Monstera Deliciosa Care
PRO TIP: Monsteras are climbing plants and love to ascend vertical surfaces. If you want to grow your Monstera tall instead of wide, use stakes or moss sticks to guide its growth upward.
A species of flowering plant native to southern Mexico and Panama, Monstera deliciosa is a hardy and easy to care for plant known by many names, but most commonly the “Swiss cheese plant” due the unique development of ridges and holes on its more mature leaves, known as fenestrations. The “deliciosa” part of the plant’s name comes from the pineapple-like fruit it bears in its natural habitat!
Monsteras appreciate a warm, humid environment, a good amount of water and gentle sunlight. Place your Monstera where it can receive medium to bright indirect light. While it is tolerant of lower light conditions, you may notice leggy growth as a result, so a spot where it will receive bright indirect light a few feet removed from a southern, western, or eastern facing window is ideal.
If you are unsure of the lighting conditions in your home of office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.
The Monstera's iconic splits typically only occur in the plant's more mature leaves, and only if the plant is placed in ideal conditions. If yours has plenty of light but no splits, just be patient!
PRO TIP: Although typically slow growing, during the spring and summer months you can use an organic fertilizer on your Monstera once a month to encourage new growth.
Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. Also, consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breathe and allow moisture to be released.
Monsteras prefer soil that is lightly moist, and generally like to dry out a little bit between waterings. As epiphytes with aerial roots, they are sensitive to overwatering, so they don’t want to sit in soggy soil. Once the top 2 to 4 inches of the soil are dry, your plant might use a drink.
Rotate your Monstera periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests. While Monsteras are more resistant to pests than many other low light tropicals, they are prone to both thrips and mealybug.
Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Monstera and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Help! How can I tell if my Monstera is over or under watered?
- Most often yellowing occurs due to over or underwatering. If you see a combination of yellow and brown on the same leaf, it is typically due to overwatering. If fully yellow leaves, along with some brown crispy spots on additional leaves occur then it could be underwatering. Check in with the soil to determine if it matches your diagnosis.
There are leafless brown growths coming off of my Monstera. Is that normal?
- Yes! These are aerial roots and they are totally normal. In nature, these are what helps give support to the plant and allow it to climb and reach more light. The roots will not damage walls or surfaces, and you can always prune them if they get unruly.
My Monstera isn’t forming splits or holes on its leaves. What’s the deal?
- Also known as "fenestrations," the lack of splits and holes in the leaf of a Monstera can be caused by many different factors, but generally it means the plant isn't settled in an ideal environment. Check in with the amount of light and water it is receiving, and adjust as needed. You can also take your plant's aerial roots and push them down into the soil so the plant can absorb more nutrients. Keep in mind, your plant will only develop holes on its more mature leaves, so sometimes you just have to exercise patience.
My Monstera has gotten way too big. What can I do?
- Prune it back! Monsteras are very hardy and can handle a good trim. You can also train your Monstera to grow whichever way your heart desires by using stakes and ties.
How often should I fertilize my plant?
- In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery Unlimited uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil, so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.
How often does my plant need to be repotted?
- For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.
ABOVE: The arial roots in the photo above are not necessarily and indication that this plant needs to be repotted. However the soil level has receded to a few inches below the lip, and a lot of the aeration components of the soil have surfaced. Both of these observations can be an indication that the plant is ready for new soil and a slightly larger pot.
Monstera deliciosa don't need a ton of soil mass relative to the size of the plant, but note that over time they will develop aerial roots that will spill over the top of your planter. To maximize leaf growth and size, train your Monstera to grow up a wooden, board, moss pole or other type of trellis. Due to how the leaves will spread, we think these plants look great in an elevated planter, especially one with a stand.
Standard Planter Instructions
All of our Standard Planters include a removable drainage plug to give our customers the option of drainage. While no drainage is sometimes preferred for its aesthetic simplicity, we don't recommend this option for beginners as watering mistakes can be hard to rectify.
Whether you choose to use drainage or not, we always recommend using a layer of drainage (such as our Aeration Stones) at the base of the planter. A drainage layer allows the plant's roots access to oxygen in the pockets between the drainage medium, and a lack of drainage can cause anaerobic damage to your plant.
If you decide to utilize the drainage hole for your pot, make sure to include a Plant Saucer beneath your pot to collect excess water. For most plants in standard planters, we recommend watering about once a week. Water the soil mass until water begins pooling in your Plant Saucer.
With no drainage hole, you will need to be more precise in your watering. While we would love to give you a specific measurement of water to provide for your plant, the reality is that a plant's water requirements vary wildly depending on factors such as light exposure and the overall health of the plant. You will need to learn to tell when the plant is thirsty based on how its foliage looks. Droopy foliage is usually the first sign: when your plant looks a little slumped over that's usually a visual indicator that it's thirsty.
The best solution for checking your plant's moisture level, drainage hole of not, is to use a Soil Probe to determine the moisture content of the soil at the bottom of the planter.
Self Watering Planter Instructions
The Self-Watering Planters require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first planted. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Water your plant from the top for two to four weeks before using the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for longer.
TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the bottom water reservoir. If the water in the reservoir is absorbed into the planter, it means the plant is ready for regular reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks until the plant has started drinking from the reservoir.
RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the reservoir empties on its own, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, most plants require a drying out period. Allow for the reservoir to empty all the way between watering. All plants are different in their needs so the amount of time the reservoir sits empty will need to be determined, but know that for most plants this period is between 1-3 days.
From here on out, you should rarely topwater the plant while using the reservoir system. Watering from below allows the plant to drink at its own pace, and can help combat certain issues like fungus gnats by allowing the top layer of soil to dry out more. Please note that if your plant's soil dries out too much, it can impair the wicking ability of the Aeration Stones in your planter. If your soil becomes too dry, we recommend giving it a thorough watering.
For more information on our Self Watering Planters include planting instructions, visit our blog post on How to Use Our Self-Watering Pots.
Aeration Stones promote healthy root growth by creating air pockets in the soil and absorbing excess water in the basin of your planter. These porous clay stones are a natural, efficient and invaluable material to set your plant up for success. We always suggest using these when working with a planter without drainage holes.
ARS Stainless Steel Pruners
Salts and moisture from potting soil wreaks havoc on cheaper metals. Stainless steel is one of the most durable metals available on a consumer scale, and these heavy duty pruners are built to take a beating. Great for pruning jobs large and small.
Neem Oil is an all purpose insecticide, miticide, and fungicide used for organic gardening. It's systemic, which means the plant will absorb the neem oil into its circulatory system and poison pests from within. Be careful not to overuse, as this can weaken plants and cause discoloration.
Plants do poorly without air to the roots. Overwatering causes the air to be pushed out of the soil, compacting the soil around the waterlogged roots of the plant. Using the Soil Probe aerates the soil as it checks for moisture.
Watering cans come in all shapes and sizes, and the perfect one for your home is the one you're happiest living with. Look for long spouts and a container volume that's appropriate for your plant collection.
Fox Farm Ocean Forest contains all the features we look for when aiming to ensure the long term health of a plant: excellent water retention, breathability, texture, and is made from organic materials.
10-4-3 fertilizer is a great, gentle choice for indoor foliage. Simply mix this in to your watering can using the supplied directions every other week. Ensure that your plant is receiving a good amount of light, otherwise it won't have the energy to process the nutrients and burnt tips may occur on the foliage.