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For budding plant lovers and seasoned gardeners alike, the monstera is one of the most popular houseplants in the world. In the last several decades, monsteras have become rising stars in botanical motifs, representative of tropical greenery, and their full, striking leaves make them a top choice in any décor setting. For a summary of monstera care tips and advice, scroll to the bottom!

Monsteras are aroids, or arums, part of the botanical family Araceae along with Philodendron, Pothos, ZZ plants, Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema), Elephant Ear (Alocasia), and over 3,000 other species, many of which are common as houseplants. Aroids are found throughout all continents except Antarctica, indicating that they can survive basically anywhere! 


Light and Humidity

In plant shops, you will most likely see solid green Monstera deliciosa, also known as Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron; these are relatively low-cost and low-maintenance compared to other variegated varieties such as the Thai Constellation. 

However, monsteras are native to Central America, having been cultivated as houseplants in England in the 1700s, so they all prefer higher temperatures and humidity. In the wild, monsteras can be gigantic, growing over 60 feet tall; don’t worry about one taking over your living room, though – these plants are adaptable and will grow into whatever space they are in, big or small. If the aerial roots become unruly, these can be easily trimmed or tucked back into the soil. Monsteras also propagate in water exceptionally well, so taking cuttings occasionally can both keep your plant healthy and contained, as well as providing ample opportunities for new plant babies!

Keeping these tropical plants happy and healthy requires a few key care steps, but they are relatively hardy and manageable, even for new plant parents. Monsteras like bright, indirect light, so placing them near a filtered west or south-facing window should give your plant the best chance to thrive. They can adjust to medium light, but they may get leggy and their leaves will have less fenestrations, or splits, in lower light levels. Monsteras also like high humidity; mist the leaves regularly, settle it near a humidifier, or place the plant on a pebble tray filled with water – just make sure not to let the roots sit in water or they may rot! 

Try to keep whatever room your monstera is in at or above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and don’t let your plant sit too close to an air conditioner. 


Soil, Water, and Potting

Monsteras like aerated soil with components like orchid bark and perlite. I also mix bonsai soil in mine! Use a porous pot like terra-cotta or ceramic with drainage holes to help with airflow and allow the first 1-2 inches of soil to feel dry to the touch before watering. This will keep the roots in a sweet spot: slightly damp without being waterlogged, which can lead to root rot, or too dry and withery. If the leaves start to turn yellow or mold starts to grow on the soil, that’s an indication of overwatering and possible root rot, and you might want to skip a week and let the soil dry more fully before giving your plant another drink. If the leaves are curling or turning brown and crispy on the edges, however, it needs more water. Use a PlantDoc to help keep track of your monstera’s moisture levels! 

Pest Control

You can feed your monstera once a month in the spring and summer, but aroid roots can easily burn from fertilizer so use a diluted product and be careful not to over-feed. Monsteras are unfortunately prone to small pests such as spider mites or mealybugs, so check your plant regularly; wiping the leaves with soapy water or spraying with Neem oil or insecticide can get rid of these easily. 


As a climbing plant, your monstera should be supported by something like a moss pole. Plants grown on a moss pole will have larger leaves with more fenestrations than those grown without one. In addition, the use of a moss pole can encourage the plant to grow up instead of out; this can keep it from sprawling and getting too top-heavy. If well-cared for, your monstera should grow two new leaves a month once it’s established. Monsteras also have air purifying properties, so the happier the leaves, the better for your space!


Design

A large, lush plant can really fill a room on its own in terms of decor. It can be a dramatic focal point anywhere, whether bringing freshness and liveliness to your main space, or as a soothing green addition to an office or workplace, as long as the room is bright.

In the right environment, a monstera can promote a sense of balanced, positive energy, and have even been associated with wealth and vitality. Monsteras work exceptionally well in minimalist interiors because it is eye-catching but not overly colorful or busy, and while it can be combined with other plants it has a unique ability to stand out all by itself, like a well-placed piece of art. 


The Summary

Monsteras are common and relatively easy houseplants. Because they are native to warm, humid environments, caring for them in a cooler place like Oregon requires a little extra love. Your monstera will thrive in bright, indirect light like a filtered south- or west-facing window with a moss pole for those iconic fenestrated leaves. Well-draining soil and a humidifier or pebble tray will keep both the roots and the shoot system happy! Try placing somewhere it can catch the eye and be a striking design element all on its own; this plant is a superstar and deserves the spotlight!

Author: Haley McKinnon

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