How to Care For Monstera Dubia

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Monstera Dubia are a pretty great option for people that want a pretty unique-looking plant without the massive price tag* and that is pretty hard to kill.

*The cost of Monstera Dubia varies a lot. We paid over £100 for ours a couple of years ago, and now they’re like £30.

Are Monstera Dubia hard to grow?

No, I don’t think so. The only potential issues are finding a plank for them to grow up, and then a pot wide enough to fit said plank in. I’ll go through the setup I have mine in later.

They’re fairly pest-resistant, and do well with a bit of casual neglect. They’re ok at being overwatered – mine is in a pot that’s WAY too big for it (because it needs a really wide plank due to the number of vines) and it’s growing like a weed.

My Dubia withstood a significant amount of neglect for a couple of years. it’s fine, but as a result, the roots grew more than the leaves so when I finally began caring for it properly, it grew about four growth points, so now it’s WIDE.

It also really, really, wants to grow around the back of the plank. I have no idea why. There’s plenty of room for all four vines if they each stay in their lane, but alas, they do as they like.

How much light do Monstera Dubia need?

They would be ok in medium light, but mine is growing super quickly (and sizing up nicely) a couple of feet away from a south-facing upstairs window. I’m not sure if the floor level of the window actually matters, but my Hoya prefer downstairs and Ficus prefer upstairs.

Dubia hasn’t stated a preference, though tbf he’s only ever lived in the bathroom (which he didn’t really grow well in, despite getting decent light) or the bedroom.

In the wild, they wouldn’t get a lot of light, because they stick incredibly close to the tree trunk and shingle up it. However, I would recommend giving them as much light as you can because they grow WAY faster.

What temperature should you keep Monstera Dubia at?

I kept mine in my freezing cold (we keep the window open most of the day) bathroom over last winter (even when it got below freezing) and it was fine. However, my bathroom is ALWAYS the coldest room in my house, and whilst my Dubia was ok in there, it didn’t grow very quickly at all.

Therefore, I would recommend keeping it in a warmer spot. It won’t complain at any temperature (you know, within reason) that you wouldn’t complain at, but they definitely grow faster at around the 23˚C/73˚F mark.

Do Monstera Dubia like humidity?

Most Monstera species like a decent amount of humidity, and will grow faster with it, but are also usually ok as long as your ambient humidity is around 50%. Any lower and you might want to consider a humidifier.

They still tend to grow aerial roots in lower humidity, which often isn’t the case with, for example, Monstera deliciosa, probably due to their weird unique singling growth pattern.

How to water Monstera Dubia

They’re fairly content to be underwatered, but they won’t grow as fast. I check the soil of mine with a moisture meter every week, and it’s usually ready to be watered every two weeks. As I said, mine’s in a HUGE pot due to having to accommodate the width of the plank so it makes sense that it would take a while to dry out.

In winter, it’ll take even longer for the soil to dry out, so be extra sure to check the soil before watering.

How to propagate Monstera Dubia

I tend to propagate Monstera Dubia in moss or perlite, because propping in water can be a bit of a pain due to the way the leaves grow. You need to take a cutting with a node (as long as it has a section of stem that has a petiole and leaf coming off it, you’ll be fine) and pop it in a tupperware with a layer of damp (soaked and then well wrung out) moss on the bottom.

Pop it in a bright spot and then wait for roots. Once you have a decent root system (I wait until the roots have branched) you can put it in soil with a plank or wide moss pole to grow up.

Mature Monstera dubia are easier to prop in water because they become less inclined to shingle once the leaves are bigger, so they can support their own weight better and don’t just fall into the water.

I starting getting bigger leaves, but they got smaller when I repotted, I assume down to (understandable) shock

How to fertilise Monstera Dubia

I fertilise mine with a hydroponic fertiliser (the General Hydroponics Flora Mix) every other time I water it, and it’s really accelerated the growth.

No one can ever agree on whether Monstera’s are light or heavy feeders, so I feed it a medium amount.

Are Monstera Dubia toxic?

Yes, like all Monstera, there are oxalate crystals in the leaves and stems that can cause stomach upsets and skin irritation when they’re eaten. They’re not incredibly toxic, but they’re toxic enough that you’ll want to keep them out of reach of pets and kids.

