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Moving your Monstera deliciosa outside in summer can be a great idea, because:
- More light means bigger, more fenestrated leaves
- Rain does your watering for you!
- It’s easier to really blast those thrips off
- Your garden will turn into a jungle oasis
And most importantly:
- It frees up inside space for more plants. Bringing it back in for winter can be a problem for future me.
However, it’s not as easy as just popping your Monstera outside and leaving it. Switching a plant from inside to outside results in a huge increase in light – regardless of how bright a spot it was in before. Windows absorb a lot of energy from the sun.
Can Monstera deliciosa live outside?
Yes, they’re happy living outside in most places worldwide, provided it isn’t too hot or too cold.
Monstera deliciosa are actually considered an invasive species in many countries, due to their ability to adapt to a wide range of conditions. Even if all their leaves get damaged by frost or sunburn, their roots are extremely hardy.
What temperatures can Monstera deliciosa tolerate outside?
Monstera deliciosa can survive in quite a wide range of temperatures, but I wouldn’t advise leaving your plant outside unless the temperature is within the 59˚F – 85˚F / 15˚C – 30˚C range.
That doesn't mean that they'll immediately die at a few degrees lower or higher than that, more that you're likely doing more harm than good, and if you can, it might be an idea to bring your Monstera back inside.
A lot of houseplant experts think that 18˚C/65˚F is the lower limit for putting Monstera outside, but my Monstera stay outside until the thermometer hits single digits and has never had any cold damage.
When should I put my Monstera deliciosa outside?
Monstera are more cold-tolerant than you might think, but I don’t put my Monstera outside until the risk of frost has passed. Here in the UK that’s usually around mid-May, but I wait for Monty Don to confirm.
Many people suggest waiting until it warms up significantly before putting Monstera outside, but I find that putting them outside earlier helps acclimate them and reduces the risk of them burning.
When should I bring my Monstera deliciosa back inside?
I bring all of my inside plants back inside at the end of September beginning of October. I don’t want them to risk getting caught in the frost.
How cold can Monstera deliciosa tolerate?
There have been instances when Monstera have been outside at -2˚C/28˚F and suffered no damage (source). That same article references another Monstera that was outside in -6˚C/21˚F which was damaged to the point that it didn’t regrow well the following year, but did make a full recovery.
It's important to note that not all Monstera deliciosa will be able to tolerate those temperatures. That could have well been due to the genetics of that specific plant, or even down to the care it received.
So don’t leave your Monstera outside in the frost, BUT if an accident happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your Monstera.
Can I plant my Monstera deliciosa outside?
Yes, definitely. It’s actually probably preferable to keeping it in a pot because many of the problems that crop up when it comes to keeping Monstera outside can be remedied by planting it in the ground.
Planting Monstera deliciosa outside means that you don’t have to be outside watering it as often, as the roots can grow down to find their own moisture.
It does depend on the quality of your soil though. If you have really dense soil that contains a lot of clay, you might want to dig a big hole and fill it with a more Monstera-appropriate soil mix to put your plant in.
The downside is that if there’s, for example, a storm warning, it’s more of a pain to bring it in again.
Do Monstera like to be outside?
They’ll appreciate the extra light, whether you acclimate them or not – they really don’t care if the old leaves are burnt to a crisp, as long as the new ones have the potential to be huge.
They don’t care about things like rain and wind. Rain can be helpful for cleaning the leaves, but it hinders photosynthesis, so plants don’t really like it. Wind can help convince plants to grow a stronger stem, though hemiepiphytes like Monstera would still prefer something to climb up.
Acclimating Monstera deliciosa to living outside
You can’t just put your Monster outside and hope it’ll be ok. Putting inside Monstera outside without any preparation will result in burnt leaves in a matter of hours.
As I said before, I put my Monstera outside after the risk of the first frost has passed. Sometimes it’s sunny and my Monstera gets burned, but because I’m too lazy to acclimate it, I just leave it. New leaves will form (you can just cut off the burnt ones) which will be more tolerant to the increased light levels.
However, if you don’t want to risk your existing foliage, you’ll need to acclimate it.
Why do we need to acclimate Monstera deliciosa if we put them outside?
To stop them getting sunburnt.
Plants produce chemicals called sinapate esters to protect themselves from sun damage. Most of this protection comes from a so-called sunscreen molecule called sinapoyl malate that filters out UV-B.
Obviously, plants need sunlight to photosynthesize – otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to grow, so plants can control the concentration of UV-absorbing metabolites in the top layer of cells in their leaves (source).
The more sun exposure they get, the more sinapate esters they produce BUT they need time to produce these metabolites.
How to acclimate Monstera deliciosa to living outside
First, you need to pick the right spot:
- Try to pick somewhere where the sun is brightest in the morning, and the plant is mostly in shade in the afternoon
- Try to keep it out of direct sun for the first month or so, so put in behind a screen of other plants. I put mine behind my wet laundry because it protects it from direct and helps (verrry slightly) with humidity
There are two main ways to acclimate Monstera to increased sunlight, not including just whacking it outside and crossing your fingers.
Method 1 involves taking your Monstera outside in the morning for a few hours of gentle morning light. Gradually increase the amount of time you do this for – so just put it outside for an hour a day at 8 am one week, 2 hours the next week, etc etc.
