Monstera deliciosa plant, better known as the Swiss Cheese Plant or Split Leaf Philodendron, is one of the more recognizable houseplants due to their large, deep-green, verdant foliage that is mainly pierced with holes (hence earning its nickname). This plant is sure to bring a tropical and exotic vibe to any space you get into your home and is sure to be a definite eye-catcher. In this article, let’s talk about how to care for Monstera.
The care for a Monstera plant can be as low-maintenance as you want them to be, so they are perfect for those budding plant parents out there. When you do meet its basic requirements, it will bless your indoor space with strong growth for years to come.
As an overview, your Monstera plants will thrive happily in rich, well-draining soil that is applied fertilizer every month in its growing season. Water them only when the first several inches of topsoil becomes dry. Maintain moderate humidity for the plants, especially indoors.
Finally, put them in a place that receives bright, indirect light, within temperatures of 70-75°F (21-24°C).
Without further ado, let’s dive deep into the things you’ll need to know to take care of this marvelous houseplant!
1. How much light will my Monstera need?
If we take a look at the natural habitat of Monstera, it lives as a tropical plant, usually underneath the canopies of taller trees in sunny areas.
Therefore, your Monstera will enjoy receiving bright but indirect light. Despite this, it still grows in a wide array of lighting conditions. It tolerates a bit of harsher light, but it will shrivel slightly and may burn its leaves if left under direct light for a prolonged time. It will also tolerate lower light situations but will grow much slower and less vigorously.
If you want to give it its best chances of growing strong, place it in a window facing the east, as this will provide you with that bright but indirect light that the plant needs.
You can also harden your Monstera to brighter lighting conditions by placing it outdoors for a few hours per day and initially increasing exposure over the weeks. Just remember not to leave it outside once winter comes.
2. How should I water my Monstera?
As we already know, your Monstera is a tropical plant. In its natural habitat, it receives plenty of moisture and water. This means that this plant likes to sit in moist soil. However, it is still important not to overwater your Monstera. Only water this plant when the first two inches of the potting soil is dry.
As compared to other houseplants, Monsteras, like your Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii, can be lenient when it comes to underwatering. When it gets overwatered, its leaves can turn yellow. When it is underwatered, its edges will turn brown and crisp. You can adjust your watering schedule accordingly when these signs occur.
Ensure to always feel for the soil before watering your Monstera. Avoid schedules that are too strict for watering but instead go for a feel for the soil. The water requirements of your Monstera will also depend on the season. It will need more in its growing season from spring through summer and less in the fall and winter, so water accordingly.
3. What’s the best soil for my Monstera?
In its natural habitat, Monstera sits in rich soils of the rainforests that are mostly made up of loose, airy, and decaying plant debris such as leaves and twigs. With this in mind, rich soil that drains well is the best growing medium for your Monstera. Conversely, soils that are too heavy tend to retain too much water and will cause your Monstera to develop root rot.
For a potting mix, it is recommended to use an equal mix of soil, peat, and perlite. This gives a well-balanced and nutritious medium for your Monstera, allows the right retention of moisture, and most importantly, allows for drainage of any excess water.
Finally, choose a pot with excellent draining holes as this will help with the draining of water.
4. How should I fertilize my Monstera?
You may expect that since the Monstera is a quick-growing houseplant, that you may need to fertilize it often. This could not be further from the truth as the plant does not require that much, even in its growing period. However, it does benefit the plant when you feed it during its growing season, from spring throughout summer.
During these times, you can feed your Monstera with an all-purpose water fertilizer as you can easily apply the fertilizer along with watering the plant.
Apply this fertilizer monthly during its growing season to maintain its growth and the green sheen of its leaves. After fertilizing for several months, you can flush the Monstera’s soil to prevent salt buildup.
Do this by bringing the plant where you can allow water to run slowly through the soil for five minutes and allowing the excess to drain off without creating too much of a mess.
When fall and winter come, you must stop fertilizing as the plant will enter a dormant stage and will stop taking up further nutrients. The fertilizer will just accumulate in the soil and can cause fertilizer burn once the growing season returns.
5. What is the optimal humidity for my Monstera?
Since your Monstera deliciosa is a tropical plant, it will surely love its humidity. Despite this, it will still tolerate a bit of dry air as compared to other house plants. Therefore, providing adequate humidity produces the healthiest growth for your plant. You can achieve adequate humidity in several ways.
