The Ultimate Monstera Deliciosa Care Guide in 2021

All you need to know about taking care of your Monstera deliciosa. From plant care requirements to common problems and its fixes. Click here to learn more about how to care for your Monstera deliciosa.
Darren T'ngThu Jun 17 2021

The Ultimate Monstera Deliciosa Care Guide in 2021

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Fun-fact: The Monstera is a genus of 45 species in the arum family, Araceae and is derived from the Latin word for “monstrous” or “abnormal” due to its unusual leaves with natural holes.

With a little bit of guidance and with proper care, the Monstera deliciosa can grow beautifully on your front porch and even in your living room. Here are the pieces of advice you need to make that happen:

  1. Light requirements for Monstera deliciosa
  2. Water requirements for Monstera deliciosa
  3. Soil requirements for Monstera deliciosa
  4. Temperature and humidity requirements for Monstera deliciosa
  5. Propagating your Monstera deliciosa
  6. Precautions to take while taking care of Monstera deliciosa
  7. Common problems and remedies for Monstera deliciosa
  8. Infographic summarising the basic Monstera deliciosa care guide

Monstera Deliciosa Care Guide

1. Light requirements for Monstera deliciosa

To understand the light requirements of the Monstera deliciosa, it is important to know the environment where the plant typically grows. The Monstera is a tropical species that is commonly found in rainforests and typically grows in the shade of bigger trees or plants. That said, it is natural that the Monstera deliciosa enjoys being under bright indirect sunlight and should be kept somewhere that provides partial shade.

To learn more about lighting requirements and how to measure indirect bright light. You can read our guide on the light requirements of plants here.

Pro-tip: Should you realise that your Monstera leaves are smaller and grow more sparsely and slowly without the aesthetic perforations you're looking for, you might want to move it closer to the window or consider using grow lights to accelerate the leaf fenestration.

2. Water requirements for Monstera deliciosa

Adequate watering is the single most important thing for the healthy growth of any plant species - especially tropical ones. Over-watering may lead to dark brown spots on your leaves and under-watering may lead to dry, crispy leaves with light brown spots. To make matters worse, once these spots develop, the only way to get rid of them is to let your plant drop the leaves on its own or to simply prune them.

Monsteras require watering whenever the top of the soil, which encompasses the soil layer approximately 3 to 5 centimetres below the surface, feels dry. You can test this by touch, with a stick or simply using a moisture meter. In Singapore, we typically see the need to water Monstera deliciosas every 1-2 weeks with filtered water or water left out overnight.

Pro-tip: Should you realise that your Monstera leaves are limp and droopy, you might want to soak-water your Monstera deliciosa. Read more about why your Monstera deliciosa has limp and droopy leaves and how to fix them here.

3. Soil requirements for Monstera deliciosa

A Standard premium potting mix should work. Along with that, it might be good to also add some peat moss to retain moisture and perlite, lava rocks or orchid bark to improve soil drainage or aeration as Monstera deliciosas typically prefer well-draining soil.

Pro-tip: We typically use a mixture of 70% potting mix, 15% cactus soil, 10% peat moss and 5% perlite, lava rocks or orchid bark for our personal Monstera deliciosa soil mixes. Should you not have cactus soil, you can simply use 85% potting mix, 10% peat moss and 5% perlite, lava rocks or orchid bark.

4. Temperature and humidity requirements for Monstera deliciosa

Singapore’s temperature and humidity conditions are perfect for Monstera deliciosas. However, in case you are curious, any temperature between 18°C-30°C and humidity levels above 60% works just fine.

Pro-tip: While unlikely, should humidity levels be too low, gently mist your Monstera deliciosas plant in the mornings once per week to ensure it gets the humidity it needs.

5. Propagating your Monstera deliciosa

The most common way of propagating Monstera deliciosas are stem cuttings. With these cuttings, you can either root them in water or simply stick them directly into the soil. Note that these cuttings should ideally be taken from the bottom-most leaves first, just after the leaf node. Rooting the plant cuttings in water should typically take a few weeks and can thereafter be transplanted into a pot or partially buried into the soil directly.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to propagating your Monstera deliciosa:

Step 1: Get a container that is sufficiently large to hold about four cuttings with soil mix as described in the soil requirements above. In summary, the soil mix includes standard potting mix, peat moss, and perlite or orchid bark.

