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There are many burning questions that people have asked me about growing Monstera deliciosa, so I’m here to help! I’ve compiled answers to 21 common, urgent questions which will save your plant from dying and help your Monstera thrive!
Topics range from what to do with aerial roots, to problems with growth, and various defects with leaves. Keep reading and you might find the answer to one of your questions!
(If you’d like a free, ad-free printable version of this post, scroll to the bottom to download it for free!)
1. Can Monstera deliciosa live in water?
You can really grow any plant hydroponically. You need more than just water though. Be sure to add a complete fertilizer like Dyna-Gro Grow.
This fertilizer can be used for hydroponics, for watering your soil, and also for foliar feeding. For hydroponic growing, the label recommends using 1 teaspoon of Dyna-Gro Grow to a gallon of water for non-recirculating systems.
If you have a fancy system that circulates the water, they recommend 2-3 teaspoons per gallon.
2. Does Monstera need a lot of light?
In most cases, if your plant is not directly in front of a window, you can’t expect your plant to thrive. The bigger the window the better. And the closer to the window, the better.
I have mine growing as close to my window as possible without the leaves touching the window. You’d be shocked how quickly the light intensity drops when you move even 1 to 2 feet away.
Proximity to a window makes a huge difference. In nature, these grow in filtered light or relatively shady conditions, but some sun is fine.
I would not place these plants in full sun though though. My large Eastern window is working beautifully. Western exposure would also be OK.
North will work too if your window is a nice size. Southern exposure may be too much sun so you may need to diffuse the light with blinds.
It is important though to have your plant as close to a window as possible without touching the window.
Check out my post on “do Monstera plants need sunlight” for more details.
3. How can I make Monstera grow faster?
I’ve had so many people ask me why their plants are not doing well, and the answer is LIGHT.
There are no shortcuts in plant care. For the fastest growth, you must situate your Monstera in good light (this means it needs to be right in front of a window!).
You also need to have warm temperatures, have a great, well-drained potting medium, and use a fantastic fertilizer.
Refer to my Monstera deliciosa care post for all the conditions that these plants love, including an amazing potting soil recipe to supercharge growth. I also talk about repotting and how to support your Monstera deliciosa using my special support system!
I highly recommend the Dyna-Gro Grow fertilizer. I use it on all my tropicals and it is my go-to all-purpose, premium fertilizer. You won’t be disappointed! Read my blog post to see why this is the best fertilizer for Monstera.
If your Monstera simply isn’t growing, check out my detailed post that will solve your problems: Monstera Not Growing: 9 Crucial Reasons Why.
4. Can you cut Monstera air roots off?
In nature, Monsteras use their aerial roots to climb up trees. You will find that your plant will produce quite a few air roots over time.
My own plant has produced tons!
If at all possible, I would recommend just leaving them unless they are in the way or they really bother you. There is no harm in trimming some of the roots if they are in the way.
You can also try and redirect the aerial roots so that they can potentially start growing into the soil.
If your plant has no aerial roots, just give it time. They won’t start to appear until the plant reaches a certain age.
For a detailed post on the topic of aerial roots, check out my Monstera Aerial Roots post with many common questions answered.
5. Why are my Monstera’s leaves turning brown?
There are numerous reasons why you might get brown spots on your leaves.
The two most common reasons for brown spots on Monstera are:
Inconsistent Soil Moisture
If the very tips of your leaves are turning brown, it could result from the entire soil drying out too much and/or from inconsistent and improper watering.
Never let ALL the soil dry out completely. And when you do water, make sure you water thoroughly so that you don’t have any dry patches of soil. This is really important!
There are more reasons for brown tips, so be sure not to miss my detailed post on Monstera brown tips which details several causes and solutions.
If your plant has brown spots on the leaves, which are surrounded a yellow “halo” around the brown spot, this is a classic symptom of a fungus.
The photo above came from a follower on mine on Instagram who had recently purchased her plant from a big box hardware store. She had mentioned that the plant was very wet when she purchased it.
