Monstera swiss cheese plant

Repotting Cheese Plants: How And When To Repot Monstera

One of the classic houseplants is the tropical philodendron. Also known as the Swiss cheese plant, this beauty is an easy to grow, large leaved plant with characteristic splits in the leaves. It should be repotted every few years to ensure adequate soil nutrition and space for the rapidly growing plant. Learn how to repot a Swiss cheese plant including suitable soil, space and staking, for a long lived, healthy specimen that graces your home or office.

Tropical Monstera plants (Monstera deliciosa) thrive in most home interiors. The plants are thick stemmed vines that support themselves on other vegetation in nature and produce long roots from the stem to supplement that support. Houseplant Monstera may require staking but they still produce the stiff roots from the trunk. This can make repotting cheese plants something of a challenge.

When to Repot Monstera

Monstera plant care is relatively low maintenance. The plant needs warm interior temperatures of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C.) or warmer. Swiss cheese plant also needs moderately moist soil and high humidity. The aerial roots need something to hang on to, so a wooden or moss covered stake set into the middle of the pot will provide the extra support.

Repotting cheese plants is done every year when the plant is young to encourage growth and freshen the soil. Go up in container size until you reach the largest pot you wish to use. Thereafter, the plant needs a fresh top dress of rich soil annually but will be content for several years at a time even if it is root bound.

Early spring before new leaves occur is when to repot Monstera for the best results.

How to Repot a Swiss Cheese Plant

Swiss cheese plant is a tropical jungle plant and as such requires rich, nutrient dense soil that holds moisture, yet doesn’t remain soggy. A standard good quality potting soil is fine, with the addition of some peat moss.

Choose a pot that has plenty of drainage holes and a depth deep enough to accommodate a thick stake. Fill the bottom third of the pot with the soil mixture and set the stake into the center lightly. Repotting cheese plants that are very mature and tall, will require a second pair of hands to help support the upper regions during the potting process.

Set the base of the plant into the container so the original soil line on the plant is a touch below where the new line will be. Fill in around the base roots and any aerial roots that reach into the soil. Firm up the potting mix around the stake and use plant ties to attach the stem to the stake.

Post Potting Monstera Plant Care

Water the pot deeply right after potting. Wait a week or two and then resume a monthly feeding with liquid fertilizer during watering.

Swiss cheese plant may simply get too big for its britches. The plant is known in its habitat to reach 10 feet tall or more. In the home environment, this is generally too tall, but the plant responds well to trimming and you can even keep any cuttings and start them for a new plant.

Keep the leaves wiped clean and watch for spider mite infestations. This glossy foliage plant has a long life span and will reward you with its enchanting lacy leaves for years and years with good care.

Monstera is commonly called Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron referring to the beautifully cut leaves. It’s a must have for its Caribbean feel. The foliage is deep green, lush and tropical. With time the foliage can become quite large and exotic looking. There is also a rare white variegated form that is slower growing. They generally don’t bloom indoors but in its natural environment they will produce edible fruit that is said to taste like fruit salad.

Light and Placement

As a tropical plant it’s no surprise that your Monstera likes warm indoor temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. A little humidity makes them feel right at home, too. Bathrooms and kitchens can often supply a touch of humidity or you can simply mist your plant now and then. These plants grow naturally in the dappled light of the forest floor. To mimic that, place your Monstera in bright or filtered, indirect light. They can actually grow in deep shade, but may not exhibit as much of the cut leaf foliage. If you live in zones 10 or 11, you can grow it outdoors in a shady spot.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Food and Water

Monstera likes moist soil, but not one that stays soggy or overly wet. Make sure the pot has good drainage. Water weekly, when the top inch of the soil is dry. Make sure any excess water drains away. In spring and summer, when the plants are actively growing, it’s a good idea to feed them once a month with a liquid fertilizer like Espoma’s Organic Indoor! plant food.

Repotting

Repot young plants every year to encourage growth and add soil nutrients. Gradually go up in pot size by 2 inches per year. Once your plant has reached its optimal height for your space, you can give it a top dressing of new soil once a year and only repot it about every 3 years. Always use a quality potting soil to help keep the soil moist but free-draining. These are natural climbers that use their aerial roots to hold on to trees. When you do repot your plant, be sure to add a trellis or moss covered plant stake for support.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Pruning

Young plants often have compact, bushy habits. As they grow, they will begin to show their vining nature. You can either give them support to climb and become a tall and dramatic or if you prefer, you can pinch them to rein in the lankiness. Pinch off the new growth tip with your finger at the height you’d like it to stay at. Feel free to prune out stems that are producing few or no leaves. If you can’t tuck the aerial roots back into the pot, you may remove them as well.

