Skip to Content

Repotting Store-Bought Monstera! What To Consider First.

This article may contain affiliate links. We get paid a small commission from your purchases. More Affiliate Policy

You can buy Monstera plants from your local store or nursery or use our online offer. The business model of most producers is to cultivate plants, minimize input costs, and maximize turnover – it’s how businesses survive. It’s no wonder then that your newly acquired Monstera will need some tender loving care.

Most commercially available Monstera plants are sold in 4-inch to 12-inch pots and are on the verge of becoming root-bound. Monsteras have two unnegotiable needs – their roots demand access to air, and the leaves require a lot of light.

Table of Contents
    Facts about Monstera Video
    Facts about Monstera Video

    Plant purchasing is generally based on foliage conditions, with little consideration of root conditions. Healthy foliage indicates general plant health, but progressive root compaction prevents proper root aeration, only noticeable at the crisis point. This article will show you what to look for when buying a Monstera and what to do once you have it.

    Because there are about 43 different species in the Monstera genus, for practicality, we’ll use the Monstera deliciosa as a reference. This big-leafed, vibrantly green plant is more than a decoration – it’s a feature. There’s a reason why the Monsteras are the most common houseplant globally – they bring the tropics to your living space.

    The Monstera deliciosa gets its name from the fruit it bears. Apparently, it tastes like a fruit salad of bananas, pineapple, strawberries, passion fruit, and mangos. The Monstera deliciosa is appropriately also known as the fruit salad plant. Yum. Regrettably, indoor plants are not known to produce flowers and, therefore, bear no fruit. However, in Florida state, they can be cultivated outdoor to produce fruit – I would love to taste some.[Source]

    Special Offer

    Image of a monstera deliciosa

    Simplify Gardening has partnered with NatureHills.com, America’s largest online plant nursery, to offer you special deals on Monstera deliciosa.

    • Luscious Tropical Green Color
    • Unique Segmented Leaves
    • Stunning Indoor Houseplant
    • Easy to Care For
    • Grows in Bright Indoor Rooms
    • Can Be Pruned to Fit Many Spaces
    • White Colored Spathe Flowers

    Suppose you’re looking to take your kitchen, living room, or home office and turn it into your own little piece of paradise. In that case, there’s no better way to do so than by adding a Swiss Cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) or two…or maybe a few more!

    Swiss Cheese is native to the South American rainforests but has become a houseplant sensation due to its unique leaves and attractive height.

    As the name implies, Swiss Cheese’s leaves grow into slits as they mature. They’ll end up looking like someone took scissors and cut segments out of the sides of each leaf, and sometimes it’ll even have an entirely closed hole in the middle!

    These plants rarely bloom when outside of their natural tropical habitats. However, you won’t notice as the intricate and glossy leaves are a stunning luscious green that catches all eyes in the room!

    Swiss Cheese is straightforward to care for, and with just a few moments of attention every so often, it will flourish! Seeing as these plants are native to rainforests, it makes sense that they’ll appreciate living in a humid environment.

    Direct sunlight can damage the leaves of this plant. It’ll grow just fine in a bright spot in any indoor room of yours!

    Swiss Cheese is the type of plant that doesn’t mind infrequent watering. In fact, it thrives when you allow its soil to dry out a bit before watering again. Try sticking your finger up to your second knuckle into the soil. Is it dry? Go ahead and water! If it’s still a bit moist, let your plant be for another day.

    After a few years, it might be a good idea to prune back to the shape you’d like it to be. This can be done by cutting back as many leaves as you’d like at the nodes during Spring!

    Deciding where to put this gorgeous houseplant can be a bit hard; you’ll want to put it everywhere! Swiss Cheese looks fantastic in the corner of living rooms, offices, or hallways, just to name a few!

    Spice up your home or office with a touch of the tropics with the Swiss Cheese plant. You’ll be so delighted with the quality! Order today!

    Purchasing a Monstera Deliciosa

    Growers typically offer plants under 18-months old, and these come in containers between 4 and 6-inches in size – the one sold by NaturesHill nursery is in a 6-inch container. There are a couple of things to look for when purchasing a Monstera:

    Number of Stems

    You want to look for the plant with the most number of stems. You want a Monstera that has the capacity to produce ample foliage, so aim for the plant that has the most stems. On average, the planters come with three stems, but if you’re physically shopping for a plant and the shelf has containers of Monstera with five stems, take that one.

    The more significant number of stems means that your Monstera will have a more substantial presence in the room as your plant grows.

    Number of Leaves

    You want a Monstera that provides the most foliage. The more leaves the plant you plan to buy has, the healthier it is, and the better it will display. The beauty of the Monstera lies in the abundance of these leaves that look like Swiss cheese.

    The heart-shaped leaves can come in many forms, and younger leaves will often not yet have fenestrations (holes). If the plant you buy has many leaves, the grown plant will be a dense presentation of lush, attractive foliage. As the plant matures, the leaves will change, and some will have fenestrations, and others will look like a rib-cage – quite extraordinary

    THERE CAN BE NO OTHER OCCUPATION LIKE GARDENING IN WHICH, IF YOU WERE TO CREEP UP BEHIND SOMEONE AT THEIR WORK, YOU WOULD FIND THEM SMILING. 

