperatures, but they require 18 to 30 degrees for healthy growth.
Fiddle Leaf Figs prefer soil with a reasonable level of moisture. The leaves will droop and lose their vibrant green hue if the plant does not receive enough water.
If watered too frequently, the plant may shed its leaves and develop root rot, eventually killing it. Water the fiddle leaf fig when the upper layer of soil gets dry during the growth period (spring to fall).
In the winter, use slightly less water.
Watering frequency will be determined by the amount of light and temperature in your house or workplace, so plan on watering every 1-2 weeks.
Assume you are the provider of sunlight and rain for your Fiddle fig plant. When the soil is dry, act like a monsoon and water to soak it just enough before letting it dry.
When the soil is wet, let it be in the sun and wait for it to dry. Water more frequently in bright light and less frequently in dim light.
If the leaves start yellowing, especially if you live in the USA, it is a sign of overwatering; crisp, curled leaves indicate a lack of water.
Monsteras’ climbing nature demands the complete drying of the soil between waterings.
Water your Monstera only when the topsoil completely dries out. This method eliminates root rot and a variety of other problems.
Before watering, remove the indoor plants from the decorative covers and allow them to drain completely before placing them again in the pot. This will help avoid stagnation.
Monsteras and Fiddle leaf Figs are usually unbothered about their soil. The potted plants will do well if the soil is well-draining and has good aeration and drainage.
Fertilize with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer as directed on the package throughout the growing season. Fertilizers designed specifically for fiddle-leaf figs are available in the market.
In most cases, you won’t need to feed your plant over the winter.
Monsteras don’t necessarily require fertilizers, but after 4 to 6 weeks, an all-purpose, moderate fertilizer will show improved growth.
You can end up with burned roots if you fertilize more often, so keep the balance!
You may also like:
- How to treat Fungal Infection in Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Not Growing [Reasons & What to Do]
- Fiddle Figs Vs. Bambino
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Yellow Leaves [Reasons & How to Fix It]
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.