Monstera plants, whose full name are Monstera Deliciosa, are actually pretty easy to take care of.
They reign from southern Mexico and Panama, and because of the holes they create their leaves as they mature, they are often referred to as Philodendron Split Leaf or the Swiss Cheese Plant.
Monstera leaf holes are a byproduct of originating in the rainforest, where vegetation above blocks sunlight. So the holes are to allow sunlight to get to the bottom leaves as well as the top.
Related: Learn to Care for Pilea Plants and Which Porch Plants are Hard to Kill.
Table of contents
How Often Should I Water Monstera plants?
Monstera like regular watering. Monsteras prefer slightly moist soil and generally like to dry out just a bit between waterings.
They are epiphytes with aerial roots (a plant that grows on another plant in its natural habitat), so they don’t tolerate soggy soil. For a rule of thumb, once the top 2 to 4 inches of the soil are dry, your Monstera could use some watering.
Since my Monstera, Fran, is in a large pot, I give her quite a bit of water once a week in the growing season, which is spring through early fall, and then I taper off quite a bit in the winter.
A long time ago, I decided I would regularly water all of my houseplants once a week, choosing Saturday as the day I’d remember to do it most consistently, and I have stuck to that plan for many years.
I adjust the amount of water I give each plant based on what the soil feels like when I check it, as well as the type of plant itself, knowing some plants like more water, some like less.
If the soil feels soggy at all, I skip watering that week. By planning to water every plant in the house weekly, I never forget about one, and have some dedicated time each week to check them for signs of stress or pests, dust them off, or prune them if needed.
How Much Sunlight do Monstera Plants Need?
Monsteras like bright indirect light. They can adjust to medium light, but might get leggy in that environment. So, I placed her in a room that has large west-facing windows.
The windows are all the way on the other side of the room from where Fran sits, but the room gets enough light in the afternoons and evenings that she seems to love it in that spot. (In fact, all my plants love that room, no matter where they sit).
She never gets direct beams of light so her leaves don’t burn, which is important to consider when choosing a spot for a Monstera, and she gets to show off as the largest in a room filled with plants.
Should I Fertilize My Monstera Plant?
Fertilizers can be tricky, so once I found one I could use on all of my houseplants, I bought a giant bottle and that was that.
The fertilizer I use is one that I add to my water, so I fertilize once a month in the growing season at the beginning of each month with SUPERthrive.
It is a bit pricey, but in my experience it has helped my plants stay healthy and fed better than any other fertilizer I have come across. I swear by it!
Diagnosing Common Problems
- Curling leaves – may be under watering, check if soil is dry or moist
- Yellowing leaves – may be overwatering, check if soil is dry or soggy. Could also be lack of enough indirect sunlight
- Blackish stems – may be over watering, check if soil is dry or soggy.
Staking Monstera Plants
In the wild, Monsteras climb up on other trees as they grow, and can grow up to 66 feet tall! Inside they can only get to about 9 feet tall, and will use a stake (preferably covered in moss but mine is not) as their inside host.
I learned the hard way that staking is a must for Monsteras through taking care of another smaller, but bushier one I have in a different room.
For a long time it wasn’t staked, until one day as I was dusting the leaves, I knocked the whole thing over onto the desk below where it perched, and sadly, many stems tore off the main plant.
I was able to propagate some of those stems, thank goodness, but I learned my lesson. Stakes help the plant grow upward and can really help keep all those big leaves balanced.
Propagating Monstera Plants
I planted some of the stems I propagated alongside Fran in her pot! I figured there was enough space and Fran could use a little company, and the addition made Fran’s bottom half more proportional with her giant top half.
She does have some new smaller leaves off a node at the bottom of her trunk, but the rest of the leaves are from a different Monstera.
Related: Up Your Houseplant Game with Water Propagation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Monstera a good indoor plant?
Yes. Monstera thrive best in indirect light, in warm environments. Monstera will not survive in cold outdoor areas.
How toxic is Monstera to cats?
If a cat or other house pet eats part of a Monstera plan it may irritate their mouth, throat, and stomach but it is unlikely it will kill them unless they ingested a very large quantity.
Should I mist my Monstera?
Yes. Misting the leaves of the monstera can help to keep the plant hydrated (although it should not replace regular watering) as well as keep dust off their leaves so they can get sunlight. Monstera are tropical plants so they are used to warm, humid environments.
My last and final tip is a little odd and may come across as “woo-woo” to some, but I kind of believe in going above and beyond to add a little love to my plants, and Fran is no exception.
Not only did I name her and give her the best seat in my house, but I placed moss on the top of her soil as well as various rocks and seashells I have found on some of my travels throughout the years.
Collecting rocks and shells has always been a “thing” for me, but I find placing them on top of my plants’ soil sends a little extra boost of love to the plant, (or at least it does in my head), and it makes the plant look even prettier and adds a special touch!
