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Monstera get BIG.
In the wild, they get as big as they can, and they like to grow tall, so they’ll basically grow as tall as the tree they’re growing up. And when they reach the top of that tree, they’ll try to find a taller, adjacent tree to continue their journey.
They’re not called Monstera for nothing!
Monstera deliciosas commonly reach 60 feet tall in the wild, but you’re not going to get that at home unless you have a really big house. It will happily reach your ceiling though.
There is a Monstera species called Monstera Gigas that reaches 100 feet tall in the wild.
Do all Monstera get big?
Yes, under the right conditions.
There are large form Monstera, and small form Monstera, but they both get super big. Even Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, which are commonly touted as a smaller alternative to Monstera deliciosa will grow large over time if given the correct conditions.
Large form Monstera grow HUGE leaves with multiple fenestrations (apparently you can get Monstera with over 100 holes per leaf). However, even small form Monstera will grow pretty big in the correct conditions.
If you want to keep your Monstera small, you just need to treat it badly enough that it won't thrive, but well enough so that it won't actually perish or look sad.
I do have an article on house plants that stay small, but there are very few plants that will stay small if treated well. Even Fittonia and air plants will grow pretty big (or multiply) if kept correctly.
How to grow your Monstera bigger?
It’s pretty easy to grow Monstera big – they’re simple plants that want to grow. However, there are some non-negotiables, so if you want a huge Monstera in a dark space…get a fake one. Or spend a fortune on a massive and be prepared to replace it every few years.
Increase the light
Do this gradually if your plant is in low light at the moment, otherwise, you risk it burning.
It’s a myth that Monstera need bright, indirect light.
They like a LOT of light. They can take a LOT of direct light. Mine is in a south-facing window that gets direct light for hours a day and it hasn't burned. My variegated Monstera is getting the same light.
Remember that I live in the UK, so there’s a limit to how much sun it’s going to get. I
f you live somewhere super sunny then you may need to pull it further away from the window. They do grow wild in exposed places in places like Florida though, so they can take a LOT of light.
The more light they have the faster they’ll grow and the bigger the leaves they’ll have. The bigger the leaves, the more fenestrations.
Apparently, some small-form Monsteras rarely develop secondary fenestrations, but increasing the light will still make it grow much faster than indirect light.
Increase the pot
This has to be done carefully, because too big of a pot can cause root rot.
Monsteras also like to be snug in the pot so you may have to wait for it to get settled in before it puts out new growth.
Once your Monstera has reached the size you want it, then keep the pot the same size, but trim off roots when it’s starting to look rootbound or grow out of the drainage holes.
If you keep increasing the pot size, it'll keep growing. Until it's the size of your house.
Water and feed often
Monstera are pretty chill when it comes to food and water, but to grow them big and fast you need to keep on top of it. I check the soil weekly to need if it needs a drink and add nutrients every other time I water it when it’s actively growing.
How to keep your Monstera small
Basically just do the opposite. Monstera are pretty hardy, so you can wait until it’s bone dry between waterings and only feed it once a year (or even just have it rely on the nutrients in the soil) and it’ll be absolutely fine. You just… won’t get much growth and it won’t be very big.
Give it less light
However, if you give them medium, indirect light (so a north-facing window, or a few feet away from an eat-facing window) you can give them enough light to be perfectly healthy and grow, but not so much that they grow massive.
Trim the roots
Trimming plant roots is such a controversial topic in house plant circles, but it’s a great way of keeping your plants from being outrageously big. You don’t need to chop off much – maybe just the bottom inch or so – to stop the plant from growing super quickly.
You do need to keep repeating this though – when you chop roots the plant will work quickly to replace them. Check them every time a new leaf (fully) emerges.
Cut it back
If its too big, chop it back.
I would also trim the roots when you chop back because cutting back Monstera can cause it to grow back even faster.
Is Monstera deliciosa fast-growing?
They’re not AS fast growing as smaller aroids like Pothos and heartleaf Philodendron, but they can grow quickly if you give them great conditions, and every leaf they put out is pretty big, so whilst they don’t put out leaves that often, every leaf they do put out adds quite a bit of size to the plant.
They tend to grow in fits and starts, so if your Monstera puts out three leaves in a row, it's pretty normal for them to have a break for a month or two before starting again.
How long does it take for Monstera to reach full size?
There isn’t really a linear timeline. Monsteras grow in fits and starts depending on where they begin, how long it takes them to get established on a host tree, what the weather conditions are like, etc etc.
You may have a Monstera growing in a corner on the floor. Once it reaches a certain size, the light will increase because it's in range of the window, so it will start to grow faster. It may also grow leggily and spindly towards a window, but then once it gets nearer to the light, it'll take off.
Plants, like some fish, grow in response to their environment rather than their age. If you have a dark, dingy spot for your Monstera, it may reach its full potential of a few feet in ten years.
A Monstera climbing up a tree in bright light and humid conditions could grow twenty feet in a couple of years.
Time isn’t that important of a factor – conditions are. A Monstera in the wild can produce fruit in a couple of years, but that’s unlikely when kept in the home.
Monstera grow very, very big. They do grow in fits and starts, but if yours hasn’t put out growth in the last year, there could be an issue.
There isn’t a way to curb their size without doing something to actively harm the plant BUT there are ways to harm it without it really minding (that we know of – perhaps they cry when we trim their roots!) so that it’s not literally climbing your walls.