Monkey Mask

Monkey Mask

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The Monkey Mask, or Monstera adansonii, is a close relative of the popular Monstera Deliciosa.

Native to Central and South America, the West Indes and Mexico, it is actually uncertain exactly where the unique 'Monkey Mask' name comes from.

Some theorize that it's due to the holey leaves looking a bit like a monkey's face, whereas others believe that wild monkeys may like to use the leaves as a way to hide while still being able to keep an eye on a nearby threat - sort of like they're wearing a mask!

It can also be called Swiss Cheese plant (like the Monstera deliciosa) which can be a bit confusing but it's actually an accepted common name for both of them.

Monkey mask watering 2


Monkey Masks are tropical plants, meaning they like warm humid conditions with plenty of water. If your home has a typical dry air environment, you may need to take extra measures in order to ensure your Monkey Mask gets enough moisture. For instance, regular misting and setting up a pebble tray can help a lot.

They need fairly regular watering, however, they don't like to be overly wet. In fact, it's best to let the top layer of the soil become dry between waterings - we always recommend getting into the habit of checking the soil before adding more water. However, letting the soil become too dry can lead to the leaves becoming limp and the tips browning, so it's best to find a good balance.

Another note about the characteristic leaves - to keep them looking as healthy and happy as possible, you should avoid placing your plant in direct, harsh sunlight. In the wild, these plants often lie beneath the canopies of taller plants, meaning that the light that reaches them is softer and filtered. If yours gets too much sun, the leaves can become scorched, which would be such a shame for a plant with such fun-looking foliage!

Want bigger leaves? Get some sort of moss pole, stalk or stick and carefully attach the stem to it.

Monkey mask watering 1


Like the Monstera deliciosa, Monkey Masks don't tend to develop the holes in their leaves (known as fenestrations) until they're mature. An easy way to tell these two relatives apart is the shape of these holes. Monstera deliciosa plants develop long indents that typically split the leaf apart, whereas Monkey Masks produce roughly oval-shaped holes within the leaf's interior, and they retain their leaf edge.

Another contrast to the Monstera deliciosa is that these plants are much smaller.

It's thought that the holes are designed to help filter light through to lower-hanging leaves, as well as to help wind-proof these plants. Plus they look really cool!

In the wild, these plants can produce whitish-purple flowers. However, it's very difficult to reproduce these conditions at home, so your indoor Monkey Mask is unlikely to flower.