Step 2: With a sharp and clean blade or pruning scissors, cut a segment of the Monstera deliciosa’s stem with several leaves from the mother plant about 3 centimetres below the aerial root.

Step 3: The cut segment will need to be cut further into several segments - typically one leaf per segment. It does not matter if the segment has an aerial root attached to it.

Step 4: With the stem segments, propagate them either in water for a few weeks before planting or pot the stem segments into the container prepared in step 1 directly. The advantage of propagating the Monstera deliciosa in water is the ease of monitoring root growth progress.

Step 5: Should you decide to propagate the cutting in water, make sure to ensure that the aerial root from the leaf node is submerged in water. Wait till the root system is about 10-12 centimetres long before potting. If there are multiple nodes in the cut segment, make sure that the nodes are covered in water so that they can start rooting.

Step 6: When the Monstera deliciosa is ready for potting, make sure that the soil is well mixed and that the root system is below the soil level. Once complete, water the plant according to the water requirements above and place them where the light requirements are satisfied.

Pro-tip: While adding your soil into the container, make sure that the soil is not packed too tightly as Monstera deliciosas typically prefer well-draining soil.

6. Precautions to take while taking care of Monstera deliciosa

Monsteras can be toxic to pets and humans. In the unlikely event that your pet or young child ingests the plant or its fruit, Monsteras can cause stinging around the mouth and stomach upset should it be consumed consistently. As a precaution, the Monstera deliciosa should be kept out of reach from small children and pets.

7. Common problems and fixes for Monstera deliciosa

Monsteras can be toxic to pets and humans. In the unlikely event that your pet or young child ingests the plant or its fruit, Monsteras can cause stinging around the mouth and stomach upset should it be consumed consistently. As a precaution, the Monstera deliciosa should be kept out of reach from small children and pets.

Similar to most plants, It is paramount that you find the right balance of light, water, soil mix, temperature and humidity requirements for every plant. That said, what happens when your Monstera deliciosa is doing something a little out of character? In this part of the ultimate Monstera deliciosa care guide, we will run through everything you need to know about the common problems and remedies to ensure your Monstera deliciosa remains Pinterest and Instagram worthy. Here are the common problems:

7a. Why your Monstera deliciosa has yellow leaves and how to fix them

Yellowing leaves is a common sign signifying that the balance of light, water, soil mix, temperature and humidity has not been achieved and troubleshooting your plant based on those factors will provide you with important information in fixing them. In tropical climates such as Singapore, temperature and humidity should not be an issue.

Light considerations. The Monstera deliciosa thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. That said, the lack of sunlight might result in yellowing leaves. This can be easily avoided by placing your Monstera deliciosa in areas where it receives about 2 hours of morning sunlight or by shifting it nearer to a window with a larger exposure to indirect sunlight.

Water considerations. Of all considerations, overwatering of the Monstera deliciosa is the most common reason why it’s leaves yellow. Excessive or insufficient moisture stresses the plant are both causes of yellowing leaves. To avoid this, water your Monstera deliciosa only when the top of the soil, approximately 3 to 5 centimetres below the surface, feels dry. You can test this by touch, with a stick or simply using a moisture meter. Sufficient moisture needs to be provided so that water flows out of the drainage hole. Excess water from the saucer needs to be discarded. That said, note that if the Monstera deliciosa exhibits yellow leaves with brown spots, it likely means that the Monstera deliciosa is under-watered. Either way, as long as you follow the guide of only deep-watering your Monstera deliciosa when the top of the soil is dry, you should do just fine.

Soil considerations. A good sign that your soil mix is causing issues is if your soil mix is heavy and soggy or that water is not flowing out of the drainage holes. In a situation like this, it is imperative that for healthy plant growth you repot your plant and add more perlite, lava rocks or orchid bark to your existing mix to improve the soil condition.

Pro-tip: In addition to ensuring your soil has sufficient aeration, make sure that your pot is not too big for your plant as this will allow you to better judge and control your drainage system.

Pests and diseases. The last reason why your leaves might be turning yellow, are insect pests and diseases. These insect pests include sap-sucking insects such as spider mites, aphids and mealybugs. An easy solution is spraying your plant with neem oil or wiping it with rubbing alcohol to get rid of pesky insect pests.

