Monstera is a highly sought-after and attractive foliage plant often grown indoors as houseplants. These evergreen tropical plants come in a variety of species and can grow as vines and shrubs that are native to Southern Mexico and other areas of Central America.
What's a Monstera?
The Monstera plants are famous for their natural leaf-holes, which is where the common name of the Swiss Cheese Plant comes from. The Monstera plant has a range of leaf holes and natural slits in the leaves, known as fenestrations. While it is not fully understood how these holes evolved, they are thought to help maximize sun fleck capture on the forest floor and reduce the number of plants not exposed to the sun.
Part of Araceae, the Aroid Family, Monstera plants thrive in their native environment and are one of the few aroids that produce edible fruit. However, it is rare to see plants grown in the residential setting produce flowers or fruits outdoors, and it is almost unheard of with indoor-grown plants. Like most plants classified as aroids, Monsteras were formally known in the botanical world during the early 20th century but have been traced back in ancient cultures for thousands of years. The popularity of this plant has only grown, and it remains one of the most popular large houseplants grown today, which has led to an increased need for information on Monstera care.
Monstera Care and Cultivation at Home
Monstera plants are widely considered to be very beginner-friendly plants. If you follow basic plant care practices and advice, you can enjoy a beautiful and healthy plant. From ensuring the right light and temperature ranges are met to treating your plant with the best soil boosted by Lomi home compost, you will love the way your Swiss Cheese plant looks.
If you keep up a good care routine with a Monstera, you can enjoy it all year round and can grow it as large as you want. Monstera care comes down to smart choices and an appropriate care routine. If you are raising young children or have pets, you will need to ensure they cannot get to the Monstera plant or eat the leave as it can be toxic and has sap that can irritate the skin. But by comparison to many other common indoor plants, Monstera plants are safe and fun to care for. Overall, these plants are very beginner-friendly, and it is fairly easy to duplicate the native environment it thrives in as it is common among most plants grown indoors.
The best lighting for growing Monstera deliciosa is low light to bright indirect light. Like other varieties of what are known as split-leaf philodendron, light levels are important as these foliage plants depend on it to thrive. Placement of houseplants near windows and glass doors is ideal as it allows for the best low light, indirect light, and filtered light. In rooms with multiple windows, it is important to check light throughout the day to ensure the plants are not spending a lot of time in direct sunlight. The tree grows around the jungle floor and is shaded by tall trees, which block direct sunlight, so indirect light is best for beautiful plant growth.
It is generally recommended to use a well-draining potting mix when growing Monstera plants. Mix in ingredients such as perlite or lava rocks to increase soil aeration and ensure there is good drainage and air levels. Drainage holes and layers need to be present to avoid soggy soil or overly wet soil. A Monstera house plant can be cultivated outdoors if normal temperatures do not fall below 45 F. Indoors, they need moist soil with periods of miniature drought conditions to keep the soil dry for a period of time as excess water can damage roots and stems.
Monsteras need watering every 1-2 weeks, with periods that let the soil dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Monsteras can benefit from filtered water or water left out as this can help remove minerals and any additives in the water. As a general rule, tap water should be used sparingly as it can lead to a buildup of certain minerals that can harm the roots. Root rot in most Monstera deliciosa plants is caused by over watering and poor drainage, so this is something to consider carefully when thinking about how to care for a Monstera plant in your home.
One of the reasons these plants are so popular among homeowners is that they are hardy and easy to care for. They can easily benefit from the use of natural pesticide applications as well as the occasional use of a balanced fertilizer. Liquid fertilizers are often used through a low-strength, slow-release fertilizer that can be added to the soil as well for an easier fertilization routine. As a foliage plant, nitrogen is among the most important nutrients Monstera plants need to stay healthy and beautiful.
Normal room humidity and temperature are often fine for these foliage plants. However, like many split-leaf philodendrons, these plants prefer humid conditions as much as possible. Some homeowners look at incorporating a fine-mist mister for Monstera grown on porches or patios or a humidifier to boost humidity levels for those grown inside. Most houseplants prefer temps in the 65°F-85°F range (18°C-30°C), and this range seems to be ideal for Monsteras as well, though it is important not to let it go below 60°F (15°C) for any extended period of time or damage to the leaves can occur.
As with many tropical plants, Monstera grown as indoor plants can get a bit overgrown at times. This is especially problematic when routine trimming and pruning are not implemented. In their natural habitat, Monstera grows quickly to secure themselves to trees and other items in their environment. There is also a lot of competition for sun, water, and nutrients, so they grow quickly to overtake competing plants. This can lead to unruly growth at times in an indoor setting, so pruning is needed. This can also help keep the plant out of reach of pets and small children, so they stay safe.
Propagating Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera can easily be propagated, a process of making more plants off of a single plant specimen. There are several options for propagating, but with Monstera, it is more commonly propagated by stem cuttings. Swiss cheese plant cuttings are easy to root, both in water or soil, and can be made easy thanks to the abundant areal roots these plants can produce. Cuttings should be taken from leggy growth, just after a leaf node, and near areal roots, if any are present.
You will need to remove the bottom-most leaves to clear some of the stems so they can be inserted into the soil or kept in water as the roots begin to grow. It is important to ensure good drainage holes when using pots and soil so the plant roots do not get too waterlogged in the soil. Keep the cuttings in direct light for several hours a day and in indirect sunlight for the rest of the day to encourage faster growth and rooting. You can add a trellis, moss pole, or similar structure to the pot to provide support that your Monstera can attack as it begins to grow as well.