Pest and Disease

Monstera is rarely bothered by pest or disease. Wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth from time to time or give it a shower to remove dust. Check for spider mites when you do. This is a long-lived house plant that will give you years of pleasure with little care.

Ready for more houseplants? Check out Garden Answer’s Top 5 Low Light House Plants.

Best products for Monstera

“Possessing all the qualities that are required of a good houseplant, this one is making a comeback.”

How often should I water my monstera plant?

Monstera plants prefer a warm climate away from direct sunlight. When it comes to watering, Gisele says. “Let the top 4cm of soil dry out between watering as over watering may lead to root rot, signs of this are yellowing or wilting leaves. For best results Monsteras should enjoy conditions that are fairly moist so avoid artificial heating and cooling, they will require monthly feeding in spring and summer when planted in containers.”

If your Monstera produces aerial roots, manoeuvre them towards some water.

“Plants will do better if the aerial roots that grow from the main stem can be directed into a container of water from which supplies will be drawn for the plant, thus reducing the need for too frequent watering of the mixture in the pot, these roots can be also directed into the potting mixture when re-potting,” Gisele explains.

How to keep a monstera plant pest-free

Despite being easy to grow, Monstera’s are prone to mealybugs.

“Cleaning the leaves will also help keep pests under control as they are prone to mealybugs on the undersides of the leaves. It’s also ideal to give them the occasional misting to help increase humidity,” says Gisele

How to re-pot a monstera plant

When it comes to time to move your plant to a larger pot, “a mix comprised of equal parts potting mixture and sphagnum moss will do the job.”

Giselle adds: “Also once the plant reaches heights of 80cm tall it will need the support of a moss pole or bamboo cane as its natural tendency is to grow up.”

Monstera, Monstera Deliciosa: “Swiss Cheese Plant”

We’ve noticed a trend: From Mother-in-Law’s Tongue to Spikenard to Monstera (aka “Swiss Cheese Plant”), houseplants don’t have the most appealing names. But that hasn’t stopped a surge of popularity for this tropical plant: Chances are you’ve spotted its graphic leaves on everything from throw pillows to wallpaper. Here’s a look at the care and keeping of this statement-making plant.

Above: A bold addition to the bedside: a Monstera leaf. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

Monstera is a tropical plant from the Araceae family. Its name, as one might guess, comes from the Latin meaning “abnormal” because of its odd-looking, perforated leaves that are often punched through with holes.

Above: Monstera are climbers. It’s possible to buy monstera seeds, like these, online, though Monstera grows best outdoors in zones 10 and 11. Photograph courtesy of CenteroftheWebb.

In the wilds of the jungle, Monstera can grow to be enormous: dozens of feet tall with leaves that spread to nearly two feet wide.

The best-known variety is Monstera Deliciosa, or Mexican Breadfruit, in reference to its corncob-shaped fruit (which is said to taste like a combination of pineapple, banana, and mango). It’s not all delicious, however: The rest of the plant is poisonous and eating the fruit before it’s ripe can cause mouth irritation.

“It’s extremely common for monsteras to be confused with split-leaf philodendron, particularly in less mature plants,” writes Annie. ” Though the two are related (they’re part of the same plant family), an easy way to tell these plants apart is to look at the leaves: split-leaf philodendrons have perforated leaves but lack holes.”

Cheat Sheet

Above: Netherlands-based online shop Baby Plants sells the cutest itty bitty seedlings, including this tropical climbing Monstera Adansonii; €4.49. For more cute baby picture, see Irresistible Baby Houseplants That Will Change Your Life.

  • Monstera needs lots of space: Put it in a statement-making spot in the living room, rather than in a tight corner or on a windowsill.
  • Monstera can grow up trees and other plants in the rainforest, and would benefit from some support indoors, too. Consider adding a small trellis or pole nearby.
  • If you can’t commit to a whole Monstera plant—or if yours is running rampant—trim a leaf or two and stand them upright in a clear glass vase.

Above: Part of Monstera’s appeal is its dark green, shiny leaves. Keep it vibrant by cleaning the leaves gently with a damp cloth. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

Keep It Alive

  • Find a balance between sun and shade. If Monstera is given too much sun, the leaves will yellow. If it’s left in the dark, the plant will exhibit something called negative phototropism, where new leaves grow towards the dark, rather than the light. (It’s a pretty clever trick: In the jungle, darkness signals the presence of a larger tree that Monstera can climb up to reach sunlight.) Since this isn’t possible in a living room, indirect sun is best.
  • Water Monstera moderately and evenly, about once a week. Wait until the soil is fairly dry before watering again. Keep in a fairly humid environment.
  • To curb excessive growth, avoid re-potting too often and prune regularly by pinching off new growth.

