Monstera deliciosa is a common houseplant that adds a touch of greenery to your interior space. It’s easy to grow and requires very minimal care. It’s commonly known as the Swiss Cheese plant due to the structure of the leaves that have splits and holes.
Monstera originates from Central American rainforests, making it a tropical plant. This makes it ideal as a houseplant. When grown outdoors, the plant produces edible fruit that resembles a cob of corn.
This plant can grow quite large when given the right environment, so it will require some support if you’re growing it in a pot.
Quick Guide To Growing Monstera Indoors
- Choose a well-lit spot with lots of filtered, indirect sunlight.
- Select a pot that is large enough so that the plant has plenty of room to grow.
- Use soil with a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5
- Add support to allow for growth – ideally, a moss stick.
- Water around once a week or when the soil feels dry.
What Soil Is Best For Monstera?
Monstera prefers well-drained soil. Any good quality potting mix that is free-draining is good. You can either purchase a commercial potting mix from your local garden center or make your own if you have homemade compost handy.
The potting mix that you use should have a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5, which is slightly acidic.
Here’s an easy recipe if you want to make your own mix.
- 1 part coconut fiber
- 1 part perlite
- 4 parts compost or composted pine bark
Mix all these together well and add a little slow-release fertilizer.
Light Requirements For Monstera
Your Monstera plant should be placed in a well-lit spot that receives filtered, indirect sunlight. Make sure that the plant is not exposed to direct sunlight, as this may scorch the leaves.
Always remember that this plant originates from tropical rainforests. Therefore, it grows most happily in dappled light but loves some humidity.
It’s also important that your Monstera plant receives enough warmth. The ideal temperature for optimum growth is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
From time to time, you might notice that one side of the plant seems to be reaching for the light. To ensure even growth on all sides of the plant, make sure that you rotate the pot occasionally.
One of the best places to put your Monstera is in the kitchen or bathroom. These rooms are often the most humid in your home. Your Monstera will really appreciate the added steam from your shower or your cooking.
Pot Size For Monstera
Monsteras are relatively fast growers. Therefore, your plant will need to be repotted every two years or so. This allows the plant’s root system enough room to grow and provide nutrients and water to the plant.
Initially, you should choose a pot size that is a little larger in height and width than the root ball of the plant. Two to four inches larger should be adequate.
Most importantly, make sure that the pot you select has good drainage holes as Monsteras do not like having wet feet.
Expert tip: If you don’t want your Monstera to grow any larger, you can maintain its current size by keeping it in the same pot. However, you should refresh the potting mix every two years or so.
To repot your Monstera into the same size pot, do the following:
- Take the plant out of the pot and shake off some of the mix.
- Carefully trim the roots, including any that are circling the root ball.
- You may also want to trim off some of the top growth to give the plant a more compact shape.
- Add fresh potting mix to the pot and place your plant into the mix, making sure that the roots are nicely spread at the bottom.
- Water well and keep your plant out of direct sunlight.
Water Requirements For Monstera
Monsteras prefer moderate amounts of water. If you water your plant once a week and let the excess drain away, your plant should grow happily. During the colder weather, depending on your inside temperatures, you may need to water less frequently.
The easiest way to determine when your plant needs water is to poke your finger into the soil and test whether it’s dry or not. If the top one or two inches of soil are dry, then your plant needs some water.
Make sure that the water can drain away easily because if you let the plant sit in water, it could develop root rot.
Another thing to remember is that Monsteras love humidity. Therefore, if your air is fairly dry inside your home, you can give your plant added humidity but misting the leaves in the morning. This provides additional moisture and humidity, and your plant will thrive.
Fertilizing Your Monstera
Monstera puts on new growth during spring and summer. So this is the time that you should give your plant some fertilizer. Choose an organic fertilizer that contains plenty of Nitrogen as this promotes strong green growth.
You can either use a slow-release fertilizer in granular form or an organic liquid fertilizer added to the water around once a month. As the temperature starts to cool down in the fall and winter, you can stop adding fertilizer until the spring.
Prune Your Monstera To Retain A Good Shape
As mentioned, Monsteras are fast growers, and their growth can soon get out of hand if you don’t give the plant a regular prune. Pruning not only keeps your plant in check but also allows you to shape its growth.
Therefore, you should cut back any lanky stems that are not producing too many leaves. Even large leaves can be removed if they seem to be taking over your home. This will not harm the plant, and it will soon retaliate by putting on new growth.