Fungal infections are encouraged by excessively wet conditions for long periods of time, especially in conjunction with poor air circulation. Be very careful if you are purchasing a plant from nurseries that don’t take care of their plants.
If you have any fungal leaf spots on your plant, it is best if you catch the issue early and remove any infected leaves. Keep the foliage dry to be safe (no misting) for a while.
These are two of the main reasons why leaves turn brown, but there are other reasons why your plant might be getting brown, crispy leaves.
6. How often should I water Monstera deliciosa?
This is one of the most common questions I get. “How often should I water [insert any plant here].”
My answer to that is…for a plant that is growing in soil, it depends! I can’t tell you how often because it all depends on your conditions.
Light, pot size, pot type, potting mix, temperature, all affect how quickly your soil will dry out.
What you should be asking instead is, how dry should I let the soil get before watering? And please, for the love of plants, don’t use a moisture meter!
Why? Because most of them are just junk and many people have come to me that have killed their plant because they used a moisture meter.
Simply use your finger to feel the soil. Let the top inch or two (depending on the size of the pot) and then water.
Be sure your pot has a drainage hole. It is not an option to not have a drainage hole.
And when you water, always, ALWAYS water thoroughly. Completely soak the soil, let all the water drain out, and you’re done!
You should get the fear of overwatering out of your head because it doesn’t mean what most people think it means!
Most people have an irrational fear of overwatering. Ironically, because of this fear, they actually end up underwatering! Find out what overwatering really means. It may shock you.
7. How can I grow a monstrous size Monstera?
All I can say is that it takes patience and consistently good care over time.
You must have all required care aspects in line just like I describe in my Monstera deliciosa care post. There are no shortcuts!
8. Why are my Monstera’s new leaves brown or black before it unfurls?
If your plant’s new leaves are brown or black before it has even unfurled, your plant has most likely suffered from a very bad soil moisture imbalance.
Either your soil has gone much too dry, or you plant has stayed wet for too long. Be sure to read my blog post on underwatering and overwatering to learn how to properly water a houseplant.
9. Can I put my Monstera outside in summer?
Yes absolutely! It will thrive outdoors! There is one absolutely critical thing to do if you put your houseplants outside during warm summer months.
You must harden your plants off or your leaves can burn. Many people are not aware of this and they mistakenly think that their plants don’t like to be outside.
Once you harden your plants off, the outdoors will have shockingly wonderful effects of growth of your Monstera or any houseplant that you choose to summer outdoors. After all, no plant was meant to be indoors!
Be sure to check for pests before you bring your plant back indoors though.
10. Why is my Monstera deliciosa wilting?
This is most commonly due to either your soil being super dry, or on the opposite end, really wet.
When you see your plant wilting, you should immediately evaluate the soil moisture. Has the soil gone bone dry? If so, give it a good thorough watering right away.
On the other hand, if you see your Monstera has wilted and you go to feel the soil and it is very wet…your plant could have suffered from root rot.
If you have a pot without a drainage hole, root rot becomes a much bigger risk.
If the soil is very wet and your plant looks wilted, take the plant out of its pot and evaluate the roots. Have the roots rotted? Does the soil smell a little rancid perhaps?
At this point it would be a good idea to clean up the dead roots, remove as much of the soil as you can, and repot into fresh soil.
11. Why is my Monstera getting yellow leaves?
Probably the most common reason your Monstera leaves are turning yellow is from the soil being too dry.
If you notice the lower leaves (especially the oldest leaves) are turning yellow, go ahead and feel the soil. If your soil has gone too dry (completely dry), the oldest leaves will turn yellow first.
Leaves will continue to yellow if you don’t water.
From my experience, this is the most common reason, but there are quite a few other reasons why your houseplant leaves are turning yellow in general, or check out my post on Monstera yellow leaves for more details.
12. What are the best Monstera support ideas?
If are you looking for the best moss pole for Monstera, the best and cheapest method is to make your own! I’ve purchased moss posts online and they are expensive and are just not practical.