Scientists have speculated about the reason for the holes in Monstera leaves: One theory is that this perforation maximizes the leaf’s surface area, and therefore its ability to capturing sunlight on the rainforest floor; the other is that it allows tropical downpours to pass through the leaves, thereby limiting damage to the plant. This explains Monstera’s other name: Hurricane Plant.

Above: Another way to incorporate Monstera into your home decor without sacrificing space? This (330 KR, or $35.61 USD). Above: And, for the extremely space-limited, there’s even a Monstera temporary tattoo, available for $5 from Tattly. N.B. Some of our favorite houseplants hail from the tropics. See more in Tropical Plants 101: A Guide to Planting, Care & Design. For more houseplant inspiration, see:

  • Jamie’s Jungle: At Home with Houseplants in London.
  • Vines & Climbers 101: A Guide to Planting, Care & Design.
  • Best Houseplants: 9 Indoor Plants for Low Light.

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for monstera with our Monstera: A Field Guide. And for more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various houseplants with our Houseplants: A Field Guide.

Interested in other tropical plants for your garden or indoor space? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various tropical plants with our Tropical Plants: A Field Guide.

How to Care for a Monstera Plant

Use these instructions to care for a Monstera plant. This guide will tell you how to water your Monstera; its light, temperature, and humidity preferences; and any additional care your plant might need to help it grow.

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS

Your Monstera can grow just about anywhere in your home! It tolerates low light, but grows faster and becomes more dramatic in a bright spot. That said, avoid strong, direct sunlight because it may burn the leaves.

WATER REQUIREMENTS

When its soil becomes dry to a depth of 1-2”, water your monstera directly into the pot so not to moisten foliage and just enough to keep the soil from completely drying out. Your Monstera is somewhat drought tolerant, so you don’t need to worry about keeping up with the watering all the time. Don’t allow the pot to stand in water, as this will cause root rot.

HUMIDITY PREFERENCE

This plant will thrive in almost any environment, but if you want to give it a special treat, gently mist it once a week. It’s best to mist your Monstera in the morning so the water has plenty of time to evaporate before evening.

PLANT FOOD

For best results, feed your plant once a month throughout the spring and summer. A little bit of food will go a long way to encourage growth and root health. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter—it’s important to give your Monstera a chance to rest during the cooler time of year.

ADDITIONAL CARE

Large leaves can collect dust. If you notice the leaves are dirty or dusty, wipe the leaves with a damp cloth and gently dry to keep them clean and healthy.

TOXICITY

Monstera leaves are mildly toxic to pets and humans. Typically, ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting.

Do you like to make your indoor space look like a veritable jungle? If so, you’ll need to grow monstera deliciosa. This giant-leaved climbing plant can really liven up your living room.

Indoor specimens often grow to 4-5 feet in height. Those which grow in their native rainforest environments can often get to ten feet or more!

These plants themselves aren’t edible, and in fact they’re poisonous. But they produce a fruit called the monster fruit which is edible when ripe. Don’t bite into an unripe one, though! These fruits are full of oxalic acid when unripe and can irritate your throat!

With a scientific name that literally means “delicious monster”, you can’t go wrong. This unusual plant will bring lots of tropical color to your living space!

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Good Products For Growing Monstera Deliciosa:

  • Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap
  • Garden Safe Neem Oil Concentrate

Monstera Deliciosa Overview

Monstera deliciosa care guide, custom-illustrated by Seb Westcott.

Common Name Monstera deliciosa, delicious monster, monstera plant, monster plant, monster fruit, monsterio delicio, monstereo, hurricane plant, fruit salad plant, fruit salad tree, Swiss cheese plant, cheese plant, Mexican breadfruit, Penglai banana, ceriman, windowleaf, balazo, split leaf philodendron, and other localized names
Scientific Name Monstera deliciosa
Family Araceae
Light Bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sun.
Water Keep soil moist but do not overwater
Temperature 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit
Humidity Rainforest plant, requires high humidity
Soil Loamy, well-draining soil
Fertilizer Regular applications of diluted liquid fertilizer or organic granular fertilizer
Pests Spider mites & scale insects/mealybugs
Diseases Not subject to most plant diseases, but can develop root rot if excessively watered

All About Monstera Deliciosa

The strange-looking monstera deliciosa flower. Source: Malcolm NQ

Tons of common names exist for this plant. Fruit salad plant or fruit salad tree, Swiss cheese plant, monstereo… there’s just bunches of different names. It’s been referred to as the Mexican breadfruit because it can rarely produce a fruit.

In the southeastern USA, it’s often called hurricane plant. The leaves of this plant may be broad, but they’re filled with many naturally-forming holes. This also gives it the Swiss cheese plant name!

Originating in southern Mexico and down into South America, it’s definitely tropical. Its natural habitats are rainforests, and it is an epiphyte. While it does have soil-based roots, it also has roots along the stem. These aerial roots grab onto tree bark and allow it to climb upwards.

