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Monstera is a fast-growing aroid (Acaceae family) native to tropical and warm subtropical areas. Despite its toxicity to pets and children, it is one of the most popular houseplants.
Grown for its unique fruit, Monstera is a cultivated crop in warmer climates such as Florida. It is a fast-growing hemiepiphyte that can reach up to 40 feet or more (~12m plus). Indoors, Monstera will generally grow to about 4 feet, depending on the support structure provided and pot size.
Six Factors That Affect Monstera Growing Speed
The following factors may have a bearing on the health of your Monstera plant and the speed with which it develops:
- Ambient Temperatures
- Humidity Levels
- Root Health
- Light Quality and Levels
- Vining Support
Let’s take a synoptical view of each of these growth factors.
As mentioned, the Monstera is a tropical plant and prefers warmer temperatures.
Ensure your indoor plant’s vitality and vigor by maintaining an environment where the nighttime temperature never drops below 55°F (12°C) and daytime temperatures between 68 to 85 ⁰F (20 to 30 ⁰C).
When propagating, maintain the temperature at around 77°F (25°C) until the plant is fully established.
The essential part of managing humidity for your Monstera standleyana is keeping it constant. Fluctuating humidity levels will cause your plant to lose leaves. Aim to maintain a humidity level of above 60%.
A 50% humidity level means that the air holds half the total amount of moisture it can contain.
To achieve a 60% relative humidity level, you will need to implement one of the following three solutions:
- Cluster plants together so that their combined transpiration boost relative humidity
- Place the pot in a tray of LECA that is kept damp. The evaporation will boost relative humidity
- Acquire a humidifier, opting for one that provides a reasonable cycle between needing a refill.
Overwatering is the main reason why potted plants die. When surrounded by water, roots cannot absorb oxygen.
Like humans, roots can go without food for three weeks (about), without water for three days, and without air for about three minutes.
The general rule is to only water when necessary. Water thoroughly when the soil is dry, drenching the roots by filling the pot with water.
The aim is to ensure the roots in the bottom two-thirds of the pot get enough water and remove accumulated salts in the soil.
If water drainage is compromised, consider repotting using a slightly larger pot and potting soil that drains well yet retains some moisture.
Light Quality and Levels
Most aroids need plenty of dappled light, especially for maintaining variegation. Monstera standleyana is a medium-light plant that needs 15 watts of light per square foot.
In the Northern Hemisphere, medium bright light (100 – 500 FC) indoors will be provided by the sun entering an east or west-facing window.
The sun entering south-facing or west-facing windows will provide high indoor light (500 – 1000 FC).
Most plants require a period of darkness to develop correctly, so illuminate them for no more than 16 hours each day, especially if using artificial light combined with natural light.
While monsteras can flourish even in low fertility, some added compost will boost their growth. I like using organic fertilizer (blood meal, bone meal, kelp, guano, etc.) on my indoor plants.
A complete mix includes nitrogen, phosphate, potash, and magnesium.
Repeat a quarter-diluted application every two months for the first year, then gradually increase the amount of fertilizer to half-dilution every 4 to 6 months as the vine grows.
Once the plant is established, fertilize it in early spring and then again in October. Don’t fertilize during the winter when the plant is not actively growing.
An occasional application of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) will also benefit growth speed.
As epiphytes, monsteras adhere to tree trunks by putting their aerial roots into the framework, allowing them to grow and thrive.
Stakes help you emulate the Monstera’s natural habitat indoors, helping them grow stronger, access more light, and even access alternative sources of moisture and nutrients.
Moss poles offer your Monstera the following advantages:
- Promote bigger, more developed leaves
- Assist the plant’s development and growth,
- Provide an additional source of nutrients and water in the coconut coir
- Improve light exposure, promoting better fenestration
- Vining improves light availability, photosynthesis, and stronger variegation for variegated plants.
Monstera is a fast-growing aroid that does brilliantly indoors despite being a subtropical plant. By giving it an environment with medium light, well-draining soil, and support upon which it can express its epiphytical habit, you can help your Monsteras flourish.