How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa, also known as monstera or the Swiss cheese plant, is famous for its large, fenestrated leaves that give your home a touch of the jungle. Young plants are relatively easy to care for, but mature ones can grow massive and require moderate to high maintenance.

Monstera is a fast-growing plant that can grow up to 10 feet (3 m) long indoors. Maintaining its health, size, and overall appearance requires a solid care routine, including moderate light, temperature, and water but high humidity. You may also need a moss pole or a trellis to control its spread.

The rest of the article will explore everything you need to know about a monstera’s growth requirement to help you manage its size and maximize its aesthetic potential.

Quick Guide

Common Name(s)Monstera, Swiss cheese plant
Botanical NameMonstera deliciosa
FamilyAraceae
Plant TypePerennial evergreen vine
Native AreaCentral America, Mexico
Height & SpreadUp to 10 feet (3 m) long and 6 feet (1.8 m) wide indoors
Bloom TimeSummer in the wild, rare indoors
Flower StructureSpadix
ColorCream
Sun ExposureDappled sun, bright indirect light indoors
Soil TypeLoamy or rich in peat (30%)
Soil pH5.5-7.0
WateringModerate, once weekly or as soon as the top 2 inches of the soil (5 cm) is dry
Pests, Diseases, Common ProblemsAphids, scale mites, spider mites, mealybugs, thrips
Root rot, powdery mildew, leaf spot
ToxicityToxic, plant sap has calcium oxalate crystals
Required maintenanceModerate
Weekly watering
Monthly pruning from spring to fall
Annual or biennial extension of stake or moss pole

Monstera: An Overview

Monstera species have been known to the indigenous people in Central and South American rainforests long before they were formally named in the 18th century. They gained global popularity as houseplants in the 1950s but gradually went out of style. 

The advent of online platforms like Instagram and Pinterest in the 2010s revived people’s fascination with the monstera’s unique leaves and the number of collectors increased.

Several Monstera species have become popular in the botanical world, but the most widely available species is the Monstera deliciosa. It’s often called simply ‘monstera’ or the ‘Swiss cheese plant.’ Other relatives go by their species name, such as ‘albo’ or ‘obliqua’.

The Swiss cheese plant has a fascinating growth pattern with the following stages:

  • A monstera starts as a terrestrial plant with a singular stem that crawls over the moist forest soil.
  • The leaves of a young plant are typically small, heart-shaped, and lack holes or fenestrations.
  • As the growing tip of the stem touches a tree or taller plant, it begins climbing by spreading and sticking its aerial roots to the trunk.
  • The aerial roots absorb moisture and nutrients from the air.
  • The plant matures after 2 years or so with a noticeable increase in leaf size.
  • It’s a vine that climbs along tall trees and can reach about 70 feet (21 m) long.
  • As the plant climbs higher, strong winds, dappled sunlight, and raindrops encourage the leaves to develop their characteristic holes or fenestrations, which sometimes extend to leaf edges.

Anatomy

A monstera’s unique anatomy enables it to survive in its native habitat. It’s also the primary reason for its fame among houseplant collectors.

Leaves

Young monstera leaves are typically 3-6 inches (7.6-15 cm) long and wide without fenestrations. 

As the plants mature, the top leaves increase in size, with the largest growing up to 18 inches (45 cm). When exposed to an environment similar to their native habitat, they then develop irregular holes or splits.

There are numerous theories surrounding the development of holes in the leaves, including the following:

  • The holes protect the leaves from damage from strong winds. The holes decrease the leaves’ surface area and prevent or minimize the damage.
  • The dappled sunlight from the dense canopy of rainforests influences the leaves to develop holes. This increases the spread of the leaves and maximizes the sun fleck capture to sustain the plant’s energy needs. It also allows the bottom leaves to access sunlight.
  • Research shows that only 75-80% of rainwater lands on the forest floor. Monsteras have to compete with the massive root systems of tall trees for moisture, and the holes allow raindrops to fall directly toward the monstera roots.

Stems (and Aerial Roots)

M. deliciosa has a singular stem that produces large leaves with thick and long petioles. The stem initially grows vertically until it can no longer support the weight of the foliage. As it grows longer, it either crawls on the ground or climbs along vertical structures. 