All portions of monstera deliciosa are poisonous at some point. The leaves, stems, sap, and even the roots are never safe to eat. In the right habitat, the plant can flower, producing an unusual spiky growth.

While the flower spike is also inedible at first, it ripens over time into a very uncommon and edible fruit. These rarely produce flowers outside of their natural habitat. Greenhouse conditions can mimic their habitat more accurately.

Monster fruit is safe to eat unless you have a sensitivity to oxalates, but only when ripe. When it’s unripe, it can cause irritation of the mouth and throat. I’ll tell you how to determine ripeness in a bit!

The plant isn’t grown for its fruit nor its weird, spiky flower that forms its fruit. Instead, it’s grown for those dramatic leaves. In container conditions, the leaves usually are 1-2 feet in length. Natural habitat growth can see those leaves reaching up to 3 feet long.

In short, this delicious monster is only delicious when it’s ready to be. But it’s visually stunning year-round!

Caring For Monstera Deliciosa

Outside of its natural tropical habitat, monstera plants are less hardy. They require warm temperatures and humidity to really thrive. Here’s some hints on the best conditions you can house your plant in.

Light and Temperature

Avoid too much direct sunlight as it can burn your monstera’s leaves. Source: Ivonne MG

Your monstera plant loves bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight will cause it to burn, and it takes surprisingly little!

Because of this, it’s best to grow your monstera deliciosa in either partial or full shade. Be sure it has plenty of ambient lighting, but avoid the sun’s full touch whenever possible.

Temperature-wise, the perfect range for this tropical is between 68-86 degrees. If the temperature dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, growth will stop. In frost conditions, your plant will die off, so avoid cold weather entirely!

It’s best to only grow this plant outdoors if you’re in USDA zones 10-11 as they have the right temperature range. When grown outdoors, your plant can potentially reach heights of 10′ tall if it has proper support. This seldom happens indoors.

People in other zones should opt to maintain their plant as an indoor plant only. Provide the right temperature range and ample humidity for your jungle plant!

Water and Humidity

Too much water, and your monstera deliciosa is susceptible to rot issues. But too little, and it may wilt. Let’s go over the best way to water and provide the right humidity for your plant.

When the soil is dry to about 2″ below the surface, it’s time to water. Provide water at the base of the plant. Fill the pot completely full, then allow the excess water to drain out. Repeat this 2-3 times to be sure the soil has absorbed enough water.

Once the plant has drained its final time, pour off any excess standing liquid in the plant’s tray. If you’re not using a tray, you can skip this step.

In the winter, slow down your watering frequency. Wait until 3-4″ of the soil is dry, but don’t allow the plant to wilt. Monstera requires much less water during the winter months.

Humidity-wise, high humidity is preferable. However, your plant can tolerate drier conditions occasionally.

To maintain the humidity around your plant, you can mist it. Misting should be twice per week and should be done in the morning hours so excess water can dry.

There’s an extra step with monstera, too. Cleaning your plant’s leaves may be required, especially if it’s indoors. Place 2-3 drops of dish soap into a bowl of water. Dip a clean cloth into the water and wring out excess, and then use that to wipe down the leaves. A monthly cleaning will reduce dust buildup on the leaves and keep pest issues at bay.

Soil

Monstera deliciosa can be a beautiful and large container plant. Source: fuzzyjay

Monstera deliciosa will tolerate slightly-sandy soils, but prefers a peaty, well-draining soil. Your soil should be nutrient-rich and should hold moisture without getting soggy.

I like to use a standard potting mix with extra peat moss worked into it. This works surprisingly well. If your potting mix doesn’t have perlite in it, adding a little perlite will improve drainage.

Fertilizer

There’s a couple ways which you can fertilize your monstera deliciosa plants.

The first, and most popular, is to find a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer. Use about a half-teaspoon of that diluted in a gallon of water. Apply that directly to the soil to replace a routine watering session. Be sure to pour out any excess liquid in the plant’s tray when you’re done.

A slow-release granular fertilizer can also be used. Find one which is a balanced NPK with a good level of magnesium in it. It’s preferable to use one with organic nitrogen sources as those are more easily used by the plant.

If using the granular, apply 1/4lb every 8 weeks throughout the plant’s first year of growth. Do not fertilize in the winter. In subsequent years, gradually increase the fertilizer to 1lb. Reduce the frequency of fertilizing to 2-3 times during the growing season.

Monstera deliciosa which is grown in sandy soil with a low pH should also get an annual soil drench. This should be done in the early summer, June being optimal. Use a mix of chelated iron and water to provide the necessary iron boost your plants will need.

Propagation

Seeds form within this fruit beneath its scaled exterior. Source: Malcolm NQ

Monstera deliciosa can be propagated from seed, cuttings, division or air layering.