Potting and Repotting Monstera Deliciosa
Root growth is important for the Swiss Cheese Plant as it is what feeds the entire plant and provides the nutrients needed for all the foliage. Due to their fast growth, Monsteras can quickly get root bound when grown indoors in pots. Monstera houseplants should be repotted every year or two to maintain the health of the plant. It is also an excellent time to add fertilizer and compost to the pots.
Like most house plants, the Monstera can benefit greatly from adding nutrient-rich dirt from Lomi to the pots, either as a top layer added to the pot or mixed into the fresh potting mix during repotting. To repot a Monstera, choose a container with drainage holes at the bottom that is bigger than the root ball, so fresh soil can be added to encourage new root growth. Gently remove the plat from its old container, loosen the root ball gently to untangle roots, and prune back any brown or damaged roots.
Gently place the root ball into the new pot, fill in with loose well-draining soil, and then water to settle the soil around the roots. Move the plant back to its normal growing spot out of direct sunlight, being careful to avoid sudden change in light or temperature, especially right after repotting, as the plant will be slightly stressed during this time.
Common Pests and Diseases of Monstera
Like most plants grown indoors, there are some common pests and diseases that homeowners need to watch for when growing these plants. Monstera species, in general, are quite tough and, as long as they are healthy and kept in good environments, are usually free of major issues that many other house plants struggle with. If stressed, however, they can become susceptible to a number of various pests, including scale, spider mites, mealy bugs, fungus gnats, powdery mildew, mold, and spider mites.
Most of the pests that affect tropical plants like Monstera can be dealt with by using a natural pesticide spray, and at times simply spraying and wiping the plant down with clean water can help keep pests at bay. When growing indoor plants like these, the foliage is the part of the plant that is most likely to be attacked. Monstera leaves need to be inspected regularly to look for signs of pest and disease issues and for poor water and light levels.
It is also important to keep a close watch on a new plant as the shock of moving it to a new location can make it more prone to issues. Signs of brown or yellow leaves leave curl and twisting, and stem or root rot needs to be closely monitored and dealt with sooner rather than later. The best way to take care of your plants and keep them looking their best year-round is to keep up with good general care practices. Plants that are not stressed and are well cared for will make beautiful plants that you and your family can enjoy.
Common Problems of Monstera Deliciosa
A big part of good Monstera care is looking for early warning signs that something is wrong or a bit off with the environment and the care that you are giving to your plant. Monstera plants will let you know when they are stressed or unhappy, and it will show a decline in their overall health, vigor, and beauty. Taking care of a Swiss Cheese plant will mean looking for issues that can include the following:
- Browning Tips- This issue can often be traced back to issues with light levels. Knowing how much light your Monstera is getting is important because exposure to direct sunlight for too long can burn the leaves and cause brown and curled edges and tips.
- Yellow Leaves- Issues with leaves that turn yellow often go back to watering issues. Too much water and soggy soil, and issues with new soil composition can lead to issues with leaves and stems rotting and turning yellow due to root rot and similar problems.
- Wilting Leaves- When the leaves of a Monstera plant begin to wilt and fade in color, it is often related to nutrient levels and root health. Whether it is an older plant or a new plant, it is time to do an overall inspection if the leaves start to look a bit droopy.
You can do a lot to keep your Monstera in good health and looking its best by taking steps to prevent root rot and ensure sun and temperature parameters are met. It is important to avoid sudden drops or changes in indoor environments as this can shock the plant and make it more susceptible to the abovementioned problems. There is a lot that you can do to encourage growth in your plants. Working with local plant care experts from your local garden centers and utilizing home growth products such as the Lomi counter composter can ensure you give your Monstera everything it needs to be a healthy and beautiful plant.
For those who enjoy keeping Monstera plants in their homes, some common questions that arise that you might have already been asking yourself can include the following:
- Is Monstera deliciosa easy to care for in and out of the growing season? The Monstera family makes a perfect plant for indoor growth and enjoyment. They love the natural light in lower to moderate levels, commonly found indoors. In addition, these plants love the general environment commonly seen in homes, which is why they are so popular as indoor plants.
- Why do the leaves on some Monstera deliciosa plants split more than on others? While it is not known fully what causes some leaves to split more than others on any given plant, it is believed to relate to light levels. In the native environment of Central America, where Monstera thrives, they grow in low light conditions, which likely impact how the leaves grow.
- What is the difference between Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii? The adansonii variety of Monster plants is usually smaller and more compact in size and growth habit. Their leaves are also usually thinner and more delicate and have many more holes and perforations than the larger and more dominating leaves of the deliciosa variety.
Final Thoughts on Monstera Plant Care
Monstera deliciosa care is fairly straightforward compared to what many other plant parents do with indoor plants. Keeping up with these vining plants and their vigorous growth can sometimes be challenging. Still, the overall hardiness of these house plants makes Monstera adansonii and deliciosa some of the most common plants grown inside today.
While they are native to tropic jungles and thrive as outdoor plants, when given conditions that mirror their natural environments and ideal conditions, they can thrive indoors as well. While they might not become the towering bushes and climb large trees like in their home region of Southern Mexico, they can be beautiful plants that will brighten up your home. Check out these tips for yourself and see what you can do with Monstera Swiss Cheese Plants in your home today!