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If you’ve been frustrated and wondering “why is my Monstera not growing” when you see photos of other people’s lush plants, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve helped countless clients turn around their Monstera deliciosa plants.
Sometimes the solution is very simple, and other times it can be a combination of factors. Keep reading to discover how you can turn your Monstera plant around into a thriving specimen.
Plant growth is fueled by light, period. Plants utilize light in combination with carbon dioxide in the air and water in order to synthesize food. Light should be your top priority and the first thing you should evaluate if your plant is not growing.
But here are 9 different factors that you can use to evaluate your own situation if your Monstera is not growing:
MONSTERA NOT GROWING? HERE ARE 9 REASONS WHY
1. Insufficient light – Too far from a window
All too often, people have come to me with their Monstera plant on the opposite side of the room from a window and wondering why their plant is not growing. You will be shocked at how much light intensity diminishes the further you get from a window.
Distance from a window is paramount and is probably the biggest factor in your Monstera not growing. Let me break it down a bit.
Not all windows are created equal, but here are some general guidelines.
- Typically, North facing windows (in the northern hemisphere) provide only indirect light and NO direct sun and have the lowest light of any window exposure. If you live in the southern hemisphere, the equivalent window would be a southern exposure window. If this is the only exposure you have, your Monstera should be immediately in front of the window.
- Eastern facing windows (morning sun) and Western facing windows (afternoon sun) would be a much better choice for your Monstera. Place your plant immediately in front, or even a couple feet back but no further.
- Lastly, South facing windows (in the northern hemisphere) or North windows (in the southern hemisphere), provide the most direct sun. If you have totally unobstructed windows, this exposure can provide too much direct sun for your Monstera, so you can safely move it a bit further back. Just enough so it’s not sitting in sun all day.
I go into exactly how quickly light decays the further you get from a window in my book Houseplant Warrior. Knowing this is crucial for your houseplants because there isn’t as much light indoors as you would think.
Keep in mind that the size of the window is also very important. Bigger is better.
If your plant is not growing at all during the Spring and Summer time, you are likely not giving your plant enough light. There are others factors (keep reading the rest of this post), but this is a huge one.
2. Insufficient light due to seasonal differences
Depending on your climate and where you live, the change in seasons can not only be hard on humans, but also your plants.
If your plant has been growing during the Spring and Summer time, and even the Autumn, but has stopped during the Winter time, that’s perfectly normal if you have short, dark days during the winter.
If you’re OK with this, leave things alone and your plant should start growing again when days start getting longer again.
If you want your plant to grow year-round, think about investing in a good grow light, or move your plant to a brighter window during the winter time.
3. Not watering properly, resulting in “underwatering”
If you are not thoroughly watering your plant, this is a huge issue. If you leave pockets of dry soil for extended periods of time, the roots in those pockets will dry out and die.
Without a healthy root system, you will not have a healthy plant and your plant will not grow.
When you water, you should always aim to water thoroughly until water escapes the drainage hole. If you are scared of “overwatering” and your soil is not drying out in a reasonable amount of time, then you have other issues. Which takes us to…
4. Keeping the soil too wet
If your Monstera’s potting mix or soil is taking too long to dry out and your plant has suffered root rot, this will not only stop the growth of your plant, but it can also kill it if the situation is severe enough.
If your potting mix is taking too long to dry out, one or more of the following factors could be at play:
Pot is too large
As a general rule of thumb, when you repot, only go up one pot size. For example, if your Monstera was in a 6 inch pot, go up to an 8 inch pot only.
If you go much bigger, the excess volume of soil will take much longer to dry out.
Leaving your plant sitting in water (saucer or no drainage)
After you water, be sure to discard excess water from the saucer underneath your plant, or any water that has collected inside of a decorative pot if you have your plant slipped into one.
If it’s only a tiny amount of water, it’s ok, but otherwise remove any excess water. If your pot is too big to pick up, I like to use a turkey baster to suck out any excess water so I can discard it.
Not enough light
Your Monstera plant will use much less water if you have it sitting in a dark area, and severely stunt its growth.
