The Monstera deliciosa plant, generally just called Monstera in its various forms, is a tropical plant popular for its big, uniquely shaped leaves. In recent years, the Monstera's lush, deep green foliage and explosive growth have rendered it a wildly popular choice in countless homes.
Little wonder that the fashion industry has incorporated the leaf shape into prints, earrings, art, and iconic clothing. Not only do these houseplants lend a striking aesthetic, but Monsteras are easy to grow, making them a great beginner plant.
Look for a delicious monster without discoloration. Avoid buying a specimen if there's unusual browning anywhere on the plant or if the leaves are curled. The foliage of your chosen Monstera should be deep green—new leaves are a little lighter, but they're not yellow, so keep an eye out for the difference. Droopy leaves are also not a promising sign.
Monsteras have big roots that burrow into the ground and, thus, the plant thrives in light, well-draining potting soil. When planting indoors, it is advisable to use a pot with drainage holes so that the roots aren't soaking away in excess water. A heating pad or draining pot with pebbles or gravel can be placed underneath to trap moisture and keep things humid.
High temperatures help to accelerate the growth of your Monstera.
Monsteras do well in lots of sunlight. Place your plant in a spot with the brightest indirect light to aid it with leaf development, but avoid direct rays that can scorch the leaves. Rotate your plant routinely to ensure even growth on all sides and to prevent it from bending toward the light source.
Signs that your Monstera is not getting enough light are slow growth and yellowing of the leaves.
When to water your Monstera depends on the seasons. In the summer, you can water your Monstera once a week since it is getting enough sunlight and growing rapidly. The winter is a dormant period, so water it once every two weeks or so to prevent root rot.
You know that your plant is thoroughly watered when the excess runs out the bottom. Use a moisture meter or simply insert a finger to determine the soil moisture level to prevent overwatering your plant. If the top two inches aren't dry from last time, wait another day or two.
Monsteras are unfussy, but because they're tropical plants, they prefer high humidity of above 50%. Ideal conditions over 60% lead to solid growth and a healthy appearance. You can use a humidifier if the air is dry where you live, but this isn't the best idea if your home shows signs of mold.
Instead, give your Monstera's leaves a misting with filtered water every morning, or place a tray filled with pebbles and water under the plant. If you have other plants that enjoy humidity, putting them close together can create the right atmosphere.
It is important to keep your Monstera's soil moist and add a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) once a month during the summer when it is actively growing. This will go a long way in promoting growth and root health. Avoid the use of excess fertilizer to prevent damaging the soil pH, which will ideally fall between 5.5 and 7.
Monsters are fast growers, with as much as two feet of annual climbing, and the upward or horizontal mobility can become overwhelming for new plant owners. Don't worry—you can easily whip your split-leaf philodendron into shape. You can trim your little monster's roots by a few inches using garden shears before repotting in new soil—they do as much growing as the stems.
Or, prune the foliage two inches below where the leaf meets the stem, a point known as a node. You can propagate clippings with at least two leaves.
Assuming you want your monstera deliciosa to get bigger and fill your interior space better, you'll need to repot it. The new pot should be two or three inches wider than your delicious monster's current container and have drainage holes.
Water the soil to make it easier to lift the plant out. Manipulate the root ball to break up the soil a little. Fill approximately a third of the new pot with potting soil, so that when you place the root ball inside, its top (where the surface of the soil was originally) is about two inches below the top of the pot. Fill with more soil before watering.
Monsteras are easy to propagate once they get bigger. You can split them at the roots and put them in new containers. Alternatively, cut the stems below the nodes and water-propagate—in a few weeks, the roots of your new Monstera will have developed.
You can also propagate with the air-layering method: wrap an aerial root in some damp sphagnum moss and wrap a perforated plastic bag around it. Remove and pot once additional roots have developed.
Monsteras are hardly ever affected by disease, though they can fall prey to root rot and blight, which are characterized by yellowing leaves due to overwatering. Powdery mildew is a fungal infection that leads to the premature death of the leaves.
As long as you're taking care to provide proper ventilation and adequate watering, you're more likely to notice issues related to scorching, such as blackened leaves. In these cases, your plant is likely getting too much direct sunlight.
The Monstera can be prone to attack by mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites. However, this is fairly rare and should be easy to control with a non-toxic insecticide. Neem oil is a natural pesticide that works great to keep bugs off your Monstera.
You can also wipe down the leaves with a wet cloth to remove dust and any pests that may be hiding under the leaves. If the infestation is minor, this can eradicate the problem without the need for chemical treatments.
Monsteras are the GOATs of the houseplant world. They give so much and require so little of plant parents. Your delicious monster will add a lush pop of green to your interior and fill empty-looking corners. You can pick a planter that matches your color palette.
In addition, a moss pole won't just make you seem like a plant expert. It can also give your monstera an attractive vine aesthetic or give your plant an appealing structure.
Monstera's cousin, the lacy-leaf philodendron, looks very similar, with an undeniable nod to the jungle. It's another low-maintenance houseplant, along with bird's nest ferns and dragon trees. The latter is an excellent space-filler or can be compact if necessary, and it also loves humid conditions.
Monsteras aren't pet-nibble-friendly, so spider plants are a non-toxic option if this is a problem for your curious critters.
Be careful about keeping your Monstera away from pets and little kids. The leaves and sap contain calcium oxalate crystals and are toxic. They will cause a burning sensation in or around the mouth or skin irritation. Handle with care by using gloves or washing your hands after touching the foliage.
Cats and dogs may drool, throw up, or have trouble swallowing after exposure, but they should be okay if they've only sampled a small amount.
The Monstera plant grows naturally in the tropical rainforests of central and southern America. There are many varieties, including
Monstera obliqua is the rarest. There are two main variegated Monsteras; the Thai constellation and Albo borsigiana, which have large white blocks on the leaves.