How to Plant, Grow and Care for Monstera Deliciosa

Thinking of adding a Monstera Deliciosa to your indoor or outdoor garden? These popular plants are well known for their ease of care and large, green leaves. In this article, gardening expert Madison Moulton shares everything you need to know about growing Monstera Deliciosa including maintenance and care requirements.

How to plant and grow Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, has gained an almost cult-like following over the past few years. You couldn’t go anywhere in the 2010s without seeing a Monstera deliciousa. And I’m not afraid to admit I share the same obsession – my home and garden are filled with them.

These plants were at the start of the recent houseplant boom, along with the famous Fiddle Leaf Fig. Although some new trending houseplants have slowly taken over as everyone’s number one choice, this plant still retains its high status.

If you already have a few Monsteras at home and want to know how to best take care of them, or are thinking of investing in this trendy houseplant staple, you’ve come to the right place.


Monstera Deliciosa Plant Overview

Monstera Deliciosa
Plant Type Houseplant
Family Araceae
Genus Monstera
Species Monstera deliciosa
Native Area Central America
Exposure Bright indirect light
Height 10’+
Watering Requirements Low
Pests & Diseases Scale, mealybug, spider mites
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Airy and well-draining
Other Other

About Monstera Deliciosa

Close up of large green leaf with natural forming slits and holes covering the entire leaf.
This trendy houseplant is a low maintenance option with a big visual impact.

Most know the species Monstera deliciousa by the common names Swiss Cheese Plant or Delicious Monster. The second name is easy enough to break down, but the first comes from the fenestration in the leaves that make them look just like Swiss cheese. Confusingly, they also share this common name with a few other fenestrated species, including other types of Monstera.

If you’re like me and started your houseplant obsession early in life, a Monstera deliciosa was likely one of your first purchases. These plants are famous for their tropical look and massive leaves, growing even taller with the assistance of a moss pole.

As I live in a tropical climate, I frequently see these long vines covering tree trunks and growing outdoors. Here, the leaves grow much larger than you may be used to indoors and these members of the Araceae family may even flower. However, as many regions get far too cold for Monsteras to survive, most gardeners choose to grow them indoors.

While the standard Monstera deliciosa species is the most common, there are also variegated cultivars that have become incredibly popular online. These can be tough to find and more expensive than their regular counterparts, but are great plants for avid collectors.

Native Region

Forest with large tropical leaves with natural forming slits running down each side.
Native to the tropics in Central America, these plants will thrive best in humid, moist living conditions.

Monsteras are largely native to Central America where they enjoy the heat and high humidity of their tropical climates. They are frequently found in rainforests climbing up trees and covering trunks to obtain more sunlight and limit competition on the floor below.

These quick growers have also been introduced to other tropical areas in North America, Asia and Australia. Some states with warmer climates such as Florida even consider the vines an invasive risk due to their rapid growth and ability to replace native species.

That is just one of the many reasons why it’s best to grow these plants indoors and confined to a container. Not only does it limit the risks of becoming invasive in your region, but the environmental conditions indoors are also well-suited to what these plants are accustomed to in their native habitats.


Large plant with long, tall stems that have giant split leaves on the top. Plant is in a gray pot against a white wall.
This plant has unique aerial roots that help them climb up to sunnier locations.

The main reason houseplant lovers grow Swiss Cheese Plants is for the foliage. The large leaves sport splits and holes known as fenestration that give them their wonderfully unique look. These leaves instantly make me think of the tropics, looking great anywhere you place them in your home.

Monstera deliciosa also develops aerial roots along the stems that help them climb trees in their native habitats. Aerial roots even absorb some moisture from the air to help the vines grow.

These aerial roots are no cause for alarm. I once had a friend call me in a panic because she thought her Monstera kept outgrowing its container with roots growing above the soil line, even though she had just repotted.

But luckily, these aerial roots are different from the soil roots and are just the plant’s way of looking for something to climb. You can provide supports for these roots to attach to as I recommended, or you can simply trim them back if you don’t like the wild look.