Poorly draining potting mix
Monstera likes a nice, chunky soil blend. I rarely use any potting mix straight out of the bag without amending it somewhat. Most bagged potting mixes simply do you have the needed porosity and drainage that aroids like Monstera need.
There are many mixes that you can use, but be careful not to go too far in the other direction and make your mix TOO chunky.
While there is nothing wrong with this, you’ll have to water much more frequently and risk “underwatering” if you make your mix too chunky so be aware of this!
Some people use equal parts potting mix, orchid bark and perlite. This is a great mix for Monstera, but you will have to water much more frequently.
I’ve had success with using 2 parts all-purpose potting mix and 1 part #3 perlite (it’s a larger perlite).
5. Relying on a moisture meter
Moisture meters can be notoriously unreliable. In fact, I’ve run into so many of my readers and clients that have had problems with their moisture meters that I wrote a blog post explaining why moisture meters can be horrible for your plants.
I’ve seen too many cases where people’s moisture meters say “moist” but when you go feel the soil with your finger, the soil is bone dry.
I strongly recommend using your finger to judge soil moisture and throw out your moisture meter.
If your meter is working for you, I’m not going to tell you to stop using it, but you’ve been warned! I’ve seen too many cases where people have killed their plants as a result of relying on a moisture meter.
6. LACK OF FERTILIZING
Fertilizing is a very important part of any houseplant care routine. In nature, plants have the benefit of receiving the nutrients they need from decaying leaves, animal droppings, etc.
Indoors, we have to take the place of Mother Nature and supply nutrients in the form of fertilizer. If you’ve had your plant in the same pot for more than a year, chances are the nutrients are largely depleted.
I recommend fertilizing throughout the active growing season. If your plant has taken a break from growing, stop fertilizing until you see signs of growth.
My very favorite fertilizer to use for my Monstera deliciosa and all of my tropicals is
You will see noticeable differences in your Monstera’s health and growth when you use it routinely. Try it and let me know! It’s amazing stuff.
One last note on fertilizing, don’t use fertilizing as a bandaid!
If you don’t have sufficient light for your plant, don’t expect fertilizer to help your plant. Move it to a brighter location first and then start fertilizing.
If you think you think you are doing everything right with light, watering, etc but your plant has been in the same pot for a long time and you’re struggling with your Monstera not growing (or growing slowly), start fertilizing immediately.
7. YOUR PLANT IS SUPER ROOT BOUND
If your Monstera, or any plant for that matter, is severely root bound, you will struggle to keep it hydrated like it needs and the roots will be starved for moisture and oxygen, therefore your plant will struggle to grow.
You won’t know for sure though until you take your plant out of the pot and inspect the roots.
Here is another super important note if you do have a very root bound Monstera:
If your plant’s roots are tightly wound up, always tease the roots apart before you place your Monstera in a new pot (and remember, only go up one pot size). This will help the roots start to grow into the new potting mix in its new pot.
If you fail to do this, your plant will continue to struggle in its new pot and may have a hard time growing new roots and you will continue to struggle with your Monstera not growing.
If your plant is infested with any pests, this can stunt the growth of your plant. There are many pests out there that can affect your Monstera.
So keep an eye out for scale, thrips, mealy bugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, etc and proceed accordingly to treat your plant if needed.
9. COMBINATION OF SOME OR ALL OF THE ABOVE
Lastly, there could be many factors why your Monstera isn’t growing and could be a combination of many of the factors above. In the end, it is up to you to evaluate your own conditions and practices in order to ensure that your plant is growing.
To further understand how light, watering, fertilizing, potting mix blends, temperature, humidity and more affect plant growth, I encourage you to check book Houseplant Warrior. You CAN become your own plant doctor and have a thriving houseplant collection of your dreams.
OTHER MONSTERA RESOURCES
You may also be interested some other blog posts I’ve written about Monstera deliciosa:
Monstera Deliciosa Fruit (yes, they fruit and it’s edible!)
Monstera Problems w/ Answers (15 different problems with solutions)
Monstera Aerial Roots (7 commonly asked questions with answers)
Variegated Monstera Deliciosa Care
Monstera Deliciosa Care & Repotting
Monstera Deliciosa vs. Borsigiana
Do Monstera plants need sunlight?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on “why is my Monstera not growing”!