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I think Monstera are one of the easiest plants to care for, and that was the driving force behind their popularity.
Seriously, if someone could come up with a dwarf variety, they’d be laughing all the way to the bank.
I did a bit of independent research (pause for applause) for this article on Monstera popularity, and a lot of people didn’t have them because they’re too big.
Monstera aren’t that picky about light
If you’re looking to grow a huge Monstera with metre-long leaves and more holes than leaf, then you’ll need a lot of light, the more diffused the better.
Buuut, for those of us that are just looking to keep them alive, and produce the odd leaf, then they’re more than fine in medium light.
I much prefer the growth pattern of a Monstera that’s grown in higher light – the ultra leggy/small leaf isn’t a winner for me, and they tend to be a thrips magnet in darker areas, but they’ll survive, given appropriate care.
You CAN grow Monstera in pretty low light, but it’s waaaay easier to give them good light.
Monstera will tolerate both over and underwatering
Now, they won’t tolerate overwatering for long, but they won’t die from it as quickly as, say, er, almost any other house plant bar fittonia and carnivorous plants.
They’ll tolerate being underwatered as long as a freaking cactus (source: have underwatered all of mine).
There is a reason for this, which I believe the source to a lot of the Monstera’s easy-care powers: they have thick roots. Like, THICK.
Roots have layers that shed, so they thicker they are, they more layers they have. One layer dries out? Maybe the next layer will have more luck with being watered.
Buuuut they aren’t invincible. Michael Phelps can hold his breath for a lot longer than I can, but he can’t live underwater. It’s the same with overwatering Monstera.
Monstera will tolerate low and high humidity
Monstera have an interesting relationship with humidity. They droop a bit in low humidity, but once acclimatised, can deal with it quite well. 30-65% humidity is…fine.
Nothing astounding happens here – if they’re watered well and have enough light then you often wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a Monstera with 20% humidity and one with 60%.
And then once you get up into the 70s they start growing suuuper quickly. Aerial roots start going crazy, and attaching to the walls.
Monstera aren’t fussy about fertiliser
I have an article about fertilising Monstera, but it’s pretty straightforward: some fertiliser (whatever you have) every 6 weeks.
I dilute it to half strength for small/medium plants, but do full strength for larger ones.
Monstera don’t really show hunger in their outward appearance, so my advice is to just stick to an every-six-weeks schedule.
Monstera are easy to clean
I still don’t do it though!
Monstera respond pretty well to being hosed off in the shower, or wiped down with a cloth.
What makes them easy to clean? They have big leaves. I have a lot of Hoya, and they’re a ballache to clean, especially the freaking bella.
They do get a bit more difficult to clean once they have a load of fenestrations, but again, just hose them off in the shower.
Monstera fight off pests well
This is a bit of a give and take situation, because whilst Monstera are awesome at fighting off pests, they’re also VERY good at getting them.
If you discover thrips on one of our plants, check every Monstera deliciosa you have. They pretty much WILL have them.
It’s extremely difficult to rid Monstera of pests (which is why I tend to keep them on their own) BUT it takes them a while to do any damage. If you keep on top of spraying them down (I like to spray them down with a neem oil solution every week), you shouldn’t see to much damage to the plant.
If you do see thrips damage (orange patches on the leaves and weirdly shaped new growth, just chop it back.
There are a tonne of reasons that Monstera are easy to care for, but there are also a couple of things that you should keep in mind if you want to buy one.
Monstera are toxic
Monstera leaves contain oxalic acid – it’s present for exactly the reason it’s dangerous – to stop animals from eating it.
There are countless anecdotes of cats and dogs taking bites out of Monstera leaves and them being totally fine, so it’s not a case of ‘oh no, my dog ate my Monstera and now it’ll die’ – it’ll probs just have a bit of an upset stomach.
Keep an eye on them and ring a vet if you’re worried, but Monstera aren’t an instant death plant like true lilies (not to be confused with peace lilies, which are toxic in the same way that Monstera are, but not immediately lethal).
Just a note about house rabbits – they tend to be a bit savvier about which plants contain oxalic acid and which don’t, so they’ll go for your Calathea over pretty much any other (and eat it to the roots – Calathea are apparently v tasty) BUT they sometimes will go for poisonous plants – greed always wins in bunny brains.
Monstera are big
Like, really freaking big. Considering they’re not trees, they can get pretty tree-sized if they’re looked after properly.
Don’t be fooled by all that narrow leaf/borsigiana/large form stuff. They’re just descriptions of the current leaf, and NOT an indication of its future size.
The care you give your plant (and to some extent its age) will determine how large your monstera grows.
If you buy a huge plant and put it in a dark area the leaves won’t shrink, but new growth will start getting smaller. A tiny plant can grow enormous in a year or two given enough light and humidity.
Monstera are extremely easy to care for because they’re extremely forgiving and adapt well to a lot of different environments (frost will kill them though).
That being said, it takes specific conditions to produce large leaves with splits on the leaves. It’s easy to care for a Monstera and keep it healthy, but it takes more skill to grow them to their full potential.