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Making the Most of Your Monstera Deliciosa
Making the Most of Your Monstera Deliciosa

There's no forgetting the perforated emerald shields of Monstera deliciosa. This curious specimen hails from southern Mexico but has since spread across the globe to grace indoor spaces and outdoor areas alike. Named for its mammoth size and strange fruit, the beautiful Monstera deliciosa rightfully earned its moniker "delicious monster." When planted in the ground, these guys can grow in excess of 20 feet in height and produce a fruit similar to pineapple in flavor.

01

Potting a Monstera deliciosa

A potted Monstera deliciosa placed on a wooden floor. mykeyruna / Getty Images

Monstera deliciosa is an interesting plant in the sense that its overall size and height is proportionate to its container. The smaller the container, the smaller the plant. Stick to planters that are 12 to 16 inches in diameter, and always make sure your pots have drainage holes — even if that means drilling them yourself.

02

Propegating with nodes

A Monstera deliciosa sits in a vase full of water in an attempt at propagation. dropStock / Getty Images

Follow a few leaf stems down until you find a swollen joint or nodule. You will sometimes find an aerial root at these junctions; that's a good indication that you've found the right spot. Once a node has been located, cut cleanly one inch below it with sterile shears. Fill a vase with water and place your cutting on display until the cutting produces roots of its own. Repot, and care for like normal.

03

Moderate moisture for your Monstera deliciosa

Person watering potted Monstera deliciosa. funebre / Getty Images

Proper hydration is key when it comes to keeping your Monstera deliciosa alive and well. Although tropical, they do prefer the top inch of soil to dry out between each watering. This works out to watering about once a week for outdoor specimens, and once every two weeks for indoor plants.

04

In the right light

A Monstera deliciosa leaf reaches towards an undressed window. Damian Lugowski / Getty Images

Monstera deliciosa is adaptable when it comes to lighting, as it can survive in lower light conditions and thrive in brighter areas. Although they can grow to tolerate sunlight, moving an indoor or shade-grown Monstera deliciosa into unfiltered sun can burn the leaves beyond repair. Keep your plant by a sunny window or outdoors under cover; strong ambient lighting will encourage faster growth.

05

A perfect pot for Monstera deliciosa

A young man potting a Monstera deliciosa in a proper terra-cotta pot. MmeEmil / Getty Images

An easygoing houseplant, Monstera deliciosa enjoys a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials when it comes to pots. Feel free to choose anything from plastic to ceramic, conventional or abstract. The material will only affect how quickly water evaporates from the soil: terra-cotta dries out the fastest, plastic the second, and glazed ceramic the slowest. What matters most to Monstera deliciosa is the potting mix, not the pot itself.

06

Soil selection

Person using a rich and fluffy potting mix to pot a Monstera deliciosa. Alpgiray Kelem / Getty Images

There are plenty of commercial preparations suitable for Monstera deliciosa, so feel free to go with your favorite one. Look for a soil that is light and fluffy, almost puffed, with a bit of fertilizer mixed in if you can. The proper soil will retain just the right amount of moisture and release the excess to prevent root rot.

07

Biting insects and other pests

Image of two mealybugs on a damaged leaf similar to Monstera deliciosa. Noppharat05081977 / Getty Images

The thick, leathery leaves of Monstera deliciosa have made this plant immune to most common pests except for spider mites and mealybugs. Both of these attach to plant tissue and extract vital nutrients from the host, leaving behind yellow spots and deadly mold. A topical application of neem oil to the affected areas should help eliminate the infestation.

08

Disease and your Monstera deliciosa

Woman visually inspects a Monstera deliciosa for signs of disease. funebre / Getty Images

Susceptible only to leaf spot and root rot, Monstera deliciosa has certainly proven its resilience. Leaf spot, a minor fungal infection, requires a simple but heartbreaking treatment: removal of the entire affected leaf. Root rot, on the contrary, cannot be treated as simply and will jeopardize the health of the entire plant. To prevent it, do not overwater your Monstera deliciosa nor allow it to sit in water.

09

When to fertilize

A Monstera deliciosa in bloom due to proper fertilization. Andrew Blazhukevich / Getty Images

Fertilizing a Monstera deliciosa is not a matter of if but when. These plants experience growth spurts during the spring and summer months. Applying a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — such as a 20-20-20 formulation — will ensure your plant has everything it needs to continue growing. If you're lucky enough, you might even get your Monstera to flower.

10

Culinary uses

Various Monstera deliciosa fruit on display. wjarek / Getty Images

The "delicious" part of Monstera deliciosa is attributed to its unique fruit. This corn-shaped cob is full of a custard-like flesh said to taste like pineapple and jackfruit. A tropical delicacy,  the fruit takes anywhere from 10 to 12 months to ripen after flowering. Great care should be taken when harvesting, as unripened fruit can be toxic if ingested.

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