Monsteras are having a moment in the spotlight, but they've been a popular houseplant for some time. They are easy to grow as long as you give them the right growing conditions – and as long as you give the monstera care specific to its species because there's quite a bit of variation in what the different plants want and what they can withstand. Monstera siltepecana is a fairly tough vining member of the Monstera genus, and if you like to watch plants grow from small juveniles to large vines, this is the plant you want.
What Is the Monstera Siltepecana?
Monstera Siltepecana is from Central America and southern Mexico, with the first known sample taken from Guatemala in the 1880s. It's also called the silver monstera, Swiss cheese plant, hurricane plant, window leaf plant, and Mexican breadfruit. However, be aware that some of these names are also used for other Monstera species.
For example, Monstera deliciosa is also called Mexican breadfruit because it has an edible fruit stalk. (Monstera siltepecana does not have an edible fruit stalk.) If you want to grow this plant, it's best to ask for it by its scientific name as that will be more specific.
The silver monstera gets that name from the silvery color of the leaves when the plant is a juvenile. It starts rather small, with lanceolate leaves (meaning they're lance-shaped, with a thicker base tapering to a pointed end) that have dark green veins with a silvery color in between.
The plant likes to climb, so as it grows, it will climb up whatever it's near (if you can, provide a moss pole or some type of stake to give it structure). As the plant matures and climbs to about 8 feet, the leaves become very big, with comparisons between a Monstera siltepecana mature leaf and plates in some sources. The leaves can also develop fenestrations, the classic holes you see in other Monstera species. The leaves also tend to lose that silvery color, turning all green.
Monstera Siltepecana Care & Growth
One thing that this Monstera shares with all other monsteras are that it has a set of preferred growing conditions that are relatively easy to achieve, but the plant can suffer problems if you go outside that range. At first, that sounds like any other plant, but in the case of monsteras, they react to not getting the growing conditions they need. It's not like you'll have a slightly smaller plant if you don't provide the correct amount of light; for example, you'll end up with a damaged plant instead.
How to Care for Monstera Siltepecana
Watering and light are likely the two most important factors to successfully growing a silver monstera. The others are important, too, but water and light may have the biggest effects on how well the plant does. Note also that if you grow the plant in a terrarium or a hanging basket, it might not mature in the sense that the leaves will turn green and develop fenestrations. If you want to see those changes, give the plant something to climb, just as it would climb a tree in its natural habitat. Let it grow to its maximum height.
While its natural growing conditions might provide dappled sunlight and shade, the silver monstera grows up enough tall trees that it no doubt encounters direct light at some point each day. The silver monstera likes bright indirect light just like other monstera plants, but in this case, it does pretty well with cool morning sunlight shining directly on it.
However, "cool" is the keyword. Hot summer afternoon light will hurt the plant. If possible, find an east-facing window and place the silver monstera in a location that receives bright light but is shaded from direct sunlight at midday and in the afternoon. If you live in a very hot region where mornings can be quite toasty in summer, keep the silver monstera away from direct sunlight.
Watering the silver monstera is fairly straightforward when you remember that the plant is from the tropics and grows up the sides of trees. It gets exposed to a lot of water in bursts and sits in relatively moist soil. So, you'll want to keep the soil moist – water it when it's beginning to dry out – but don't keep the soil soggy. That encourages root rot, which can kill the plant.
Planters should have drainage holes that allow excess moisture to flow out, and soil should be well-draining. If you plan to keep the silver monstera in a terrarium, you won't have drainage holes, necessarily, but you'll have substrate. The substrate should be well-draining enough so that the roots of the plant don't sit in a pool of water.
Soil Quality and Type
The potting mix you use should have a relatively acidic pH of between 5 and 6, and whatever you use, it needs to be well-draining, as mentioned. You'll want it to hold some moisture for a while, of course, but when you water the soil mix, it shouldn't turn into a small pond that drains slowly away.
