The Monstera plant, commonly known as the Swiss Cheese plant, is a tropical variety popular for its big, uniquely shaped leaves. In recent years, the Monstera plant has become wildly popular for its deep green, lush foliage and explosive aesthetic. Little wonder that the fashion industry has incorporated the leaf shape into prints, earrings, art, and iconic clothing. Not only are they vibrant houseplants, but Monstera are easy to grow, making them a great beginner plant.
Monsteras have big roots that burrow into the soil, 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 soil is not too compacted. A heating pad or draining pot with pebbles or gravel can be placed underneath to trap the moisture and keep the temperatures humid.
High temperatures help to accelerate the growth of your Monstera. The ideal pH ranges between 5.5 and 7.
The Monstera is initially planted in a small pot. It climbs up, outgrowing the pot and making it necessary to transplant it into a bigger pot, though the relatively compact root system makes this necessary only every two years or so.
Prune the leaves that are drooping, yellow, or brown to accelerate the growth of your Monstera. The pruned plant will take up less space, and it can redirect its resources to growing taller and bigger leaves for the statement piece it deserves to be.
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 note that unfiltered sun can scorch the leaves. Rotate your Monstera routinely to ensure even growth on all the sides and prevent it from bending towards 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 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.
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 pesticides that may be hiding under the leaves. If the infestation is minor, this can eradicate the problem.
Monsteras are hardly ever affected by disease, though they can fall prey to root rot and blight, characterized by yellowing leaves due to overwatering. Powdery mildew is a fungal infection that leads to 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.
It is important to keep the soil moist and add a water-soluble fertilizer to your Monstera 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.
The big leaves should be cleaned regularly using a damp cloth to unblock their pores and allow them to breathe and absorb moisture.
Monsteras are easy to propagate once they grow big. 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.
There are a lot of benefits to keeping an indoor Monstera. The oversized, deep green leaves give any room an exotic look. The unique leaf patterns offer a bold Caribbean feel and cast wonderful wall shadows.
In addition, the Monstera is useful in purifying the air and increasing humidity. In its natural environment, Monsteras produce edible fruits rich in proteins, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and D.
The Monstera plant grows naturally in the tropical rainforests of central and southern America. Monsteras have different varieties:
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.