monstera plant care: how to keep them happy

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monstera plant care: how to keep them happy

plant description

Most species belonging to the genus Monstera grow glossy, dark green perforated leaves that are sure to add an airy, tropical feel to your home. As a houseplant, Monsteras grow thick vines and roots, requiring additional staking for support when the plant matures and reaches larger than life sizes. And perhaps best of all, this beautiful indoor plant can tolerate a variety of conditions and will grow rapidly in ideal conditions, making it a must-have addition to any indoor plant enthusiast’s collection.

I mean, do you even indoor plant without a Monstera, bro?

plant facts

common nameMonstera, Swiss Cheese Plant, Fruit Salad Plant, Mexican Bread Fruit, Ceriman
botanical nameMonstera spp.
no. of speciesapproximately 45
familyAraceae
biological life cycleperennial
foliageevergreen
mature size13-26 feet high, 5-8 feet wide
time to maturity1-3 growing seasons, 10-20 years to reach full size
origintropical forests of Southern Mexico to Panama
light conditionsbright, indirect light 
soil typewell-draining moist soil full of organics and peat
soil pHacidic to neutral (5.5-7)
USDA Zone10-12
toxicityslightly toxic to humans toxic to pets

Aside from the species Deliciosa, which is by far the most popular of all Monstera varieties, there are a ton of other awesome plants in the Monstera genus that have all the amazing features you’d come to expect from these types of plants.

  • Similar to the Monstera Deliciosa is the Monstera Adansonii. One way to distinguish the two is their size, with the Monstera Adansonii having much smaller leaves. Additionally, the Deliciosa leaf holes will gravitate towards the edge as they age, whereas the holes that the Adansonii have typically remain intake and don’t split at the edge of the plant’s leaves.
  • Monstera Borsigniana is a very interesting and versatile house plant to keep. As well as being grown indoors, in the warm climates where it grows naturally Borsigniana can be grown outdoors in patio planters or planted in the ground. It will grow up to 1m tall and wide with a single stem and a crown of leaves at its top. The leaves typically form two neat rows of holes/slits instead of your swiss cheese pattern that’s common in the Deliciosa species.
  • The more rare but highly-priced Monstera Variegata is arguably the most striking of all the Monstera varieties. Picture a Deliciosa leaf with white and pale green color variations; a perfect example of the genius of horticulturists and plant geneticists. To further add to the allure of this beautiful-looking variety, with each leaf a new variation of patterning and color variation blends to produce yet another great example of why this plant is so highly regarded amongst the indoor plant community.
monstera plant

how to take care of a monstera

light 🔆

Best light: bright, indirect light

The Monstera plant prefers bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight, especially in warmer months, could cause the Monstera leaf to burn. During months when the sun is weaker, placing the Monstera plant in direct sunlight can help for better coloring and leaf growth. 

water 💧

Water needs: once a week during the growing season (spring to fall), less frequently during colder months

Water the Monstera Deliciosa plant at least once a week. The soil should dry slightly before watering again. In warmer months and brighter lighting conditions, expect to water the plant more frequently than in colder months and darker lighting.

Learn more: how often to water monstera plants

humidity 🌫️

The Monstera Deliciosa thrives in moderate to high humidity environments, and can also grow in normal humidity environments. To increase humidity indoors, use a mister with demineralized water or rainwater. A humidifier can also be a great addition to any indoor tropical plant collection.

temperature 🌡️

The ideal temperature for Monstera Deliciosa plants is between 65°F (18°C) to 85°F (30°C). Avoid temperatures below 60°F (15°C).

fertilizer 💩

Fertilizer is not necessary for the Swiss Cheese plant. However, a balanced liquid fertilizer can be used during the growing season every few weeks.  

soil 🪨

Soil Type: equal parts peat-based potting soil and loam-based compost

pH level: between 5.5-7 for strong growth

Use humus-rich, moist, and well-draining soil for the Monstera Deliciosa to grow and flourish. An ideal mix is equal parts of loose potting soil (such as peat-based potting soil) and compost (such as loam-based compost). Overall, the monstera plant can thrive in most well-draining and moderately moist soil. Additionally, any pH level works well with the monstera. 

Learn more: here’s the best soil for monstera plants

repotting 🪴

Monstera plants are fast-growing plants. With that in mind, it’s best to repot them every 1-2 years depending on pot size and growing conditions. For each repot, it’s best to transplant them into a pot that’s at least a few inches wider and deeper if not bigger.

propagation 🌱

Monstera is more commonly propagated by stem cuttings. Swiss cheese plant cuttings are easy to root. With cuttings, you have the option of rooting them in water first or simply sticking them straight into the soil. Cuttings should be taken just after a leaf node, removing the bottom-most leaves. For best results, use a high-quality rooting hormone in the water or on the propagation wound to encourage root growth. This will help the plant produce more roots in less time and increase the likelihood the plant will take.

Stems and leaves respond well to trimming. Cuttings can be used to start new plants. However, the most popular method of propagating M. deliciosa is air-layering, for which you’ll need sharp and clean pruning shears, floral or sphagnum moss, a plastic bag, and twist ties.

First, find a leaf that is growing out of a stem and has a short aerial root below it. Cut a small notch about one-third of the stem’s width, just below that root. Wrap where the leaf joins the stem in a one-inch layer of sphagnum moss. Spray the moss with water to increase moisture and wrap it in plastic. Use twist ties to secure it. Ensure the moss remains moist until roots develop. Finally, cut the stem and establish the young plant in the soil.

Monsera deliciosa, sometimes called the swiss cheese or cheese plant, is a (w)holesome plant companion that grows abundantly when well-loved. Learn how to love up your cheese plant here!

pruning 🌿

As a vining plant, the Monstera Deliciosa uses its aerial roots to climb upwards. In its native habitat, it uses tree branches to grow. A moss pole or wooden stake in the middle of the pot can provide indoor support to help the vines climb. If aerial roots are in the way or become disorderly, they can be trimmed without harming the Monstera plant. Placing them back into the pot is also another option.

If the monstera has reached optimal growth, pruning off new growth can help to prevent further growth. 

pests and diseases 🐛

Pests: scale, thrips, spider mites, and gnats 

The Monstera Deliciosa is not highly susceptible to pests and disease, but they can be prone to common pests. Some of the most common include spider mites, mealybug, thrips, and scale. Using a damp sponge or spraying leaves directly with water can help keep foliage clean and free of dust and debris. Using an insecticidal soap is also a popular option.

plant care tips

  1. To curb excessive growth, avoid re-potting too often and prune regularly by trimming off new growth.
  2. Although the Monstera Deliciosa is a very popular indoor plant option, it can also thrive in certain outdoor conditions. To grow a Swiss cheese plant outside, ensure the environment is in USDA zones 10-12.

Common Problems / FAQs: 

Yellowing leaves, black stems, wet potting mix, root rot

-> It’s possible overwatering is occurring or that the soil mix is not well-draining. The Monstera should only be watered once the top few inches of soil are dry. 

Wilting leaves, consistent dry potting mix

-> The Swiss cheese plant is most likely being under-watered, or is pot-bound and needs to be repotted into a larger container.

Crispy brown leaves and leaf edges

-> The Monstera plant could be receiving too harsh of direct sunlight or is in need of more frequent watering.

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