Numerous aerial roots grow in all directions from the nodes and serve the following functions:

  • Cling to a nearby vertical structure
  • Absorb moisture and nutrients from the air

Roots

The Swiss cheese plant has extensive, sturdy underground roots that spread wide into the ground. The roots grow rapidly to support the young plant’s fast growth rate. They gradually slow down as the vine gets longer and produces more aerial roots.

If you train your plant to grow on moss poles or trellises, it will become epiphytic. This is quite convenient, as you wouldn’t have to repot your massive monstera too often.

The limited root growth in the pot doesn’t affect the growth rate of the shoots because the aerial roots can acquire the plant’s nutrient and moisture requirements.

Flowers and Fruits

Monsteras seldom bloom indoors, but when they do, it’s a sight to behold. Under optimal conditions, they can bloom anytime between spring and fall.

Each flower has a cream spadix with a thick and large white spathe that can reach up to a foot (30 cm) long. A monstera flower resembles a peace lily, but the monstera’s spathe cups the spadix more closely.

There isn’t enough scientific study regarding the pollination process of the members of the Monstera genus. However, it’s hypothesized that the fruity scent emitted by the flowers attracts pollinators, such as beetles and fruit flies. 

Due to the absence of pollinators, indoor monstera flowers are unlikely to develop into fruits. Despite their fruity scent, the flowers are not edible. When ingested by curious kids or pets, they may cause oral discomfort or vomiting.

Once pollinated, the flowers gradually produce fruits shaped like corn cobs with eyes like pineapples. The fruits can take about a year to develop and ripen. Ripe fruits are edible and taste a bit like pineapple, banana, guava, and several other tropical fruits. 

Fun fact: Monstera deliciosa literally means “delicious monster” because the fruits are tasty but can be dangerous when eaten before they’re ripe enough. The high concentration of calcium oxalate crystals in unripe fruits can cause a stinging sensation in the mouth.

You’ll know that the fruits are ready to eat when the “eyes” turn yellow, loosen, or fall off, revealing the juicy flesh inside.

Reproduction 

In nature, monsteras reproduce through seeds. Each fruit contains 20-30 seeds, each about ¼-½ inches (0.6-1.3 cm) in diameter.

Only a few pods have seeds, which they release as the fruit ripens and eventually dries out. Some birds or wild animals may also contribute to seed dispersal. 

Those that fall on moist forest soil will germinate in about a week. They can last up to 2 months in dry conditions before quickly losing viability.

In controlled environments (houseplants), monsteras can be propagated by using stem cuttings or air layering, which I’ll explain in more detail further below.

Dormancy

Swiss cheese plants are tropical perennials that don’t enter dormancy. Under optimal (tropical) conditions, they grow about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) per month from spring until summer.

However, the lower light intensity and temperatures in most North American homes in winter may prompt monsteras to grow more slowly. Drier air conditions due to indoor heaters may also contribute to this slower metabolic activity.

It’s important to reduce the watering frequency accordingly to avoid overwatering issues or root rot. In response, your plant will likely stop producing new leaves during winter.

Brighter light and warmer conditions in spring (along with a gradual increase in watering frequency) can serve as environmental cues for your plant to enter a growth spurt.

Popular Monstera Species and Varieties

M. deliciosa is the most popular member of the Monstera genus and is relatively easy to find in many gardening stores or private collectors.

Other species have also been gaining popularity recently, including the following:

Species or VarietyTraits
M. adansoniiThe leaves seldom grow over 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter.

The holes are concentrated within the leaves.
M. alboIt has large leaves with irregular white or cream patches and variegations due to a genetic mutation. Half of the leaf may appear entirely white due to a lack of chlorophyll.

Most of the holes extend to the leaf edges.
M. deliciosa ‘Thai Constellation’It also has white streaks and variegations that are more predictable.

It has small holes or large slits that extend to the edges of the leaves.
M. dubiaIt has smaller, variegated, heart-shaped (cordate) leaves.

The leaves have no fenestrations.
M. obliquaThe leaves are almost rhomboid in shape. 

The holes don’t extend to leaf edges and take up more space than the actual leaf surface.
M. peruIt has variegated leaves, which are cordate or rhomboid.