In the right environments, this plant also produces fruit. In fact, this is the reason for the specific epithet ‘deliciosa’, as the fruits are completely edible and enjoyed in many countries.

Unfortunately, even though my Monsteras have been growing happily indoors for many years, I have yet to see any of them flower.

As the conditions are not quite perfect indoors, particularly when it comes to light, an indoor flowering Monstera is quite rare. If you are lucky enough to spot one, you’ll find they look quite similar to peace lily flowers (from the same plant family), with a larger spadix and thicker spathe.

How to Grow

Monstera deliciosa is not a difficult plant to grow in the right environment. Although you may hear a few houseplant owners complaining about common problems (discussed below), I think that is more the result of many people growing Monsteras than a true reflection of their fussiness.


Several white pots in front of a big window, with large green plants that have giant green leaves with holes in them.
This plant needs dappled sunlight as well as low light conditions.

Plant scientists believe Monsteras evolved to climb trees to reach for more sunlight under the canopy of rainforest trees. This is also one of the explanations for the holes in their leaves, which spread the surface area and allow the leaves to reach more pockets of dappled light. Replicating these conditions will help your plant grow to its full potential.

The closest thing we have to dappled sunlight indoors is known as bright indirect light. You’ll find bright indirect light right next to sunny windows but just out of the path of direct sun. The same effect can be achieved by filtering the light coming through the window with a sheer curtain.

That being said, Monsteras can also tolerate moderate to low light areas quite well for short periods. They won’t grow as quickly as usual or put out many new leaves, but can survive until conditions improve.

This may be the case in winter for example, where light direction changes and the intensity of the sun is not as high as it is during the warmer months.

They can also handle a few hours of direct morning sun, as long as it is gentle. I’ve made the mistake of leaving a Monstera in direct sun for a little longer than usual and the leaves quickly began to curl and wilt. They also lost their lush green color and took a while to recover.

Luckily the light was not so intense that it killed off parts of the leaf to leave brown patches, but that can occur if you leave this plant in direct sun for too long.


Top view of a potted, bright green plant, being watered with a teal blue watering can.
This popular houseplant requires consistent, moist soil but can be sensitive to developing root rot.

Many new houseplant owners assume that because they come from rainforests, Monsteras need tons of water to survive. But, while they do enjoy consistently moist soil, they are actually more sensitive to root rot than some other houseplants I’ve grown.

They don’t do well in soggy soil and quickly develop a deadly condition known as root rot without the right drainage levels.

Rather than watering once per week or on any particular schedule, I go around every couple of days and test the soil with my finger. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty – this is the best way to determine when your Monstera needs water.

I typically wait until the top half of the soil has dried out completely before watering again, but for smaller pots, it may be easier to water when just the top layer has dried out.

If your Monstera deliciosa is placed in a drip tray or pot cover, always empty the container after watering. If the base of the pot is left to sit in water and the soil cannot drain properly, the roots will eventually begin to rot.

I like to water all my Monstera plants in the bath or shower, directing the stream at the soil and then giving them a light shower over the leaves.

This allows any excess water to drain from the bottom of the container before I put them back, and also helps clean the leaves at the same time. Plus, it makes your bathroom feel like an instant tropical paradise.

Underwatering is also a dangerous risk. You shouldn’t leave the pot to dry out completely before watering again. If the soil is compacted after a missed watering or two, aerate the soil before watering or water from the bottom.


Close up of a white, open bag of soil with a silver spoon in it. Bag is surrounded by un-potted plants.
Adding bark or other organic textures to your soil will allow any excess moisture to drain away, preventing root rot.

Soil also plays an important role in drainage. If you take a look at the soil your plant was originally planted in, you’ll see it has quite a chunky texture. This allows excess moisture to quickly drain away from the sensitive roots.

You won’t need to worry about soil until you need to repot. When that time comes, it’s important to try recreate the same soil conditions the plant was in previously. This way, you’ll know the roots will be happy and there won’t be a big adjustment period or shock after transplanting.