Pro-tip: To limit a full-blown insect infestation on your entire collection, it might be useful to consider having your new plants be put under quarantine for a few days. This will help you isolate the insect problem should it indeed be from a new plant.

7b. Why your Monstera deliciosa has black spots and how to fix them

Similar to yellowing leaves, black spots on leaves is a common sign signifying that the balance of light, water, soil mix, temperature and humidity has not been achieved and troubleshooting your plant based on those factors will provide you with important information in fixing them. That said, black spots do not mean that your Monstera deliciosa is going to die - it is a hardy houseplant and will be able to recover from this should sufficient care be provided. Here are the common reasons as to why your Monstera deliciosa has black spots:

Light considerations. As mentioned above, the Monstera deliciosa thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. A common cause of black spots is over-exposure to direct sunlight. Should your Monstera deliciosa be kept under direct sunlight for too long, there is a high chance that the black spots have been caused by sunburn. This can be easily avoided by placing your Monstera deliciosa in areas where it receives about 2 hours of morning sunlight or by shifting it nearer to a window with a larger exposure to indirect sunlight.

Water considerations. Another reason for your Monstera deliciosa to have black spots is both overwatering and under-watering. An easy way to check if overwatering is the issue is to check for root rot. Typically, your leaves will yellow and stems will turn soft in the case of over-watering.

In the same vein, should your Monstera deliciosa be under-watered, you should typically see the leaves turn light brown. In such a situation, follow the guide of only deep-watering your Monstera deliciosa when the top of the soil is dry, you should do just fine.

Pests and diseases. Bacterial and fungal diseases can typically cause black spots on leaves and most of the time these spots have yellow circles around them and are similarly sized. Similar to the remedy for yellow leaves, an easy solution is spraying your plant with neem oil or wiping it with rubbing alcohol to get rid of pesky insect pests.

As mentioned above, to limit a full-blown insect infestation on your entire collection, it might be useful to consider having your new plants be put under quarantine for a few days. This will help you isolate the insect problem should it indeed be from a new plant.

7c. Why your Monstera deliciosa has limp and droopy leaves and how to fix them

Seeing the leaves of your Monstera deliciosa limping and drooping can be slightly alarming. This can happen in a matter of hours. On the bright side though, it can also recover as quickly and is easily fixed. Here are the common reasons as to why your Monstera deliciosa has limp and droopy leaves followed by remedies on how to fix them:

Soil considerations. This is the most common cause of limp and droopy leaves especially if you accidentally let your soil dry out completely. Should that be the case, it is important that you soak-water your Monstera deliciosa.

To soak-water your Monstera deliciosa, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Place your plant without the saucer in a basin of water.

Step 2: Allow your plant to soak up the water through the drainage holes in the bottom of your pot.

Step 3: Once the water reaches the top of the soil, approximately 3 to 5 centimetres from the surface of your soil, remove your plant.

Step 4: Check if the soil is evenly damp. If not, put it back in the basin of water. Should it already be evenly damp, place it back on the saucer in its original spot and observe the plant for the next few days.

Temperature and humidity considerations. Since the Monstera deliciosa is a tropical plant, it will thrive in humid conditions for reference, any temperature between 18°C-30°C and humidity levels above 60% works just fine. This is perfect for Singapore. However, in the unlikely event that humidity is an issue, you can increase the humidity around your plant by misting your leaves or by simply having a humidifier nearby.

7d. Why your Monstera deliciosa has no holes in its leaves and how to fix them

Not getting the holes you wanted on your young Monstera deliciosa? Here are the common reasons why your Monstera deliciosa has no holes in its leaves and how to fix them:

Light considerations. The most common reason why your Monstera deliciosa has no holes in its leaves is insufficient sunlight. This can be easily avoided by placing your Monstera deliciosa in areas where it receives about 2 hours of morning sunlight or by shifting it nearer to a window with a larger exposure to indirect sunlight. That said, please be aware that tipping the balance of sunlight exposure can cause your leaves to yellow or develop black spots as mentioned above.

Pro-tip: Another reason might simply be that your Monstera deliciosa is simply premature and just needs more time!

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Darren T'ngDarren is the Founder of Porchbuds, a technology-enabled plants and gardening marketplace aiming to make the world a greener place.See More Articles By Darren T'ng