The leaves don’t form holes.
M. pinnatipartitaIt has oblong leaves.

The slits or fenestrations extend from the central vein to the edges.
M. standleyanaIt has unique variegations ranging from white, cream, or yellow. 

There are no fenestrations.

Toxicity

All Monstera species and varieties contain calcium oxalate crystals in their stems, flowers, unripe fruits, and leaves, making them toxic to cats and dogs. Ingesting small portions can lead to gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Even young children may exhibit skin irritation or mouth sores if they touch the sap or nibble the leaves.

Benefits as Houseplants

Despite their potential toxicity, monsteras are popular houseplants because of the following benefits:

  • They have large, attractive foliage that can add interest to your home.
  • Monsteras trained on a moss pole are neat and don’t take up much space.
  • They can add life to a shady corner in your home because they can tolerate filtered or low light.
  • You can switch to simple routine care once they’re established.
  • Because of their interesting shapes and details, they foster creativity and are often found in art and music studios.

Selecting Your Plant

M. deliciosa is easy to find, but be sure to follow this checklist when choosing your plant:

  • Choose a plant with at least three fenestrated leaves from a singular plant. Some garden stores plant multiple cuttings together to make the shoots look bushier. When it’s time to repot, you might end up with multiple skinny plants due to competition for moisture and nutrients.
  • The oldest leaf should be about 12 inches (30 cm) tall and there should be signs of new growth (leaf buds) at the base.
  • Inspect the leaves for signs of poor health or damage. Avoid plants with yellowing or browning leaves or have noticeable pest damage, such as yellow spots, honeydew, or webbing.
  • Choose a monstera whose pot is at least 2 inches (5 cm) wider than the plant’s base. The pot should have adequate drainage holes and be large enough to accommodate the growth for one more year. Rootbound nursery plants in pots with poor drainage are more vulnerable to water stress and root damage.
  • Avoid plants that show a mushy stem or smelly roots. These symptoms indicate root rot.

Although your plant looks healthy, it’s best to isolate it for up to 8 weeks once you get home. That’ll be enough time to reveal and address any existing pest infestation. I’ll discuss pest management in more detail below.

Initial Planting

Pro tip: Avoid repotting your monstera too soon after purchase. Give your young plant enough time to adjust to your home environment while sitting comfortably in the same pot it came with.

If you purchased the plant in early spring, you can repot it in fresh, nutrient-rich soil in early summer. If you purchased it in the summer, wait until the following spring to repot it.

Your plant needs time to recover from potential transplant shock. Repotting late in the summer will delay its recovery, especially if you can’t maintain bright light, warm, and humid conditions indoors in the fall.

You can transplant your monstera into a new pot with the following steps:

  1. Water your plant deeply 2-3 days before repotting.
  2. Prepare a container 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) wider and deeper than the nursery pot. Choose a heavy pot to support the plant’s weight as it grows rapidly. It should also have adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  3. Prepare a soil mix containing at least 30% peat moss or coco peat. You can also make a soilless mix using 2 parts compost, 2 parts coco peat, and 1 part perlite. Monsteras require a proper balance between moisture retention and drainage to prevent root rot.
  4. Carefully unpot the plant and remove the soil around the roots.
  5. Inspect the roots for signs of rot. Prune dark, mushy roots using sterile shears.
  6. Fill the bottom 3 inches (7.6 cm) of the new pot with fresh and moist soil mix.
  7. Spread the roots over the soil and fill in the spaces on the side with more soil.
  8. Tamp the soil down to keep the plant steady.
  9. Place the pot in an area with bright indirect light.
  10. Water the soil deeply and let the excess drain completely from the drainage holes. Wait until the soil surface is dry 2 inches (5 cm) deep before watering again.

Optimal Growing Conditions

Here are the ideal environmental conditions and care tips to ensure your monstera thrives in your home:

Light and Location

Monsteras can handle 2 hours of direct but gentle morning sunlight from an eastern window. However, they do best with 8 hours of bright indirect or filtered light daily.

You can place your plant 4-8 feet (1.2-2.4 m) from an eastern or southern window and draw the light curtains to filter the scorching sun at midday.

