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Monstera, native to Central America, are evergreen tropical vines and shrubs. They are known for their unique and naturally perforated leaves, leading to their Swiss Cheese Plant moniker. You may have encountered this plant on the internet, as it has become one of the most sought-after plants due to its peculiar looks.
Besides its good looks, Monstera deliciosa is also hardy, easy to grow, and virtually thrives with little care; it also comes as no surprise that monstera plants favor a warm, humid environment, making them ideal for indoors.
Usually seen in wall art and home décor prints, Monstera has become a hit on Instagram and Pinterest. But to give your house a new vibe, you might want to grow an actual Monstera plant. So, how good of a house plant is it? Read on to get your answers.
Types of Monstera Plant
Before discussing what makes Monstera a good houseplant, let us know the types of species of the plant. There are two major species of Monstera cultivated as houseplants – Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii. These are distinguished based on the looks and length of their leaves.
Monstera adansonii has longer, tapered leaves with completely enclosed leaf holes, while Monstera deliciosa has leaf holes that grow towards the edge and open up as they mature.
However, there are as many as 48 different species of Monstera. Not all of them can be grown indoors; some are extremely rare. The species mentioned above are great houseplants; one can easily find them in their local nursery.
Basics of Growing Monstera
Once you have picked up a variety to grow, it is time to know what your plant requires to thrive. Here are a few things that you need to consider:
Sunlight and Humidity
Monstera likes bright to medium indirect light. So, you should avoid putting it in a spot that gets intense and direct sun as it can result in burnt or yellow leaves. It is better to pick a spot that offers dappled light.
However, it may acclimate to such a growing setting and withstand it over time. But do not let it sit in a spot that receives too little light, as the plant may grow leggy.
Be sure you can maintain its ideal temperature of around 70°F, along with a bit of humidity. But ensure that the temperature does not go below 60. For this, you can consider placing it near your bathroom or kitchen, where the humidity level tends to be higher.
But if you choose another spot, you can continuously mist it to balance the humidity level. Or you can consider investing in a fine-mist mister or humidifier to help increase indoor humidity levels.
As mentioned earlier, Monstera thrives on neglect. Thus, you do not have to water this plant as often. Watering them every 1-2 weeks would be enough, allowing the soil to dry out. However, you might want to water your plant more often if the sun is brighter and the soil seems to dry up quicker.
To know whether or not your plant needs a drink, you can poke a finger in the soil will help you see if it is dry. You should water your plant if the soil seems dry to around 2 inches.
Other than this, Monstera is a plant that thrives in peaty and well-draining soil. Moreover, soil that remains soggy for a long time can result in root rot. So, do not water the plant often and let the excess water drain away before its next drink.
So, you can consider using a well-draining potting mix. And you can even mix in some ingredients that will help increase soil aeration. Usually, perlite or lava rocks are the best options.
Taking Care of Your Monstera Plant
While there are a bunch of prerequisites for growing a Monstera plant, you also need to take proper care of your plant as it matures. Here are a few things to consider:
Growing a plant is one thing, but producing lush and verdant leaves is another. So, if you wish to see the green leafy growth of your Monstera plant, you need to feed it.
Your plant is actively growing during the spring and summer seasons, so it is recommended that you keep the soil reasonably moist this time.
Also, you can add a leaf plant liquid fertilizer once a month to accelerate its growth.
You can limit watering and avoid adding fertilizer when the temperature decreases. These simple steps will build a strong foundation for the plant, promote growth, and ensure better root health.
Monsteras, as their name suggests, can grow to become huge plants. So, they may require repotting every 2 to 4 years, which is vital to support their emerging root system.
While picking, a planter must have at least one drainage hole underneath because Monstera prefers well-drained soil.
To further improve the water flow, you can layer the bottom of the planter with some pebbles and gravel.
However, if you wish your plant to maintain its size, you can trim away the foliage and some roots. After this, you need to offer your plant some new soil, and you can plant it again in the same pot. But be sure your planter is deep enough, as Monsteras are natural climbers.
Pruning is one of the best ways to train your plant toward growth. And since Monstera can have a running nature, pruning will ensure it does not cover your house.
You can also use ties and stakes to keep the plant well-maintained and manicured. Also, you should consider cutting a few stems if you see no leaves on them. These prunings can be placed in water to create new plants.
