Do Monstera Deliciosa Go Dormant?

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This is such a common question, and whilst I can’t give you a definitive answer, I hope I can ease your worries that Monstera have this habit of stopping growing (or seeming to stop growing) for a variety of reasons.

Monstera stop growing sometimes and then start again at random.

My big one hasn’t put out a leaf since last year.*

It’s next to two others so I know the environment isn’t an issue. It doesn’t need repotting. Aerial roots are coming in thick and fast so it’s not technically dormant – perhaps it wants more support (despite having a pretty short stem)? I just have to be patient, which is FINE, and doesn’t grind my gears AT ALL *stares aggressively into the mid-distance*.

*Or it hadn’t, until someone whom shall remain nameless went digging around in the petiole and now we have this situation:

monstera with new leaf emerging

I don’t recommend digging around in the petiole. It’s a great way to damage leaves. I did, however, do it. And it’ll most likely happen again.

Do Monstera go dormant over winter?

In the wild, no. Monstera hail from tropical places that don’t really have a winter, so they don’t have a natural dormancy.

However, they do experience situational dormancy when it gets cold. If you leave your Monstera outside in winter and it gets too cold, it'll die.

I’ve seen situations where an outdoor Monstera’s foliage dies off over winter and then regrows the next year.

This is something that can happen if you have infrequent short cold snaps, so the air freezes but the ground doesn’t.

Here in the UK, the average Monstera would be toast, roots and all, if you keep it outside in winter for more than a few days.

Monstera won’t go dormant if the conditions it’s kept in don’t change seasonally.

For example, if you keep your Monstera in a plant room or grow tent with artificial lighting and consistent heat, it likely won’t ever notice that it’s winter.

I don't tend to move my Monstera in the winter months, with the exception of the one in the bathrooms. 

Bathrooms are often too cold for houseplants in winter, so I move it to be with the others.

My Monstera live in a big south-facing window in my centrally heated living room, but they still go into dormancy over winter. From October to March I get nothing from them. Nada. Zip. They don’t deteriorate, which is great, they just don’t do anything.

Light is the main determinant for Monstera growth (read this if that’s news to you), and it really seems like they know when the clocks change. When those clocks go back and the days are shorter, my Monstera go to sleep, and won’t wake until the clocks spring forward in March.

I care for them in exactly the same way over winter – i.e. watering them when they dry out – but they don’t need watering as much, and I don’t feed any plant that isn’t actively growing.

I also keep a close eye out for thrips pests and keep the leaves as clean as I can. Not only does this reduce the risk of pests but it maximises the amount of light that gets to the leaves.

(I’d be lying if I said I cleaned my windows more, or, er, ever, but it can help if you’re so inclined).

monstera deliciosa in basket next to window

How can I keep my Monstera alive over winter?

The biggest risk to Monstera over winter is the increased likelihood of pests and root rot.

If your home is comfortable for you with regards to temperature then it’ll be fine for your Monstera.

We keep our heating on the low side because it’s expensive and our Monstera didn’t suffer.

If you don’t have any money to throw at your Monstera over winter then don’t worry about it – it’ll be fine. I don’t do anything special for them, I just let them rest and make the most of the growing season when it arrives.

However, if plants are your main hobby, and you set aside money to put towards them or want to set up a plant room to keep your plants growing through winter, there are things you can do to make it growing season year-round.

Heat mats

Heat mats are a great option if you only have a few smaller plants – they’re especially good if you like to take cuttings and propagate all year round. There are recommendations on my resources page.

If you have a whole room to keep warm, then you’re best off investing in a heater. It’s also worth doing the maths and working out if it’s cheaper to heat your whole house or just one room. Different heaters are more efficient in different setups, so you may need to do some research.

Don’t buy heaters until you have all your lights set up. grow lights can throw out a decent amount of heat so if you have a lot of lights in a small room they may do the job on their own.

Grow lights

You’ll need to invest in decent grow lights if you want them to mimic the literal sun.

Generally speaking, anything that runs on a USB connection won't have enough power (like these ones). 

I love my MarsHydro grow light, and the Bestva is a great budget option. 

If you hang a couple of these up they cover a decent radius, and as I mentioned before, kick out a bit of warmth too.

Grow lights can be a bit of a pain for Monstera, because they’re a bit big, so suspending grow lights from the ceiling might be the best option. If you can’t drill holes in your ceiling, try one of those clothes hanging rails instead.

Humidifier

We need to be careful with humidity in winter because if you humidify a cold room you’re just asking for mould and all the bacterial infections that accompany it.

If the room isn’t warm enough (like 18oC65oF) skip the humidifier. Your plants may be a bit crispy, but it’s healthier for everyone.

monstera deliciosa next to humidifier

Has my Monstera gone dormant after repotting?

Plants don’t usually go dormant after they’ve been repotted – it’s way more likely that they’ve gone into shock.

Repotting can be very stressful for a plant, because it’s not something that would ever happen to them nature (unless something pretty traumatic has occurred).

It’s pretty normal for a lot of house plants to look droopy and sad after they’ve been repotted. They may have lost a few roots during the repot, or they may need time to adjust to a new substrate.

This is why I don’t recommend repotting new plants until you’ve let them acclimate for a couple of weeks – I only like to stress them out with one thing at a time!

Let your plant sit for a couple of weeks and don’t try to do anything to remedy it. Even if there is something wrong, letting it sit for a while won’t do any further harm. Don’t water it unless you’re sure the soil is dry.

Monstera in particular do seem to enter dormancy after being repotted, and that’s because they do this thing. As far as I’m aware all Monster deliciosa do this, and whilst other plants do do it, Monstera deliciosa are the only species that seem to do it as consistently.

That thing? Filling the pot with roots.

To be fair, there could be plenty of other species that do this, but the popularity of Monstera means I see it happening a LOT.

It can be tempting to put your Monstera in the biggest pot you can find, safe in the knowledge it'd definitely need a pot that big sometime in the future. 

If you’re a diligent plant parent you can do this and not risk root rot (it’s not easy though, and I don’t recommend it) BUT you won’t get new leaves until the Monster is done making itself all cosy in its home.

It can take MONTHS for this vital root-growing work to be done.

To you, it looks like the Monstera has gone dormant because it still looks perfectly happy and healthy, it just won't grow any new leaves. 

Your Monstera isn’t dormant. It’s actually very busy, you just can’t see what it’s doing.

monstera propagating in water

Final thoughts

Monstera don’t experience a natural period of dormancy, because they come from equatorial jungles that don’t have cold winters – the plants grow year-round.

However, Monstera will stop growing in inclement weather because they don’t have the heat or light to grow. As long as they don’t start to deteriorate, don’t worry about it.

Monsteras have a root-first approach to growing, hence the period of what seems like dormancy after a repot. Don’t worry, she’s growing, just not where you can see.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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