M. deliciosa leaves grow in all directions, so you must also rotate the pot by 90-180° weekly for even growth.

Temperature

Maintain moderate temperatures between 65 and 85 °F (18 and 29 °C). Keep your plant away from drafty doors and windows.

Outside this range, your plant may exhibit the following issues:

  • Cold shock: Monsteras experience stunted growth at 50 °F (10 °C). At lower temperatures, the leaves may turn pale or yellow. In winter, avoid letting the temperatures drop below 60 °F (15.6 °C) for too long.
  • Heat stress: Temperatures above 85 °F (29 °C) can cause heat stress in monsteras. The substrate may dry out faster, dehydrating the large leaves. Affected foliage may turn brown and crisp at the edges.

Humidity

Monsteras prefer humidity levels around 80%, which allows the aerial roots to absorb moisture from the air. However, this can be impossible to maintain at home and can be dangerous for human health because it encourages mold buildup indoors.

Normal room humidity levels between 40 and 60% are acceptable, but you must be mindful of your plant’s watering requirements. 

To boost the local humidity, you may choose from the tips below:

  • Place the plant over a pebbled tray with water.
  • Group your monstera with other moisture-loving houseplants like ZZ plants and philodendrons.
  • Use a humidifier to improve and maintain the humidity more efficiently. 

Pro tip: Use filtered, distilled, or reverse osmosis (RO) water if your tap has hard water that contains more than 5 grains per gallon (5 gpg) of calcium, magnesium, or iron (in chloride, carbonate, or sulfate forms).

Monsteras don’t mind getting these minerals from the soil. In fact, they need these nutrients in trace amounts to remain green and vibrant. 

However, I’ve noticed that the salts released along with moisture from humidifiers leave white stains on the leaves. After ruling out mildew and pests, I’ve confirmed that the hard water in the humidifier caused this issue. The same problem occurred after I misted and wiped the leaves using regular tap water.

Watering

Swiss cheese plants are fast-growing with moderate to high moisture requirements. They’re native to humid rainforests with moist, loamy soil and dappled sunlight. 

In indoor gardens, these moisture-loving plants will benefit from the following watering tips:

  • Use your fingers or a wooden chopstick to check the soil moisture. 
  • Water your plant as soon as the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil is dry. 
  • Water your monsteras more often if they’re in a bright spot and receive a few hours of direct sunlight. They may need watering every 5-7 days because the soil may dry out more quickly.
  • Reduce the watering frequency as temperatures drop to the lower 60s (around 15-18 °C) in winter. You can wait until the upper ⅔ of the pot is dry before watering again.

Improper watering can lead to the following problems:

Overwatering and Root Rot

Monsteras like evenly moist soil, but the fibrous roots are susceptible to rot when kept in soggy conditions. Chronic overwatering can lead to root rot, which can creep up along the vines and kill your plant if left unattended.

To prevent this issue, watch out for the following signs that your plant is overwatered:

  • The leaves release liquid droplets (guttation).
  • Water-soaked spots that eventually become mushy on the leaf surface.
  • The roots rot, turn black, mushy, and smelly, and prevent nutrient and moisture transport to the shoots.
  • The leaves turn yellow to brown and crisp due to nutrient deficiency and dehydration.

Pruning the mushy leaves and reducing the watering frequency will help your plant recover. However, if the symptoms progress beyond root rot, the best solution is to propagate the remaining healthy terminal end of the vine. 

Underwatering

Underwatering, on the other hand, can cause the following symptoms:

  • The leaves turn yellow or brown and crisp.
  • The plant grows more slowly.
  • The peat-rich soil mix becomes hydrophobic.

Regular inspection of soil moisture and adherence to the good watering practices discussed above will help revive your plant. 

Don’t let the soil dry out completely between watering sessions. The high peat content may increase the risk of hydrophobicity, and the soil mix will be harder to re-wet. It’ll keep your plant dehydrated, even after watering, and you may need to repot it in fresh soil mix.

Fertilizing and Nutrient Requirements

Monsteras typically enter a growth spurt in spring and summer and may require regular feeding. 

Here are the signs your plant needs fertilizers:

  • The leaf buds take longer than 3 weeks to unfurl, even during the warm seasons.
  • The leaves turn yellow with green veins (interveinal chlorosis) due to a lack of iron, magnesium, and manganese.
  • Yellowing older leaves and an apparent lack of new leaf buds, even during spring or summer, indicate nitrogen deficiency.