The benefit to doing this method is that it’s unlikely that your Monstera will get burnt. Morning light is much gentler than afternoon light, and starting at an hour a day is enough to trigger the production of sunscreen molecules.
The downside is…who has time for that?
Method 2 is riskier but easier.
Try to find a spot in your garden that’s in shade all day (or create one using outside plants) – maybe under a tree, or next to a building or shed. IF it gets any direct light at all, make sure it’s in the morning.
Then just leave it out there and hope it does ok. After about three weeks, move it to a slightly brighter area, and gradually increase the light.
Here in the UK, I can have my Monstera outside in bright light, even in hot weather, without the leave burning IF it’s properly acclimated. I’ll only bring it inside if it’s super hot – like over 30˚C/85˚F.
However, if you live somewhere that’s a lot brighter (such as…everywhere) then you may need to make sure that your Monstera gets limited direct light outside, otherwise it might get burnt.
As well as acclimating your Monstera to the increasing light levels, it can be a good idea to adjust the potting mix it’s in. A combination of sunlight, wind, and increased growth can mean that Monstera go through a LOT more water than they would inside.
Adding more watering retaining materials, like coir is a good plan. You could even take advantage of the fact it’s outside and add compost to your Monstera without having to worry about fungus gnats. Compost retains water well and feeds the plant.
You could also add silica to your watering routine. Silica helps protect plants and makes them stringer from the inside out – not only protecting them from pests, but also sun damage.
Benefits of keeping Monstera deliciosa outside
The light will speed up growth and you’ll be more likely to get splits in the leaves
Pests are less of an issue
A lot of people worry about their houseplants getting pests outside, but it’s not a problem I’ve encountered. In fact, as soon as spring hits my Croton goes straight outside to clear up the spider mites she cherishes so dearly.
This totally depends on where you live. Here in the UK, the pests prefer my other outdoor plants to my Monstera. They leave it alone, preferring to decimate my sweet peas. Also, there are predators like other bugs and birds, which are…less common inside.
It frees up inside for more plants
And I regret it every autumn, especially if my Monstera has doubled in size.
Problems with keeping Monstera deliciosa outside
They dry out SO quickly
When it’s hot I highly recommend you bring your Monstera inside because they can dry out incredibly quickly. Like, to the point that you’re having to water them twice a day. If you can’t keep on top of their hydration requirements, you’re going to end up with crispy leaves.
Humidity can be up and down
Monstera are pretty good at adapting to low humidity levels BUT if it gets super dry then you can end up with crispy leaves.
Like I said, bringing them in in heatwaves is usually the easiest solutions, so if you live somewhere that could potentially get very dry, perhaps think twice before going to the trouble of planting your Monstera in the ground.
They get marked easily
Especially the unfurling leaves. As well as the aforementioned hot and dry weather, there’s just more stuff outside to cause damage to your Monstera leaves – wind, rain, next door’s cat, for example.
They’re more at risk of theft
Depends on where you live I suppose. I perhaps wouldn’t recommend putting a variegated Monstera outside – not only is it way more at risk from burning, but they’re more likely to get nicked.
Caring for Monstera deliciosa outside
- Outside Monstera may need watering more often
This totally depends on your climate, but potted plants can dry out much faster outside than inside, due to factors like temperature, wind, and increased growth. In hot weather you may have to check whether your Monstera’s soil is dry every day.
- You also need to make sure to fertilise your Monstera
I usually fertilise Monstera every two weeks when they’re outside. The more frequent watering and increased growth can cause nutrients in the soil to deplete quickly.
Bringing Monstera deliciosa back inside for winter
I bring my Monstera back in for the autumn, because autumn in the UK can be anything from t-short weather to minus temperatures, so she’s better inside.
Do you need to bring Monstera deliciosa inside for winter?
If you live somewhere that doesn’t really get temperatures below freezing, then you can leave your Monstera out year-round. I’ll also add the caveat that cold, wet weather can be as detrimental as cold weather.
So cool and dry is probably be ok, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get any growth until temperatures rise in spring.
I live in North Yorkshire, and it’s not only too cold but also too wet for my Monstera to be outside in winter. It’s at equal risk from rotting and freezing.
How to remove bugs before bringing Monstera back inside
As I mentioned before, I’ve never had an issue with this, but I can understand people’s discomfort at the thought of bringing bugs inside.
Firstly, give your Monstera a hose down. Spray it down with insecticidal soap, and then hose the leaves down.
I don’t change the soil when I bring my Monstera back inside, but you’ll need to if you add compost or make it less free-draining – i.e. put it back in its indoor potting mix.
You can also change it to reduce the chances of bringing bugs inside BUT most soil bugs are beneficial and will eat either fungus or pests.
Acclimating your Monstera deliciosa to living indoors again
Don’t be surprised if you see a downturn in your Monstera’s health when you bring it back inside – the amount of energy it can produce from photosynthesising has decreased dramatically – it’ll be even worse if you’ve messed with it’s roots by repotting.
However, Monstera are extremely good at adapting to new environments so it should recover in a couple of weeks. You can help by maximising the light it gets, either by putting it in a bright window or supplementing natural light with grow lights.
I hope that was helpful! Be sure to leave me any comments or questions if you have them.
Before you go, here are a few articles you might be interested in:
- How to Deal With A Sunburned Monstera
- The Ultimate Guide to Monstera Deliciosa
- Pests & Diseases Common to Monstera Deliciosa