Monstera Care Guide
Monstera is a genus containing the ever-popular “swiss cheese plant” (Monstera deliciosa). Famous for their fenestrations (holes in the leaves), many monstera species will develop more and more holey leaves as they mature. Interestingly, plants left to trail or hang in a basket will generally have smaller, less mature leaves with fewer fenestrations whereas plants given a moss post or other porous surface to climb will develop larger and larger leaves over time with large fenestrations. This is likely due to their climbing nature: in South America they regularly trail up massive tree trunks, develop huge leaves to compete for sunlight in the undergrowth, and holes to keep the leaves from tearing in the wind.
Fun fact: the common houseplant Pothos or Devil’s Ivy is usually only found in Canada as a juvenile with leaves 10cm or less. When allowed to climb a wall or large tree, Pothos will eventually develop fenestrations just like Monstera, and leaves up to several feet across!
Like other epiphytic species, Monstera do not like to stay soggy and prefer to have well aerated roots with fast draining soil. Sphagnum peat moss or coconut fibre are an excellent choice for potting, and we recommend mixing it with a light soil and orchid bark. Monstera also do well in semi-hydroponic setups. If kept in substrate, we recommend allowing the top 1 or 2 inches of soil to dry out before watering again, and making sure no water remains standing around the roots.
Yellowing and dropping of older leaves is a common sign of overwatering or waterlogged roots. New leaves appearing misshapen or old leaves developing yellow/brown spots may be a sign of thrip infestation: check under the leaves for little bugs crawling around. If kept too dry Monstera are prone to spider mites which will show as little webs around stems and petioles and fine yellow spotting on the leaves.
Bright, indirect light is ideal with some species tolerating a short period of direct sunlight. Monstera make a fantastic houseplant and its big holey leaves will add a nice design aesthetic to any room.
Please take note that Monstera are considered mildly toxic to cats and dogs so they should be kept away from curious pets.