How To Grow and Care for Monstera
Monstera are one of the most recognisable and beloved indoor plants to grow and care for.
Several species of Monstera are commonly called 'Swiss Cheese' plants because of their decorative heart-shaped leaves that develop distinctive holes as the plant ages.
What You'll Need for Growing Monstera
To successfully grow Monstera, you will need:
- A Monstera plant of your choosing
- A suitable pot with good drainage
- Scotts Osmocote Premium Potting Mix for Indoor Plants
- Scotts Osmocote Pour+Feed for Indoor Plants
- Scotts Osmocote Mist+Feed for Indoor Plants
- Moss pole
Monstera are vining plants so they will need support to climb upwards. A moss pole is ideal for this and provides a place where the aerial roots can take hold.
Plant & Place
The Perfect Potting Mix
The age-old green-thumb secret is that when you start with the best, you’ll grow the best.
Using a premium quality and free-draining potting mix, like Scotts Osmocote Premium Potting Mix for Indoor Plants, is especially important as it is designed specifically for indoor plants and contains the necessary nutrients to keep your indoor plants healthy! It is also formulated without compost or pine bark which are known to shelter the peskiest indoor bug around – the Fungus Gnat!
Monstera are native to tropical climates and thrive on the lower levels of a tropical forest-floor, so when growing them indoors, the more you can do to replicate these conditions, the more successfully they will grow. To do this, choose a bright spot indoors with indirect light that is protected from drafts and harsh direct sunlight.
In the wild Monstera deliciosa, can grow to up to 20 metres tall, but don’t worry it’s much smaller growing indoors. It is however a big, dramatic plant so pick a spot where it has plenty of space to grow. The variegated Monstera deliciosa, is typically slower growing and smaller in stature, but still needs room to flourish.
Water Monstera when they are putting on growth and when the soil begins to dry. To know when the soil is dry, gently push your finger into the soil to test for moisture.
Temperature & Humidity
Monsteras love moderate to high humidity, so use Scotts Osmocote Mist+Feed for Indoor Plants to help increase humidity while giving your Monstera a boost of nutrients.
Use a premium potting mix that contains fertiliser to ensure that your indoor plants are fed for at least a couple of months. It’s important to continue replenishing nutrients once the fertiliser in the potting mix runs out so that your Monstera remains happy and healthy.
Apply Scotts Osmocote Pour+Feed for Indoor Plants, every fortnight to boost your Monstera with a carefully balanced blend of essential nutrients, including Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus. These nutrients will help produce lush, green, healthy growth and more beautiful blooms.
For a more sustained approach, feed your Monstera with Scotts Osmocote Controlled-Release Fertiliser for Indoor Plants. The controlled release technology feeds your plant for up to 6 months, releasing nutrients and trace elements only when the plant needs them. Scotts Osmocote Controlled-Release Fertiliser for Indoor Plants is also boosted with Nitrogen for greener foliage and stronger plant growth.
Because Monstera are vigorous growers they will benefit from being repotted from time to time to prevent them getting rootbound and out growing their pots. Repot them into a larger pot to allow them to grow or repot tired looking plants with fresh potting mix to maintain overall health and vigour.
Over time, your Monstera will grow aerial roots. Encourage them to attach to a moss stick or gently push them into the potting mix to take up additional nutrients.
How to repot your Monstera:
- Hold your Monstera by the stem and gently slide it out of its pot.
- Carefully loosen the roots with your hands, removing some of the old potting mix from around the base and trimming any dead or damaged roots.
- Add a layer of Scotts Osmocote Premium Potting Mix for Indoor Plants into the new pot and pack it down lightly, removing any air pockets. If your new pot doesn't have drainage holes, use a slightly smaller plastic pot that does and pop it inside your decorative pot.
- Place your plant in the pot, making sure it's centered, and then add potting mix around the plant until it is secure.
- Give your Monstera a thorough watering and a capful of Scotts Osmocote Pour+Feed for Indoor Plants to welcome it into its new home.
Pests, Problems and Answers
A healthy and happy Monstera is quite resilient to most pests and diseases, however it’s still important to keep an eye on it!
Why is there webbing underneath the leaves of my Monstera?
This is a tell-tale sign of spider mite. So is yellowing around the leaf edges and small spots on the foliage. These pesky little critters weaken the plant by sucking goodness from the leaves. Simply, hose the leaves down outside to reduce the spider mite population and use a natural insecticide to clean up the rest.
Why are the leaves on my Monstera discoloured and mottled?
Thrips may be to blame. Look out for black-brown marks on the underside of the leaves (this is excretment). The top of the leaves may also appear silvery, yellow or brown. Remove heavily infested leaves from the plant and then treat with Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray.
What are the brown lumps on the underside of the Monstera leaf?
This could be a scale insect. Large infestations of scale can cause white or yellow spots to appear on the foliage. Leaves may also turn yellow and possibly drop off. If they are a problem then simply use soapy water and a brush to remove them or treat scale with Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray.
Why doesn’t my Monstera have holes in the leaves?
The problem is most likely due to a lack of light. Don’t put it in direct sunlight, but do make sure that the space is bright enough.
Are Monstera toxic?
Monstera plants are poisonous if eaten, so ensure that the plant isn’t in reach of children and pets. The fruits of the Monstera deliciosa however are edible!
Are there different types of Monstera?
With over 45 species available, there is a Monstera plant out there that will suit any aesthetic and really bring your indoor jungle to life. We’ve rounded up our top 5 favourite Monstera varieties, each with striking differences and quirky qualities – why not mix and match?!
Monstera deliciosa can grow long and leggy up to 5m or full and hearty if you prune regularly. Also, the holes of the common Monstera leaves create attractive indentations, especially when they reach the edge of the leaf. Monstera deliciosa is easily confused with Philodendron bipinnatifidum and both are often labelled as ‘split-leafed philodendron’, even by reputable retailers. The 2 key things that tell them apart is that Monstera deliciosa is a climbing plant and it produces fruit, whereas the Philodendron does not.
Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata'.
Unlike the common Monstera deliciosa, this variety grows leaves that are distinctively dark green with striking white marbled patches.
Monstera deliciosa ‘Tauerii’
This plant is a dwarf version of Monstera deliciosa, with decorative heart shaped leaves and perforated foliage. It’s the perfect choice for adding a bit of greenery to your home office or living space and won’t take up as much space as the original Swiss Cheese plant.
Monstera adansonii is petite compared to most Monsteras and only grows to about 1m in height. The holes on this plant are positioned more towards the middle of the leaf and the margins of the leaves are closed earning it the nickname ‘monkey mask’ as the slits resemble a cheek monkey peering through!
This variety is distinguished by its beautiful venation and silvery sheen, with strongly contrasting colourings between the leaf veins and lamina (the areas between the leaf veins). The veins are dark green and the lamina is a beautiful blue-silver colour.