Monsteras are impressive tropical vining plants that have very quickly become iconic houseplants and are almost a household name! As Monsteras have risen in popularity, plant lovers have discovered many different varieties of the Monstera plant, each with a slightly different look.
Yet, learning about all these different Monstera plants makes it hard to keep all this information straight. That’s why there’s now much confusion about what is a Monstera Deliciosa versus Monstera Borsigiana.
These two plants are so similar that it’s often argued that they’re actually the same plant. Despite having countless visual and growing similarities, the Monstera Borsigiana and Deliciosa are slightly different. In this article I’ll explain what distinguishes these two and how to take the best care of your Monstera Borsigiana.
Borsigiana vs Deliciosa
There are few differences between these two, but really these plants are almost the same and could definitely pass for the other, which is why there’s so much confusion!
The simplest explanation is that a Monstera Borsigiana is just a bit smaller. The Borsigiana isn’t much smaller and is still larger than the tiny Monstera Minima, which is a true dwarf Monstera.
The Monstera Borsigiana technically considered a subspecies of the Monstera Deliciosa, because it’s not distinct enough to be a different species. The Borsigiana is generally smaller than a fully mature Deliciosa, but this is difficult to see when the two plants are at different stages of growth.
For example, Monstera Borsigiana has slightly smaller leaves than the Deliciosa, but this isn’t easily observable unless the Deliciosa is completely mature. Many of the comparisons between the Monstera Borsigiana and Deliciosa are between their forms as fully grown plants, but it’s not often that we see this.
Fully mature Monstera Deliciosa plants with full grown leaves.
Both the Monstera Borsigiana and Deliciosa have large, dark green leaves with long slits in them, called fenestration. They also have similar stems and root systems. Since the two look so similar, many plant shops will sell a Deliciosa as a Borsigiana or vice versa.
Once the plants start growing more, it becomes a little clearer to tell the difference. As I said, the leaves of the Borsigiana are a bit smaller and the plant will only grow to 7 feet high, but a mature Deliciosa can grow over 10 feet.
The way they grow is also an indicator of which type of Monstera, because the Borsigiana is a more active climber and therefore will grow vertically. Yet, the Deliciosa grows as a trailing vine, so it will spread horizontally and grow down to the ground and won’t start to climb until much later in its life.
Monstera Borsigianas are also considered faster growers and have been seen by many plant owners to grow very quickly compared to their Deliciosa counterpart, who is a larger but slower grower.
However, this is another factor that’s hard to determine, because growth really depends on living conditions. You may have a Monstera Borsigiana, but if you’re not creating the right environment, it could grow quite slowly.
Borsigianas also hit maturity sooner, since they grow faster, and once in a mature state they won’t develop new growth as fast. So, if you have an older Borsigiana, it may be growing at the same pace as most Monstera Deliciosas.
The clearest indicator is said to be the geniculum of the plant, the spot where the leaf detaches from the stem. Monstera Deliciosas reportedly have a wavy geniculum whereas Borsiganas have a smoother geniculum, but this is also an unreliable indicator!
Monstera Deliciosas don’t develop a wavy geniculum until they’re in full maturity so, again, you can’t determine the difference between younger Monsteras.
Regardless of all these similarities, Monstera Deliciosas are often sold for more than Borsigianas, because the Monstera Deliciosa is the more well-known Monstera. However, since the two are so similar in looks and most people don’t know the differences, Monstera Borsigianas are often sold as Monstera Deliciosas.
Considering these two are so similar and sometimes even sold as the other, it’s not really necessary to concern yourself with which Monstera you have.
The only difference to keep in mind is that a fully grown Monstera Borsigiana will be smaller than a fully grown Monstera Deliciosa. So, if you’re confused as to why your Monstera Deliciosa isn’t enormous even though you’re doing everything it needs- it might just be a Borsigiana.
At the end of the day, they’re nearly exactly the same plant and there isn’t much reason to pay more for one or the other. Plus, Monstera Borsigiana and Deliciosa, along with all Monstera varieties, have the same care needs and are grown the same way.
All plants in the genus Monstera are tropical trailing vines, native to South America and Southeast Asia. Monsteras grow below the tree canopy in the rainforest, climbing around as ground cover or up the trees.
Monsteras are part of the Araceae plant family, along with all Pothos and Syngonium plants- other common and gorgeous houseplants. This whole family has similar needs with sunlight, water, and soil since they are all tropical vining plants.
Monsteras have become iconic plants with their large heart-shaped (cordate) and slit (fenestrated) leaves. While there are many variations of Monsteras, they all have these cordate leaves with little slits.
Monstera Variegata clipping propagating in water.
Part of the confusion about Monstera Borsigianas comes from the fact that there’s so many types of Monsteras that have slightly different looks. The Monstera Borsigiana Aurea has yellow and golden variegation, where the Monstera Borsigiana Variegata has spots or streaks of lime green variegation.
The rare and intriguing Monstera Borsigiana Albo has white variegation that sometimes leads to completely white foliage! This interesting variety has brought a lot of attention to Monstera Borsigianas.