By seed can be difficult, as seeds are hard to find. Since these plants seldom produce fruit and the seed has a short shelf life, it’s important to plant it fast. Use a thin coating of soil overtop and keep it moist until it germinates in a few weeks. Plants grown from seed will take a long time to develop into larger plants.

Cuttings should be taken of fresh, healthy leaves which have aerial roots attached. Cut with clean pruning shears below a leaf node, taking care that your cutting has those roots. You can place your cutting into water or into prepared potting soil. Rooting hormones are not necessary, as monstera rapidly develops new roots.

Division is a good choice for older plants. Cut some of the suckers into foot-long segments and gently press them into the soil. New roots will develop and your plant will begin to grow.

Finally, there’s a technique called air layering. Moisten some sphagnum moss, wringing out excess water. Wrap it around the joint where an aerial root and leaf axil are located.

Once in place, tie the moss with string to keep it there, and wrap with plastic (either plastic wrap or a plastic bag). Be sure to leave air vents in the bag or poke some holes to allow for air to penetrate. New roots should form within a few months, and you can clip it off below the roots to replant elsewhere.

Repotting

Monstera deliciosa should be transplanted about every two years. If it’s growing faster, transplant it when it’s outgrown its existing pot. Aim for a pot which is 2″ wider than the prior one, as that provides plenty of space.

Be sure that your pot has plenty of drainage holes and is deep enough to support a large stake or trellis. As this plant is a natural climber, you’ll want something for it to crawl up!

Fill the bottom third of your pot with a prepared soil blend. Carefully unpot your monster plant and set it into place. Fill to the height at which it was previously planted, tucking in any aerial roots.

Once it’s in place, tamp down the soil around the plant to secure it in place, adding more soil if necessary. Place a heavy stake or trellis in place, being sure it’s secure. You can then use plastic ties or strips of cloth to tie the plant stem to the support.

After repotting, provide a good deep watering for your plant to be sure the soil is holding moisture. You can then resume normal watering and fertilizing cycles.

It’s easiest to transplant your monstera deliciosa during or at the end of the winter months. This is when the plant’s not developing much new growth, and it will reinvigorate come spring.

Training & Pruning

Support may be needed for these gigantic leafy plants. Source: catlovers

A climber by nature, monstera deliciosa can easily reach ten feet tall in its original locale. Its aerial rootlets will latch onto tree bark with tentacle-like precision. Unlike most other climbing plants, these rootlets do no damage. They only work to hold the plant aloft.

Because of this, indoor growers will likely want to provide some form of support. This can be a wooden stake or board, or it can be a wooden trellis. Wood or other natural materials are best as they’re easiest for the plant to grip onto.

Be sure that your support is well anchored in its place. While the plant doesn’t get top heavy, the large leaves do have some weight.

Pruning is mostly cosmetic or to retard further growth. Lower leaves which are dying off can be removed by cutting 1/4″ above the stem joint. This allows you to remove the leaf in its entirety without harming the plant’s base.

Aerial roots that become unruly are easy to snip off with a clean and sterile pair of pruning shears. If they’re close to the soil, you can tuck the rootlets into the pot instead of clipping them off.

Excess growth in places you don’t want it can also be removed as needed. Be sure not to take too many leaves off at once as the plant still needs some, and avoid cutting the main stalk.

Monstera Deliciosa Fruit: How To Eat It Safely

The monsterio fruit is considered an exotic delicacy. Source: frankenschulz

The fruit of monstera deliciosa is sometimes called the tropical salad fruit. And there’s good reason for that name, as it’s reputed to taste like a blend of pineapple, mango, and banana!

But if unripe, this fruit is full of oxalic acid which will burn your mouth and throat. It can also be flecked with little black specks of concentrated acids. How do you know when to harvest?

First, the fruit will form on the plant in the form of a spathe and spadix. The spathe is a large leaflike flower that surrounds the spadix, or eventual fruit. The spadix develops what appear to be greenish scales around the fruit.

As the lower part of the scales begins to yellow, your fruit is starting to ripen, but it’s not ready yet. Wait until the scales at the bottom of the fruit begin to peel back, exposing the corn-like fruit beneath.

Once the scales start to peel back, cut the fruit free of the stem and place it in a paper bag to allow it to ripen further. As the scales come off, you can eat the exposed portion of the fruit, picking off any black flecks you see. Discard these flecks. They’re leftover calcium oxalate and can be an irritant.

Don’t exert any pressure on the scales to try to peel them back further. The starches in the fruit need time to convert to sugars, and so it will ripen very slowly. Only the parts that the scales have flaked off of are safe to eat.

This fruit can be eaten when ripe, or can be made into an exotic jam. Those who are sensitive to oxalic acids or oxalates will still want to avoid it. But if you’re not sensitive, enjoy your rare rainforest treat!

