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Growing Monstera from seed is pretty easy, and they grow fast, especially in the first few months. The most difficult part of the process is actually securing the seeds.
Why grow Monstera from seed?
Growing Monstera from seed is a fun project.
I can’t think of any other reason to do so. I certainly don’t think it’s a particularly cost-effective way of either procuring a Monstera (you can buy a plant for the cost of the seeds unless you desperately want 15 plants but only have £20) or starting a Monstera shop.
However, as fun projects go, growing Monstera for seed is a pretty good one, because they’re a great plant to give as a gift or donate to your workplace or similar.
What about growing variegated Monstera from seed?
I have a whole article on growing variegated Monstera from seed. In short, it’s definitely within the realms of possibly, but it’s unlikely. Even if you manage to germinate seeds from a variegated Monstera (fun fact: the fruits are variegated too!), they probably won’t be variegated. Variegation is a recessive gene, because being all green is more beneficial to the plant.
Also, I’m pretty sure that the seeds from the Thai Constellation are sterile. All Thais are clones.
Where to buy Monstera deliciosa seeds
If you have a look on Etsy there are DOZENS of shops purporting to sell Monstera deliciosa seeds.
Red flags to watch out for when buying Monstera seeds:
- Selling packs of 100
- Listings that cost less than £10/$10
- Listings that claim to sell variegated seeds – you can only tell a plant is variegated after it’s started to grow
- Listings that show pictures of the plant, not the seeds – this is more of a pink flag, but it’s worth bearing in mind
Many people choose not to buy on Etsy, because if you do get scammed they don’t really do much about the scammers. Here in the UK there are a few websites selling seeds (such as Chiltern seeds), but they didn’t have Monstera in stock when I looked.
What do Monstera seeds look like?
They’re about pea-sized (maybe a bit smaller), with a green tinge and a brown, dried-looking bit on one end. They have a papery texture which is prone to drying out. If you’re not planning on planting them straight away, you can refrigerate them.
The jury’s out as to whether soaking them prior to planting them helps with germination. I would recommend it if they look dry.
How to grow Monstera deliciosa from seed
1 – Procure your seeds
Honestly, I think that this is the most difficult part of the process.
2 – Pick your substrate
I’m partial to sphagnum here, because I’ve found that seedlings grow much faster when you start them in sphagnum. You can 100% use a nice chunky aroid mix. From what I’ve read, plants started in aroid mix develop more slowly but within a few months ou won’t be able to tell a difference.
The only reason I can think that seeds do better in moss is that there’s more contact with the seed and the substrate, and moss stays damper for longer.
3 – Put your substrate in a container
I’m a big fan of the humble tupperware here, though a ziplock bag will work fine, I’m sure.
You just need something that allows light in, but won’t let humidity out.
Put a layer of damp substrate in your container and spread your seeds on top of it. Don’t worry too much about spacing until they start to grow. Push each seed down into the substrate – we don’t want to bury them, but we want them to have a lot of contact with the substrate. Monstera are semi-epiphytic, so they’re not fussed about being buried deep underground. The quicker they can start to climb, the better.
Then leave it until you have plantlets. If the substrate starts to dry out, mist it to keep it moist.
- Grow lights will dramatically speed up the process, and the quicker your seeds germinate, the less chance that they’ll rot
- A heat mat will also speed things up. If you don’t have grow lights, a sunny windowsill and a heat mat do the job.
Monstera seedlings develop quickly in the right environment (kept damp, warm, and in good light) and you should start to see roots in a couple of weeks.
Once you start seeing roots, you might want to spread your Monstera out, so there’s a few inches between each plant. You might want to split them into multiple containers.
Monstera roots develop in a fairly, er, aggressive way, so if you want separate plantlets, separate them early on, otherwise you’ll end up with a tangle of roots. If you want to grow them in one big, bushy mob, go for it, but you could end up with either a mahoosive plant (that needs a ridiculously large pot) or one large one and a load of spindly ones that got out-competed.
Monstera produce allelopathic compounds that suppress the plants around them, but I can’t find out whether that applies to other Monstera or just plants of other species. Either way, I’m not a proponent of planting multiple Monstera together to create a bushier plant.
4 – That’s pretty much it
Once your Monstera has leaves, that’s pretty much it. Just keep up-potting it and ensuring it has the correct conditions to grow. Monstera are once of those plants that grow pretty quickly from seed, and then after a few months slow down. You won’t get fenestrations until the plant is a couple of years old, and only if it’s given ample light.
If you want a ruly Monstera that grows neatly up a moss pole, get it trained early (i.e. get it strapped on a moss pole). I like these plastic moss poles from Amazon, because you can just clip more on as the plant grows. The only issue I have is keeping the moss damp. It’s as simple as misting the pole every day (you fill the centre with damp sphagnum) but I simply…didn’t.
Growing house plants from seed is actually quite good fun, and Monstera are a good one to start with (if you can get your paws on some seeds). You can also get anthurium seeds pretty readily, which is a cheaper option for people that live in places where anthurium are still mega pricy (like the US, last time I checked). Some garden centres sell things like succulent seeds, which are fun to grow.
Good luck with your Monstera seeds, and remember that if the seed listing seems to good to be true, it probably is.