I will repeat it forever and ever; plants are my favourite decoration elements for any space. I love them evergreen and lush. And who, anyway, is not lured by the emerald green, shiny leaves of Monstera deliciosa plants? For those who want to buy, or already have a Monstera, here are all my tips for caring and propagating a healthy, happy plant.
Tell us your lovely name: Monstera deliciosa (the scientific one) or Swiss cheese plant (the everyday one)
Origin and temperament: Monstera plants originate from the tropical areas of Latin America (Mexico specifically), and belong to the family of Araceae. They are creepers also, i.e. like ivy, they can climb and cover whole trees or walls. Their leafs are smooth and shiny: young ones are heart-shaped, and as they grow, they form elongated cuts on them. While growing the plants develop aerial roots, that can turn to common soil roots, if they are in contact with it. Mature plants can also produce, edible, fruits!
For a place in the sun: Monsteras tolerate semi-shaded positions, but they grow faster in spots with bright indirect light. Direct sunbeams on their leafs can cause sunburns.
Temperature: Monsteras grow comfortably at temperatures of 18° to 30°C, and can't stand temperatures less than 10° to 14°C.
Wath' er up: Plant the Monsteras in a pot with good drainage (e.g., with a hole on its bottom, with gravel below the soil, with good pest-free soil, etc.). After each watering session, make sure that there is no standing water in the saucer (unless you are leaving on vacation, and want to keep them humid). Otherwise, there is a risk of mouldy roots. You can understand whether to water your plant from the condition of the superficial soil: if white/green mould starts developing, reduce watering. If, though, the soil's surface is dry, cracked, and detaches from the walls of the pot, water the plant fast. In warmer months, 2-3 waterings (for medium pots) per month are enough. Consider, also, that smaller pots need more often watering. In the cold months watering 1-2 times per month is enough. If you live in an area where the tap water is chlorinated, fill a few bottles with water, wait about 30 minutes for the chlorine to evaporate, and then use the water. Monsteras love, also, atmospheric moisture, so you can spray their leaves, or even better to give them occasional showers, i.e., in your balcony, bathroom, etc.
Fertilising and repotting: Ideally, you can offer them fertiliser from April to September every 15 days. While the plants are young, repot them every year, and later every 2-3 years.
Treat yo plant: Place your Monstera in a spot, from which you don't pass a lot, so you don't break its leaves and stems accidentally. Rotate also the plant 2-3 times a week, so it doesn't develop an asymmetrical tilting, and loses its tufted shape. Monsteras also need good support to climb safely without breaking, so make sure to provide them with a stick or something. Also, do not cut the aerial roots, but instead place them m the surface of the soil, and they may grow in soil roots. Something that it is crucial is to dust frequently the leaves, as closed leaf stomata are the cause of various diseases.development. Wipe the leaves with a clean cloth and water, and ideally give them a shower while watering.
Flowering/fruiting: With good care and under ideal conditions Monstera can bloom and produce fruits. The small whitish flowers, give rise to purple fruits that form one year after the flowering. But beware, only ripe fruit are edible and non-toxic!
Propagation: It is very common for a Monstera plant to grow out of hand and gain an awkward shape. So what I would suggest is to cut the branches that "destroy" your Monstera's ideal shape and use them to propagate the mother plant. Cut any branch below the nearest knob and include 1-2 growing aerial roots in your cutting. Place the branch in a container with water, and you will be happy to see white rootlets growing from the original brown aerial root. When the rootlets grow some centimetres in length, pot the young new plant in a new pot!
But be careful: All parts of Monstera, except ripe fruit, are toxic to you (and according to the ASPCA) to your pets also.
Read your plant's emotions on its leaves: There is one way to communicate with your plant, and this is through its leaves. They tell a lot of stories; if they are green, with no signs of illnesses, continue the good work. However, if the leaves:
- are distorted, wither and fall, the plant dies! Scrub the leaves with a sponge and soap, and rinse them under warm (~ 30°C) water, avoiding to take throw the soapy water on the soil. Move the plant to a brighter spot, water it properly, and check it frequently. If it doesn't get better, show its symptoms to a botanist.
- are yellow, you might over-water it. Especially, in the winter when the soil dries slowly. Lack of nutrients can cause leaf yellowing, so offer a little fertiliser to your Monstera, or repot it if the pot is too small.
- have brown spots on them, they may be sunburns, from direct sunbeams on the leaves. If so, take it to a spot with indirect light.
- are yellow and exhibit dry brown spots, you don't water your Monstera enough.
- are pale and translucent, the plant is in a relatively dark room, and receives too little sunlight to produce chlorophyll and photosynthesize.
- have fallen across its branches, and they can't grow properly, again the lighting is not enough. If the entire stem is bare of leaves, you may have very high/low temperatures in the room/spot.
- are dry and their outline is brown, the room air is too dry. Can you place it in a more humid room (like your bathroom)? Or offer it frequent showers?
That are all my tips for caring and propagating your Monstera deliciosa plant! If you still have questions and concerns about your plants, share them in the comments below and I will be happy to discuss them with you!
PS. As I believe that this space should function as ad-free as possible, I decided to open a Patreon profile, so that my readers (you guys!) can support what I do. You can read all the reasons behind that decision, and decide if you want to support me with even $1/month. (Thank you in any case! :) )
If you want more evergreen, leafy plants, what about:
Credits | Text & Photography: Despina Kortesidou