Here’s a short video of the ripening process and a description of the fruit’s flavor.

Monstera Deliciosa Problems

Free of the majority of pest or disease issues, monstera deliciosa can be a real fun plant to grow. But there are a couple hints I can offer for an assortment of odd issues that could arise.

Growing Problems

Sometimes even with the best care, monstera plants can have a few issues. Let’s go over what to do if any of these arise.

If your leaves have started to yellow, this is generally a symptom of too much direct sunlight. While the gigantic leaves seem impervious, they’re easily burned by the rays of the sun. Monstera deliciosa likes bright light, but it should be indirect!

Yet too much shade isn’t good either. Hurricane plants don’t develop those big perforations in their leaves in low-light conditions.

Additionally, your monstera is prone to negative phototropism. When it’s in its natural habitat, a patch of darkness is usually a sign of a large tree or other plant nearby. Since they like to climb, your plant may actually start growing towards darkness. It’s looking for more light! Providing better lighting will stop that.

If your leaves are looking dried out, the plant’s not getting enough water. You should increase your watering frequency.

And finally, browning leaf edges are usually another sign of a lack of moisture or humidity. Mist your plant more frequently if leaf edges look a bit crisp.

Pests

Pests do not appear interested in monstera or its unusual fruit. Source: the justified sinner

Very few pests seem interested in monstera deliciosa. But there’s two which are common in both indoor and outdoor settings.

Spider mites can cause small yellow specks or patches to develop on leaf surfaces. These tiny mites suck the moisture out of the leaves. Combat them by giving all leaf surfaces a good misting of neem oil. The naturally-forming azdirachtin will kill off mite eggs and slowly poison adults.

Scale insects, particularly mealybugs, are also prone to appearing. These attach themselves to leaves and stems, sucking the vigor out of your plant over time. Insecticidal soaps such as Safer Soap work well to eliminate these pests. Neem oil is an excellent preventative.

Diseases

Monstera deliciosa is astonishingly resistant to most forms of plant diseases. When healthy and vigorous, very little will harm them!

Excessive watering can cause the roots to develop some root rot if you’re not careful. Damaged roots should get pruned off during your regular repotting. Avoid standing water in your pots, and make sure your soil drains well to prevent this issue.

Otherwise, your monstera should be disease-free!

Frequently Asked Questions

A closeup of some of the naturally-forming holes in a monstera leaf. Source: monteregina

Q: Are there other uses for monstera deliciosa?

A: The long tendril-like aerial roots traditionally are used for ropemaking in Peru. They’re also worked into baskets in portions of southern Mexico.

Generally considered poisonous, they’re also used in some traditional herbal medicines. If you’re curious about how they’re used, consult a skilled herbalist. Don’t risk it on your own as they can be dangerous!

Ready to grow your own monsterio fruit? Desperate for the large leaves of the plant? Hopefully you’re better prepared for growing this gargantuan tropical! Have you grown monstera before? Share your stories in the comment section!

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Hello flip flops, coconuts and fruity drinks with umbrellas! If you want your home to have a tropical feel then plan on picking up 1 of these plants. The leaves are big and it spreads as it grows. This is all about Monstera deliciosa care including tips and things good to know so you can keep your leafy beauty thriving and looking good.

These plants were popular years ago but fell out of the limelight. Now they’ve come back with a vengeance and rightfully so. There are many species and varieties of Monsteras on the market. You basically care for them all the same except for the variegated ones which need a bit more light to keep their beautiful markings.

The common names for this plant are: Monstera, Swiss Cheese Plant, Split Leaf Philodendron, Cut Leaf Philodendron & Mexican Breadfruit.

Oh, that gorgeous foliage!

Uses

They’re tabletop plants when young. As they grow, these Monsteras not only get taller but they get wider. Mine is currently growing in a 6″ grow pot & stands 22″ tall & 24″ wide. It’s quite young & already takes up quite a bit of the table!

As they grow, they become floor plants. Widthwise, just know that they need space.

Size

They’re commonly sold in 6″, 8″, 10″ & 14″ pot sizes. Because the leaves are so big, the larger the pot size, the wider the plant is. The tallest I’ve ever seen 1 in a home is 6′ tall by roughly 4′ wide.

Monsteras are classified as evergreen vines. You may see them trained to grow up a piece of wood or moss pole.

Growth Rate

Moderate to fast – these are vigorous & strong growers. I live in Tucson, AZ with a lot of sunshine & warm temps. for 7-8 months of the year. Mine grows fast.

Like all houseplants, the growth slows way down in the cooler months. And, the lower light conditions the slower the growth rate will be.

Close Relatives

I’m adding this in for fun because I also have these growing in my home & you may too. In the same plant family as the Monstera are the popular houseplants: pothos, anthurium, arrowhead plant, peace lily and Chinese evergreen.