Probably the easiest way to achieve this is to place your Monstera in a space in your home that has enough moisture going around, such as your bathroom or kitchen. You can also group your houseplants together, as this will create a space that retains relatively more moisture. If this isn’t an option, you can place your plant on top of a pebble-line tray.
As you water your Monstera, the excess drains on the tray, which will act as a moisture reservoir. Finally, you can regularly mist your plant or purchase a humidifier and place it near it.
6. Is there an ideal temperature for my Monstera?
Aside from plenty of indirect light (not direct sunlight!) and moderate humidity, your Monstera plants also love constantly warmer climates since they are tropical plants. If you do not live too far off north, then the usual temperatures of your home should cater to the temperature needs of this plant.
The best growing temperature of your Monstera ranges from 70-75°F (21-24°C). A good rule of thumb to follow is that if the indoor temperature of your space is comfortable for you, then it probably is comfortable for your Monstera too, if they are kept as indoor plants.
Take note that this plant will not tolerate a temperature drop below 50°F (10°C). So when your space gets too cold, move it to a warmer space.
Do take note not to put this plant in any area that receives drafts of air. This means no putting it near air conditioning vents or heating elements, as these can dry out the air too much for the Monstera’s liking.
7. How often should I repot my Monstera?
Despite the Monstera deliciosa plants being relatively fast growers as compared to other houseplants, these plants will tolerate being rootbound in the same container for several years. However, if you desire, you can repot them, once it does so.
You can repot your plant every two years, especially if it grows consistently. You can tell it’s time to repot when its roots start growing out of its drainage holes.
When repotting, choose a pot that is one size above its current pot. Going too large on the new pot means that the soil can hold much more water, which can spell disaster for your Monstera when it comes to root rot.
Also, consider the material of the pot as a porous pot may require more frequent watering as the soil may dry out quicker, while a non-porous one may need less as the soil will tend to hold more moisture. Repot your Monstera at the beginning of its growing seasons, in the spring, as this is when the Monstera goes out of winter dormancy.
When repotting, it is also a good idea to freshen up the soil by roughing up the root ball of your Monstera and by placing a fresh mix of soil in its new pot.
8. How should I clean the leaves of my Monstera?
The Monstera is all about the giant, bright, and shiny green sheen of its pierced leaves. So it is a rather good idea to keep them looking prim and proper. You may need to do more than just spritzing the leaves with water to maintain its foliage looking its best.
Some easy cleaning options include taking the entire plant outside or on the sink and rinsing the Monstera leaves with a gentle spray of lukewarm water; mixing ¼ tsp of a mild dish soap with a quart of water and using this mixture to spritz the leave before rinsing with lukewarm water, or simply just by taking a damp cloth or paper towel and wiping the dust off of each leaf individually.
9. Is pruning required for my Monstera?
Your Monstera may be one of the more low-maintenance plants in your household, especially when it comes to its pruning needs.
The only pruning you will need to do for your plant to maintain its healthy growth is by removing dead or damaged foliage. Then, snip the entire foliage from the leaf down to the stem connecting the leaf to its main or central stem.
Some people may find themselves sensitive to the sap that the plants release during pruning, so make sure to don a pair of gloves before cutting. Also, it is important to sterilize any pruning equipment by rubbing it down with alcohol or a mixture of equal parts bleach and room temperature water. This is done in order to prevent any accidental spread of disease or pests in between your plants.
10. This plant is fantastic! How do I propage more of my Monstera?
The Monstera is one of the easier houseplants when it comes to propagation! The easiest way is through stem cuttings. If you do decide to prune your plant down to size, don’t let the cuttings go to waste.
Using sterile pruning shears, snip off a section of your Monstera, making sure to include at least one or two aerial roots. Place this cutting into a container filled with rich, well-drained soil or in water. The cutting should then start developing roots in about a month.
If your plant is still yet to develop aerial roots, you can also prune your Monstera by cutting off a more significant part of the stem. This way, you give your plant ample moisture and nutrients for it to start growing roots on its own.
Once this cutting is made, you can also place it in well-drained soil or in water and wait for a robust root system to develop before planting it permanently in its own pot.
11. My Monstera is not thriving well. What could be the problem?
A. General Troubleshooting
The great thing about Monstera is that once it encounters problems, it gives you signs of what might be going wrong and ample time for you to take action before things get worse.