    MIRABEL OSLER

    Buy Small – Grow Big

    Smaller plants are less expensive. The Monstera deliciosa, and in fact all the Monstera species and sub-cultivars, are easy growers. As these plants are relatively easy to grow, it’s worth your while to pay less for a smaller plant and grow it into the delicious monster you want.

    A lot of people get confused over the Monstera Minima or mini monstera, (Not a True Monstera) latin name is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma This plant despite its name can get up to 15 feet and is a fast grower in good conditions.

    Check the Roots

    While this is not always possible, check the roots of the plants you buy. Obviously, if the grower uses polybags to grow their plants, this is not possible. If, however, the plant is in a container, it’s relatively easy to secure the top of the planting soil with one hand and tip it out.

    The Monstera has an extensive root system, so it may present as root-bound. This is normal. You should only be concerned if little soil is visible or the roots have started emerging out of the drainage holes. What you are checking for is root rot.

    As I said at the beginning of this article, Monstera roots demand access to air, and their shoots demand light. If either of these is lacking, your plant will be in distress. The best way to ensure your Monstera’s roots are aerobic is to limit extended periods of excessive moisture. As soon as the Monstra plants have wet feet for an extended period, their leaves grow yellow or get brown tips.

    If you tip the plant out and there is wetness at the bottom, that could be a problem. If, however, there is a mass of roots, the shape of the container, and they are dry with visible soil – buy that plant. The roots should be a combination of thick and fine roots and should be white.

    Leaf Quality

    The Monstera plant’s natural habitat is the Central Americas and Southern Mexico in rainforests where humidity levels are in the region of 70-percent. Healthy leaves have a gloss caused by the high moisture content. Suppose a Monstera plant is subject to prolonged low humidity levels. In that case, the evidence is in localized dehydration in the form of a dry brown edge – usually on the edge of the leaf.

    Dry, brown edges are caused by extended low humidity. If the plant you’re planning to purchase already has this type of localized damage, consider buying elsewhere. Remember that new leaves have less developed lignin networks and are slightly lighter than older ones. That said, the fenestrations are related to the age of the plant, so you may have older, darker leaves that are whole (without fenestrations) and younger, newer leaves that show the Swiss cheese look.

    Warning

    If you have a cat that thinks all plants are catnip or a pup that’s in its teething stages, you need to keep your Monstera deliciosa out of their reach. The Monstera deliciosa is listed on the ASPCA’s website as a poison [Source]. The plant contains calcium oxalate, a chemical that can irritate animals but is less harmful to humans – but don’t get the sap into your eyes.

    Picture of a Monstera plant leaf basking in the light

    When You Get Your New Monstera Deliciosa

    Repotting your Monstera

    The Monstera is not a fussy plant. Put it this way – it’s as easy to grow a Monstera as it is to keep a succulent. In fact, the soil requirements for both the Monstera and for Cacti are pretty similar – both require good drainage.

    You could purchase your Monstera and keep it in the pot you bought it with. Suppose the pot you bought it in is not the prettiest thing ever. In that case, you could put the container in a more aesthetically pleasing container (for “optics”).

    Essentially, you want a plant that will have some presence – a thing of beauty. The Monstera deliciosa can be that. A mature Monstera can have height, abundant attractive, large, glossy,  and interesting leaves. This spectacular plant can be shaped to fit into your environment to meet your needs. But! To do that, it will need some care, light, and space to grow. The first need is better root space.

    That said, the Monstera roots love their own company. Transplanting your Monsterafrom a small container into a much larger container is not advised. You need to keep the plant happy by incrementally increasing the space available for the roots.

    I would always repot a newly purchased Monstera, but only into a slightly larger container. Adding the new plant to an environment that could potentially cause the roots the stand in water should be avoided. You need to be a bit pedantic about this. Too much water prevents the plant’s root system from accessing air – suffocating the plant.

    I recommend that when you repot the Monstera deliciosa, more often into incrementally bigger pots so that you can keep the roots relatively compact.

    Using The Right Potting Mix For Your Monstera Deliciosa

    When you do these incremental repotting routines, it’s essential to provide the plant with, you guessed it, the opportunity to drain well. Like with cacti, the soils should provide nutrition, be slightly acidic, and, ideally, have an extensively diverse population of microorganisms.

    Suppose you’ve been researching planting and caring for Monstera. In that case, you may have been advised to plant your Monstera in vermiculite or pumice. While you’re free to do this and will probably have great success, I’m more inclined towards reproducing the natural habitat as closely as possible.

    Rainforests have great drainage (else they would be swamps) and have a fungi-to-bacteria population ratio of 100:1 to break down all the available organic matter. The soil is rich in humus and humic acid, able to sustain more plants per square yard than the best farms anywhere. I prefer providing my Monstera with an environment that resembles nature. To me, anything less feels like I’m taking the king of the jungle and putting it in a cage.