Do Monstera Dubia bloom?

They do, and they look very like an Aglaonema flower, but it’s highly unlikely that they’ll bloom inside, unless you’re keeping very rainforest-like conditions. Still, you never know!

Why is Monstera Dubia so expensive?

Monstera dubia used to be super expensive because they were rare in the hobby, and were really different and unique-looking. They quickly became in demand which increased the price, but now they can be propagated using tissue culture, so they’re pretty cheap.

They’re more expensive in the US, but are available on Etsy. Here in the Uk, they’re around £30.

Is Monstera Dubia rare?

No, not any more!

Shingling plants gained popularity at the same time that aroids hit the big time, so Monstera dubia were extremely sought-after and expensive for a time (late 2020/early 2021).

When it was first discovered, Monstera dubia was classified as a Marcgravia*, not a Monstera, hence the name Dubia, which means dubious.

I don’t think plants from this genus are kept as houseplants, but I do know that they’re pollinated by fruit bats, which is, if not interesting, is definitely cute. Especially since it’s little fruit bats, not those monstrous Australian ones.

What’s the Monstera Dubia mature form?

I don’t have a picture, because mine is still a baby, but there’s a picture on the thumbnail of this YouTube video.

The leave get big and fenestrated, so they get splits and holes in the leaves like a Monstera deliciosa.

What’s the Monstera Dubia growth rate like?

There are rumours that Monstera dubia are slow growers, but mine grows like the clappers (that means fast, none-UK folks)

The more light, the more humidity, and the better you care for your Monstera dubia, the faster it'll grow. if you keep it somewhere dark and cold, you might get a bit of growth, but it'll never mature.

You can increase the growth rate by growing it up a moss pole rather than the traditional plank.

You’ll have to make one – either a D-shaped or rectangular one filled with sphagnum moss, and kept moist.

The aerial roots can grow into the moss, provide additional nutrients and water for the plant, and help it grow significantly more quickly.

I don't make my own moss poles, because I'm lazy - I just use an untreated plank of wood.

I have enough plant to water, I don't need to be watering moss.

How to pot up a Monstera Dubia – pot size, support, soil type

I recently repotted my Monstera Dubia because it started producing a load of new vines. I bought a big, 30cm pot, and added the plank. Having the plank go all the way to the bottom is the best way of keeping it upright.

The plank I used is untreated, so it will rot over time. Fingers crossed it rots *just* after the dubia has outgrown it.

I then filled in front of the plank with soil (I used ABG mix and a bit of leca) and then filled up behind the plank with dry leca.

It works pretty well at keeping the water levels in the soil low, but still moist enough to deliver water to the plant.

Then I added the plant.

Monstera dubia don’t have very big root systems compared to, for example, Monstera deliciosa, so the pot is technically FAR too big, but whenever I water the leca sucks up a lot of the excess so it’s working ok.

I used a sharp knife to get the dubia off the old plank (literally just ran the knife between the wood and the root), and then stuck the stems on the new plank with sellotape.

I repotted about a month ago, and whilst the old roots haven’t fully latched on, all the new growth has. I could probably remove the sellotape, but I’ll probably leave it until it falls off by itself.

How does Monstera dubia climb?

However it wants.

Immature Monstera dubia shingle up tree trunks, but then become more viney as they mature. Like other Monstera, they have aerial roots that enable them to climb.

It’s actually a pretty good way of growing, because they’re very well protected by the tree they’re climbing.

They do NOT grow in a straight line. Mine is currently growing behind the board it’s on:

Another vine was also looking like it wanted to disappear off around the corner, so I lifted the aerial roots away, repositioned it, and then sellotaped it in place:

Final thoughts

Monstera dubia are pretty cheap (for a more unique plant), interesting and different to look at compared to other Monstera, and easy to care for.

You can grow them up a regular moss pole if you like, but they tend to wrap around it and look a bit weird. They also don’t seem to grow as quickly, so I’d go for a plank (if you’re lazy like me) or a wide moss pole.

Caroline Cocker

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

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