Sometimes new silver monstera plants are sold in very tiny little pots. Because the plant can grow quickly, those little pots will make it root bound in no time. You may want to repot it as soon as you can. When you do, remember to loosen the rootball a bit before adding it to the new pot and soil mix.
Speaking of soil mix, you have a lot of options. Silver monsteras may start as soil-bound plants, but as they grow up trees in their natural habitat, they take on epiphytic characteristics, much like orchids. For this reason, an orchid mix, such as bark plus coco coir, can be a great soil base for the silver monstera.
But another option is bark plus pumice, perlite, and some sphagnum moss. The moss will help retain some humidity in the soil, and the combination of bark, perlite, and pumice will allow the soil to keep some air in it. Just as the plant doesn't like having its roots bound by a small pot, so too does tightly packed soil annoy the heck out of it.
If you're not into making fancy soil mixtures yourself, you could opt for a basic commercial potting mix and add some perlite for aeration. Again, pack the soil loosely around the roots when you repot the plant.
Note that if you start seeing the plant's roots poking out of the planter or soil (including through the drainage holes), it's time to repot the plant again.
Temperature and Humidity Requirements
Depending on the source you go with, the lowest temperatures the silver monstera should be exposed to are around 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the upper around the mid-90s F. Room temperature is fantastic. However, please keep the plant out of the airflow paths from fans and your air conditioner and heater.
The humidity of roughly 50% to 60% is good; more is fine for the plant, but it will be uncomfortable for you. It helps to create a small humid microclimate for the plant, either in the form of a pebble tray (fill a tray halfway with pebbles, fill halfway with water, and place the plant on the pebbles so that it is surrounded by water vapor as the water in the tray evaporates; refill as needed) or a closed terrarium.
But again, if you put the silver monstera in a terrarium, it's not going to grow to its full height and won't form those Monstera siltepecana fenestration features in its leaves.
You've got two distinct feeding periods for the silver monstera plant. One is the first few months of the plant's life. The second is everything after that.
Potting mixes often come with fertilizer already mixed in. If you know that the plant is already in fertilized soil (and you don't need to repot the plant), leave it alone in terms of fertilizing for about six months. The same goes for the time after repotting if you use a mix with fertilizer.
After that, a general fertilizer – liquid form is best – about once a month will do. You can technically skip winter feedings, but the fertilizer package will have further instructions.
How to Propagate the Monstera Siltepecana Plant
Monstera siltepecana propagation isn't hard. You can propagate it in soil or water like other monstera plants, although water is likely the easiest for Monstera siltepecana.
As with other monstera plants, take sterilized pruners or scissors (use rubbing alcohol to sterilize the blades) and cut a plant section off at a node. The node is the knobby point where the leaf joins the vine. Get at least one node and at least one leaf that is not right next to that node; you'll want it higher up on the cutting.
Sometimes the silver monstera sprouts a new root at a node out of nowhere, so getting stem cuttings where the node already has this root growing is fantastic. If the node already has a root, use the soil propagation method.
For soil propagation, let the cutting sit for a bit so that the cut point develops a bit of a callus. This should take less than a few hours; you're essentially letting the cut point start to heal. Place the node in the soil, pack the soil gently around the stem, and water thoroughly. Be careful with water here, and make sure you don't overwater. The cutting should start to take root after a couple of weeks. If it develops new leaves, it's doing very well.
The water propagation method is incredibly simple. Take the cutting, drop it into clean, distilled water, and wait. No leaves should be underwater. Keep changing the water every few days, and after about two to four weeks, you should start to see roots. Keep going until the roots are a few inches long, and then place the plant in a soil mix.
Common Problems With Monstera Siltepecana
As easy as this Monstera is to care for, it does have its share of problems. These usually occur because you aren't giving the plant what it wants to grow.
Leaves Are Turning Brown or White
Brown or white leaves indicate that the plant is drying out, either through too much direct sunlight or not enough water. Or both, of course. Double-check your watering schedule and make sure the plant is away from the path of sunlight streaming through windows.