This Monstera isn’t that tall but you can see how wide it is.

Monstera Deliciosa Care

Exposure

They prefer bright, natural light—what I would call a moderate exposure. Near but not in a window is good. They’ll tolerate low light but will show little if any growth.

Monsteras are epiphytic just like orchids, bromeliads & all its relatives listed above. They grow up trees & along the ground under the cover of other plants. If the light is too strong (like a hot, west exposure close to a window) it’ll cause the leaves to scorch which will show up as brown marks. Dappled sunlight is fine.

My Monstera grows in my east-facing dining room about 8′ away from a trio of windows. The room is filled with sunlight and my many plants in this room do really well.

If you have one of the variegated Monstera deliciosa, then it’ll definitely need moderate light to bring out & keep the variegation.

You may have to move yours to a brighter spot as the light changes in the winter months. Rotate it if need be so the lights hits it on all sides.

Watering

I water my 6″ Monstera when the planting mix is 1/2-3/4 of the way dry. That tends to be every 7-9 days in the warmer months & every 2-3 weeks when winter comes around. Yours might need more or less – this guide to watering indoor plants & houseplant watering 101 post will help you out.

Monsteras have thick roots (& quite a bit of them) so be sure not to overwater yours. This will lead to root rot & the plant will eventually die.

2 things: don’t water yours too often (it’s an epiphyte after all) & back off on the frequency in the winter.

Temperature

If your home is comfortable for you, it’ll be so for your houseplants too. Monsteras prefer it on the warmer side in the growing months & cooler in the winter when it’s their rest time. Just be sure to keep them away from any cold drafts as well as air conditioning or heating vents.

This Monstera deliciosa doesn’t have many slits &/or holes in its leaves. I’ve been told that the leaves are predestined from their start to be how they are. I’ve also read they slit as they age so I’m not sure which is true. I’ll be sure to keep any eye on mine as it grows & let you know!

Humidity

Like all tropical plants, Monsteras love it. They’re native to the rainforest regions after all. If the leaves of yours are showing tiny brown tips, that’s a reaction to the dry air in our homes. Even though I live in hot dry Tucson, mine isn’t showing any brown tips.

I have a large, deep kitchen sink with a faucet water filter. As I said, every other time I water my Monstera I take it to the sink, spray the foliage & leave it in there for an hour or so to temporarily up the ante on the humidity factor. Plus, it keeps the dust from building up on the foliage with can hinder the foliage breathing process.

I have a diffuser on a table filled with plants that my Monstera sits on. I run it a few hours a day. This seems to work here in the dry desert.

If yours look stressed & you think it’s due to lack of humidity, fill the saucer with pebbles & water. Put the plant on the pebbles but make sure the drain holes &/or the bottom of the pot isn’t submerged in water. That’s what I do with mine & this helps also.

Misting the plant a few times a week is another option.

Fertilizing/Feeding

I give most of my houseplants a light application of worm compost with a light layer of compost over that every spring. Easy does it – a 1/4? layer of each is plenty for smaller sized plants. I go up to 1/2 – 1″ layers for larger pots. You can read about how I worm compost/compost feed right here.

I give my Monstera a watering with Eleanor’s vf-11 in late spring, mid-summer & at the end of summer. We have a long growing season here in Tucson & houseplants appreciate the nutrients this plant food provides. Once or twice a year might do it for your plant.

Whatever houseplant food you use, don’t over-fertilize your plant because salts build-up and can burn the roots of the plant. This will show up as brown spots on the leaves.

Avoid fertilizing a houseplant that is stressed, ie. bone dry or soaking wet.

Avoid feeding or fertilizing your houseplants in late fall or winter because it’s their time for rest.

You can train your Monstera to grow up a piece of wood like you see here.

Repotting/Soil

Like all epiphytes, Monstera deliciosas like to grow slightly pot bound. That being said, this plant is a vigorous & fast grower so you’ll need to repot it every 2-3 years depending on how it’s growing.

My plant is wider & heavier in relation to its grow pot size. It tipped over & fell off the table so I put it inside a heavy ceramic for anchoring. It’s now early October & I’ll be repotting my Monstera next spring so I’ll share that with you. It’s in a 6″ pot now & will go up to an 8″ grow pot.

As for soil, this plant likes a rich mix with a good amount of peat in it. I’ll use 1/2 potting soil & 1/2 coco coir.

I’m partial to Ocean Forest because of its high-quality ingredients. It’s a soilless potting mix & is enriched with lots of good stuff but also drains well. Epiphytes needs excellent drainage because they grow on other plants, not in the ground.

I use coco coir instead of peat moss because it’s much more environmentally friendly. The Prococo Chips/Fiber block is what I use but this is similar.