You can feed your Swiss cheese plant using different types of fertilizers:

Slow-Release Granular Fertilizer

Feed your plant with a balanced 20-20-20 slow-release granular fertilizer with added micronutrients. 

Observe for signs of improvement or new growth. If the discoloration doesn’t get worse and your plant puts out new growth within a month, you can continue feeding every 2 months from spring to summer. 

Spread the granules thinly over the soil surface and water the soil deeply to activate the fertilizer and release the nutrients. Keep the granules at least a quarter inch (0.6 cm) away from the base of the stems to prevent fertilizer burn.

Liquid Fertilizer

Dilute the 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer to half the recommended strength and pour it directly into the soil. Liquid fertilizers tend to work faster, so you should see the yellow sections reverting to their green color within 2-4 weeks. The leaf buds may also begin unfurling.

If your plant shows the abovementioned improvements, reapply the diluted fertilizer every 2 weeks from early spring to mid-summer. You can incorporate the fertilizer every other time you water your plant.

Pro tip: Avoid fertilizing your plant during the cold season to give it time to rest with slower metabolic activities. You can stop fertilizing 2-4 weeks before the first fall frost.

The slower growth will help your plant generate enough energy to put out new and healthy growth in spring.

Pruning and Maintenance

Prune monsteras only during spring to early fall to encourage faster recovery. Pruning during the cold season can lead to slower recovery, especially because of the less frequent watering and slower growth rate.

Remember these tips for proper pruning and maintenance:

  • Wear gloves to protect your skin from calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause mild irritation upon contact.
  • Prepare sharp and sterile pruning shears to prevent the potential spread of diseases.
  • Focus on removing the old or damaged leaves (yellow or brown). Cut the petioles of affected leaves close to the stem.
  • Remove leggy or overgrown leaves to improve air circulation and prevent pests.
  • Sanitize pruning shears after each cut. Treat fresh cuts using cinnamon powder to limit the risk of infections.
  • Limit your pruning to 30% of the plant’s total volume. You can divide the pruning session by removing 1-2 leaves per month from spring to early fall.
  • Dust the leaves once weekly. Their large surface area makes it easier to capture dust, so you must clean them regularly.

Repotting

Young monstera plants (newly rooted cuttings) grow quickly and may need repotting every spring until they’re about three years old. You must use a pot that’s only one size larger than the old one to avoid overwatering risks.

On the other hand, you can repot mature plants into containers up to 4 inches (10 cm) wider and deeper every 2 years. However, they can quickly become heavy and sturdy, so repotting can be difficult because of the rootball’s weight, plant size, and overall arrangement. 

If you don’t repot monsteras regularly, it may lead to the following issues:

  • Stunted growth
  • Deformed new leaves
  • Wilting due to limited soil space, moisture, and nutrients
  • Leaf scorch or brown leaf edges due to high salt buildup in the soil from several years of fertilization or hard water use

It’s best to repot your plant before you see the abovementioned problems. You’ll know it’s time for repotting when you see these signs:

  • The roots are poking out of the soil surface or drainage holes.
  • The outermost petioles are spilling out of the edges of the pot.
  • The pot is unstable and shows signs of tipping over from the weight of the leaves.

Pro tip: Schedule the repotting in spring so your plant can maximize the extra space and nutrients.

Repotting in winter in nutrient-rich soil will prompt your plant to grow faster. However, it’ll be difficult to maintain the optimal conditions to support growth during the cold and dark seasons.

Supporting Vertical Growth

When the main stem grows over 2 feet (0.6 m) tall, you can start training your plant to grow vertically. Otherwise, it will start climbing on your walls or crawling on the ground.

You can use a stake or a trellis, but my personal favorite is a moss pole. It’s made up of a stake wrapped in sphagnum moss and wire mesh. The moist moss mimics the moist organic matter or tree trunks that the monstera’s aerial roots cling to in the wild.

