Monstera ‘Peru’ care & info | Monstera karstenianum

Sometimes a newcomer in the houseplant world truly takes things by storm, and that’s exactly what happened with Monstera ‘Peru’! Even though the species hasn’t been scientifically classified yet as I’m writing this article, it’s all over plant stores and online shops. Not surprising, as it’s truly a very decorative houseplant, and easy to grow too.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about Monstera ‘Peru’ and growing this plant in the home!

Name(s) (common, scientific) Monstera ‘Peru’, Monstera karstenianum, Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Marble Planet’, Philodendron karstenianum, Philodendron opacum, not scientifically classified as of yet
Difficulty level Easy
Recommended lighting Bright indirect
Water Keep lightly moist
Soil Aroid soil

A note on Monstera ‘Peru’ naming

Before we start, a short note about taxonomy, as there’s a lot of confusion regarding Monstera ‘Peru’. If you just want to know how to care for your plant, feel free to scroll past. I personally love a good plant mystery, so I’ve dug around scientific papers and other sources. It really does look like this species hasn’t been scientifically classified yet. I haven’t found any paper detailing research about what genus it really belongs to.

As a result, it looks like nurseries have decided to just slap a name on it, and houseplant websites appear to have gone along with that without clarifying. The plant is most commonly referred to as Monstera ‘Peru’ or Monstera karstenianum, but it hasn’t actually been confirmed to be a member of the genus Monstera as far as I can tell. In Europe, you’ll see it sold as Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Marble Planet’: an entirely different species.

Lastly, I’ve also come across a Dutch plant store that swears this plant is called Philodendron karstenianum or Philodendron opacum. However, in some photos I’ve managed to dig up, opacum at least appears to look different from the plant we’re discussing here. If you have any additional sources for me that can shed light on this mystery, please let me know! I’ll keep referring to it as Monstera ‘Peru’ here.

Note: Monstera ‘Peru’ strongly resembles Monstera siltepecana, a confirmed species that sports more heart-shaped and lighter colored leaves. It’s also similar to the juvenile form of Monstera pinnatipartida, but can be told apart from this species by the fact that it never develops leaf splits. A plant identification tool can help you figure out what you’ve got on your hands.

Caring for Monstera 'Peru', a vining aroid houseplant.

Monstera ‘Peru’ natural habitat

I’m going to have to be honest here: I haven’t found any papers detailing this plant, so I also don’t have any trustworthy sources to go off in terms of its habitat. Some sources assume it’s an Epipremnum, which is a Southeast Asian species, but I personally suspect this one is actually South American.

Does it matter? Not too much. Whichever part of the world it hails from, this is clearly a tropical rainforest species. This means it’s probably used to a warm, humid and rainy environment where it receives limited light. It likely climbs taller trees in its natural habitat.

Monstera ‘Peru’ light, temperature & humidity

Light

In its natural rainforest habitat, wherever that may be, Monstera ‘Peru’ is unlikely to receive much direct sunlight. The majority will be blocked out by taller trees, which is why the species has developed a climbing growth pattern to gain height and benefit from higher light levels.

In the home, your Monstera ‘Peru’ will appreciate plenty of light, but it can be sensitive to direct sun. If you do want to give it some direct rays, be sure to acclimate your plant gradually to prevent it from burning. Too little light and the leaves will become sparse, which ruins your plant’s nice appearance.

Temperature

Tropical jungles are just that: tropical and hot. Luckily that works out well for us houseplant enthusiasts, as we tend to keep our houses at temperatures that are perfectly fine for plants from these areas. Room temp works well for your Monstera ‘Peru’, although a little warmer shouldn’t be a problem for this one either.

Make sure you avoid exposing your plant to cold. Mine has been fine with temperatures around 15 °C/59 °F so far and is still actively growing, but I would expect it to stop developing if things drop below 10 °C/50 °F.

For the best results, just avoid placing your Monstera ‘Peru’ near chilly windowsills, drafty hallways and A/C units.

Humidity

Like other tropical plants, this one won’t respond well to very low air humidity. It’s not overly fussy, but if your home gets quite dry (which tends to happen during the winter months), you may have to take some special measures to prevent your Monstera ‘Peru’ and other tropicals from suffering.

