The Monstera, like its Philodendron cousins in the Araceae family, is pretty easy to get along with. To keep its leaves glossy and shiny, here’s what you need to know:
Watering – This plant is a moderate drinker and can handle moist soil conditions (like it does in the forests of Panama). It can, however, go for 2+ weeks without watering with the proper sub-irrigation system, but we suggest you check it weekly during the first 6-8 weeks after you get it and during hot summer months. See our watering guide for more information.
Light – Monsteras thrive in medium to bright light, where the leaves will develop their characteristic heart shape and deep splits. It can be sustained in low-light conditions, but it won’t do its leaf-split thing without good light. Your best placement is near a window where the plant can get some sun light – east-, south- and west-facing windows are best. Maintained as a floor plant (not allowing it to climb), it can easily be moved to and from a good light source.
Nutrition – Monsteras likely will not need to be fed during the first 6 months after it has shipped. During this time, it will use the residual nutrients from nursery production. After 12 months, it can be fed quarterly with a complete fertilizer formulated for interior plants. If your Monstera is positioned on a porch in the south, it may need supplemental nutrition sooner than 12 months. Please refer to our nutrient guide for details.
Cleaning – Like its big-leaf friend the Ficus Lyrata, its large leaves are easy to clean and, overall, there are fewer leaves than many other interior plants. Simply wiping the leaves with a wet cloth usually does the trick. For spots where something else (besides dust) has landed on your plant, use a mild soapy solution to wet the cloth; then wipe.
Pruning – Well…here, it depends on what you want. The plant can be trained to climb or be maintained as a “floor” plant keeping its stems from growing long and within the bounds of the planter. For climbing, it will use its aerial roots to cling to many surfaces, but a pieces of wood or sphagnum moss pole works best. Just direct the stems to the target surface, give it plenty of light, and let it grow. Alternatively, you can prune the stems back to the base and the plant will produce more leaves at the center of the plant.
Bugs – Hardly a worry here, the Monstera is not a big target for pests. Scale, mealy bugs, and mites sometimes jump on, but they’re easily controlled by wiping the infested area with a soapy solution. It can take several intermittent cleanings to rid the plant of the pests.
Warning – The leaves and stems of the Monstera are toxic to animals (including humans), so do not ingest any part of the plant. So, if you have a dog, cat, or horse, don’t let them ingest it.