Below you’ll find 11 tips to care for a monstera plant, specifically the most common species monstera deliciosa. When this plant is grown outdoors it produces the fruit called Mexican breadfruit that taste similar to pineapple or jackfruit.
They are 48 different species of the monstera plant. Often times it’s referred to as the split-leaf philodendron which can be misleading since it’s not part of the philodendron family. Swiss cheese is another popular name because of the multiple holes called fenestrations found on the leaves. Over time as the plant ages those holes get bigger creating separations along the leaf’s edge.
The monstera is found in the tropical regions of Mexico, as well as Central and South America. So placing a plant like this in your home is like bringing a bit of the tropics inside.
Monstera Plant (aka the swiss cheese plant, delicious monster, fruit salad plant, fruit salad tree, or windowleaf)
Botanical Name and Family: Monstera Deliciosa from the Araceae Arum family
Other plant species include: Monstera Borsigiana, Monstera Variegata, Monstera Adansonii, Monstera Pinnatipartita, Monstera Dubia, Monstera Siltepecana, Monstera Obliqua, and Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma aka the mini Monstera.
11 Tips to Care for a Monstera plant
- Light: It loves indirect bright light
- Best Grown: Near a South or West facing window
- Benefits: Although it may take a year to fully ripen, the fruit from the monstera is full of nutritional benefits. It contains no fat, is full of vitamin C, proteins, some vitamin B, calcium, phosphorus, and oxalic acid which is poisonous. It will burn the mouth if the fruit is eaten before fully ripened. In most cases your indoor monstera plant won’t produce fruit. But this plant definitely helps purify the air and since plants release 97% of the water they take in it can add humidity into your home. It’s also been know to help treat arthritis, snake bites and bruises.
- Soil: Use a peat moss soil with pots that have drainage holes to avoid root rot. Keep it at a pH balance between 5.5 – 7.0
- Watering: Water once a week making sure the soil is mostly dry before watering again. Monstera loves humidity between 50 – 60%. But if maintaining this level of humidity is difficult then you can mist this plant once a week or run a humidifier. This is our recommendation especially if you live in a dry area or if your home tends to be drier in the winter months when the heat is running. Also you may find that you’ll need to water this less in the winter.
- Fertilizer: Fertilize twice a year. Once early Spring and then again Mid Summer using a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer.
- Repotting: Repot your monstera plant annually in the spring. Select a plant that is two inches bigger than the planter it’s currently in to give the roots room to grow.
- Toxicity: This plant is toxic to dogs and cats if ingested, producing symptoms like burning of the mouth, choking or swelling of the throat, drooling, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea. In severe cases symptoms like convulsions, renal failure, coma and even death can occur if they consumed large quantities. So this might not be an ideal plant if you have pets.
- How big will it grow: Monsteras are a vining plant that grows upward so it’s best to incorporate a trellis or a moss covered stick as this beauty can grow anywhere between 6 – 10 feet in height indoors so it’ll need the support.
- Propagating: Overtime it will lose the leaves towards the bottom of the stem that do not regrow. This might be a good time to propagate and repot so the plant looks fuller again. The easiest way to propagate is cutting a leaf at the node then placing it in water until roots start to form.
- Temperature: Since it loves warmer temperatures, light and humidity, place a monstera outdoors in the summer. But place it in a shaded area to avoid the leaves from burning. Avoid exposing it to temperatures below 40°F. Anything below 60°F may result in slower growth and smaller leaves and its ideal temperature range is 68°F – 86°F.
I hope you find these tips helpful and maybe inspiring enough to add one to your collection. If you want to try your hand at some low maintenance plants, check out our blog posts on the ZZ and Snake plant.