The Habitat
Share to PinterestCommon Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Monstera Indoors
HomeIndoor plants

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Monstera Indoors

Staff Writer
Share to PinterestCommon Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Monstera Indoors

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.


Bringing your monstera home

Share to PinterestIndoors Gardening, Young Redhead Man Potting An Exotic Plant, Monstera Deliciosa
MmeEmil/ Getty Images

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.


Planting your Monstera

Share to PinterestMonstera houseplant
Oksana Chaun / Getty Images

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.


A healthy start: sunlight requirements for Monstera

Share to PinterestMonstera deliciosa houseplant in bright sunlight
TorriPhoto / Getty Images

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.


A healthy start: watering

Share to Pinterestwoman pouring water on potted plants
funebre / Getty Images

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.


A healthy start: humidity levels

Share to PinterestHome flower garden
svetikd/ Getty Images

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.


A healthy start: special nutrients

Share to PinterestWoman fertilizes monstera plant in pot with mineral fertilizer in sticks at home

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.


Healthy growth: pruning your monstera

Share to PinterestMature man caring about his plants during corona virus isolation period
svetikd/ Getty Images

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.


Healthy growth: repotting your monstera

Share to Pinterestman watering houseplants
DuKai photographer/ Getty Images

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.


Can I propagate my Monstera

Share to Pinterestwoman propagating Monstera plant from leaf cutting in water

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.


Common diseases

Share to PinterestClose up of monstera with black and yellow spot due to over watering the plant

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.


Common pests

Share to Pinterestman is cleaning monstera's leaves
baranova_ph / Getty Images

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.


Displaying your Monstera

Share to PinterestCozy bright bedroom with indoor plants.Home interior design.Biophilia design,urban jungle concept
Tatiana Buzmakova/ getty Images

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.


Similar plants

Share to PinterestClose up of leaves of monstera plant
franz12/ Getty Images

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.


Cautions and additional information

Share to PinterestHands of a woman watering tropical houseplants at home
JulieAlexK/ Getty Images

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.


Varieties of Monstera

Share to Pinteresthouseplant, Philodendron, Monstera obliqua in front of a light wall in a gray striped pot
Kseniya Ovchinnikova/ Getty Images

The Monstera plant grows naturally in the tropical rainforests of central and southern America. There are many varieties, including

  • Monstera deliciosa, which are most common
  • Monstera borsigiana
  • Monstera obliqua
  • Monstera dubia
  • Monstera adansonii, which is fairly easy to grow and care for

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.



Scroll Down

for the Next Article