Start with a specialized potting mix designed for houseplants. Regular potting mix or garden soil doesn’t have the right textures for Monsteras or most other indoor plants. Then, you can add any amendments you need to recreate the same texture.

Bark is a common amendment to increase spaces between soil particles, or the mix may need some additional perlite to make it suitable for this aroid.

If you want to make your own soil mix, my standard houseplant recipe is two parts potting soil, one part coconut coir (a more sustainable alternative to peat moss) and one part perlite. Then, for Monstera deliciosa I often add an extra handful or two of bark, depending on the size of the container, to improve drainage.

Temperature and Humidity

Close up of a thick, green stem that has water drops and dew covering it.
These plants can handle an average temperature of 75F.

As mentioned, this plant comes from tropical environments. Temperatures rarely drop below 60F and humidity remains high at around 75%. Getting close to these conditions and keeping them consistent throughout the year will make sure your Monstera grows to its full potential.

The ideal average temperature for these plants is around 75F. They can handle warmer temperatures well and grow best above this range, but they can also survive down to around 50F. It’s vital to avoid exposure to temperatures below 50F (if you forget the pot outside, for example) as this can cause stunted growth and some permanent damage.

Higher humidity levels will boost growth, although they will be happy in any humidity above 40%. One of the reasons I have been able to grow Monsteras so successfully indoors (despite my many mistakes over the years) is the high humidity levels in my region.

It typically hangs around 80% or higher in spring and summer, which isn’t great for my furniture but wonderful for the plants. This is also great if your Monstera has aerial roots as they can absorb some of that moisture from the air too. Humidity above 40% is alright, but if you want your plants to truly thrive, raising humidity is beneficial.


Close up of a plant with large green leaves with holes in them, and a new rolled up leaf that is ready to unfold and spread out.
These plants use up a lot of energy growing new leaves so It’s important to fertilize them at least once a month.

Quick-growing Monsteras use up plenty of nutrients to push out new leaves and grow their stems. They can survive on the nutrients in their existing soil for quite a while as growers typically pack the soil with nutrients before sale. However, these nutrients will eventually get used up, only replaced by fertilizers or repotting.

A regular fertilizing routine will limit problems with nutrient deficiency that can lead to stunted growth. This doesn’t have to be a tedious task either – simply fertilize around once per month at the same time you typically water.

A balanced fertilizer with equal NPK ratios is recommended for these plants. This targets all areas of growth for overall growth improvement.


Woman wiping down a giant green leaf with a white wash cloth.
Cleaning the leaves on a regular basis will help promote photosynthesis and respiration.

Along with watering and feeding, there are a few other tasks to add to your Monstera deliciosa care routine. They are not difficult to complete and go a long way to improving overall health.

The first is cleaning the leaves. Over time, dust and debris can build up on the leaves, blocking light absorption and gas exchange. It also doesn’t look great. The simplest method is to grab a damp cloth and wipe down each leaf.

The second is pruning. This isn’t always a necessity but can help shape the plant and limit the spread of disease. When pruning damaged leaves or taking cuttings to shape the plant, make sure your shears are sharp and clean.

As long as there are no disease problems with the growth removed, you can even use these cuttings to propagate.


Close up of a container with small rocks and plant clippings, rooting and sprouting.
There are a couple easy ways to propagate Monstera deliciosa.

As long as your existing Monstera plant is large enough, they are incredibly easy to propagate from stem cuttings. I like to take at least one cutting every few months to propagate.

I also frequently divide larger plants to double my stock. To other indoor gardeners, I may seem like a Monstera deliciosa hoarder, but almost all of my existing plants came from one healthy starter plant.

