How to Grow: Monstera

Sun Requirements
Bright, indirect light. The leaves will be “fenestrated” or have more of a “split” or “Swiss cheese” appearance in brighter rooms. But avoid direct light.

Monstera, Monstera Deliciosa, Leaves, Indoor PlantBloom Period and Plant Shape
Monstera is mostly grown for its large, tropical, split leaves. It rarely flowers indoors. Outdoors in warm climates it has bee-friendly, tan colored flowers.

Mature Height x Spread
Outdoors monstera can grow quickly up a tall tree. Indoors it’s more likely to stay 3 feet or so tall.

Monstera or Swiss cheese plant is a tropical, evergreen, vine that has become a very popular houseplant. In frost free areas, monstera climbs the bark of trees as in a jungle. Indoors, the plant is more tame, but still needs care since it can grow 1- to 2- feet a year. Monstera grows best in a brightly lit room. It’s often grown as a floor plant in a corner and trellised vertically. Like any tropical, rain forest plant, it enjoys high humidity. Giving it a shower once a month in winter in cold areas helps keep the large leaves clean and hydrated.

How to Plant
Plant monstera in containers filled with well-drained potting soil and in a warm (above 65F) room. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet. Don’t let the water sit in the drainage tray.

Growing Tips
Monstera is almost too easy to grow. The large-leafed plant can get out of control so needs annual care. Prune back the shoots in spring to reduce the size and make new plants by rooting them. Another option is to embrace the vining growth and trellis it vertically. Using a moss pole (wooden or metal pole covered in coir or moss secured with ties), train the monstera up the pole. You’ll see aerial roots emerging from the plant, especially as it ages. These will cling to the pole. You can remove some of those roots or tuck them into the potting soil. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet. This may mean infrequent waterings in winter in Northern areas. During the growing season water once every week or so, depending on the soil moisture. If the leaves wilt, or have brown tips, it’s mostly due to improper watering. Fertilize in spring and summer and repot every few years at this time, too. This tropical vine likes humidity. Grow it with other tropical plants, on a pebble tray filled with water or give it a shower to increase humidity and wash the leaves. This will also help keep insect pests away.  Monstera has a milky sap that can be a irritant to kids and pets.

Design Tips: Monstera looks best tucked into a corner of a room to climb or grouped with other tropical houseplants such as schefflera and rubber tree. This will be a way to create a jungle effect and keep the plants happy, too.

Varieties: Monstera deliciosa is the most common monstera found in garden centers with large leaves. A smaller leafed version, Monstera adansonii has heart-shaped leaves that are deeply split. This maybe a better version for smaller spaces.