Caring for Monstera (Finger Philodendron): Everything you need to know

Caring for Monstera deliciosa

Monstera, also known as the finger philodendron. It's a popular houseplant that can add a touch of tropical beauty to any home. With its characteristic large, openwork leaves and fast growth, this plant is a favourite among both new and experienced plant enthusiasts.
In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about caring for your Monstera and keeping it healthy and happy.

Lighting conditions

Monstera thrives best in indirect but bright light. Direct sunlight can cause leaf burn, so it's important to place your plant where it will get filtered light through a window or curtain. Too little light can lead to slow growth and less attractive leaves.

An adult plant should receive a PAR brightness of between 80 – 500 µmol/m²/s (PPFD). And achieve a DLI of between 4-12 mol/m²/d.

The optimal conditions here will be for Danish conditions in a semi-shaded (between bright, not sunny) room,

  • PPFD = 200 µmol/m²/s 
  • DLI = 8 mol/m²/d.

Read more about PPFD here and DLI here, or buy a PAR meter for precise measurement.

As most city apartments are too dark to provide the most optimal brightness. It's especially worthwhile in winter to invest in a good grolys lamp for plants to thrive and look great.
For a medium-sized Monstera, you need min.

40Watt effective grolys of the type full spectrum white light suspended approx. 50-75 cm above the plant, lit 14-16h/day. For larger plants in "dark" rooms, the requirement is even higher, here a 100 Watt lamp is recommended, switched on approx. 10-14 hours/day, approx. 60-90 cm above the plant.

  • T8 Standing LED Grow Light 120cm 4000K 48Watt</trp-post-containerT8 Standing LED Grow Light 120cm 4000K 48Watt</trp-post-container
  • Vækstlys pendel m. grolys-pære og stofledning 120WVækstlys pendel m. grolys-pære og stofledning 120W
  • Growth lamp for rail and as a ceiling spot 40 Watt WhiteGrowth lamp for rail and as a ceiling spot 40 Watt White

Irrigation

Watering frequency

Monstera must be watered when the soil has dried out to a depth of approx. 5 cm. This will vary depending on the time of year and the location of your home, but in general your Monstera will probably require watering about once a week. Overwatering can lead to rotten roots and other problems, so it's important to let the soil dry out between waterings. Remember to add a liquid fertilizer each time.

Soil mix

Drainage

A well-draining soil mix is important for Monstera as it prevents root rot and maintains a healthy root zone. A mixture of potting soil, perlite and coconut flour is ideal for creating a light, airy structure that retains moisture but also allows excess water to drain away. Feel free to lay down a layer Leca Gravel at the bottom for extra good drainage.

  • Coconut mould - Plagron Cocos Brix - Coconut soilCoconut mould - Plagron Cocos Brix - Coconut soil

Fertiliser

Fertilization frequency

Monstera needs regular fertilization to support its rapid growth and development of new leaves. It is recommended to fertilize your Monstera once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a weak, liquid fertiliser, e.g. Big Plant Science. In autumn and winter, the fertilizer frequency can be reduced to once every two months.

  • Big Plant Science A+B Liquid Fertilizer offerBig Plant Science A+B Liquid Fertilizer offer

Big Plant Science A+B Liquid Fertilizer, a good all-around fertilizer for Danish water conditions

Cropping

Removal of dead leaves

It is important to remove dead or damaged leaves from your Monstera to keep it healthy and looking nice. This can be done by carefully cutting off the leaf at the stem with a clean, sharp pruning shears or knife.

Shaping the plant

Monstera can get quite large and you may want to control its growth or shape it to fit better in your home. To do this, you can prune long stems and too long roots that grow above the soil surface. Always use clean, sharp tools to minimize the risk of infection.

Propagation

Cuttings

Monstera is easy to propagate using cuttings. Cut a stem with a healthy bud and a few leaves from the plant and place it in water or moist soil until it forms roots. When the roots are a few centimeters long, the cutting can be planted in its own pot.

Remember to place the cuttings in a bright place without direct sun, keep the cuttings slightly moist by spraying them with water 1-2 times a day.

CLONEX MIST root spray for cuttings helps the plant set roots faster and stronger.

