As a staple for any indoor plant lover, the humble monstera plant has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years – but how do you successfully grow one?
Popular indoor house plants are usually embraced by the masses if they’re able to successfully thrive in low-light, humid conditions, such as houses and apartments. While they’re often brought into Australia from other parts of the world, the perfect house plant is often both beautiful and able to endure the odd bit of neglect.
Depending on who you ask, the monstera plant is thought to be the perfect combination of these two sought after characteristics. Fast growing and easy to care for, the graphic, holed leaves are regularly featured on everything from posters to pillow slips, and has come a long way from its origins in Central American rainforests – but what does it take to keep one happy in a residential environment?
Five Tips For Growing A Monstera Plant At Home
Also known as a Swiss cheese plant, fruit salad plant, split leaf philodendron, monstera deliciosa and even a Mexican breadfruit, the monstera plant has been widely embraced as an easy indoor plant to grow.
Despite this, most people don’t realise just how monstrous the monstera plant can grow if it’s happy in its living environment. In the wild, monsteras grow as an understorey plant in rainforests and attach themselves to trees by aerial roots to scramble further up the canopy. When left unchecked, they can mature to heights as large as twenty metres.
By adapting itself to grow holes in its leaves when it matures, they evolved to withstand heavy rainfall and wind, as the elements pass through the holes instead of damaging the plant. It’s for this reason that the very name monstera stemmed from the Latin word for ‘strange’.
While houseplant varieties are unlikely to ever reach such lofty heights, monsteras can still grow as large as four to five metres in residential homes – that is, if it’s happy with its living conditions. So what does a monstera plant need in order to thrive?
The Right Soil – A monstera plant will grow in most garden soils and certainly isn’t considered to be picky with its living conditions, but as a general rule, they prefer a moist, humus-rich but well-drained soil. The soil pH should be in the range of around 5.5 – 7 for strong growth if you want a big healthy houseplant, and this can easily be monitored with DIY soil testing kits.
Sun Protection – As a native rainforest dweller, monsteras don’t do well when exposed to too much direct sunlight or exposed to dramatic changes in temperature levels, and can even develop sunburn. In fact, their ideal climate is a room or area with lots of shade, but with high humidity. Once the plant matures, it can steadily be introduced to higher levels of sunlight.
Adequate Water – Providing that you aren’t having an unseasonably hot summer or freezing winter, monsteras are generally happy to be watered once a week and should have dry soil between hydration. If your monstera is receiving too much water, it will let you know via yellowing leaves, and consider deploying a spray bottle if the leaves have brown tips.
Wipe The Leaves – Given the sheer size of its leaves, it’s only natural that these can also double as notorious dust collectors. When your monstera plant is looking a little dry, polish the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust in order to unblock its pores and allow it to breathe and absorb moisture, which will help the plant to regulate itself without needing more water.
Provide Some Support – A monstera plant will usually grow vertically on just a few stems when it’s young but starts to grow sideways when it gets older and heavier. New plant owners may be surprised to find their once-vertical house plant starts to take up more and more horizontal space as it expands outward, so add some support via a moss pole, trellis or garden stake.
What’s more is that a healthy monstera plant also makes a great leafy friend to propagate from stem cuttings, air layering or division, so long as each division includes a node, which is the point where a leaf develops on a stem. This way, there’s no need to spend a small fortune on this popular houseplant at your nearest nursery.
How To Feed Your Monstera Plant The Natural Way
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At Bioweed, we specialise in organic solutions to ensure that your garden reaches its full potential the natural way. Our range of products, such as Indoor Plant Booster, are all chemical free, and are providing Australians with safer products to use both in their gardens and in their homes.
Based on the Sunshine Coast, our range has been embraced by people from all walks of life, and are backed with twenty years of research and industry knowledge. If you’re on the hunt for natural plant products, check out other tips and tricks in our online advice forum, or contact us for any further queries.