Some of us have jumped in on the love for the absolutely beautiful Monstera collection! But with there being 48 varieties of Monsteras, how can you choose your favorite? Some of the most common types we have in our homes are Monstera Deliciosa, Adansonii, Variegata (Thai Constellation), and Borsigiana. Since they’re not the cheapest plant to buy, making sure we can provide them with optimal care is important.
These gorgeous plants, belonging to the Arum family of plants, are an epic display in our homes and outdoor gardens! They’re a tropical vine from the rainforests of Mexico and Central America that grow below the forest canopy in filtered light. It’s important to understand their natural, outdoor habitat, so that we can mimic it indoors to create the perfect environment for them.
Monsteras live in a warmer climate and ideally enjoy growing between 70-85 degrees fahrenheit. They can tolerate colder temperatures (no lower than 45 degrees) but do not thrive or produce new growth at this temperature. You can bring your Monsteras outside in the summer and place in a filtered light area to help support an incredible growing season. Just don’t forget to Bring it Back Inside!
When it’s watering time for these plants, they like a good long drink till water is pouring out the bottom of the pot. It’s important to let at least the top two inches (do the knuckle test) be totally dry before watering, as Monsteras require less watering in the winter.
They also really love humidity, so use a pebble tray, humidifier or mist the plant weekly to create a more humid environment.
Monsteras thrive in bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light. East facing windows are ideal, but light from a south facing window which is filtered or indirect is good too. They will tolerate the low light of a north if that’s your only option. Because they reach for light, it’s a good idea to rotate your plant for even growth on all sides.
Monsteras love high draining soil and really do not like having their feet wet (water sitting in the bottom of the pot). Using a simple potting soil mixed with lots of peat moss is ideal to create that flow.
It’s good to fertilize your plant 1-2 times a month during the growing season with ½ the strength of the recommended dose. You can use a liquid fertilizer, a slow release granule one, fish emulsion or top the pot with worm casing to release nutrients.
Growth and Staking
Monsteras can grow over 60 feet in length outdoors and up to 10 indoors! This makes it ideal for locations that they can really take over. They like to climb so a stake can be helpful, but not necessary, for their growth. Some ideas to use as a stake are moss poles, wooden dowels/driftwood/branches, bamboo or wooden trellises.
It’s really important that they grow in a pot with drainage holes as they’re susceptible to root rot. When you need to repot your plant, make sure you go up 1-2 sizes and take some time to loosen up the roots before placing in it’s new home.
Some varieties of Monsteras have very large leaves, so dusting them off is vital to support photosynthesis. One easy way to clean off your plants leaves is to give them a shower at watering time and just rinse off the dust. You can also do it the manual way by using a duster, or spraying cloth with water or insecticidal soap and wiping the top and bottom of each leaf. One bonus to cleaning your leaves manually is you’re able to inspect your plant for common pests and problems, and deal with them before it turns into an outbreak.
Wilting or Drooping leaves
This is usually a sign of over or underwatering your plant. A simple check with your finger or a water meter should help you figure it out. If your soil is dry, make sure you give it a drink big enough to have water coming out the bottom of the pot.
Black and Brown spots
Monsteras are very sensitive to the sun and will burn very easily if placed in direct light. Black and brown spots are usually a sign of being sunburnt and the solution would be to move it out of direct sunlight and into a filtered or indirect light location.
Black and Yellow splotches
This is generally caused by a fungus. The easiest solution is to remove the infected leaves at the base of the stem. This will help prevent the fungus from spreading.
Unfortunately this is a sign of root rot on your Monstera. As soon as you notice, it’d be good to dig up the plant, clean/inspect the roots and remove any damaged ones from the plant. Repot in new soil, making sure it’s high draining and in a pot with holes in the bottom.
Yellow or Brown leaves
There’s all sorts of things that can cause yellow or brown leaves, so it’s good to go through each one to eliminate what’s causing the issue. Overwatering or under fertilizing your Monstera can cause this to happen. Check your soil for moisture content and if it’s been awhile since you’ve fertilized, give it some plant food at ½ strength. Too much light and being too close to a heater/vent can cause this too. A simple location change can fix that. It’s important to remove the damaged leaves from the base so the plant doesn’t have to put extra effort into keeping them alive.
This generally happens when your plant is underwatered. Make sure it gets a big drink, enough to have water coming out the bottom of the pot.
If your Monstera isn’t producing any fenestration (holes/slits in leaves) there are a couple factors that come into play. One is that your plant might be too young to be fenestrating. Usually plants are a couple years old before they’re able to produce leaves like this. The other factor that you can control is that it may not be getting enough light. Move to a brighter (still indirect light) location and see if that makes a difference.
Monsteras did make it on our list of Toxic houseplants to be aware of, so please do not eat any part of the plant (fruit included if growing indoors) as it will create moderate mouth and stomach irritation.
Hopefully now you’ll feel confident in having a Monstera in your home and know how to give it proper care! They’re such a gorgeous addition to your plant collection and we feel it’s worth investing both time and money into them.