I brought my first monstera home years ago, thrilled at the shape of their aesthetic leaves and excited to add this ‘easy care’ tropical houseplant to my collection of mostly succulents and cacti. It was the first step towards expanding my plant parent knowledge and understanding the needs of an entirely different type of plant.
I had it nearly a year before I noticed the first leaf unfurl. There’s still nothing quite like the thrill of a new monstera leaf! Many of you have probably seen my time lapse videos of these beauties as they unravel with such elegance and drama over the course of a week. And then, to watch how the leaf continues to grow and expand in size and darken in color over the next month is just so, so good!
I wanted to share my experience around caring for many monstera over the years. I hope it brings you confidence and comfort as you care for this lovely specimen in your home or sacred space.
Monstera grow best in a brightly lit and fairly humid environment. I find that the leaves grow fenestrations (or splits) more readily when they get proper, very bright, but mostly indirect light.
Oh, and that reminds me….I want to encourage those of you who have a young monstera with little to no fenestration not to be discouraged! You aren’t doing anything wrong. It generally takes monstera deliciosa a few years of growth to get mature enough to add that fantastic bit of artist flare to their leaves. They will start out with solid green, heart-shaped leaves until they mature. To help it mature properly, I encourage brightly lit conditions, with a few hours of direct sunlight at most, to aid in the growth of bigger leaves with more (eventual) fenestrations.
I encourage you to keep them hydrated. I water all of my monstera plants weekly on average, more often during the summer months and less during the winter. I also keep a humidifier going during the winter when the forced air heat is turned on in the house and the air is dry. I like to keep the humidity level around 60% for all of the tropicals in my home (the succulents and cacti do not seem to mind) especially during the winter months.
*Bonus, it also keeps MY skin hydrated which is so nice during those dry, cold days!
My husband bought me a humidifier similar to this one and I love it.
I feed my monstera, like all of my houseplants, during the Spring, Summer and into the Fall. I’ve been thrilled with the organic tonics in my shop!
Monstera also do wonderfully in tight fitting pots with just standard, organic potting soil. I use https://www.ebstone.org/products/eb-stone-organics and I love topping them off with moss, too. Moss keeps the soil a more bit hydrated and adds a nice aesthetic. (unless you are dealing with fungus gnats, in that case I recommend allowing the top two inches of soil to dry out between waterings to discourage fungus gnat larvae growth). I also dress up the soil with rocks or decorative sand for most of my houseplants to give them a nice finished look. But I understand the appeal of just soil, too. Whatever feels right to you and your space, go for it!
Monstera will eventually send out aerial roots in search of water. It’s fun to keep a mason jar full of water on the floor to allow those roots to snake their way around the jar, simulating a more natural environment for them. Change the water out every week or two if you decide to try this method out too. I eventually add the roots back into the pot and into the soil. In the wild, monstera vine their way up trees and allow those aerial roots to dangle beautifully all the way down to the rainforest floor to soak up the moist ground.
*Bonus: use this aerial root water to propagate other plants as the naturally occurring rooting hormone is present in that water now and will help stimulate root growth!
When propagating monstera, the first thing you want to look for is an aerial root. It doesn’t have to be long, it can even be a node or bump, but it must be there in order to root your cutting. I suggest waiting until the cutting has two healthy leaves and an aerial root before cutting.
Using sharp, clean shears or floral cutters, snip the plant JUST BELOW (about 1/2 inch) the aerial root or node at a nice 45 degree angle. Then go ahead and place it directly into that rooting water I mentioned above if you have it, or distilled tap water works too.
Change out the water every few weeks, be sure to keep the cutting and water in indirect sun. Wait about one to two months for a robust root system to get established before planting your cutting up in organic potting soil in a pot with good drainage.
After planting your cutting, be sure to water the soil thoroughly. Then, press down gently on the soil to give it a nice firm base to support the root system. Check back in a few days and test the soil by sticking your finger down into the soil an inch or two. If it’s dry, water again. We want to make the transition from water to dirt as seamless as possible, so this first month in dirt, I like to keep the cutting a bit more hydrated than usual.
Lessen the water slowly over the next month to watering once a week on average. Feed your plant as described above and enjoy! Don’t forget, I’ve hand selected all you need to care for your plants with my Plant Care Kit. If you get it, let me know what you think!
Sending out the love to you all,
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A manual that will lead you to connect with the natural world, and encourage you to make it a daily ritual.
You’ll find Karina’s signature plant life imagery, sensory guided experiences and meditations, plant care tips, step by step guidance to create your own sacred space, and ways to live more sustainably.
*20% of the proceeds of every Sacred Elements Guidebook sold will go to organizations that supporting small, independent farmers and educate children to grow their own food.