In contrast, the aerial roots don’t readily wrap around stakes or trellises, so you must manually attach the stem using soft twist ties

Here are some things to remember when providing vertical support to a monstera:

  • Schedule the setup during repotting. This will reduce the risk of damaging the roots and ensure the structure is sturdy.
  • Prepare a heavy pot that’s at least 12 inches (30 cm) deep. The base of the vertical support should be buried deep enough so the top-heavy plant doesn’t fall over.
  • Bury the stake at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep and about 3-4 inches (7.6-10 cm) away from the main stem. Be careful not to puncture the roots in the process.
  • Use soft twist ties or Velcro garden tapes to attach the main stem to the support structure. You can also pull back the unruly petioles and tie them to the vertical support. Avoid tying them too tightly, as it can damage the soft petioles and stem.
  • Adjust the ties or tapes or add some more as the stem grows longer. You may also extend the vertical support (e.g., a moss or coir pole).

If you train monstera plants to grow along vertical support, you can reduce the repotting frequency to once every 4-5 years.

The aerial roots might not readily wrap around stakes or trellises, so more tape or ties may be necessary as the vine gets longer. On the other hand, the moist moss will encourage the aerial roots to dig into the pole, so the plant can eventually climb on its own.

Propagation Techniques

You can propagate a monstera through stem cuttings or air layering. 

Rooting Stem Cuttings

As discussed, the stems produce aerial roots. When planted into the soil or water, the cells in the nodes will undergo differentiation and produce regular underground roots. 

Here are the steps for propagation through stem cuttings:

  1. Choose a stem section from the terminal end of the vine. Each cutting should have at least one node, one leaf, and one aerial root (knob or long root). Cuttings with more aerial roots tend to develop fresh roots faster.
  2. Use sterile shears to cut an inch (2.5 cm) above and below the node. 
  3. Once you’ve collected the cuttings, brush some cinnamon powder over the stump of the main stem or vine to prevent microbial infection.
  4. Leave the cuttings in a dry, well-ventilated room for an hour to form a callus.
  5. Prop the cuttings into a clear vase or jar with lukewarm (68 °F or 20 °C) rainwater or filtered water. If the aerial root is too long, you can just leave it hanging out of the container. New roots will grow from the nodes.
  6. Place the container in a warm room (around 75 °F or 24 °C) with bright, indirect light. You can place the cutting a few feet (0.6+ m) from an unobstructed eastern window.
  7. Replace the water once weekly.

In 4-8 weeks, the cuttings will develop fresh white roots. Once the roots are about 2 inches (5 cm) long, remember these transplanting tips: 

  1. Plant the cutting in a 6-inch (15 cm) pot with your standard monstera soil mix. 
  2. Keep the roots about an inch (2.5 cm) below the surface.
  3. Place the container in the same spot when rooting the cuttings for optimal light and temperature conditions. 
  4. Maintain the humidity around 50-60%. This will help prevent rapid moisture loss from the leaves as the newly rooted cutting adjusts to the soil as a new substrate.
  5. Water the soil as soon as the top inch (5 cm) is dry to keep the young plant hydrated.

Spring is the best time to propagate M. deliciosa. However, you can do it in any season if your plant has root rot and you can’t afford to delay the treatment.

You may need to adjust the environmental conditions around your cuttings to encourage them to root faster.

Here are some tips:

  • If you don’t get 8 hours of bright indirect light in winter, place the cuttings 12 inches (30 cm) below a full-spectrum grow light for 10-14 hours daily.
  • Maintain the temperature around 75 °F (24 °C) to promote root growth.
  • Keep the humidity at 50-60%. 

Air Layering

Air layering is a propagation process commonly used for woody plants. However, horticulturists have found that this method also works on some epiphytic plants like the M. deliciosa.

The method involves rooting the stem section without cutting it off from the mother plant. That way, the section can continue to get nourishment, and the leaves are less likely to dry out.