To propagate your Monstera, follow these easy steps:

  • Identify the ideal stem for cutting.
  • It should have at least one leaf (preferably two).
  • Aerial roots are also a good sign that can improve your chances of rooting.
  • Remove the cutting below a node (the bulges in the stem where the leaves emerge).
  • If you remove the cutting in the wrong place, the bottom will likely rot.
  • Root in water or propagating mix.
  • Water is the easiest method and makes a wonderful indoor feature in the process.
  • However, rooting in propagating mix is generally the lower-maintenance option.
  • Once the roots have grown an inch or two long, repot into the soil mix mentioned above.
  • Care for your brand new Monstera as you do the parent plant.

If you like the look of your Monstera cutting in a vase with water, you can also grow them this way long-term. You’ll just need to add a few drops of fertilizer to the water to make up for the loss of nutrients that would have come from the soil. I’ve had a cutting (that I admittedly forgot to transplant) growing in water for almost a year now and it has put out several new leaves in the process.


Woman holding a plant and root ball, ready to put into a new white pot on a planting table.
The best time to repot your Monstera is the beginning of spring so that it can recover quickly.

This plant grows quickly in the right environment, keeping repotting at the back of your mind is essential. These plants will eventually outgrow their space, needing some extra room or healthy new soil to continue growing.

But, Monsteras can also handle being confined quite well before they need repotting. In some cases, this can even encourage them to push out new growth or flowers rather than developing roots. But eventually, you will start to notice growth problems like roots growing through the drainage holes or rapidly wilting leaves. This means it’s time to repot.

It’s best to repot your Monstera at the start of spring. This allows for the quickest possible recovery and limits shock. However, if your plant is stressed, it’s better to repot sooner in any season rather than waiting for the ‘right’ time.

To repot, follow these simple steps:

  • Remove the plant from the current container and gently tease the roots.
  • Lift from the base, not the ends of the leaves, to avoid damage.
  • Fill the bottom of a container one to two sizes up with houseplant potting mix.
  • Inspect the roots for any signs of damage to trim off.
  • You can also trim back the roots to limit the size of the plant.
  • Lower the plant inside the new pot and fill in any gaps with more soil mix.
  • Press around the base to settle any air pockets and make sure the plant is standing upright.
  • Water immediately, ensuring all the excess drains away.

Common Problems

Close up of a large green leaf with yellowing and brown spots around the edges.
Like most houseplants, your Monstera will suffer if it has too much or too little water.

Monstera deliciosa is not a fussy plant. They encounter few problems with the right environment and care. However, you may notice concerning signs like yellowing leaves or wilting that cause instant panic.

Firstly, almost every Monstera grower has encountered some of these issues at a point, so you are not alone. Secondly, there are usually options to fix the issue once it has been identified correctly, bringing your plant back to good health.

Yellowing leaves is one of the most common Monstera deliciosa issues. This is usually caused by overwatering, arguably the biggest houseplant killer, but there are many other potential causes.

Brown leaves are also common and usually indicate a moisture problem, lack of water or lack of humidity. Both these conditions are easy to resolve, but the brown patches on the leaves will unfortunately not turn green again.

Exposure to direct sunlight can also cause the leaves of your Monstera to turn brown. Make sure they are kept out of harsh direct sun to prevent this permanent damage in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Monstera deliciosa grow in low light?

Yes, they can handle low light for short periods. But, the plant won’t produce many new leaves or grow well. Aim for bright indirect light for the best growth and healthiest plant.

Is Monstera deliciosa edible?

This plant is named the Delicious Monster after the edible fruits. However, these fruits can only be eaten when completely ripe. No other parts of the plant are suitable for ingestion.

Is Monstera deliciosa safe for pets?

Like other members of the Araceae family, their leaves and stems contain calcium oxalate crystals that are not safe for ingestion by any pets. Although minor ingestion is not considered fatal, it’s best to keep this plant away from curious furry friends.

Final Thoughts

Monsteras are wonderful plants to add to your collection if you have the right spot for them. Make sure you keep them happy and propagate often to fill your home with tropical leaves. With proper maintenance and care, there’s no reason you can’t have a home full of monstera plants for many years to come!

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