How to take care of Monstera?
There are many varieties of Monsteras but the most common are Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii. They are tropical climbing plants from the Araceae family, that can benefit from being tied to a totem or stick for upwards growth.
Monstera adansonii is often called Monkey leaf or Monkey mask Monstera.
Monstera deliciosa has also a variation called Monstera borsigiana.
An original adult Monstera deliciosa has leaves with many rows of perforations. Monstera Deliciosa will have small wrinkles at the end of the petiole, where it connects to the leaf. These wrinkles will form only on a mature plant. Borsigiana does not have them.
Monstera borsigiana has smaller leaves compared to original deliciosa (60cm instead of 100cm when mature) and it only has holes in one or two rows. Borsigiana tends to grow faster.
Climbers are more typically borsigianas and more bushy ones original deliciosas.
There are three color variegated mutations of the above mentioned monsteras, colors are either light green, yellow or white/cream.
An example of whites: Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata, Monstera Borsigiana Albo Variegata and Monstera adansonii Albo Variegata
You may also have heard about Thai Constellation variegata. It’s actually a variety of the common Monstera Deliciosa, with white patterns on its leaves. Thai Constellation is a tissue culture from one lab in Thailand that supplies the plant worldwide.
White leaves on monstera variegata are highly desirable and hard to get and also very hard to keep. The white on the leaves can not perform the photosynthesis and is therefore very sensitive to bright light and humidity levels. Humidity needs to be optimal, not too high or they will turn brown, too low and they will turn brown. Do not mist the white parts of your variegata!!
All Monsteras are actually not Monsteras
There is a plant called "Monstera Minima" which is many times misidentified as Monstera but it´s genus is Rhaphidophora (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma). However, care instructions are similar to Monsteras.
How to take care?
Water: Monsteras prefer lightly moist soil which needs to dry out a little between watering. Wait until the top 50-75% of the soil is fairly dry, before giving it a good drink.
When you have good airy/porous soil you can give plenty of water until it flows through the drainage holes at the bottom. Do not let Monstera sit in water or soggy soil.
For larger plants you should use an aqua meter, to check the moisture level, unless your fingers are exceptionally long. Check more here.
Brown or yellow with brown on the same leaf might occur when over watering. Over watering will cause root rotting.
Fully yellowing leaves are a sign of under watering. Leaves that start to wilt, curl or crips up at the edges, are also common signs that your Monstera needs more water.
As monsteras are tropical plants they prefer soft water, like rain water, filtered or precooked water.
If you occasionally notice the leaves are dripping, don’t be alarmed, it’s a natural sign that your plant has sufficient water and is in suitable room humidity.
Air humidity: Prefer a warm and humid environment. It will benefit from the company of other plants and pebble stone water trays.
Temperature: Keep a room temperature between 15-25 Celsius.
Light: Thrives in medium to bright indirect light, but can tolerate low indirect light. Avoid hard direct sunlight.
Monsteras will stretch and flip its leaves towards the light, so rotate your plant periodically for even growth, and tie it to a totem or stick for upwards growth.
Fertilizer: Use an organic liquid fertilizer once a month during spring and summer, to support your plants growth.
Pruning: Monstera is a sturdy plant that can be pruned back. Use a sterilized sharp knife or scissors and place the cut just above a note.
Repotting: Monsteras prefer smaller pots. Too much soil around the roots, will increase the danger of soggy roots and cause the plant to invest its energy into developing more roots, at the expense of new leaves.
So before repotting, gently remove the plant from its nursing pot, and inspect the roots. If you notice the roots growing around in circles inside of the pot, its time to repot your plant. Gently loosen the circling roots, to allow the plant to grow naturally and choose a new nursing pot just a few cm larger than the old.
Make sure the nursing pot has draining holes and use potting soil that drains easily and stays airy and porous several years.
- 1/2 Green plant potting soil and 1/2 coco fiber or
- 1/2 Green plant potting soil and 1/2 succulent & cactus mix or
- 3/4 Green plant potting soil and 1/4 perlite
Lastly, you can also top a thin layer of worm compost.
Monsteras are mildly toxic to humans and toxic to animals.