The Monstera deliciosa is one of the trendiest houseplants out there. This easy-care houseplant is known for its large, tropical foliage and climbing growth habit. It has graced countless photo shoots and styled spaces because it is simply amazing. Whether you’re a seasoned plant pro or new to houseplants, here is what you need to know about Monstera deliciosa care.
The deliciosa hails from the tropical rainforests of southern Mexico and reaches into Central America, where it is found as far south as Panama. This plant has a few common names that can cause confusion. Some plant people use the term Swiss cheese plant, even though this name is also used for the Monstera adansonii. Still, others refer to the deliciosa as a split-leaf philodendron even though it is not a true Philodendron. At one point, the Monstera deliciosa was classified as a Philodendron, and the name stuck. Monsteras and Philodendrons are members of the Araceae family, so there is a resemblance.
The foliage is the distinctive feature of the deliciosa, but it takes time for the plant to develop its signature look. Young plants have glossy, heart-shaped leaves and grow on sturdy stems in an upright habit. It takes about three years with proper Monstera deliciosa care for the plant to reach maturity.
The leaves of mature plants measure up to 18 inches wide and have deep splits or lobes. The symmetrical splits reach almost to the midrib. The splits serve a function when the plant grows in its native habitat. The Monstera deliciosa grows as an epiphytic vine and is a skilled climber, and the splits allow wind to pass through the leaves. The large leaves would work like sails without the splits, and strong winds would rip the vines from trees.
The Monstera deliciosa cultivars ‘Variegata’ and ‘Albovariegata’ have slightly smaller foliage, which is still impressive. Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’ and Monstera deliciosa ‘Albovariegata’ feature variegated leaves. Both varieties are rare, so they’re hard to find and often expensive. Care for the Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’ and ‘Albovariegata’ is similar to the regular non-variegated plant.
The stems can measure a couple of inches thick, and feature pronounced aerial roots. The plant uses these rope-like aerial roots to climb trees in nature. Aerial roots can reach three feet long on mature plants. The aerial roots of the deliciosa do not damage surfaces they come into contact with.
Monstera Deliciosa Light Needs
The deliciosa needs bright, indirect sunlight, which is non-negotiable if you want a large plant. This leafy beauty can survive in medium light but will grow slower and smaller. Variegated cultivars like the ‘Variegata’ and ‘Albovariegata’ exclusively need bright, indirect sunlight. Rotate the pot every few weeks so each side of the plant receives even sunlight and the plant grows upright.
Some direct light is okay, but too much will burn the leaves. Avoid direct sunlight during the summer because that may be too intense, but limited amounts of direct light during the winter support continued growth. Sunburn looks like black or dark brown spots on the leaves, so move the plant out of direct sunlight immediately if you see scorch marks.
Encourage a young plant with full leaves to develop splits by ensuring it receives plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. It can take years for a plant to reach maturity and form the signature deeply lobed leaves, but increased sunlight speeds the process up as much as possible.
How Often to Water Monstera
Water the deliciosa when the top few inches of the soil are dry. The soil further down in the pot can be damp, but the upper portion should be dry. Stick your finger in the soil to test the dryness. Humidity and sunlight impact how quickly the soil dries out, but plan to water roughly one to two weeks during the growing season and scale back on water during the winter.
Watering before it’s time can cause yellow foliage and root rot. Underwatered plants will have drooping stems and curled leaves. It’s best to avoid any type of water stress, but the plant is more forgiving when underwatered.
Saturate the soil when it is time to water. Allow excess moisture to drain through the container and remove standing water from the saucer or cover pot. Clean the leaves with a damp cloth or rinse the plant occasionally to remove dust from the foliage.
Why is My Monstera Crying?
Water droplets on Monstera leaves are the result of guttation. Guttation is a natural process that is also referred to as crying, sweating, or weeping. The water droplets are a mix of water and sap; they are not harmful or damaging. There is no harm in leaving the droplets on the foliage. The droplets will not damage flooring or furniture if they drip from the plant, but you may want to clean them up to protect the flooring or reduce the risk of slipping, depending on the surface.
