Elephant Ear Vs. Monstera: Similarities, Differences & More!

In this guide, we’ll break down the elephant ear vs. monstera to see how these two popular houseplants compare.

Both plants enjoy similar conditions and can be grown inside or outside as long as the conditions allow. Elephant ear plants tend to grow larger leaves, but both plants can reach impressive sizes and quickly take over a plot of land if you aren’t careful.

There are many more similarities and differences, so let’s waste no time and get right into it.

Quick Overview Of Both Plants

Before we directly compare these two plants, it’s important to know exactly what both plants actually are, what they look like, and a few basic things about their care requirements.

Elephant Ear

Elephant Ear plants, native to southern Asia, are known for their large, lustrous, and bright green leaves resembling an elephant’s ears.

There are four types of plants known as elephant ears – Colocasia, Caladium, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma.

These plants can grow pretty large in the wild, reaching over 20 feet in height with leaves that are several feet in length.

Large elephant ear plant leaves in the wild

These tropical plants thrive in humid environments and need regular watering.

Here’s a quick overview of elephant ear plant care:

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect sunlight but can grow in shade or full sun
  • Soil: Requires moist soil that drains well
  • Water: Requires regular watering to maintain a moist environment
  • Temperature: Thrives in warm, humid conditions


Monstera plants, also known as Swiss Cheese plants, are native to tropical regions in Central America and are famous for their eye-catching, often perforated leaves.

They grow well indoors and create a stunning statement in your living space.

A large green monstera leaf with a wood floor as the background

Monsteras prefer warm and humid environments, much like the elephant ear plant.

Here’s a quick overview of monstera plant care:

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect sunlight
  • Soil: Needs well-draining soil
  • Water: Regular watering to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated
  • Temperature: Requires warmth and humidity


Now we are on the same page with what these plants are, let’s take a closer look at what makes these plants different.


While both plants come from tropical regions, monsteras are native to Central and South America, while elephant ears primarily originate from Asia.

Leaf Shape

While both plants are known for their impressive foliage, their leaf shapes are pretty distinct. Monstera leaves are famous for their perforations and deep splits, giving them a unique, swiss-cheese-like appearance.

Several elephant ear plants in the wild next to a trunk
Elephant ear leaves tend to be larger.

These leaves can grow quite large, but their size varies depending on the species and growing conditions.

Elephant ear plants, however, have smooth, heart-shaped leaves without the characteristic splits seen in monsteras.

Largest Type

The monstera gigas was reportedly over 100 feet tall and was recently discovered in Panama.

This is much larger than even the largest types of elephant ear plants, which reach 10 to 20 feet tall in the wild.

Propagation Methods

Propagation methods for monstera and elephant ear plants differ as well. For a monstera, you can propagate using stem cuttings with a rooting hormone or by air layering.

Take a cutting with at least one node and place it in water or soil, and it will eventually grow a new root system.

Elephant ear plants are typically propagated through the division of their bulbs or tubers.

To do this, dig up the mother plant during its dormant season, carefully separate the bulbs or tubers, and replant them in new pots or garden spaces.


If you keep both plants potted, the watering schedule is roughly the same – watering when the top one to two inches of soil becomes dry.

However, elephant ear plants prefer a wetter environment if planted outside and can even be grown in water. In the wild, these plants grow in marsh-like areas, whereas monsteras do not thrive in this environment.


You might be surprised just how many differences these two plants have – let’s take a look.


Both plants are in the family Araceaes, which are flowering plants that produce spadixes. Spadixes are spikes surrounded by a spathe containing small flowers, as you can see in the picture below, which shows a monstera spadix.

A monstera deliciosa white spadix
Daniel Capilla, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Many people don’t realize this because they have never seen their monstera or elephant ear plants produce flowers because of how rare it is, but if you were to see flowers, you would realize that they are produced similarly for both plants.

Regular Size

Although certain types of monstera can reach larger sizes than elephant ear plants, in most practical cases, both of these plants are similar in size.

Monstera obliqua leaves up close
My monstera obliqua

For example, when kept as houseplants, both will reach anywhere up to 10 feet tall if conditions are optimal. There are also smaller varieties of each that are popular, such as monstera obliqua (which I also have) and various caladiums.


Both of these tropical plants love humidity!

When keeping either of these plants, it’s important to keep the humidity above 50% and ideally between 60 and 80% for optimal growth.


Elephant ears and monsteras both thrive in warm temperatures, again due to their native environments.

They prefer temperatures between 65°F and 85°F (18°C and 29°C), with the optimum range being around 70°F to 75°F (21°C to 24°C).

Indoor & Outdoor

Both elephant ears and monstera plants can be grown indoors or outdoors, depending on your location and climate.

USDA zones 10 to 12 are ideal for monsteras, while elephant ears are best in USDA zones 9 to 11.

Outside of these zones, both can be grown as houseplants easily.


Elephant ears and monsteras contain calcium oxalate crystals, making them toxic to humans and animals if ingested.

It’s important to keep pets away from these plants to reduce the risk of an accident.

In Summary

Both elephant ear and monster plants make great additions to the home and outdoor spaces.

They are an ideal choice if you’re looking for a plant that can grow pretty large and produce spectacular leaves. They have very similar care requirements, although elephant ear plants prefer a wetter environment.

Want to learn more about elephant ear plants? Check out some of our recent articles below:

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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