You’ll need the following materials for this process:

  • Sphagnum moss
  • Clear plastic wrapper
  • Soft twist ties
  • Spray bottle with filtered water
  • Sharp and sterile pruning shears
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • Cinnamon powder
  • A 6- or 8-inch (15-20 cm) terracotta pot with drainage holes
  • Your regular monstera soil mix

 Once the materials are ready, follow these steps:

  1. Soak the sphagnum moss in water to fully hydrate it. Squeeze it tightly until it feels like a wrung-out sponge and no more water drips.
  2. Choose a stem section with at least one leaf and an aerial root or knob. If the aerial root is too long, you can cut it to 3-4 inches (7.6-10 cm).
  3. Wrap a handful of moist sphagnum moss around the aerial roots. Keep it in place with a clear plastic wrapper.
  4. Secure the upper and lower end of the plastic with soft twist ties. Tighten them enough to keep the plastic and moss in place.
  5. Poke 5-10 holes in the plastic using a toothpick to let the roots breathe and prevent the developing roots from rotting.
  6. If the moss reverts to its pale color, loosen the soft twist tie on one end and rehydrate the moss using a spray bottle with filtered water. Avoid oversaturating the moss to prevent root rot. Remember: it has to feel like a wrung-out sponge.

After 4-6 weeks, you’ll see roots growing through the moss. This is a good sign that the section is ready for transplant into the soil. 

Follow the proper potting procedure below:

  1. Remove the twist ties and the plastic.
  2. Carefully detach the sphagnum moss from the roots.
  3. Inspect the roots and prune dark, mushy sections using sterile shears.
  4. Sanitize the shears using alcohol between cuts.
  5. Cut the stem an inch (2.5 cm) below the node where the roots developed.
  6. Brush the bottom of the cutting and the stump on the mother plant with cinnamon powder for protection from plant pathogens.
  7. Fill the bottom 2-3 inches (5-7.6 cm) of the pot with fresh and moist soil mix.
  8. Spread the roots over the soil and fill the gaps with more soil.
  9. Bury the roots about an inch (2.5 cm) below the surface and pack the soil tightly to keep the plant upright. 
  10. If the aerial roots have grown longer, you can twirl them inside the pot just above the soil surface. Alternatively, you can cut them off. New aerial roots will develop from the growing tip of the rooted section.
  11. Water the soil deeply until the excess drains from the bottom. 
  12. Place the pot in the same area as the mother plant—ideally in a warm room with bright, indirect light and humidity of 40-60%.
  13. Water the soil again when the top inch (2.5 cm) dries out. Keep up this watering routine until you see new leaf buds unfurling. After which, you can wait until the top 2 inches (5 cm) are dry.

Pest and Disease Management

Monsteras are not immune to common houseplant pests and diseases.

Here are some things to watch out for:

Common Pests

The leaves are vulnerable to the following pests:

  • Aphids: These are tiny brown, green, white, or black insects that hide underneath the leaves. They feed on plant sap and excrete a sticky, odorless liquid called honeydew.
  • Scale mites: Adults appear as brown bumps growing along monstera petioles or leaf veins on the underside of the leaves. They also feed on plant sap and release honeydew.
  • Spider mites: These tiny spider-like pests make webs between the leaves to move from one plant part to another. Their damage is evident through white or yellow specks on the leaf surface.
  • Mealybugs: They have a cottony white waxy covering, making them easy to spot. They tend to form clusters on or below leaf surfaces.
  • Thrips: Winged adults deposit their eggs into the leaf tissue. Once they hatch, the larvae feed on the sap and leave behind, white, dry spots on the leaves. They also excrete black, pepper-like waste.

You can address pest problems with the following tips:

  • Inspect the leaves weekly to detect and fix pest problems promptly.
  • Remove the pests using a cotton swab moistened with rubbing alcohol.
  • Spray the leaves generously with neem oil solution once a week. Target the underside of the leaves and nooks where pests may hide or form clusters.
  • Prune overgrown and damaged leaves to improve air circulation and remove pests’ hiding spots.
  • Treat pest problems in your other houseplants.

Common Diseases

Monsteras may be affected by the following diseases:

Root Rot

Monsteras need high moisture, but they don’t like soggy soil. Constantly wet soil may suffocate the underground roots, and rot-causing soil pathogens may feed on the weakened roots and potentially kill your plant.

You can save your plant by propagating the distal parts through stem cuttings. Plant them in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering your plant to prevent recurrence.

Powdery Mildew

Monsteras’ high humidity requirement and dense foliage make them conducive to fungal growth, which leads to powdery white specks on leaf surfaces.