Keeping Your Plant Clean Is Important For Its Health
Plants that we grow indoors tend to gather dust from the air. Monstera has very large leaves, and these can collect a lot of dust over time. Plants like Monstera have pores in their leaves called stomata. These pores help the plant to breathe and also transpire and take in moisture.
That’s why it’s so important to regularly dust the large leaves of your Monstera. The easiest way to do this is to wipe them over with a damp cloth. This should remove most of the dust and debris that has settled on the leaves.
Another thing you can do is place your Monstera in the shower for a few minutes to wash the leaves. This only applies if your plant is easy to move, of course. Make sure that you let all the excess moisture drain away from the soil before putting it back in its normal position.
Important Note: Never use one of those “plant shine” products on your Monstera. This is because these products will leave a film on the leaves that effectively clogs the pores and doesn’t allow the plant to breathe.
Is Monstera An Annual Or A Perennial
Monstera is an evergreen perennial vine. This means that it will continue to grow and thrive for many years. In fact, even when grown indoors, your Monstera can reach a height of 8 feet if you let it get that big.
In its natural environment, a Monstera can grow up to 60 feet tall, and individual leaves can reach up to 2 feet in length.
If well cared for, your indoor Monstera could live around 40 years or more.
Common Problems For Monstera
Monsteras are not known for attracting too many pests or diseases. However, from time to time, their leaves may not look as healthy as they should. Here are some signs you should look out for and what to do about them.
1. The leaves turn yellow or brown.
This could be a sign of overwatering, and it could indicate that your plant is not getting enough light at the same time. The first thing you should do is check the moisture of the soil. If the soil is quite wet, you should let it dry out before you add more water.
Then, adjust you’re watering schedule so that the plant is only watered when the soil is dry. You can trim off the yellow leaves by cutting them at the base.
2. The leaves are starting to curl up
This is most likely a sign that your plant is underwatered. Especially if the edges of the leaves are turning brown. The easiest way to fix this is to place your plant in the shower for a few minutes.
Once the plant is adequately watered, let it drain completely before moving it back to its original position. If your plant is too hard to move, consider filling the saucer under the pot with water so that the roots can soak up all they need. After a few hours, remove the excess water from the saucer.
Then, make sure you keep an eye on your plant and give it water once the top one or two inches of soil dry out.
3. The leaves are drooping or wilting
This could be a sign of either overwatering or underwatering. The easiest way to check which problem your plant has is to poke your finger into the top two inches of soil to see whether the soil is wet or dry.
Once you know the problem, you can remedy it by using either solution 1 or 2 above.
4. There are no holes or splits in the leaves
This could just be a sign that your plant is young and hasn’t matured yet. Quite often, the splits won’t develop until your plant has around 6 or 7 leaves.
On the other hand, it could be an indication that your Monstera is not getting enough light. If you suspect that this could be the problem, move the plant to a brighter area that gets lots of filtered, indirect light.
5. Mealybugs, Mites, and Scale
The only pests that may infect your Monstera are mealybugs, mites, and scale. These small insects usually live on the undersides of the leaves and are fairly easy to control. Just wipe the leaves with a damp cloth that you’ve soaked in some insecticidal soap or a weak solution of water and dish soap.
How To Grow New Monsteras From Cuttings
If you want to have more than one Monstera in your home, you can easily grow these from the cuttings of your original plant. Here’s what to do:
- Take some firm tip cuttings that have at least two leaves.
- Fill a pot with a seed-raising mix or make your own using 1 part coco fiber and 1 part coarse builder’s sand.
- Cut the leaves in half to reduce their surface area.
- Dip the bottom of the cutting into some rooting hormone.
- Make a hole in the pot with a pencil and pop the cutting into the hole, firming the soil around the stem.
- Mist the cuttings well with water.
- Cover the plant with a cloche or an empty soda bottle that you’ve cut the top off.
- Put your cuttings in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight. Roots should start to form in around six to eight weeks.
You can also try rooting your cuttings in water. Just place the cut ends of the stems in a glass of water and put this in a bright spot out of direct sunlight. Remember to change the water daily.
After a few days, you should see roots starting to form. Once there are plenty of roots, you can plant your new Monstera into a pot containing quality potting mix. Make sure to keep the baby plant well watered but not too wet.
This is a great way to add to your houseplant collection or to have some extra plants to give away to family or friends.