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I blame Pinterest for our obsession with showering our houseplants, especially Monstera.
If you want to shower your Monstera, go ahead, it’s fine.
If you don’t want to shower your Monstera, don’t, that’s also fine.
There are no magical benefits to showering your Monstera, but it’s unlikely to be harmful either.
I don't shower my house plants, because I'm worried any errant potting mix will clog my drains, and also (mainly) I can't be bothered to lug my plants around my house.
None of my plants have complained about the lack of bathroom access (yet), obvs I’ll update if this changes.
Don’t shower them in winter, because they tend to go dormant, and they won’t appreciate having wet leaves.
If you’re new to houseplants, I have a complete guide to Monstera deliciosa here.
Will showering your Monstera harm it?
Ok, probably not. Especially if you’re using tepid water.
There’s this weird pervasive myth that plants like rain.
This is not true.
For a start, plants don’t really have conscious likes/dislikes, but on a biological level, water is necessary to plants, and the way they get that water is through rain, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it.
Humans need water just as much as plants, and we also don't like rain. We complain it a tonne, despite being able to get out of it pretty easily, and then have the AUDACITY to be like 'oh I bet those plants are grateful for the rain.' NO.
They’ll die without the water, but they would MUCH prefer it if that water would get into the soil in such a way that they didn’t get wet.
When plants get wet, they close their stomata (I assume so the leaves don’t swell up like balloons) and they can’t photosynthesis.
They get on with other stuff!
Sort out their accounts, make doctor’s appointments, do a bit of osmosis etc etc.
When the rain stops, they finish up what they were doing and get back to photosynthesising.
Also, wet leaves are not desirable. They can cause all kinds of bacterial infections in a warm, moist environment. That's why prayer plants pray - to minimise the amount of water that will hit the leaves. The leaves need to be open during the day to maximise photosynthesis, but at night, they fold those babies up so they don't get unnecessarily wet.
But if all of this is true, then surely it’s not a great idea to shower your Monstera?
It’s not ideal, but if plants can manage rainfall, they can manage the odd shower.
The only time it can be actually detrimental is when you keep your plant in low light, or in a stuffy room. In the wild, the bright light, wind, and warm temperatures mean that plants don't stay wet for that long, so bacteria don't really have time to set up camp.
I mean, it’s not particularly beneficial to shower your Monstera, but it’s not likely to be actually harmful for a couple of reasons:
- Monstera have thick leaves that aren’t particularly prone to infection and rot – the water tends to slide off them pretty quickly. I wouldn’t recommend showering plants with more delicate leaves though – maidenhair ferns in particular hate getting wet.
- A couple of minutes in the shower isn’t going to disrupt their photosynthesis too much, provided you’re giving them enough light.
Reasons you might want to shower your Monstera
There’s no ailment that a Monstera can have that a shower will help.
In fact, it’s more likely to hinder a less-than-happy one, so leave the showers for your healthy Monstera.
There are, however, a couple of reasons that showering your Monstera might be convenient for you, in which case, go ahead.
Clean the leaves
Monstera leaves get very dusty, and blasting them under the shower is a great way of getting off the grime.
If you are showering your Monstera because you want to clean it, I recommend you spray it well with diluted castile soap first and then rinse it off under the shower (make sure the water is tepid).
I know from experience that if you try to shower off dusty leaves without putting some form of lubricant (is that really a good enough reason to use that word, Caroline??) on them first, when they dry, the dust will still be there, just in weird, swirly patterns.
And possibly accompanied by water marks.
Thoroughly water it
Showering Monstera can be a great way of thoroughly watering if it’s rootbound and the pot no longer has a significant amount of soil in it, or if the soil has become hydrophobic.
Sure, it would make more sense to just repot it, but sometimes you don’t have the pot, the soil, or the time to do that. Whacking it in the shower sometimes makes more sense.
I love blasting pests off with water. It’s more environmentally friendly than pesticides, cheaper, and it’s fun!
Also, you can blast them off the plant and down the drain where they’re someone else’s problem.
If you have a pest infestation, showering the plant regularly is a great way to eradicate them.
Not only do the adult bugs get washed away, but the wet leaves are less habitable for the babies.
Spider mites in particular HATE being showered, because it prevents them from being able to make their creepy webs.
How often can you shower your Monstera?
Don’t shower it more often than you would water it, otherwise you’ll end up overwatering it UNLESS you’re very good at directing the nozzle, and you can manage the whole showering-the-plant-whilst-tilting-the-pot-away-from-the-water-stream.
If you’re treating for pests, I’d shower weekly, and spray the leaves with castile soap or neem oil between showers.
If your Monstera is thriving and healthy, you can shower your Monstera as often as you'd like (provided you're not going to overwater it).
If it has black spots and is looking a bit sad and droopy, I would concentrate on getting it healthy, and avoid stressing it by showering it.
How long should you shower your Monstera for?
It doesn’t really matter, but I can’t imagine you’d need to shower it for more than a couple of minutes.
The shower spray is a lot finer than the stream from a watering can, so it might take longer than you think to thoroughly moisten the soil.
Will showering a plant help with humidity?
No. Humidity is not the same as being wet.
High humidity is beneficial to Monstera – it helps their leaves grow bigger and faster and makes their aerial roots more pliable and, er, grippy.
A wet plant is…a wet plant. The plant hasn’t gained anything other than slightly cleaner leaves and a drink.
If you’re struggling with humidity, showering your Monstera won’t help that AT ALL. It might raise the humidity around the plant for a few minutes, but plants need consistent humidity to reap the benefits.
On a similar note, don’t keep your Monstera in the bathroom for humidity purposes. If it’s warm and bright in there, awesome, but often bathrooms are dark and cold, if you add that to the damp environment, you’re creating a great environment for mould and bacteria to thrive.
Beware those Pinterest shower images that show Monstera living in the shower. A designer has styled that, and it’ll probably be taken out after.
Whilst it is possible to keep Monstera in SOME showers, most of the time the conditions just…aren’t great.
Taking your Monstera into the shower and hosing it off every now and again can be a great way to reduce dust, but it’s not without issues.
Basically, if you want to shower your Monstera, go for it, but if you don’t you’re not missing out.