Where to Plant a Monstera Borsigiana
Since Monsteras are tropical plants, they are often grown indoors in the U.S., unless you live in USDA zones 10 or 11. However, even in zones 10-11, Monsteras will suffer with extremely dry heat or too much direct sun. They’re also active climbers, so make sure you have space for them!
Monstera Borsigianas are not cold hardy and will die if exposed to frost, so for most it’s best to keep your plant comfortable and indoors.
As with many tropical plants, Monsteras are quite sensitive to temperatures and humidity. So, you want to avoid placing your plant near a drafty window, heater, or air vents. These plants also love humidity, so they love being placed in the bathroom.
Even when growing indoors, Monstera Borsigiana will need space and a structure to climb up, so make sure you leave enough space for them to grow into and think about providing a moss pole or trellis. It’s also helpful to use stakes to support the plant when it’s young.
The last and maybe most important thing to consider with placement is that Monsteras are toxic is consumed, so they should be kept out of reach of anyone that might try to eat them. The digestive issues caused by eating a Monstera are worse for pets, so keep this in mind when picking a spot in your home.
The Monstera Borsigiana thrives in temperatures between 60 and 80 F, which is why they make for great houseplants. Monsteras are generally very comfortable in most homes, as long as there aren’t dramatic temperature changes.
Sudden changes in temperature will really stress out your Monstera, sometimes to the point that it can’t recover. This is why it helps to avoid drafty windows or doors.
Monsteras can tolerate temperatures slightly below 60 F, but not much more. Any space below 50 F will definitely kill your plant, but even between 45 and 55 F the Monstera will be severely struggling.
Monsteras can handle hot temperatures better than they can cold, but they still have their limits. Any temperatures above 90 F will stress out your Monstera Borsigiana, especially if the plant is directly exposed to this heat. Higher temperatures aren’t the worst, but if that comes with very dry air and intense, direct sunlight, your Monstera will definitely suffer.
Since Monstera Borsigianas normally grow under a lush rainforest cover, they will do best if you can recreate this in your home. However, this doesn’t mean you have to grow a whole tropical garden!
Monstera Borsigianas love getting lots of indirect sunlight, so in your home that means receiving light a few feet away from a window or through a sheer curtain. Monstera leaves are not accustomed to heavy, direct light and will get sunburnt if receiving too much.
A few hours of direct sunlight in the morning isn’t harmful, but your Monstera definitely shouldn’t be left in direct sun during the day. The ideal placement would be by an east-facing window where your Monstera can receive indirect light all day long.
Monstera Borsigianas would prefer to get around 6 hours daily, but they will do well with at least 3 hours. Keep in mind that the leaves won’t split if the plant isn’t receiving enough light.
Ideal Soil Mixture
Monstera Borsigianas love loamy soil that’s full of nutrients- remember, these plants normally grow on the rainforest floor where there’s tons of nutritious organic matter.
They also prefer a slightly acidic soil, with a pH around 5.5-6.5. It’s fairly easy to create a soil mixture that’s more acidic and you can do this by adding pine bark, for example.
The ideal soil mix for a Monstera Borsigiana would be something that’s a bit acidic, has very good drainage but also retains moisture well.
You can do this by mixing equal parts organic compost or potting soil, perlite, and peat moss or vermiculite. The rough perlite increases drainage and allows aeration while the moss or vermiculite soak in moisture and keep the soil from completely drying out.
If you have some on hand, you can even mix in cactus soil because it has great drainage. However, cactus soil is also a very dry mix and shouldn’t be the only planting medium you use.
Despite being native to humid and wet tropical forests, the Monstera Borsigiana is fairly drought resistant and will definitely respond better to being underwatered than to receiving too much water.
As with many tropical plants, the roots of the Monstera Borsigiana do not like to sit in excess water and can develop fungal infections if overwatered. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to get rid of fungal infections once they begin, but you can prevent them by not overwatering.
It’s best to water your Monstera Borsigiana when the top layer of soil has dried out, but it’s not ideal to wait until the soil is completely dry. When the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry is when your Monstera should be watered.
The leaves will start to turn yellow if the soil is too dry and your plant is drying up, but it’s still easier to recover from this by giving your Monstera a thorough watering than to deal with root rot from overwatering.
Monsteras also love humidity and will gladly accept however much you can give it. If you have other humidity-loving plants, like the Fiddle Leaf Fig or Pink Syngonium, you can group them together by a humidifier so all their needs are met.
Otherwise, you can occasionally mist the leaves of your Monstera to add moisture. You can also place little pebbles in the drainage tray, because they’ll soak up some excess water and increase the humidity in the air.
Monstera Borsigianas don’t need to be fertilized and will grow quite well on their own as long as they receive enough sunlight. However, you can definitely boost your plant’s growth and considering it’s so easy to make your own liquid fertilizer, why not!
The growing season for Monsteras is early spring through mid-fall and during these months you can encourage its growth by fertilizing once a month. It will be especially helpful if you don’t receive much sunlight in your home or if you had a pretty dark winter.