Pruning

You’ll need to prune a Monstera to train it or to propagate it. A few of the lowest leaves stay quite small so I usually prune those off at some point.

These plants get straggly & rangy in low light so you may need to do some pruning to shape them.

As your Monstera gets grows & gets dense, you can prune a leaf or 2 off to be used in a flower arrangement. They’re quite long-lasting!

This is a Philodendron selloum growing at Rancho Soledad Nurseries. Some people get them confused with the Monstera deliciosa. They’re both in the same plant family.

A Monstera is a snap to propagate. You’ll see roots coming out of the nodes on the stems. Those are the aerial roots used for anchoring their stems to other plants when growing in nature.

To propagate by stem cuttings, prune a stem right below a node & aerial root(s). Make sure your pruners are clean & sharp. They can then easily be put in water or a light mix to further root.

My Monstera is young. I’ll wait until the stems grow & more aerial roots are produced before propagating it.

Another method of propagating a Monstera is by division.

My Monsteras have never gotten any pests. They can be susceptible to mealy bugs, scale & spider mites so keep your eyes open for those. Pests tend to live inside where the leaf hits the stem & also under the leaves so check these areas from time to time.

It’s best to take action as soon as you see any pest because they multiply like crazy. Pests can travel from houseplant to houseplant fast so make you get them under control pronto.

Monsteras are very popular these days. I saw a lot of them both in 6″ & 10″ grow pots when I was at the Plant Stand in Phoenix.

Safe For Pets

A number of plants in the Araceae family, such as Monsteras, are considered to be toxic to pets. I consult the ASPCA website for my info on this subject to see in what way the plant is toxic. Here’s more info on this for you.

Most houseplants are toxic to pets in some way & I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic.

Flowers

Monsteras do flower and produce fruit but it rarely happens when they’re growing indoors.

Common Questions about Monstera Deliciosa Care

  • How do you make a Monstera grow up? It will grow up over time. It needs a means of support that those aerial roots can cling on to. You can train it to climb up a moss pole or piece of wood.
  • How do you keep a Monstera small? I’ve never tried. Monsteras have a vigorous growth habit, large leaves & get big over time. You can tip prune yours as it grows to contain the growth. There are many other indoor plants which stay small or are easy to keep small so another plant might be an option.
  • Can you cut back a Monstera? I’ve lightly pruned 1 to keep it in shape but I’ve never cut 1 all the way back. I’m thinking you could aggressively cut 1 back by 1/2 to 1/3 if yours has gotten out of shape or is rangy.
  • Does a Monstera like direct sunlight? A Monstera likes bright natural light but no hot, direct sun hitting its gorgeous leaves. Filtered sun or a bit of morning sun are fine.
  • Why is my Monstera plant turning yellow? There are a number of reasons leaves on a plant could be turning yellow. If it’ an occasional leaf (especially the lower ones), that’s just the natural growth habit. Most common reasons are: over or under watering, a nutrient deficiency or lack of light. Over watering (i.e. watering too often) is usually the issue!
  • When should I water my Monstera? I can tell you when I water mine with success. I wait until the mix it’s growing in is 1/2 to 1/3 of the way dry & then I water. In summer it’s every 7-9 days. In the cooler, darker winter months I let the mix go almost dry so it’s about every 3 weeks.
  • Should I mist my Monstera? Monsteras love humidity so mist away. Just don’t let the leaves stay wet for too long when the temps are cool.
  • Can you divide a Monstera plant? You sure can. I could divide my plant into 3. I’d use a sharp clean knife to cut the stems apart & would make sure each stem had roots growing off of it.
  • Can I cut off the aerial roots of a Monstera? Yes you can. The aerial roots are how the stems attach to another plant as they climb. If you want your Monstera to grow up, then leave them on so they can grow into that moss pole or piece of wood.
  • Can a Monstera grow outdoors? It can grow outdoors in the garden or in a container in the warmest climates. You can bring your Monstera outdoors in the summer but make sure it isn’t exposed to any direct, hot sun.

This is a Monstera adansonii in its young form. It’s commonly called Swiss Cheese Vine.

To sum it up: Monsteras will “jungle up” your home, especially as they grow. The leaves get larger with age and the plant will get wider as well as taller. They’re easy to care for and easy to find. To have 1 thrive, keep it in moderate light and water when the mix it’s about 1/2 dry.

Enjoy your Monstera!

Happy gardening,

Here are some more useful houseplant care guides!

  • 15 Easy to Grow Houseplants
  • Guide to Watering Indoor Houseplants
  • 10 Easy Care Houseplants for Low Light

You can find more houseplant info in my simple and easy to digest houseplant care guide: Keep Your Houseplants Alive

Don’t forget I have an Amazon page with all my favorite finds I love & use!

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