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Monstera growing Photo of this monstera is made by roosanur on Instagram

How to care for a Monstera

Monsteras are very recognizable plants with big and beautiful leaves. As they're tropical plants, they can be tough to take care of if you live in a colder climate, but even then, you can be successful with these plants. With these tips, even beginning plant parents will be able to take care of a Monstera. They're low-maintenance plants that are great for any beginning plant owner. Monsteras are also very flexible when it comes to light requirements, so you'll always have a good place for this plant in your house. But how do you take care of it?

In this guide, we'll go over a few different plant care topics and how you can help your Monstera thrive in your house. These topics include:

  1. How much light does a Monstera need?
  2. When do you water a Monstera?
  3. Which soil should you use?
  4. Humidity
  5. Temperature
  6. Repotting
  7. Fertilizing
  8. Propagation
  9. Common pests
  10. Toxicity
  11. Dropping leaves

After you've finished reading this guide, you'll have all the information you need to take care of these beautiful tropical plants.

How much light does a Monstera need?

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The Monstera prefers in bright, indirect sunlight. This is a tropical plant and thrives if you can give it the light it gets in its native environment. In nature, it's on the ground under large trees in very sunny areas, so this plant loves bright, indirect sunlight. Make sure to avoid too much direct sunlight in the summer because this could cause burn marks on those big and beautiful leaves. As the Monstera is near the ground in nature, it can tolerate low light but this will make it grow much slower. The plant needs light to be able to grow. If you keep the Monstera in an area that's too dark, its leaves will turn yellow. If you see this happen, it's a sign that you should move the plant to a better-lit environment.

When do you water a Monstera?

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Monsteras are tropical plants, which means they like to sit in moist soil. When it comes to watering, it needs to be watered as soon as the soil at the top of the pot is dry. You can check this by using a moisture meter or your finger. If the top 5 cm (2 inches) is dry, it's time to water your plant. It's best to not let the soil dry out too much because its leaves will start to droop. When this happens, you need to water the plant as soon as possible, because your Monstera is at risk of drying out. Another sign that your plant is starting to dry out is when you notice brown and crispy edges on the leaves. If you water the Monstera too much or too often, the plant will also tell you. When you overwater the monster, its leaves will turn yellow. When you let the plant tell you what it wants, it'll be easier to help it thrive. Because the plant tells you when something is wrong it makes this plant perfect for beginning plant owners.

Yellow, brown, or black leaf tips

When you see yellow, brown, or black tips on your Monstera leaves, it's a clear sign of overwatering. The best thing to do right now is stop any watering, drain the excess water from the soil and then let the soil dry out before watering again. If you notice your plant has developed root rot, it's best to repot the plant and get it in some fresh (dry) soil.

A rule of thumb to use when watering is this: Only water your plant when the top 5-7cm (2-3 inches) is dry. If you don't check this you risk overwatering your Monstera.

Which soil should you use?

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Monsteras like moist soil, but don't deal with wet soil very well. To help give the Monstera the right amount of moisture to thrive in, you should use well-draining soil. You can avoid letting water sit at the bottom of the pot by choosing a pot with a draining hole at the bottom. The soil will retain all the water your Monstera needs to thrive, but any excess will be drained out of the bottom. This helps you avoid overwatering and root rot.

Humidity

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Monsteras love humidity. They thrive in high humid places because it resembles their native environments. Because of this, it's a great idea to mist your Monstera every day. If you have a humidifier in your house, this is also a great solution. If you know that it's tough for you to keep the humidity high in your house, you can follow some of the steps outlined in "10 ways to raise the humidity in your house". In that guide, we'll go over how you can help your humidity-loving plants thrive.

Temperature

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Along with humidity and plenty of indirect sunlight, this plant also loves warmer temperatures. Normal temperatures in your house are great for most houseplants, including the Monstera. The only thing you should think about when taking care of a Monstera is that you shouldn't put it too close to a cold draft. Monsteras are sensitive when it comes to cold temperatures and sudden drops in temperature could shock the plant. Shocking Monsteras could kill them, so it's best to avoid this situation altogether.

Repotting

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Monsteras grow relatively fast. This means that it's always a good idea to get a pot that's a little bigger than its roots currently are. This gives the plant plenty of space to grow. If your monstera does well and grows consistently, you have to repot it about every two years. That's when it starts to outgrow the pot it's currently in and it'll need more space. If you think that it has grown enough and you don't want it to grow any larger, you can also choose to stop repotting it and prune it back to a size that you prefer. This helps to keep the growth in check.

