Monstera is having a serious moment in houseplant history. And, here at Groovy Plants Ranch, we are constantly restocking the “mile of monsteras” in our Jungle Hut.
True confessions -- we’re crazy for this beast of a plant and its amazing split leaves. But, we’re not the only ones. Two million plant lovers have embraced the plant’s hashtag, and another 524K have posted their favorite leaf on #MonsterMonday.
So, if you’re shopping for your first or third, our Groovy Plants Ranch team is here to answer all your Monstera questions.
Where’s the name come from?
The classic monstera’s Latin name, “Monstera deliciosa,” comes from the jungle plant’s monstrous proportions and its edible fruit grown only in the wild.
Why holes and aerial roots?
We’re super intrigued by the plant’s holes and aerial roots – two quirky adaptations that help it thrive in its native rainforest habitats of Mexico and Central America. Botanists debate whether the holes help this “Swiss cheese plant” diffuse strong winds and tropical downpours or allow them to catch more sunlight. Either way, you can expect your monstera houseplant to grow holes or develop “leaf fenestration” by the time it reaches three feet in size. Some pros even encourage leaf fenestration by trimming off older, smaller leaves around the plant’s base. This pushes larger leaf growth and subsequently more holes. Give it a try!
Aerial roots are another cool feature. Monsteras send out theses above-ground roots to literally climb trees. They attach the roots to other trees to support their upward growth. Indoors as houseplants, monstera still grow these unique roots as they mature. Feel free to trim them away or just embrace their wild tropical vibe.
How to shop for one?
Next up, we have a few shopping tips – 1) know what you’re buying 2) check your plant tags 3) shop from reputable sellers and 4) start small to save money. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize true monsteras at the plant store, since the plants change with age and have look-alike cousins. Understand younger monsteras don’t have the split foliage like mature ones. Also, learn to discern true monsteras from their Philodendron selloum cousins by spotting the frilly edges of their similar split leaves. Always check those plant tags to make sure you have a true monstera.
For eco-smart shopping, we urge you to buy monstera only from reputable garden centers and nurseries that sell plants grown from tissue culture and never harvested from the wild. The recent monstera madness is spurring plant poachers to uproot and sell rare varieties from their native rainforest. So, protect our rainforests by checking your plant sources, especially when it comes to shopping for rare guys on Ebay or Etsy.
To save money, we suggest you start with a smaller plant. At Groovy Plants Ranch, a four-inch pot is typically half the price of a six-inch one. Realize these plants grow like Jack’s beanstalk, so you’ll have a larger monstera in no time. For the fastest growth, make sure your plant has plenty of light, consistent water and a monthly fertilizer.
How do I care for a Monstera?
Monsteras thrive in bright to medium indirect light. We suggest placing them in a southwest-facing window and avoiding full sun. Watch the plants’ leaves for clues to its light needs. If they’re yellowing, move the plant away from the window. If new leaves are growing toward the darkness, then move the plant to a brighter spot.
Also, find a place where your monstera has plenty of room to grow and truly make a statement. Like many tropical plants, they’re sensitive to temperature extremes, so keep them away from cold outside doors or hot radiators. Water them every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Be aware plants in brighter light will need water more often than those in lower light. For best results, feed your monsteras a monthly dose of liquid fertilizer like ALGO Plus, and repot them every two years.
Should I prune my Monstera or let it climb?
In the wild, monsteras can grow 60 feet, running along the rainforest floor or climbing other trees. Indoors, your plant’s size can easily be maintained by cutting away new growth. If you prefer to let your monstera grow, try training it up a trellis or moss-covered totem. See our friend Lisa Steinkopf’s website Houseplant Guru for tips on making a totem from a PVC pipe.
What varieties do you carry?
Check out our Jungle Hut video tour for several varieties including the classic Monstera deliciosa with its giant leaves and Monstera adansonii with smaller leaves but just as big leaf holes. Both come in 4-inch and 6-inch pot sizes. We also carry Monstera minima, a more compact monstera-like, climbing houseplant. For rare plant enthusiasts, check out our Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo Variegata’ with striking green-white leaves and Monstera ‘Peru’ with spectacularly puckered leaves.