Monstera has become fashionable today: we see it daily on Instagram, Pinterest, T-shirts, prints, paintings and, obviously, in pots.
Its leaves transport us to the jungle, so we want to explain to you how to know and grow Monstera in the two most common varieties: Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii.
Monstera or bread plant
The bread plant was a very common plant on terraces and gardens during the 1980s. In my mother’s backyard, it grew rapidly: it received a lot of indirect light and the irrigation was controlled, as it was positioned under the roof which prevented it from getting wet if it was raining. These are already two excellent clues to the light and watering needs of the plant.
But let’s see in detail:
The leaves of Monstera deliciosa open completely, forming “ribs”.
Monstera loves light, but not the sun’s rays. They are therefore ideal in any bright room, or in those corners of the terrace where the sun does not beat during the whole day.
These are plants that prefer warm temperatures and a humid environment. In the Mediterranean and coastal areas they can be grown outdoors all year round, as they withstand minimum temperatures of up to 5º C. In the coldest inland areas, they are usually grown as indoor plants.
The most important thing regarding the soil is that it has good drainage. For this, we can mix universal potting soil with a little perlite, which will prevent the roots from flooding. You can transplant it into a larger pot every two years, renewing part of the soil and eliminating dead roots.
Monstera deliciosa is a plant that grows very high, its leaves can even measure 30-40 cm in width. If you grow it indoors and have space problems, wait to transplant it into a larger pot. The more space it has, the more it will tend to grow.
As for irrigation, it is an undemanding plant, although the periodicity will depend, as always, on the temperature and size of the pot in which you grow it. For small pots, it will take 1 or 2 times during the summer and once every 10-15 days in the winter. Make sure the soil is dry before watering it again, using a moisture meter or touching the soil with your index finger.
In very dry environments, it is preferable to carry out regular spraying during the summer, or a dip in the tank every so often. Use these moments to clean the leaves.
It is advisable to fertilize them every 15 days with a specific fertilizer for green plants. You can choose one liquid or in bars. These are put into the soil and dissolve gradually, giving the plant all the nutrients it needs.
During the winter the use of fertilizers is suspended, which we will resume in the spring.
Monstera leaves and growth
Monstera leaves are easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
The strong point of this plant is the leaves. Regarding these, there are a few things to consider:
- Some of the new leaves of your Monstera may not have the characteristic openings. They appear when the puff pastry develops completely, so be patient and wait for them to grow.
- Clean the leaves with a damp cloth. Or, as mentioned above, take a shower with the hose or showerheads.
- If you can recover rain for spraying, you won’t see those white spots appearing on the leaves. It is limestone, which leaves its residues when the drop dries. If you can’t accumulate rainwater, choose weak mineralization bottled water.
- If the tips of the leaves turn brown, it can be an excess of water. Make sure the potting soil is dry before watering the plant again.
- If, on the other hand, they take on a yellowish color, it may be an excess of water or a lack of fertilizer. Check which of the two options it is.
- Finally, you should know that Monstera leaves and stems are toxic to humans and animals, but only if ingested.
Monstera is a climbing plant. Air roots will appear along its stems, which will allow you to easily reproduce the plant, and will help to support it.
Choose a coconut fiber brace and secure the plant with a plant tie or cord. Do not squeeze the stems against the brace: bring them closer so that the roots begin to grow and support themselves.
Take advantage of Monstera’s aerial roots to get new plants. Cut right under the roots and dip them in water.
Monstera adansonii or Swiss-cheese plant
It is usually grown as an indoor plant because it feels colder. We recommend avoiding drafts, prefer a humid environment.
Since space is limited in my apartment, I chose a Monstera adansonii. Even if she has grown enough, she is smaller than the “delicious” sister and I can place her on the furniture to let her grow in a waterfall.
- This variety form leaves with small openings that grow into large eyes. This peculiarity and its small size completely differentiate it from Monstera deliciosa, whose leaves open completely, forming ribs.