That’s it for my tricks on how I got Fran to go from Sad-but-Giant-Monstera to Gorgeous-OMG-knock-my-socks-off-Giant-Monstera!
I hope you find something useful in all that I’ve learned in taking care of her! Feel free to add any tips or tricks you know of in taking care of Monsteras in the comments! -Michelle
Love plants? Find more plant care tips and other tutorials in our plants archive.
Question, I have mine in a large pot. Can I place other plants alongside it in the same pot? You mentioned that it prefers to be close to other plants to reduce water intake, so I can? Are there any plants that can harm the montsera?
I just bought my monstera a,week ago….Am afraid if she z gonna servive as I hve not learnt well how to take care of her
Will use the knwldge from the info provided above
I luv it thnk u
Love this info! I have a monstera that has been growing super fast, but I haven’t staked it yet. You said preferably stakes with moss… what kind of moss? Do I purchase stakes that have moss on them already that are good for any type of plant? And what kind of moss do you put on the soil? Can I use some from my woods or is there a certain kind I need to buy? Thanks!
Any tips on staking? Or knowing when to stake?
I have a new(ish) Monstera growing like CRAZY, and I think that’s going to need to happen sooner, rather than later… but I’m a new plant parent and have previously only kept children alive before.
How do you clean your shells so that they are safe for the plant. Long ago I added some shells and things from the beach, not realizing they were still covered in salt! Those plants were not happy 🙁
Thank you so much for this! I have a monstera that I LOVE and its growing new leaves but they are all staying on the smaller side with no holes/slits. Not really sure what I’m doing wrong but I will start doing some of these things you’ve mentioned here!
Wow that plant is huge!
Hi Michelle! I love your writing style. Please write more for A Beautiful Mess!
Help! My monstera is taking over! I’d love to divide the plant into smaller ones, but I’m afraid of damaging its root system. What tips do you have for dividing a monstera?
I love the idea of a name for her (him?) but think I’ll wait until it’s divided and give all of the babies names 🙂
Thanks in advance!
I grew up in the ’60s in an A-frame midcentury modern home. My parents had a ginormous “split leaf philodendron” (as they called it) in our living room. It was about 12′ tall. It was my job to wash the dust off the huge leaves. I think the plant was sold with the house.
Because this plant contains oxalic acid is it safe to touch it’s leaves and other parts with your bare hands
with out getting burned?
Nice post, but a monstera is not a split leaf. They are 2 different plants. Very common misconception.
Thanks for the great posts. I have always called this a Hurricane Plant. I guess the plant can handle strong winds because of the holes in the leaves??? Mine is inside so I have never tested this theory. My Monstera has thrips that I cannot seem to get rid of, I have been trying for years. Just washed it again today. So sad when the bugs make it look so unhappy. Anyone have and other ways of getting rid of thrips on Monstera? Insecticide and soap/water/rubbing alcohol and washing don’t seem to get rid of them permanently.
Great post! I have one of these plants that’s about 3 years old. It is a real monster. Most of the leaves are big…but one is about two feet long. I’ve had these plants before, but I’ve never had one thrive like this. I have it in front of a very large window, but that side of the house is shaded most of the day so it never gets strong, direct rays. Guess it likes it there. It’s so big that it has knocked the stake over more than once. I actually had to anchor it to the ceiling to keep the plant from taking it down again.
I was the recipient of a gifted a plant from my BIL a few years ago as it outgrew their space. Originally it came from a local nursery’s private collection, and it was living outside and had grown to very large proportions. Mine is currently mounded with about 30 6″-10″ leaves some split, some solid and slightly wild and out of control. It also lives in the back side of a room with west facing windows and loves it. The instructions said, I like shade, you can’t over water me, and I am hard to kill. I water weekly on Saturdays, and it’s a been a good plan. It took me along time to learn about my beautiful plant and it’s care so I am thrilled to see your blog. I will be getting a moss stake, and some pretty rocks for the large container it lives in, asap. Easy to propagate, I gifted my besties a shoot in a lovely little container to share the love. Wonderful info and inspiration!
I really think I need to move mine a little bit closer to some natural light as she’s getting a bit ‘leggy’ (but I wasn’t quite sure why!). This is such a beautiful, and massive, plant!
Steph – www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
I have a big one that is probably about 50yrs old.Ive had it for almost 20yrs,took it when a friend who had it wanted to throw it away, he in his turn got it from his mom who akso had it many years and now nobody really remember when she got it or from where???so Fran can be with you for a looooong time in the future if your getting along.Nice story i, need spoil mine with some decorations too now i feel guilty…?
It’s really not surprising that rocks and shells would make a plant appear to thrive, and indeed they do. Here’s why. Rocks are made of minerals and shells of calcium. Every time you water, a little bit washes off to the plant roots just as in nature when it rains. And voilà! A beautiful, healthy plant. ❤️
love this!!…. such great tips ???
These are awesome tips. O have one Monstera plant that has just shooted out a leaf. Waiting for it to unfurl. So so exciting to see new life.