Since the Monstera Borsigiana is dormant during late fall and winter months, you shouldn’t fertilize then. During this time your plant won’t be actively growing, but just maintaining itself, so if you fertilize while it’s dormant you’ll confuse it.
Any general, organic fertilizer will work well with Monsteras, however they tend to soak up lots of Nitrogen and would benefit from a nitrogen-intensive fertilizer.
How to Prune a Monstera Borsigiana
With or without fertilizer, Monsteras grow like crazy, so you’ll need to prune yours every once in a while to keep its size manageable. You can also prune to shape it a particular way, if you want it to fill a certain space or climb on a specific structure.
First off, as with any plant, you should often remove any dead leaves or stems on or near the plant. Of course, parts of your plant will naturally decay and by removing these you can help your Monstera redirect its nutrients to the rest of the plant. Plus, having too much dead plant material cluttering the soil can suffocate the plant.
For the actual pruning, you’ll want to use sharp gardening scissors or shears so that you can make a clean cut and don’t have to saw off the clippings- it can really stress the plant if you rip off parts.
Also make sure to wear gloves when you’re pruning because the milky sap of Monsteras is what makes it toxic and contact with skin can cause irritation.
It’s best to prune in mid-spring, because this is at the beginning of the growing season. After clipping stems, your plant will respond by growing new ones. So, doing this in the spring sort of activates the growing period.
It’s entirely up to you to decide how much you want to prune, but it’s best practice to never prune more than one third of the plant. You can also decide where you want to clip the stems, depending on what space you’re working with.
When you cut a stem, try to cut one inch below the leaf node, the spot where the leaf breaks from the stem. This helps the plant grow new leaves, plus you can propagate all the clippings that have leaf nodes!
Propagating Monstera Borsigiana
After you finish pruning, you’ll have several stem clippings that will be perfect for propagation and it’s such an easy process! After a few weeks, you’ll have mini Monsteras that are ready to be planted and will quickly become adult sized.
Simply place the clippings in a jar with water, so that the last two inches are submerged in water but the rest is sticking out. Now just wait!
In a few days you’ll see roots growing on the clippings and should wait until the roots are several inches long. You can group the propagating clippings together to make a Monstera propagation station and watch their growth!
Once the roots have developed enough, just pot them in the same soil mixture that you used for the original plant. Some people will plant the clippings directly in soil and there’s a chance that they will grow like this, but without letting the roots develop first it’s less likely.
Repotting a Monstera Borsigiana is part of its general maintenance but is very easy and only needs to be done every two years, so long as you don’t plant it in a small pot in the first place.
The Monstera Borsigiana doesn’t like to be root bound so once you see roots sticking out of the drainage holes or out of the top of the pot, you need to give it some more space. It’s best to repot your Monstera at the beginning of the growing season so that it can grow into its new pot.
When you’re ready to repot your plant, grab it by the base and gently wiggle it out of the pot. Loosen up the roots and check them out to make sure they all look healthy and aren’t too wet.
You’ll want to plant your Monstera into a new pot that’s about 1.5 times the size of the previous pot. When you repot, you can tuck in some of the aerial roots so that they’re soaking up nutrients from the soil.
Once it’s snug into the new pot, give your Monstera Borsigiana a thorough watering. Be patient with your plant- sometimes transplanting can cause stress and it might not grow right away, but it will become accustomed.
Whenever there’s a problem with your Monstera, it will communicate through its leaves to let you know what it needs. Also, the iconic leaves of the Monstera Borsigiana are, for many people, the most stunning part of this plant, so you want to make sure they look their best.
One easy thing you can do is to occasionally dust the leaves of your plant. Over time, dust will accumulate on the leaves and this will block their ability to soak up sunshine plus cover their shiny texture.
Yellow and Brown Leaves
This most likely means you’re overwatering your Monstera. If the leaves turn yellow then begin to become brown at the center and feel very soft, this is due to too much water.
This could happen either because you’re watering too often or that the water isn’t draining from the pot and is stuck in the soil. In either case, hold off on watering for a while and allow the soil to dry out.
Brown and Dry Leaves
If the leaves feel dry and frail, they’re drying out because there isn’t enough moisture in the soil. This could happen because you aren’t watering enough or it’s receiving too much sun.
In this case, deeply water your Monstera Borsigiana and watch it recover in a few days. If your Monstera is receiving direct light or is maybe too close to a window with lots of light, gradually move it further away so it’s getting indirect light.
Leaves Won’t Split
Sometimes the Monstera Borsigiana will grow new leaves, but they won’t be fenestrated with the large splits. This can happen for two reasons: your plant is too young or isn’t getting enough sunlight.
The fenestration begins after the first two or three years of the plant’s life, so your plant might just be too young to have split leaves. They also need a minimum amount of sunlight to split, so if they aren’t receiving enough the leaves will stay whole.
Ready to Grow!
Whether you’re growing a Monstera Borsigiana or Monstera Deliciosa (or a Monstera Minima for that matter!), this guide covers everything you need to know to take great care of these impressive tropical plants.
Monsteras surprisingly don’t require much maintenance and reward your attention with gorgeous plants that will quickly take over your room!
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.