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Monstera will thrive in self-watering plant pots, however, there are a few things we need to take into consideration.
A Monstera kept in low light in a self-watering pot is at increased risk of rot
Monstera are frequently touted as being plants that like living in low light conditions, but the reality is that Monstera will take as much light as you can throw at them, short of hurling them directly into the sun.
Yes they will burn. No, they don’t care.
You can keep Monstera in low light, but it’s more work for less reward. A Monstera kept in a self-watering pot in bright light will do really well, because it’ll be using up that watering pretty quickly doing its growing.
The more constant access to water will help it grow faster and healthier, BUT remember that root rot can still occur. You’ll still need to let the plant dry out a bit before adding more water.
A Monstera living in low light won’t use very much water, because it doesn’t need to – Monstera won’t grow quickly (or develop large leaves) in low light because there’s no point.
The soil will also stay wetter for longer because there’s less evaporation caused by light and warmth (low light areas tend to be colder).
You can definitely still use a self-watering pot for a Monstera living in low light, but you need to be extra careful to make sure the soil is pretty dry before adding more water to the reservoir.
I also recommend getting one that has a little chute that you can pour the water into, rather than filling the reservoir by watering through the soil. That way, the top of the soil will rarely get wet and you’ll reduce the chance of getting fungus gnats (which aren’t harmful to Monstera, but are annoying).
You’ll need to keep a close eye on Monstera in self-watering pots over winter
Again, over winter the soil won’t have a chance to dry out because it’s colder and there’s less light. The soil can stay damp for months – especially if you keep your Monstera in low light – and that can cause root rot.
Monstera deliciosa aren’t particularly prone to root rot (except for Thai Constellation, which I moved to water because it’s the only way I can maintain a root system) but self-watering pots can increase the chances of it happening if you’re not letting the soil dry out.
Also, plants tend to be weaker in winter and if not totally dormant then definitely pretty sleepy, so are less able to defend themselves against bacterial infections like root rot.
You need to make sure the soil is chunky and well aerated
This is less important if you’re keeping your Monstera in bright light, because Monstera aren’t particularly picky about their soil. Soil is one of those things that should be determined as much by your plant care as by your plant.
However, a Monstera kept in a self-watering pot in dense soil will be entirely at the mercy of the conditions it’s living in.
That could be totally fine if you’re keeping it outside because the light and wind will dry the soil out quickly – dense soil and a self-watering pot might be the ONLY way you could give it enough moisture if you live somewhere windy.
Buuuut if you’re keeping it in low light things are gonna go south quickly.
High humidity could lead to rot if you don’t monitor it
High humidity is LIFE CHANGING when it comes to growing big, mature plants BUT it can lead to problems unless you balance out the other elements of care.
For example, high humidity and low temperatures are a great way to introduce new and exciting fungal infections, such as powdery mildew, into your collection.
If you have low light and a fairly cold room, you might be best off dehumidifying the room. Sure, growth will slow, but your plant will likely be happier.
Self-watering pots can exacerbate problems like this, because the soil staying wet for extended periods of time can increase humidity.
If this is an issue for you in winter, just water your Monstera sparingly, rather than filling the reservoir
Pots may be too big for wicking to work properly
Lechuza self-watering pots can be expensive, but worth it for large statement plants. Amazon do have cheaper options, but try to get one with an inner pots, because it’s nice to be able to take it out and check the roots without necesarily getting soil everywhere.
I also like to check out Aliexpress for cheap self-watering pots, BUT don’t get too attached to one kind because they have a tendency of disappearing off the face of the earth when you go back to purchase more (I know from experience *sob*)
I like to use wicking pots from T4U for my smaller plants (especially those in leca) but they’re not very efficient for large plants, Unless you use multiple strings the wicking action isn’t strong enough to thoroughly wet the soil.
Pots like this:
…because it has a full-size inner net pot. You can just heighten the level of the water line so it touches the soil and the soil will be able to wick up the water more efficiently than the string.
This can be a root rot minefield, so only increase the water level gradually.
Pots like this:
…don’t really work because even in the reservoir is full, it doesn’t touch the soil. I do love these pots, but I don’t really use them as self-watering pots, though the wick is still in there
Monstera are great candidates for self-watering pots, and they can be super helpful if your Monstera is pretty thirsty, but they can cause root rot if your plant is in less than ideal light.
I think they’re particularly good for people that like to keep their Monstera outside in summer, because it can be helpful to see just how much more water plants go through outdoors compared to indoors AND can stop your Monstera from drying out too much on warm days.