As you might notice, when the Monstera is growing over a period of a few months, it grows horizontally by nature. This is where that moss pole comes in that you might have seen before. This moss pole trains the Monstera to grow vertically instead of horizontally. If you prefer the plant to grow taller instead of wider, this is what you could use as well. This is completely up to your preferences and is not required in any way.

Fertilizing

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We know that the Monstera can grow quite quickly, so you'd expect it to require a lot of fertilizer, but this is not the case. The Monstera doesn't require a lot of it, not even in the growing period. During the spring and summer, its growing period, you should fertilize the Monstera about once per month and during the dormancy period, fall and winter, you shouldn't fertilize the Monstera at all. During this time its resting and preparing for the next growing period.

Propagation

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Monstera propagation Photo of this Monstera cutting is made by goodgrowing on Instagram

Propagating a Monstera is easier than most plants and there are several ways of doing this. The first way is to prune your Monstera and cut off a larger part of the stem. This way you give your Monstera enough moisture and nutrients to start growing roots on its own. Another way is to wait until the Monstera starts to grow air roots. Your Monstera is now telling you it's ready to be propagated. You can now cut off the stem below the air roots.

You should have a cutting quite similar to the picture above, of course without the fully developed roots. By putting this cutting into water, you help the Monstera stem to grow new roots and become an independent plant. When the roots look like the ones in the picture, it's ready to be planted in soil. And with that, you have a new plant, for free!

Common pests

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A Monstera is quite a tough plant and doesn't really suffer from any pests when it's healthy. When it's under stress, shocked, or weakened it could become vulnerable to a few different pests like scale, mealybugs, and spider mites. You can prevent these pests by listening to what your plant is telling you. If you do notice some pests are showing up, like mealybugs, it's not too late. The first step you should take is to make sure that your plant is getting the proper light and water it needs. The goal is to make sure the Monstera is able to recover from these pests. The second step is to carefully clean the leaves and stems with soapy water. This will drown the pests and allows you to get rid of the pest on the whole plant at once.

The most important thing when dealing with pests is to keep giving your plant a fighting chance by caring for them in the way they prefer: proper light, consistent watering schedule, and a high humidity environment. When the pests are gone this will help the plant to recover more quickly and thrive again.

Toxicity

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Tropical plants are often toxic and the Monstera is no exception, unfortunately. The sap of the stems and leaves could cause indigestion and vomiting in both humans and pets. So try to keep the Monstera away from small children and pets if you know they'll try to eat the stems and leaves.

Dropping leaves

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The leaves on my Monstera are dropping, what's wrong? Often times there is nothing wrong with your plant. Monsteras will drop their old leaves when they're putting out new leaves. The plant is dropping the older leaves to be able to provide the new stems and leaves with nutrients to grow big and strong. So this is completely natural and not a reason to worry about the health of your plant.

Conclusion

As you can see, the Monstera is a beginner-friendly plant. It does take some getting used to if you're coming from succulents or cacti. By following the tips in this guide, you will be able to help this plant thrive. By taking care of Monsteras properly, you'll be able to enjoy this plant for many years and grow it as large as you want to. If you have small children or pets, you might need to take some precautions to protect them and your plant, because it is toxic. Overall, this plant is beginner friendly, because it will tell you what it wants and needs. If it's too dry, it'll get brown and crispy edges on its leaves and if it gets too much water, the leaves will turn yellow. By recognizing the signs the plant shows you, you'll be able to take care of it without too many problems. Even if you're new to taking care of houseplants.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide or donate a plant in order to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: monstera, moss pole, beginner friendly

Posted on: May 31st, 2020 Last updated on: September 18th, 2020

Other common names for this plant

  • Swiss Cheese Plant
  • Monstera Deliciosa
  • Split Leaf Philodendron
  • Mexican breadfruit
  • Hurricane Plant

Frequently asked questions

How much light does a Monstera need?
When do you water a Monstera?
What kind of soil do I use for a monstera?
When do you repot a Monstera?
How often should I fertilize my Monstera?
Is the Monstera vulnerable to pests?
Is the Monstera toxic?
Why are the old leaves on my monstera dropping?
Why are tips of my Monstera turning yellow, brown, or black?

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