    To improve acidity, we’ll use some untreated woodchips and conifer bark. It’s also good to know that cedarwood contains plicatic acid, a natural fungicide, so avoid planters made of cedarwood or using its shavings in compost and potting soils. You always want to maximize your fungal population and diversity in your soil. Peat moss is also an option to boost acidity, but remember that it drains water poorly and is prone to creating anaerobic conditions. Instead, use the wood chips to boost acidity slightly and use coconut coit to replace peat moss.

    I’m going to slip in some additional knowledge here. If you’re asthmatic, avoid the conifer bark as it contains abietic acids, which have been shown to cause chronic lung damage with excessive exposure (source).

    Monstera Potting Soil Drainage

    Coconut coir is a renewable resource (unlike peat moss) that offers exceptional drainage and water management. While some would advise you to use vermiculite, substitute with perlite instead. Vermiculite is the common name for hydrated laminar magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate. This substance is listed by EPA and CDC as potentially containing asbestos (EPA & CDC).

    While both vermiculite and perlite aid in water retention, perlite allows water to drain more readily, a vital factor for Monstera (and cacti). Perlite is a white material that almost feels like polystyrene but is actually expanded amorphous volcanic glass. Perlite is commonly used as a growth medium in hydroponics or cultivating cuttings. Adding it to our mix increases aeration and prevents soil compaction over time.

    Boosting Organic Matter in Monstera Potting Soil

    Monsteras need ample organic matter and diverse soil biota to flourish. Ensure that your final potting mix is at least 50% compost – well-made aerobic compost that is still damp and less than six months old. Compost increases the diversity and population of microorganisms in your soil, an essential mechanism to improve soil quality, buffer pH variations, increase nutrient bioavailability, and improve disease resilience. Including leaf mold in your mix will boost fungi populations while providing all the benefits of traditional compost.

    You can check out my house plant grow room set-up on YouTube

    Houseplant Grow Room Setup Including Stocking

    You may also want to view my “How To Improve Soil Quality In The Garden” playlist on my YouTube channel.

    Monsteras’ Need of Light

    Monsteras are vines and grow up the sides of trees to reach heights of up to 70 feet in their pursuit of light. Did you know that, in forests, mycorrhizal fungi develop a network of mycelium that helps larger trees support smaller trees?

    That way, tall mother trees can provide smaller trees with the benefits of photosynthesis, even if the smaller trees get less light. (Source)

    It’s fascinating and helps us understand how smaller plants, like juvenile Monstera plants, still get what they need amidst the shade of bigger trees.

    The bottom line is that Monsteras need light, but preferably not extended direct sunlight. Artificial light can work too, but not as well.

    These are relatively hardy plants that are easy to grow – just give them enough light and don’t overwater them.

    It’s advisable to protect Monsteras from direct sunlight during the spring and summer months (March to September). In its native rainforest, your plant would be shielded from the sun’s rays by the canopy of trees that surround it. As an alternative, find a spot in a well-lit room away from the window.

    The plant requires more direct, bright light in the winter. The gorgeous large, glossy leaves are what attracts gardeners to this plant, but they’re not ornaments – they’re there to trap as much light as possible while still allowing some to pass through.

    Adding the Monstera to your home or offices will add vibrancy throughout the year, as long as it gets enough light and can grow in soil that isn’t waterlogged. Insufficient light is known to retard leaf fenestration (the holes in the leaves).

    Love Monstera? So Do I, Check Out Other Articles I wrote On Them!

    Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Ultimate Care Guide (Mini Monstera)

    Misting-monstera-plants

    How-often-monstera-produce-new-leaves

    Monstera-vs-split-leaf-philodendron

    Monstera-soil-mix-the-perfect-recipe

    The complete-swiss-cheese-plant-care-guide

    Repotting-store-bought-monstera-what-to-consider-first

    The-best-pot-sizes-for-monstera

    Monstera-light-requirements

    Monstera-toxicity-to-humans-and-pets

    What-makes-monstera-different

    Do-monstera-bear-fruit

    Can-monstera-thrive-in-low-light

    Is-monstera-a-good-house-plant

    Monstera-leaves-have-no-holes

    Will-monstera-live-outdoors

    How To Know What Monstera-Varieties You Have

    4 ways-monstera-can-be-propagated

    Monstera-pinnatipartita-the-ultimate-care-guide

    Conclusion

    The Monstera can be a centerpiece of tropical presence in an office environment, home, or outdoors (weather permitting). Buying a Monstera can be a valuable investment as the cuttings are easily propagated and grown. Caring for your plant is easy – simply allow the roots to breathe and ensure the plant gets enough light. Wishing all the very best in making the world a healthier place.

    Please provide your email details below if you enjoyed this article and would like to keep abreast of developments and opportunities. That way, we can remind you of offers and opportunities to simplify gardening.

    My New Book COMPOSTING MASTERCLASS is now available.

    X