When leaves turn yellow, it could be due to overwatering, a lack of sunlight, or a lack of nutrients. If you find that any of these areas are in trouble, be sure to double-check that you are not overwatering, that the plant is in a place where it is receiving enough sunlight, and that your soil is not devoid of proper nutrients.
When leaves turn brown, and the edges get frayed, it could be due to too much sunlight, dry air, or fertilizer burn. Move the plant to a less bright area or filter the light if your space is too dry. Be sure to check the humidity section for tips on increasing humidity for your Monstera. If it isn’t because of the light or humidity, reassess if you have been overfertilizing the plant and flush the soil accordingly.
When your Monstera starts drooping, it is most often due to a lack of water. Try increasing the frequency of watering and water deeply when the top two to three inches of the soil start becoming dry. Sometimes, overwatering can also cause the plant to droop. Feel the soil first and determine where the problem lies.
B. Disease Problems
Luckily, your Monstera is one of the more hardy plants among your collection of houseplants and lives relatively disease free. Unfortunately, the most common disease that this plant suffers from is that of root rot brought about by overwatering and consistently soggy soil.
One of the earliest signs of root rot is when the leaves start sweating to get rid of the excess moisture. Another more serious sign is when any part of the plant starts developing black, mushy, and slimy secretions.
If the problem is just starting to happen, you can save the plant by repotting in new soil and decreasing the watering frequency at first. However, if the damage is extensive, then it is best to just discard the plant and start with a healthy new plant. Never reuse the soil that has been afflicted by root rot, as this can also affect your new plant.
C. Pest Problems
Same with diseases, the Monstera rarely suffers from pests or diseases. However, sometimes, they are affected by spider mites or mealy bugs. Luckily, these insects are easily identifiable, and early treatment should address these pests before they get out of hand.
Spider mites are usually small white pests that love warm and dry conditions. Their presence is usually heralded by fine webs covering portions of your Monstera. These insects suck the inner sap from the plant, and when left to their own devices, they slowly weaken your plant until they die.
On the other hand, Mealybugs typically reside where the leaf joins the stems and can be found in a clump of mass resembling cotton. Unfortunately, these pests also suck the sap from your plant.
Treating these pests comes down to addressing them quickly. Luckily, they are efficiently dealt with by spraying your entire plant down with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Follow the products’ instructions and repeat treatment until the problem is dealt with.
12. Is my Monstera toxic to my children and pets?
More often than not, most tropical plants are toxic, and the Monsters are no exception. This is due to the fact that the plant contains oxalic crystals, which can be found in the saps of the stems, leaves, and unripe fruits. When ingested by humans, dogs, cats, and other livestock, this can cause indigestion and vomiting.
Other symptoms include immediate and painful loss of voice, irritation of the mouth, hoarseness, and blister formation. The fruit only turns edible after a year or so because it takes a long time for the fruit to ripen. Some people are still allergic to the ripe fruit even when it does. To be on the safe side, treat the plant, even the ripe fruit, as unsafe to eat.
Hopefully, this short but deep dive into the wonderful Monstera has not only piqued your interest but also inspired your creativity when it comes to your interior space. The exotic beauty of the Monstera will easily add vibrancy into any design or collection that you may have in mind. It may be finicky at times when it comes to its care requirements, but when met, it will provide you with wonderful fronds and foliage for years to come!
1. Is Monstera a fast grower?
The Monstera is a fast-growing member of the Aroid family. However, its growth rate depends on the light conditions it receives. If your Monstera receives a good amount of bright indirect light, it will surely actively grow. However, if it is placed in a darker environment, your plant will grow slowly.
2. How do you propagate Monstera?
The Monstera plants are easy to propagate. They can be propagated using stem cuttings. Choose a stem with at least one node. If aerial roots are present, then that is a perfect choice. Dip the cutting into a proper growing medium and wait for the roots to grow extensively.
3. Is Monstera rare?
The Monstera is somewhat a rare plant. Although, with the advent of tissue culture cultivation, the plant’s availability in the market has improved.
4. Is Monstera hard to grow?
Definitely not. Monsteras are relatively easy to grow and care for. They can thrive in a suitable room condition provided that the optimum care and attention are given. Beginners can grow this Monstera.
5. Does Monstera go dormant?
No. Monstera plants do not go into dormancy because they do not produce bulbs or storage organs that plants utilize during the winter season for energy and sustenance, like your Alocasias and other Lilies.
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