It is not uncommon to find Monster Siltepecana mislabeled in a nursery. Such mix-ups are not entirely the plant person’s fault; the species can be pretty confusing.
Its appearance changes so radically in the course of its growth. Later at maturity, it might be hard to tell it apart from its cousin Monstera Peru. There are some ways you can tell them apart, though.
The primary difference between the two varieties is that Monstera Siltepecana’s leaves are teardrop-shaped and fenestrate. Monstera Peru, also known as Kerstenianum, has thick leaves that can grow up to nine centimeters in length, and their texture is bubbly and leather-like. Siltepecana’s foliage has lighter hues of green, and they are variegated; some parts are darker than others.
I know this information isn’t enough to cure your confusion, but it is a start. Below is a more detailed explanation of the difference between the two.
Before we get into the differences, let me mention that the two plants also have quite a few similarities. Both of them are from the genus Monstera, and they share the American rainforests as their natural habitat. I will mention the similarities as I talk about the differences.
|Parameters||Monstera Siltepecana||Monstera Peru|
|Scientific Name||Monstero Siltepecana||Monstera Kerstenianum Peru|
|Common Names||Swiss Cheese Plant, Silver Queen Philodendron, Seltene Monstera, Silver monstera.||Kerstenianum|
|Mature Size||4 feet||6 meters in optimum conditions|
|Leaf Color and Texture||Light Green||Solid Green|
|Variegation||Lighter and darker shades of green||Primarily dark green with glossy leaves.|
|Stem Color||Mainly green||Mainly green|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets and humans on ingestion.||Toxic to pets and humans on ingestion.|
Main Differences to Identify Them Correctly
Shape: The leaf of Monstera Siltepecana is lance-shaped; some people also describe it as being teardrop-shaped. Monstera Peru’s leaf has more or less the same form.
Color: The foliage of Monstera Siltepecana changes color at different stages of growth. The leaves of juvenile Siltepecana are silver-grayish and variegated with dark veins. In contrast, the mature plant has darker and lighter shades of green. The leaves of Monstera Peru are a deep green color.
Texture: Monstera Siltepecan’s leaves have fenestrations near the midrib. These holes affect their overall texture, but besides them, the plant’s leaves have an ordinary texture.
The leaves of a mature Monstera Peru are smooth and glossy; they look like a plastic plant. The surface of the leaf is uneven, and it feels like it has air bubbles.
Variegation: The dark veins on the silvery leaf of a juvenile siltepecana have beautiful variegation, while at maturity, the leaf has darker and lighter shades of green. Variegation for this leaf is more pronounced on the underside than on the upper side.
Monstera Peru has a solid dark green color with slight variegation, but light might hit it at an angle that would make it appear variegated.
Thickness: The leaves of Monstera Peru are much thicker than those of the siltepecana.
 Height and Spread
The smallest siltepecana grows to the height of 30 centimeters, but the plant can grow to a maximum of four feet. The least possible spread for this plant is ten centimeters, but it can go up to four feet.
How big siltepecana gets in any direction depends on its care and the environment in which it grows.
Monstera Peru can reach 35 centimeters, but it can grow beyond six meters in perfect conditions.
Siltepecana is a terrestrial grower in its juvenile stage, but it becomes a climber when it reaches maturity. It requires a totem to climb in an indoor environment.
If you don’t support it, it won’t grow past the juvenile stage. Peru is a climber as well. Monstera Peru, on the other hand, can reach maturity without the assistance of siltepecana.
This characteristic is what allows for my favorite plant arrangement; you can plant it in a hanging basket and have it look magnificent as it dangles from the basket. That’s how I like it when it’s done.
Both plants have similar flowers. The blossoms seen in both Siltepecana and Peru are not flowers. They are referred to as spathes. The flowers, known as a spadix, grow inside the spathes, which are specially folded leaves.
Siltepecana does not produce fruit, but some Peru varieties do. The fruits are edible, with a flavor that is a cross between ripe banana and pineapple.
 Growth Rate
Monstera siltepecana is a juvenile plant until it is allowed to climb. It takes between two and three years to reach full maturity once it begins climbing. It depends on the environment whether it takes two or three years.
Monstera Peru is considered a fast-growing rare plant; it grows much faster than siltepecana.
 Growing Requirements
In its natural habitat, Siltepecana thrives in partial or complete shade, and it can also thrive as a houseplant. It is best kept near a window in the house, but away from direct sunlight, which can cause leaf burn.
Peru does well in bright light as well; it can withstand more light than siltepecana, but it dislikes direct sunlight. As a result, the two have a dislike for direct sunlight in common. They are prone to leaf burns.
The soil in which Monstera Siltepecana grows must have plenty of oxygen or the roots will rot. The potting mix should include chunky bits like pumice, perlite, and so on, as well as some bark pieces.
Because they are epiphytes, and their roots do not do well in dense soil, the soil for both should not be too dense.
Epiphytes have no evolutionary need for solid roots because they are supported by the plants they climb. Peru thrives on free-draining soil, particularly acidic soils with a PH of 5-7.5.
Kartenianum is a plant native to South American tropical rainforests with high humidity. As a result, it thrives in a humid environment, and humidity should be artificially increased if necessary to mimic the natural environment and aid the plant’s growth.
Siltepecana is native to Peru and, as a result, is humidity tolerant. Growers are advised to artificially increase humidity at night as needed.
Monstera Siltepecana costs about $25 while Monstera Peru goes for double the amount at $50 (get the current prices on Amazon here).
There’s a reason Peru is more expensive; the glossy and bubbly leaves make it appear more expensive! Because of its elegant, expensive appearance, it is my personal favorite.
Why People Get Confused
There are several reasons why people can’t tell the difference between Monstera Siltepecana and Monstera Per. I’ve mentioned some similarities in growth requirements as well as some physical similarities. Because of their similarities, it is difficult to tell the two apart.
They are both climbers, and their leaves are nearly identical in shape, though their texture distinguishes them.
The fact that their names are so similar doesn’t help either. Perhaps we should refer to them by their common names.