Best Soil for Monsteras
Moist, well-drained soil is essential for Monsteras because overly wet conditions damage the roots. Rich soils support new growth, and an acidic to neutral pH is ideal. Most commercial potting mixes work well. Amend the potting mix with peat moss to fine-tune it to the plant’s needs.
Temperature for Monstera Deliciosa
Warm temperatures make the deliciosa feel at home. Temperatures between 65° to 75° F are ideal. Locate the plant in a spot clear of drafty windows, doors, and vents. Temperature fluctuations are not the best for this beauty.
Temperatures below 50° F are harmful, so monitor the temperature if you move this plant to an outdoor space in the summer. The ideal outdoor space for a houseplant just spending the summer outside is a protected area that receives dappled light.
Monstera Deliciosa Humidity Needs
Medium to high humidity replicates the tropical environment the deliciosa calls home, and this plant needs extra dampness in the air to grow. Humidity above 60% provides ideal Monstera deliciosa care. A naturally damp area like a kitchen or bathroom is a good fit, although large plants may not always fit into a particular space.
Use a humidifier if the air is too dry. Humidity fluctuates seasonally, so it may only be needed during the winter. The leaves will curl or develop dry edges when there isn’t enough dampness.
Monstera Deliciosa Fertilizer Tips
Routine feedings every two to four weeks during the spring and summer support continued and consistent growth. The deliciosa needs a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Water the plant before fertilizing, or use a water-soluble product to protect the roots. Do not feed the plant when it is dormant.
Monstera Pruning Tips
Remove dead or damaged leaves from the deliciosa as needed. Trim dead leaves as far back as possible without interfering with other growth. Pruning may be necessary for a large plant, depending on your available space. Hold onto cuttings to propagate.
Should I Remove Aerial Roots From My Monstera?
Some plant owners choose to remove the aerial roots for aesthetic purposes. It’s your call, and it depends on what look you want. Some people think removing the aerial roots will stunt the growth, but at this time, there’s no research to confirm or deny that claim. You may want to err on the side of caution and keep the aerial roots if you’re concerned about stunted growth. Always use clean, sharp pruning shears if you choose to remove the aerial roots.
Does Monstera Deliciosa Bloom?
Plants in their native habitat bloom and grow edible fruit, but houseplants rarely do either. Deliciosa flowers grow on an upright spike, known as a spadix, and are surrounded on one side by a curved leaf known as a spathe. The flowers are not very showy, so you’re not missing out.
When to Repot Monstera Deliciosa
Proper Monstera deliciosa care ensures this plant grows quickly. Plan to repot the plant annually to keep it growing and happy. Always use a pot one to two inches bigger unless you have also pruned the plant to maintain the size.
Monstera Deliciosa Propagation
Stem cuttings are a popular and easy method to propagate Monstera plants. Cuttings must include at least two leaves, growth nodes, or aerial roots. Aerial roots can transition to soil roots during propagation.
Is Monstera Deliciosa Pet Safe?
The Monstera deliciosa is not pet-safe. The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates, which cause oral irritation, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting. Eating a deliciosa can be harmful to cats and dogs, and people for that matter. It may not be possible or at least not easy to keep pets away from a large, established plant, so be aware of the dangers before bringing this plant into your home.
Interestingly, while the leaves, stems, and roots are toxic, the fruit of the Monstera plant is edible. The edible fruit is a moot point since houseplants seldom bloom and even less frequently grow fruit, but one part of the plant is safe to eat and has nutritional value.
Monstera Deliciosa Styling Tips
One of the great things about plants like the deliciosa is that they provide effortless style. Small plants are darling and look amazing on a tabletop or mantle. Large plants command a room. Give an established deliciosa a trellis or support to hold it up.
Concealing the Aerial Roots
Aerial roots are part of the deliciosa and add to its charm, but they’re not for everyone. If you love the foliage but don’t like the aerial roots, tuck them into the pot to conceal them.
Monstera Deliciosa Care Tips
This plant can grow happy and healthy in a range of conditions and look amazing. While this is an easy-care houseplant, Monstera deliciosa care must be on point if you want an impressively large plant. Big plants require dedication and some extra attention, but this beauty is worth it.