A Beginner's Guide to Monstera Plant Care
Common Name: Swiss Cheese Plant, Monstera, Mexican Breadfruit, Delicious Monster, Swiss Cheese Vine
Botanical name: Monstera Deliciosa, Monstera adansonii, Monstera Peru, Monstera Siam
This must-have iconic houseplant (better know and as the Swiss Cheese Plant) is surprisingly easy to love and care for! However, make sure you have plenty of room for this unassuming green beauty -- it will grow and grow some more -- and in a few years, you will be thinking, “How did you get taller than I am?” If your Monstera is still young and small, use stakes to support and shape this gorgeous Monstera as it grows. Also keep these large leaves clean to allow photosynthesis to work its magic! If the Monstera deliciosa gets enough indirect light, it will produce fenestrations (natural holes and openings in the leaves) after the first five or six leaves have appeared. Soon after, you will have the massive Monstera leaves that have taken over the fashion and design world.
The Monstera deliciosa is not the only Monstera that exists. There are over 40 species in the genus Monstera, with only a few being widely cultivated for sale. The Monstera adansonii is a gorgeous variety with smaller, but equally as stunning as the Monstera deliciosa. Monstera Peru, Monstera Siam, standleyana, siltepecana, Thai Constallation and borgansiana, to name a few, are other species that are now more commonly cultivated for the market. The good news is that the care requirements are the same for all of these vining Monstera.
Important! Monstera are poisonous if ingested, so be very careful if you have pets and/or small children.
These indoor plants can handle low light, but if you want them to grow faster and produce larger leaves, provide medium to bright indirect light. In a north- or east-facing window, you can place them close to access more sun, or you can keep them out of reach of direct light in a south- or west-facing window. (Learn more about light requirements for indoor plants)
Monstera love a good soaking after the soil has almost completely dried out. Water more often during the warmer months while they are growing, and reduce watering during the winter months, letting the soil almost completely dry out between watering. Monstera adansonii need to be watered more frequently than the larger leafed deliciosa because the adansonii's leaves are thinner and hold less moisture.
The Monstera will grow in most household temperatures, but a temperature between 65-85℉ is ideal. They can survive in temperatures as low as 50℉, but the cold temperature will stop growth.
All species in the Monstera genus benefit from higher humidity levels. The best way to increase humidity is to add a humidifier to your room. Trays filled with pebbles and water can help increase the humidity immediately around your plants, or try grouping your indoor plants closer together.
These houseplants love to be fertilized during their active growing season, so be sure to use either ¼-diluted fish emulsion with iron or ¼-diluted complete liquid fertilizer twice a month. Another option is to top dress your plants in the spring with a compost (like worm castings). This will slowly release nutrients to the roots throughout the growing season. (Learn more about fertilizing indoor plants)
Monstera once they are established are fast growers. Monstera deliciosa can reach dizzying heights up to 12+ feet or more indoors when given the right conditions. Monstera adansonii, Peru, Siam and other smaller leaved Monstera can grow as long as you like, but it is recommended to prune the back to keep them from getting leggy.
Pet Friend or Foe
All species of Monstera are toxic to pets, FOE!
- Rotate your Monstera to promote a full, balanced indoor plant.
- When you are trimming the houseplant, cut under the node (swollen nodule where the leaves and aerial roots form) in order to propagate a new plant!
- Always check the leaves (top and bottom) during your care sessions. Check for unwanted guests (pests and diseases).
- Use a well draining soil that is rich in organic matter when re-potting your Monstera.
- Use a sturdy stake when staking up your Monstera deliciosa as the foliage and stems can become heavy.