Caring for your Monstera Plant
The Monstera, or the Swiss Cheese Plant, is a tropical plant that is famous for its hole-punched leaf patterns. You've probably seen it on the pages of an interior design magazine as it makes a bold yet versatile addition to any living space. Monsteras are native to the rainforests of Central America and cleverly adapt to their environments - when there isn't enough sunlight, their leaves actually grow in the direction of darkness as they assume that they are under the shade of a larger plant that they can climb onto. However, this adaptation clearly isn't a solution in our homes, so we have to provide our Monsteras with sufficient light!
Monsteras can grow to become very large plants. A tip (if you can't manage a full Monstera, or simply want to keep it tidy) would be to cut off a stalk or two to place into a large glass vase as a centrepiece on your dining table! Their potentially excessive growth aside, they are easy to care for and would make a lovely addition to your home. Continue on for tips on creating the best environment for your Monstera.
Monsteras love bright and indirect sunlight, which helps maintain their vibrant colour. Direct sunlight can cause their leaves to get scorched and turn yellow.
As a gauge you can water your Monstera moderately about once a week. However, it is better to go by the dryness of the soil: when the top few inches of the soil are dry, it is time for your Monstera to be watered. Ensure that your soil and pot allow for good drainage, and do not overwater it as that could cause a big problem: root rot.
It would be good to keep your Monstera somewhere more humid, which is closer to the rainforest's environment.
Avoid repotting your Monstera too often if you do not want it to grow too excessively. You can repot it around once a year, and use a wider and deeper pot with drainage holes that can accommodate a moss pole for the Monstera to climb onto.
For the potting mix, any regular soil that it is well-draining will do the trick. Remember: the key is a well-draining set up!
If you're not confident in doing this yourself, or want it in a fresh new fancy pot, you can engage a repotting service.
Feed your Monstera with regular plant fertiliser on a monthly basis.
If you're looking to build a jungle, you'll be glad to know that it's very easy to propagate your Monstera. You can do so by a process called stem-cutting. Cut your Monstera at a node (where the stalk branches out to form leaves) and put it in water or soil. Using water would make it easier to check for root growth, but be sure to change its water regularly. When roots have grown and the leaves start to unfurl, you can pot them into your regular potting mix!
Dark brown or black spots on lower leaves: The beginnings of root rot. When spotted, immediately prune the affected leaves, rinse away the soil from the Monstera's roots, trim the affected roots, and repot into a well-draining pot and potting mix.
P.s. Monsteras are poisonous if ingested, so it'll be best to keep them out of your child or pet's reach! The fruit produced, however, is actually edible when ripe, but Monsteras tend not to produce fruit outside of their natural habitat.