How to Care for and Grow Your Monstera Deliciosa
This stylish and iconic plant from the art deco era has made a comeback in a big way and is more popular than ever. Known for its striking split leaves and ability to grow to enormous sizes in the wild and indoors, it's becoming a popular staple for interior designers and modern artists alike. Though extremely beautiful, it can be a bit of a picky plant and quickly expresses any neglect it might encounter. Read on to discover how to keep your Monstera happy, healthy, and beautiful.
Monsteras prefer bright indirect light, though they can adjust to medium levels of light. Keep them out of harsh direct sunlight, as too much of it can scorch their leaves!
Let your Monstera dry out between waterings. Water thoroughly when topsoil is dry, usually once a week. Avoid overwatering, and note that your watering schedule may be less frequent during winter months.
In prime conditions, the Monstera is an incredibly fast grower and can grow up to 10 feet tall indoors. Most growth occurs during spring and summer.
Common problems with Monsteras
Leaves turning yellow, brown, or black
If you see yellow or brown leaves on your Monstera, you may be overwatering. This could also be an issue of too much water and not enough light — make sure your plant is getting the right ratio of each!
Before you diagnose, rest assured that you can remove any yellow or brown leaves by simply cutting them off at the base. Then, check the soil, and if it’s wet to the touch (particularly at the bottom), then let it dry out completely before watering again. Overwatering can lead to more severe ailments and that may eventually require you change the soil.
If the leaves of your Monstera are curling, your plant is most likely under-watered. You can easily fix this issue by giving your plant a thorough “shower” — take it out of its decorative pot and place it outside or in a bathtub. Give it plenty of water and let it drain out completely before putting it back in its pot. Another method is to let it sit in water for a few hours, giving the roots a chance to drink up!
Leaves wilting or drooping
If your Monstera looks droopy or the leaves are wilting, this could be one of two things — overwatering, or under-watering! Easy, right? Check the soil (always check the soil!). If it’s bone dry, follow the instructions above to give it a good shower. If it’s moist, you most likely overwatered it and should wait until it’s dried out before watering again. During this time, make sure it’s getting enough light (bright indirect is ideal) so that it can dry out properly. A little extra airflow never hurt either!
No splits on the leaves
No splits? No problem! No splits on the leaves of Monsteras is not always a sign of distress. If your plant is young, rest assured that sometimes it’s not until the plant has unfurled six or seven leaves that the splits start to show up. Alternatively, your plant may not be getting enough light. If you suspect this is the case, move it to an area with more bright indirect light and wait!
How to maintain a beautiful and healthy Monstera Deliciosa
Take care of your Monstera and it will take care of you! Below are simple tips to continue caring for your Monstera over time.
Pruning - Remove dry or dead leaves all year round, but save any major pruning for the spring and summer months. When pruning your Monstera, use sharp, clean shears and cut any excessive growth at the base of the stem.
Cleaning - Take each leaf between two soft tissue cloths and wipe off the top to reveal a healthy shine (also helps the plant soak in more light!).
Repotting - Houseplants grow much slower than they would in the wild. Depending on the size of your plant and the density of the roots, this is nice to do every 2-3 years to provide fresh nutrients and encourage new growth.
When to repot - Monsteras are known for their aerial roots, and it’s not uncommon to see them outside of the soil. However, the plant will show you it’s ready for a bigger pot when the time comes, as the larger stems, and their roots, will literally begin to climb out of the pot.
Pot sizing - if you want your plant to grow taller, find a nursery pot that’s 2” in diameter larger than the current pot. If you want your plant to stay the same height, you can reuse the same pot and simply change the soil.
Get your hands dirty - spread out newspaper on the floor, remove the plant from the pot and shake off as much of the old soil as possible so that you have clean roots. Place the plant in the center of the pot, add new soil and pat down firmly. Water the soil thoroughly and place the plant in an area with bright indirect light. Your plant will take 2-4 weeks to settle from the shock and adjust to its new home.
Staking - Some Monstera owners like to stake their plant not only for aesthetic purposes but also to support the plant and help it grow more vertically. You can do this by simply inserting a moss totem and attaching the stems of the plant to it with prongs.
How to propagate a Monstera Deliciosa
Whether you want to recycle your Monstera cuttings or you simply want to create a new plant, know that the Monstera, thanks to its aerial roots, is one of the easiest plants to propagat. Though there are many ways to do this, water propagation is generally the easiest way to go about it. Follow these instructions to propagate your Monstera Deliciosa:
Select a stem to propagate - Using sharp, clean scissors or shears, cut an inch or two below an aerial root. You don’t have to propagate with an aerial root, but this is a guaranteed way of propagation success!
Place in water - Find a clear glass and fill with water. Make sure only the stem is submerged, and no leaves are sitting in the water.
Place in a bright area and wait! - Avoid any direct sun. You may need to change the water out every few days to keep it fresh. It usually takes just a few days for the root to start growing.
Transfer to soil - After a week or so, transfer to indoor potting soil. A small pot is best — no larger than 6” in diameter.
Keep hydrated - During the first few weeks, or until your plant feels firmly rooted in its soil, regularly water and drain your Monstera. The soil should be just barely moist to the touch at all times.