Be sure not to miss my DIY Moss Post tutorial to make your own high quality post that is better and cheaper than anything you can purchase.
I find moss posts to be best if you only have one or two vines of Monstera deliciosa in a single pot. If you have more vines, it isn’t as practical due to space limitations.
If you have several vines in one pot like I do for my largest plant, I would recommend a bamboo tripod. Simply insert 3 sturdy bamboo stakes into the pot and tie them on top. This provides a nice, sturdy support.
13. Why are my variegated Monstera leaves turning brown?
For this one, I will refer you to my variegated Monstera deliciosa blog post. There are a few reasons why this occurs and I discuss the details in post I just linked to.
14. Do I have a Monstera deliciosa or a Monstera borsigiana?
There has been a healthy debate on distinguishing between these two species.
For a detailed explanation, visit my Monstera deliciosa vs. borsigiana: Here is the Real Truth post.
15. Why does my Monstera have black spots all over the leaves?
Have you exposed your Monstera to cold temperatures (whether by accident or not…)? Recently, an Instagram follower of mine (@rachel_hargitt) shared photos of her plant. Someone left the window open on a very cold night (0 degrees F).
Here is what cold damage looks like on Monstera deliciosa. Notice the multiple black splotches all over the leaves.
Unfortunately, the leaves that have experienced cold damage can not be reversed. You can cut the leaves off if they are too unsightly. If the plant itself has not been killed by the cold, it will grow back and the new growth should look normal.
If your plant is big enough, you can even trim the plant back lightly to spur new growth.
16. Why did my Monstera get sunburn?
Sunburn in your Monstera likely came from your plant not being acclimated to stronger light. If you’ve been growing your plant indoors and have placed your plant outdoors, immediately into sunshine, your plant will quickly burn.
Sunburn only takes a few hours to show up, and your leaves will appear bleached and washed out. Whenever moving your plant outdoors, always place it in full shade for a few days, before gradually increasing any sun exposure.
Once sunburn happens, you can’t reverse it unfortunately.
17. What are those little flies all around my Monstera?
They are likely fungus gnats, which can be encouraged by keeping your potting mix too wet. They look similar to fruit flies, but are different insects.
Check out my post on how to eliminate fungus gnats and prevent the issue from happening again.
18. Why do my Monstera leaves not have any holes or splits?
The holes and splits in Monstera leaves are called fenestrations. If your plant doesn’t have any, your plant is probably too young.
Juvenile leaves are solid and will not start developing fenestrations until the plant gets older, so have patience!
19. Why did my Monstera develop root rot?
Root rot develops in plants when your soil stays too wet for too long. The waterlogged soil attracts microbes that attack the roots and rot them out.
The best things you can do to prevent your Monstera from developing root rot are:
- Grow your plant in proper light and keep it immediately in front of a window for best growth. Eastern-facing windows work beautifully, but even windows that have no direct sun work well. Just don’t place them far from the window.
- A well-draining potting mix is essential. If you have an airy potting mix, it will be difficult to get root rot, particularly if you have your plant growing in good light. Check out my post on the best soil for Monstera plants.
- Always have drainage holes in your pots so excess water can escape.
- Wait until the top inch or two of the potting mix has dried out before watering again.
20. What are the little tiny bumps on my Monstera?
It is likely a scale insect. They will appear like little domes and you can easily scrape them away with your finger.
Scale can be a very annoying pest and can spread quickly, so be sure to treat for scale immediately.
21. What are the fine webs on my Monstera?
You probably have spider mites. Very fine webs will appear on your plant, and you will start to notice little discolored spots on your foliage.
As soon as you notice the infestation, be sure to treat for spider mites before the problem gets worse.
Be sure not to miss my Monstera deliciosa care post. If you follow everything in that blog post, you will not have any issues at all with your plant!
22. How can I keep my cats away from my Monstera?
Cats and plants are a notoriously back combination, but there are some things that you can do to deter your cats! I’ve surveyed many of my readers that have cats, and have compiled a list of real life tips that people use to deter their cats.
Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:
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