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Stop mixing these plants | commonly mislabeled houseplants (with pictures)

There are more than a few plants that look similar, but aren’t actually the same kind, that we end up mixing up sometimes. It’s not unusual that plants are mislabeled right from the start, when you buy them. This only leads you to think you have one kind of plant while you actually have another.

Let’s see which plants look similar and how are that actually called.

Yucca & Dracena

These two plants look really similar, don’t they? The one on the left is a Dracena Marginata, and the one on the right is a Yucca Gigantea (formerly known as Y. Elephantipes). Both have pointy looking leaves and a similar woody stem.

While these two plants are from the same family – Asparagaceae, they don’t belong to the same genus of plants. Dracena is native to Africa, Asia and Australia. Yucca, on the other hand, is native to North and South America and the Caribbean. Both are native to dry and hot climates, but over the years have adapted to a wide variety of climates.

Yucca’s leaves are rough to the touch, firm and really pointy on the ends. If you come near this plant and you lean into it, it will literally poke you. On the other side, Dracena’s leaves are soft, smooth and bendy.

There’s a difference in the stem, too. While an older Dracena Marginata can reach a thicker looking stem, it’s usually sold with stems that are about an inch, or less, in diameter. Yucca’s stem is always (at least in my experience) sold with a thick looking stem.

Both Dracena and Yucca are toxic to pets.

Pothos & Philodendron Hederaceum

Epipremnum Aureum (Pothos) and Philodendron Hederaceum should probably get the award for most mislabeled plants. On a few occasions, I’ve seen Pothos labeled as a Philodendron, and vice versa.

If you are having a hard time distinguishing these two plants, check out the post – Do you have a Pothos or Philodendron? | How to spot the differences and identify your plant – to see how to easily spot the differences and identify which is which.

These are plants from the same family – Araceae, but like in the above example, they are not from the same genus.

While their care is fairly similar, I find that Pothos is a more sturdier plant than the vining Philodendron. Don’t get me wrong, both there plants are one of the easiest to care for and it’s difficult to choose a favorite. But, if it’s even possible, Pothos is even more low maintenance than the Philodendron.

Philodendron Hederaceum is native to Central America and the Caribbean. Pothos is native to the island of Mo’orea in the Society Islands of French Polynesia, but has, over time, integrated into tropical and sub-tropical forests worldwide.

Both Pothos and Philodendron are toxic to pets.

Monstera Deliciosa & Philodendron

Monstera Deliciosa is commonly miscalled Philodendron. Not any specific type of Philodendron per se, but just simply Philodendron.

So, let’s get this straight right away. Monstera Deliciosa is a species from the genus Monstera, not from the genus Philodendron.

Monstera Deliciosa may also be confused with Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum. This plant is still commonly called Philodendron Selloum because it was formerly classified as a Philodendron.

These are both toxic to pets.

Swiss cheese plant & Swiss cheese vine

Here is a brief distinction between common names for the Monstera Deliciosa and Monstera Adansonii. They are both commonly referred to as “Swiss cheese” because of their known circle like fenestrations that resemble cheese holes.

The distinctions in the names is actually what comes after the ‘Swiss cheese’ part. Monstera Deliciosa is referred to as the Swiss cheese PLANT while the Monstera Adansonii is called the Swiss cheese VINE.

I personally don’t use these common names. Nonetheless, it’s better to distinguish the two in case we stumble upon an article that uses them.

Both the Monstera Deliciosa and Monstera Adansonii are toxic to pets.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma & Monstera Deliciosa

The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma resembles a smaller version of a Monstera Deliciosa, does it not? Because of that it actually got its common name – Mini Monstera. The funny fact is that the Mini Monstera is actually from the genus Rhaphidophora and it’s native to Thailand and Malaysia.

These are both toxic to pets.

Rubber plant & Baby rubber plant

I’ve come across some articles talking about the Rubber plant and actually showing pics of the Baby rubber plant. Their common names may be misleading, making us think these plants are the same, when in reality, they are two completely different species.

The Rubber plant is a type of Ficus – the Ficus Elastica. While, on the other hand, the Baby rubber plant is actually the common name for Peperomia Obtusifolia.

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