Pests and Diseases
Monsteras are usually not affected by pests. However, specific bugs under the leaves can bother the plant.
To avoid this, you only need to wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth, remove dust from the leaves, and improve the plant’s growth.
And if you come across any pests, you can use a gentle insecticide or a kitchen detergent solution to wipe the leaves.
As mentioned earlier, Monstera is hardy, easy to maintain, and usually pest-free. But there can be specific common issues that one can witness in their Monstera plants. Let us discuss:
- Leaves turning brown and crispy on the edges
Cause: Water-deprived plant or salt build-up
- Yellowing of leaves or black stems, overly-damp potting mix
Cause: Overwatered planter
- Wilting plant and dry potting mix
Cause: Underwatered or pot-bound plant
Bonus Tips to Incorporate Monstera as a Houseplant
By now, you would know that Monstera can grow into a huge plant, requiring a lot of space. So, it will for a tremendous statement-making plant.
Putting it in a central spot in your living room rather than just putting it on a tight corner or a window side will instantly enhance your home’s overall look and appeal.
Also, Monstera tends to climb trees and other rainforest plants as natural climbers. So, it is better to offer some support to your plant indoors.
Adding a pole nearby the plant or a small trellis will help the plant grow, but it will also offer the room a pleasant and unique look.
If having a whole Monstera plant is something that you cannot handle, or if your plant is running rampant, you can consider taming it in a clear glass vase.
This way, you will be able to appreciate its beauty while also ensuring that it does not cover up your entire living room.
Why Do Monstera Plants Have Holes?
Now that people are getting to know more about this unique plant, this is one of the most common questions that is being asked regarding Monstera. And while there are a bunch of theories, the holes in the leaves of Monstera remain a mystery.
These holes are believed to allow the plant to withstand heavy rains, as they are usually found in rainforests. The holes ensure the leaves do not sustain significant damage due to heavy rains.
Also, the holes are believed to help them resist high winds from tropical storms. Maybe this is why Monstera is also known to be the hurricane plant.
Another theory says that the holes in the leaves allow sunlight and water to reach the rest of the plant.
The most likely explanation is that holes in the leaves allow more of the rainforest’s limited sunlight and water to reach the rest of the plant since plants that grow below the thick canopy must develop adaptations to get more of both.
The perforated leaves are stunning, making Monstera a great indoor plant, no matter the reason.
Monstera Minima / Mini Monstera
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is sometimes mistaken for Monstera and, despite its common name, is not part of the same family, Nor is it a philodendron. It has an entirely different growing habit which can throw some people off.
If you want more beautiful houseplants, here is a video where I take you around my growing room. You will find some great indoor plants in this video:
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Monstera Dangerous for Pets?
Monsteras can irritate cats, dogs, and even humans if the foliage is consumed, and this is because it contains insoluble calcium oxalates. Thus, it becomes essential for you to keep the houseplant out of the reach of pets and children.
Why Won’t the Leaves of My Monstera split?
The huge holes on the Monstera plant eventually split, which usually requires a lot of light. So, if your leaves do not split, consider increasing the light your plant receives. Any plant requires sunlight to create the energy needed to support the healthy growth of the plant.
And in the case of Monstera, offering large and fenestrated leaves requires an exceptional amount of energy. While the plant would survive with a minimum amount of light, you will witness that the new leaves are not so big and lack big holes and slits.
How Can I Propagate My Monstera?
Propagating the Monstera plant is quite exciting. One can easily do this by taking a cutting and immersing it in water, and it can also be done through air layering. Here is a complete blog that tells you about four different ways Monstera can be propagated.
How much light does my Monstera need?
Monstera plants like bright and indirect sunlight; you can put them in the brightest light, which usually means being near an east- or south-facing window where the light does not hit the leaves because this can cause sunburn. As a rule of thumb, your Monstera should never cast a shadow.
How often should I water my Monstera?
It would be best to water when the top inch or two of soil is dry to the touch, which should happen every 7-10 days. If you wait longer than that for the soil to dry out, your plant might need more light or a pot with better drainage. Use a moisture meter like this to know precisely how thirsty your Monstera is.
One does not usually go wrong with the Monstera plant. And we are sure that this plant, with its deep green lush foliage, will help you enhance the overall look of your home effortlessly. So, are you ready to bring your new Monstera plant home?