Is A Monstera The Same As A Split Leaf Philodendron?

The Split Leaf Philodendron is often confused with Monstera deliciosa and both (similar-looking, but totally different plants) are now commonly sold under the same name. Here we’ll show you how to spot the difference and detail everything you need to know about Split Leaf Philodendron care and how to grow this plant at home

Split Leaf Philodendron

Is A Monstera Deliciosa The Same As A Split Leaf Philodendron?

No! This stumped me for a while. The first monstera deliciosa plant I bought was actually labeled as a “split leaf philodendron.”

Split Leaf Philodendron

But the monstera deliciosa is part of the same family (Araceae) as philodendron, they are totally different plants. (Even though monstera deliciosa care and philodendron care are very similar.)

The two plants are often confused for one another when it comes to naming conventions, probably because the monstera deliciosa does have some similarities in appearance with the lacey tree philodendron (philodendron bipinnatifidum), which also has a split leaf look.

Is a monstera a philodendron?


The monstera deliciosa belongs to the monstera genus.

While philodendron plants belong to the philodendron genus.

Think of them as cousins, but not siblings. Nevertheless, they are totally different plants. 

Split Leaf Philodendron vs Monstera – What’s the Difference?

The Split Leaf Philodendron plant is often confused with Monstera deliciosa, the Swiss Cheese plant. Both are commonly known by the name Split Leaf Philodendron and, although they do look rather similar, they are totally different plants. 

This confusion has become so widespread that some plant nurseries are now selling Monstera plants that are incorrectly labeled as Split Leafed Philodendrons.

Here are the differences between the two:

Monstera deliciosa – Has holes in the leaves that don’t reach the edges. It has a climbing habit and needs support as it grows. In its natural environment, it would grow up a tree.

Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera Deliciosa

Split Leaf Philodendron – Has splits in the leaves that run from the edges, inward. It’s also a self-heading type of plant, meaning it doesn’t need support to grow up. It supports itself with a trunk, like a tree.

Split Leaf Philodendron
Split Leaf Philodendron

Take a peek at the full Monstera deliciosa care guide for everything you need to know about keeping your Monstera healthy!

How to grow a Split-Leaf Philodendron

Botanical Name: Philodendron bipinnatifidum 

Split-leaf philodendron is another dependable house plant from the Araceae family. It also happens to be one of the most captivating.

Few houseplants make a huge impact like this one. This jungle giant is surprisingly easy to please indoors. Although it prefers high humidity, split-leaf philodendron is fairly tolerant of most homes. Use a room humidifier, if you need to boost the moisture in the air. 

This stunning philodendron plant is a tree-like shrub. Young plants have sturdy, upright stems, which tend to lie horizontally as the plant ages. They eventually sprawl to become twice as wide as they are tall, so give your house plant plenty of room to spread out. You may want to stake up your plant to provide support.

The foliage is stunning. When young, the glossy, heart-shaped leaves are deeply indented, and become more deeply cut as they grow. Some varieties have wavy margins. Big leaves are dust-catchers. To clean them, gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth.

Year-Round Care

Wondering whether to repot? Pot up in spring or early summer when the roots fill the pot, usually every couple years. Use a container with drainage holes to prevent root rot. Once the plant gets big (top-heavy), it’s a good idea to use a heavy container to prevent it from toppling.

What do you do with aerial roots? Long aerial roots may appear near the base of the plant. You can cut off a few with pruners without hurting this plant. Better yet, tuck them back into the pot or coil them on top of the soil.

Something bugging your plant? New plant growth may attract aphids, which can cause yellow specks and crinkled leaves. Treat any infestation immediately.  Learn more about house plant here.

Split Leaf Philodendron

Varieties and Buying Tips

This plant is also known as P. selloum and may be sold under that name.

A few named varieties make good house plants. ‘Xanadu’ philodendron is a newer cultivar with smaller leaves than the species and only grows to 3 ft (90 cm) wide. ‘Hope’ is a vigorous, full-sized hybrid. ‘German Selloum’ has finely cut leaves with wavy lobes.

Looking for this look-alike? There is a similar-looking plant that goes by the same common name. Swiss Cheese Plant isn’t a philodendron at all — it is Monstera deliciosa

Split Leaf Philodendron

Split-Leaf Philodendron Care Tips

Origin: Brazil

Height: To 6 ft (1.8 m) indoors, depending on variety

Light: Moderate to bright light. No direct sun, which can cause brown scorch marks on the leaves.

Water: Keep soil moist spring through fall. Allow surface to dry out between waterings in winter. Yellow leaves are caused by overwatering.

Humidity: This rainforest native prefers relative humidity above 40%. Mist foliage occasionally. If your home is really dry, use a cool-mist room humidifier to boost moisture in the air around it. Brown leaf tips may be caused by dry air.

Temperature: Average to warm 65-80°F/18-27°C year-round. Split-leaf philodendron will tolerate a low of 60°F/16°C in winter.

Soil: Peat moss-based potting mix.

fertilizer diluted by half. Lack of nutrients may cause little or no growth and small leaves.

Propagation: Division. Cut through the thick roots with a serrated knife and pot up the plants separately.

Split Leaf Philodendron
Split Leaf Philodendron

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