It’s handy to get a cheap humidity meter first to see where you’re at. If the humidity is below 40-50%, you can consider running a humidifier, grouping plants together or using a humidity box or cabinet.

Monstera karstenianum/Epipremnum pinnatum 'Marble Planet', a popular houseplant.

Monstera ‘Peru’ soil & planting

Soil

This species is definitely an aroid, so your best bet in terms of soil is to treat it as such. A well-draining, airy mixture is the way to go! I used a mixture of potting soil, perlite and orchid bark for mine, which it seems to do well in.

You could also consider a soil-less mixture like 5:1:1 (5 parts orchid bark, 1 part sphagnum moss, one part perlite) or just pre-mixed aroid soil. As long as excess water can drain well and plenty of oxygen reaches the roots, your Monstera ‘Peru’ should be in the clear.

Planting

First off, as with almost all houseplants, you should always use a container with a drainage hole for your Monstera ‘Peru’. It’s sensitive to standing water and can easily succumb to root rot if its pot doesn’t drain.

This is one of those vining species that allows you to choose whether you prefer to let it hang down or climb. If you like the look of a hanging planter, this may be a good choice for that. I personally prefer letting my vining plants climb, though, so I made a moss pole for my Monstera ‘Peru’ using PVC and sphagnum moss. It looks very decorative and the plant seems to appreciate it!

Tip: Are you having trouble with your Monstera ‘Peru’? Try having a look at the guide to troubleshooting for Philodendrons. Although this plant is probably not a Philodendron, it’s quite similar in terms of its care and the problems that can pop up with it.

Monstera 'Peru' houseplant growing on a moss pole.

Watering Monstera ‘Peru’

The key to success with aroids like this one is to keep their soil lightly moist, but never wet. Too dry and the leaves will start curling due to thirst; too wet and you risk root rot.

You shouldn’t water on a schedule, as a plant’s needs vary between the seasons and according to factors like light levels and air humidity. Instead, learn to recognize whether your Monstera ‘Peru’ is thirsty. Check the soil moisture with your finger or by gauging the weight of the planter. Soil still damp or pot still feels heavy? Wait a little longer.

You’ll likely end up watering your Monstera ‘Peru’ about twice a week during the hottest summer months and possibly as little as once every two weeks during winter.

Fertilizing Monstera ‘Peru’

Monstera ‘Peru’ doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer. Still, because it is a quick grower, a little boost will be appreciated during the growing season to help it along. You can use a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer. Just dilute it to half strength and apply while watering once a month or so during the summer months.

Stop using fertilizer during winter or if your Monstera ‘Peru’ isn’t growing well. It won’t be able to use the nutrients you provide, allowing them to damage the roots.

Monstera 'Peru'/Monstera karstenianum houseplant growing on a moss pole.

Propagating Monstera ‘Peru’

Propagating your Monster ‘Peru’ really couldn’t be easier. As mentioned, this is a vining plant, and you can snip a vine at any point using clean scissors to take a cutting. As long as it has a node (and preferably a leaf or two), it’ll regrow.

Cuttings can be placed in water to root, or you can plant them directly in soil. If you go for the latter option, it helps to dip the cutting in rooting hormone and to place it in a propagator or just a clear plastic bag. The increased humidity and warmth work well to stimulate rooting.

Some houseplant enthusiasts also like to propagate in pure sphagnum moss, perlite or LECA. In the end, it all depends on your own preferences! If you’re not sure, why not take multiple cuttings from your plant and test what works well for you?

Is Monstera ‘Peru’ toxic to cats and dogs?

Aroids like this one tend to contain oxalic acid, which can be irritating to the mouth and throat if your furry friend chews them. In extreme cases, swelling can occur that warrants medical intervention, but it’s not very likely: once the burning sensation starts after the first few bites, your pet will likely decide it’s not worth it.

In short: technically, Monstera ‘Peru’ isn’t toxic, but it can cause your pet pain. Be sure to offer plenty of water and keep an eye on your cat, dog or child if you think it has chewed one of your aroid houseplants.


If you have any more questions about Monstera ‘Peru’ or if you’d like to share your own experiences with this fantastic houseplant species, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

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