Updated: Jan 28, 2020
Are you trying to figure out whether your Monstera is a Deliciosa or a Borsigiana?
There has been confusion lately throughout the plant community over whether the Monsteras people own are Deliciosas or Borsigianas.
So, I decided to do a little bit of searching around throughout the internet to find some answers so you can tell the difference and identify your plant. The sources I found for this information will be linked below, so you can further your knowledge after reading my post.
To begin with, I think its important to note that I couldn’t find a definitive answer as to whether the Borsigiana is a form or variety of the Deliciosa. There was competing evidence for each, one website stated the Borsigina is a variety and therefore should be called a M. Deliciosa var ‘Borsigina’ (5). Another stated the Borsigiana is a form of the Deliciosa, informing us that there is not a distinct enough difference between the two plants for them to be considered different varieties (1), therefore, as a form of the Deliciosa, the correct name would be Borsigiana is: M. Deliciosa f. Borsigiana.
Even so, if you’re still interested to find out whether you have a ‘true Deliciosa’, then keep on reading!
It is almost impossible to distinguish between both the Deliciosa and the Borsigiana when the plant is in its juvenile form, as there as no distinguishing features between the two (6). So if you have a juvenile form of the plant, then you’re most probably going to have to wait until your plant has aged a bit and put out new growth before you’re truly able to tell the difference.
The 3 characteristic features of the Deliciosa and the Borsigiana listed below are the ones that came up most frequently whilst I was researching the differences between the mature forms of the plants.
Firstly, the size of their leaves. Often the Monstera Deliciosa is described as being much bigger than the Monstera Borsigiana. It has been documented that Monstera Deliciosa’s leaves can reach up to 1 meter in size (3) in its natural habitat! A Monstera Borsigiana's leaves will reach the slightly less impressive size of around 50cm (4), although, that is still a hefty sized leaf to have in your home! However, it is important to remember, a plant will only grow as big as it environment allows it. In nature both of these plants will grow considerably bigger than they will in your homes, because they will be in their ideal environments and that is when it is easier to see the size different between the Deliciosa and Borsigiana.
Secondly, the growing habits of the plants as they mature. Both of these plants are considered climbers. However, on a Borsigiana the gaps between the nodes are longer and therefore it will start climbing and growing taller faster as it pushes out new growth (1, 2). The Deliciosa has a shorter gap between nodes and more of sprawling growth characteristic, it will stretch out in different directions as it grows, although will still climb (1, 2). So, if you have a slightly more chaotic style of Monstera, it could be a Deliciosa, if its more neat growing it could be the Borsigiana.
In the photos below you can see my Deliciosa on the left (on top if you're on your phone) and my Borsigiana on the right (below if you're on your phone).
Thirdly, the ruffles! Several sources state that if your Monstera has ruffles at the top of the petiole where it meets the leaf then it is definitely a Deliciosa (1, 2, 6), and if it doesn’t it is unquestionably a Borsigiana. But it is evident that Deliciosa’s do not have the ruffling when they’re in there juvenile stage (6), only developing ruffles as they continue growing, reaching maturity or semi-maturity.
Below you can see one of my M.Deliciosa's newest leaves with the ruffles at the top of the stem on the right (top photo if you're on your phone), in the middle (second photo) is my M.Borsigiana (it is a variegated one), you can see this one does not have ruffles at the top of the stem, and the two photos on the left (bottom two if you're on your phone) is my M.Deliciosa again, but some of the older leaves on the plant, you can see these ones do not have ruffles.
I have four Monstera plants; I believe I have two Deliciosas, one Borsigiana and an Adonsonii (but that’s for another blog post!). I love them all! Their huge leaves are so striking, they really stand out in my home. Both of my Deliciosa’ have ruffles on the new leaves that get pushed out as the plant matures, whilst do not have ruffles on the oldest growth, the juvenile leaves, near the bottom of the plant. My Borsigiana is a cutting, so really, I can’t tell how mature this plant is. However, the thickness of the stem and node lead me to believe this cutting was taken from a mature plant. My Borsigiana does not have ruffles at the base of the leaf. At the moment it is hard for me to comment on the gaps between the nodes, as you have seen, my Borsigiana is a cutting with only two leaves on it, therefore I can’t really tell how large the gap is until that cutting is producing new growth. I guess I would say the gap between the nodes on my Deliciosa are short, but I haven’t really got much to compare to! Both my Deliciosa and Borsigiana have similar sized leaves, the smallest leaf is around 20cm whilst the largest leaf is around 40cm.
If I’m completely honest, I’m not sure how accurate all this information is. What a thing to say on my first ever blog post, eh?! But I want to be real with you, the research being conducted throughout the plant world is always changing, this information is the most up to date information I could find. Even so, this blog post, and possibly inconclusive evidence aside, you have a beautiful plant regardless of whether or not it has ruffles, short or long gaps between nodes and the size of its leaves. So love it, who cares if its a ‘true Deliciosa’?! I can guarantee it is still an absolutely gorgeous plant.