Leaves Are Still Small and Don't Have Those Holes
Monstera Siltepecana grows quickly, but it still needs some time to grow. If you do not see larger leaves or fenestrations, it could be that you're just checking too early and expecting too much, and you don't yet have a mature Monstera siltepecana. One other possibility is that the plant isn't getting enough light; its exposure to bright indirect light might not be long enough, or the light might not be bright enough. Move it closer to a window where the indirect light is brighter or where the plant will get cool morning sunlight.
Leaves Are Dry or Have Curled Up
This is another symptom of not having enough water, and it can also be due to not having enough humidity. Double-check the humidity, add a humidity tray, or get a small humidifier if nothing else seems to work. Make sure you're not letting the soil dry out too much between waterings. You may want to trim off leaves that are totally dry and crunchy; compost those instead of throwing them away. A kitchen countertop composting unit like Lomi is perfect for this.
Monstera Siltepecana Questions and Other Problems
Monstera siltepecana care can bring up a few questions, some related to problems and others related to what to expect as the plant grows.
What Other Monsteras Can I Grow at Home?
Monsteras are a really friendly group when it comes to being houseplants. Monstera deliciosa is one that many people successfully grow at home, as is Monstera karstenianum, also called monstera Peru. M. deliciosa var. borsigiana albo-variegata is not only fun to say, but it also has these cool white blotches on its leaves. Monstera siltepecana 'El Salvador' produces mature leaves with fenestrations a lot faster than other silver monsteras, but this cultivar is rather rare. Monstera adansonii is a nice choice if you want a smaller monstera for a terrarium. Monstera dubia is a neat option with leaves that grow flat against their climbing surface.
Monstera obliqua is another option, but it is very rare. Often, what people think an obliqua is really an adansonii, and real obliquas can command very high prices. This is something to be aware of if you encounter a cheap obliqua.
The Monstera genus has over 50 species and even more varieties within those species, so if the siltepecana turns out not to be your favorite, there are plenty more for you to try growing.
When Will the Siltepecana Develop Those Holes (Fenestrations)?
It often does when the leaves are mature. The holes can be small and be either entirely in the leaf or at the edge of the leaf (creating an opening if you're tracing around the edge of the leaf). If you let the plant grow big enough and give it excellent care, you'll have a better chance of seeing those fenestrations.
Why Do the Leaves on the Siltepecana Have Brown Tips?
Brown tips are like brown leaves, a sign that the plant is getting too little water and too much sunlight. You're just catching the issue early on. Make the right adjustments, and the leaves should be fine.
Does Monstera Siltepecana Grow Very Fast?
This is a pretty fast-growing plant. That's why you need to repot the plant if you buy it in a tiny container; those roots are going to start poking out of the drainage holes before you know it.
Why Does My Siltepecana Have Yellow Leaves?
Yellow leaves are the opposite of brown leaves: The plant is getting too much water. Let the soil dry out a little more between waterings and double-check the drainage holes to ensure they're not blocked.
Is Monstera Siltepecana Toxic to Pets?
Yes, this Monstera is toxic to pets, as are other monsteras. Keep pets away or move the Monstera to a room that they're not allowed in; also, ensure that little kids in their "bite everything" stage are kept away from the plant. You might want to try keeping it in a hanging planter out of reach (be sure cats can't jump up next to it), or, if you're not invested in seeing those fenestrations, keep it in a closed terrarium.
Where Can I Get Monstera Siltepecana?
You'll have a better chance of finding this plant online instead of in-person; garden centers tend not to have it. Of course, you can always call and ask because monsteras are becoming so popular that you never know if the local nursery will have it in stock.
Online, you can buy from a major retailer or look at sites like Etsy for people selling cuttings. Check out reviews to look for complaints about shipping, cutting condition, pests, and so on.
Monstera siltepecana is a good choice for plant growers of all skill levels. This is not a tremendously picky plant; it does want its preferred growing conditions, but the range those fall in is broad and not hard to achieve. You can compost dead leaves, propagate many more plants, and have a nice, green vine lending color to your home.