You can fix the problem with the following methods:

  • Cut off and properly discard affected leaves. Don’t compost infected plant matter to avoid spreading the infection.
  • Prune the plant some more to improve air circulation. Remove older and visibly damaged leaves first.
  • If your plant grows on a vertical support, space the leaves evenly and secure them against the structure to facilitate good ventilation.
  • Avoid misting the leaves. If you must clean the plant, use a moist towel to wipe the leaves and remove the dust.
  • Spray the leaves with neem oil solution once a week for prevention. Neem oil also works against common fungal plant pathogens.

Leaf Spot

Numerous leaf spot-causing bacteria and fungi can land on monstera leaves that remain moist due to poor air circulation. Affected leaves may show brown spots with yellow margins.

The pathogens causing this problem usually spread from water splashes from infected foliage. For instance, the water droplets from misting infected leaves may contaminate the lower leaves.

Unfortunately, there’s no effective treatment for this. You must prune and discard infected foliage right away. More importantly, isolate the infected plant to avoid spreading the disease to companion plants.

You may try to save your plant by propagating healthy-looking leaves and fixing moisture-related issues similar to the tips discussed above.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Here are some common problems that affect monstera plants:

Yellowing or Browning Leaves

Leaf discoloration is the first sign your monstera is stressed. However, it can happen for multiple reasons:

  • Underwatering
  • Overwatering
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Lack of or too much sunlight
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Low humidity
  • Pest or diseases

Observe your plant’s other symptoms to diagnose the problem and apply the appropriate adjustments based on the recommended care tips above.

Lack of Fenestration

Most gardeners purchase M. deliciosa for their holes or splits. Your plant might not exhibit this trait due to the following reasons:

  • The plant is too young: Young monstera leaves have a small surface area. Only a mature plant develops larger leaves that are more likely to form holes or splits.
  • Insufficient light conditions: The holes protect monstera leaves from intense sunlight in the wild. If your plant doesn’t have leaf holes, that means the plant maintains a larger leaf surface to absorb more light. 

Legginess or Leaning

Monsteras dislike too much direct sunlight but still require bright, filtered light for optimal growth. If the foliage is leaning toward your home’s window or artificial light source, you must consider relocating your plant closer to the window.

Rotate your plant weekly to prevent sunburn and ensure even light access.

Stunted Growth

If your monstera isn’t growing as quickly as it should in spring or summer, it may be due to the following causes:

  • Nutrient deficiency: Feed your plant a balanced fertilizer from spring to summer to support its fast growth rate.
  • Poor environmental conditions: Low light, temperature, humidity, and watering frequency can stunt the growth of monsteras. Maintain the environmental conditions around your monstera within the ideal range.

Display and Companion Plants

You can explore numerous display options to enjoy monstera plants.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Young plants less than 2 feet (0.6 m) tall look great over table tops.
  • Taller plants, about five feet (1.5 m) tall, are perfect for spaces between adjacent couches in the living room.
  • Tall monstera plants can also grace empty or uninteresting spaces at home as long as they receive bright indirect light.

Best Companions in the Indoor Garden

Monstera plants look great with other houseplants. They also share a mutual benefit from improved local humidity.

Here are my favorite monstera companions:

  • Peace Lilies: They are a monstera relative and share similar environmental requirements. Their white flowers can provide a great contrast against the deep green leaves of your tropical houseplants. They also bloom more easily indoors than monsteras.
  • Tradescantia zebrina: This trailing plant also requires similar care to monsteras. What sets it apart is the T. zebrina’s purple-and-white foliage, which can add a pop of color against the deep green leaves of common foliage houseplants.
  • ZZ Plants: These are excellent companions to monsteras because they’re also of tropical origin. They have similar light and temperature requirements and can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels.

Final Thoughts

M. deliciosa is a fantastic plant to have because of its eye-catching, gigantic, glossy leaves. However, many beginners shy away from this plant because the younger ones may have high maintenance requirements. Mature plants, on the other hand, are more forgiving to occasional neglect. 

Due to poor care and environmental conditions, Monsteras may develop discolored leaves without holes or splits. Still, don’t be afraid to experiment and learn from the growing process. They’re quite resilient, and their fast-growing nature makes it easier for them to recover. 

Please leave a comment if you have questions about growing monstera plants. You’re also welcome to share practical tips and tricks from your experience with these magnificent plants.

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