Air conditioning

Another method of propagating Monstera is air layering. This involves creating a wound on the stem, covering it with moist sphagnum moss and wrapping it with cling film.
Once the roots have developed in the moss, the new plant can be separated from the mother plant and planted in its own pot.

Pests and diseases

Spider mites

Spider mites are small pests that can attack Monstera and cause damage to the leaves.
To control spider mites, you can wipe the leaves with a damp cloth and apply insecticidal soap or neem oil. Spider mites can be recognised by small spider webs on the edges of the stems.
Take action immediately, as it will only be until the plant dies.
This can be prevented by showering the plant regularly and possibly spraying water on the plant 1-2 times a day.

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Mildew

Mildew is one fungal infectionwhich can affect Monstera and cause white, powdery patches on the leaves. To prevent and treat powdery mildew, ensure good air circulation around your plant and apply fungicides as needed.
Air out the room at least once a day to prevent the problem, but make sure the plant is not exposed to cold air directly.

monstera

Common care issues

Yellow leaves

Yellow leaves can be a sign of overwatering, nutrient deficiency or ageing.
To solve the problem, adjust the watering frequency, fertilise the plant regularly and remove old leaves.
Get yourself a Plant soil moisture meter to monitor soil moisture.

Brownish spots

Brownish spots on Monstera leaves. This can be caused by various reasons, such as low humidity, sunburn or illness.
To remedy the problem, increase the humidity around the plant by using a humidifier or placing it near a bowl of water, avoid direct sunlight and apply appropriate fungicides if necessary.

Brown leaf tips

If the leaf tips turn brown, it usually means that the soil may be dry or you need to water the plant regularly to keep it moist. Remove the affected leaves.

If there is a yellow halo around the brown spots or tips, it means your plant has a fungus. The fungus is most likely due to overwatering or keeping the plant in too wet soil for too long.
Remove the affected leaves and allow the plant to dry out a little before watering again.

Yellow leaves

Yellow leaves are an indication of dry soil. The oldest leaves on the plant will turn yellow first. Remove the affected leaves. Check the soil and if it's bone dry, give it a good watering.

Wilting Leaves

If you see wilting leaves, there is also a watering problem. The plant is either overwatered or underwatered. If it's overwatered, the plant may be suffering from root rot.
Try taking the plant out of the pot to assess the roots. Clean the roots, prune soft parts and repot in new soil.

Monstera deliciosa

Tips for a healthy Monstera

To keep your Monstera healthy and growing strong. Follow these 5 simple tips:

  1. Give your Monstera plenty of indirect light, but protect it from direct sunlight.
  2. Water only when the soil has dried out to a depth of approx. 5 cm, and make sure that excess water can drain away.
  3. Use a well-draining soil mixture and fertilize the plant regularly during the growing season.
  4. Prune your plant regularly to keep it nice and healthy and remove any dead or damaged leaves.
  5. Watch for pests and diseases and take appropriate measures to treat them.

Conclusion

Caring for Monstera is relatively simple once you understand its basic requirements. By following the tips and advice outlined in this article, you can enjoy a healthy, lush Monstera that will bring tropical beauty into your home.

FAQ

Make sure your plant get plenty of light (plant light), water and nutrients, and maintain an appropriate humidity. This will promote faster growth.

Your Monstera is getting enough light if it is producing new leaves regularly and the leaves are large and healthy then it is probably getting enough light.

If growth is slow or the leaves are small and thin, it may be necessary to increase the amount of light. Acquire any a plant light lamp to help the plant through the dark winter.

No, Monstera can only be grown outdoors in warm, tropical climates where the temperature does not fall below 13 degrees Celsius. In cooler climates it is best to grow your plant indoors, possibly put in a shady corner of the greenhouse.

Approx. every two years you should repot your plant, check if the roots completely fill the pot and the plant can no longer absorb water and nutrients effectively.

En mosstok eller anden form for støtte er en god idé at hjælpe din plante med at vokse opretstående og forhindre, at stænglerne bliver for lange og svage. Det giver også planten et mere naturligt udseende, da den i naturen ville klatre op ad træer og andre strukturer. Overvej do et mere miljøvenligt valg så som en kokosstok.