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In my experience Monstera are pretty laid back when it comes to watering. The green ones anyway.
My Thai Constellation is a little more susceptible to root rot, but there’s every chance I’m just more conscious about getting her care perfect.
How often should you water Monstera Deliciosa?
Here in the UK, Monstera won’t grow over winter. Well, mine doesn’t. At all. And then when March comes along, it immediately starts putting out leaves.
This is when I start with a summer watering regime, which basically just means checking it more often. My point is that your Monstera will most likely let you know when the growing season starts, by, er, growing.
My Monstera is a couple of years old, and I have three cuttings in one terracotta pot (not – advisable – the roots will become a tangled mess).
Apparently the plants gods are smiling on me atm, because my Monstera needs watering exactly once a week. My Thai, which is about the same size, dries out at wildly different rates every time. I swear she thinks she’s an Alocasia.
How often you need to water your Monstera will depend on certain factors that I’ll cover later, but I suggest you check the soil (moisture metre, weight, finger, whatever) weekly, and water when it’s dry/nearly dry.
Monstera are pretty hard to kill, and they’re very forgiving when it comes to missed watering. They’re fairly tolerant of being overwatered too, but there’s a limit
In winter I wait until my Monstera is pretty dry before I water it. I’d say it probably goes a good month in between waterings, but again check the soil.
I do like to dust the leaves monthly too, because thrips love ’em.
Always water with room temperature at least, but I like to use lukewarm/tepid water in winter. I have no idea if that helps/hinders the plant, but it makes me feel better.
How can you tell if a Monstera needs water?
- If the soil is dry
Monstera have pretty thick leaves, so dehydration won’t show on them until the plant is pretty dehydrated.
I always water when the soil is dry (a 2 or 3on a moisture metre, but don’t panic if it goes lower) rather than waiting for any signs of dehydration from the actual plant.
- If it looks droopy, or has curling leaves.
Don’t water as soon as you see droopy leaves – thirsty plants do droop, but there are other reasons for droopage (?) too. Always check the soil.
Droopy leaves are far more often caused by over watering than underwatering.
- If it has brown, crispy leaves
I have a post here on the various reasons for brown spots on Monstera, and one of them is under-watering.
To be honest, your plant would have to be pretty far gone for this to happen. Brown spots are more likely to be a humidity issue (especially on new leaves) or sunburn.
- If the soil is pulling away from the edge of the pot
This can happen if you’re trying to grow massive leaves and have increased the amount of light you’re giving it. The soil is drying out really quickly, and it can become hydrophobic.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up on your big leave dreams; just soak your Monstera for a few hours in a tray of water. It’ll allow the soil to start absorbing water again.
What affects how much water a Monstera needs?
The type of pot it’s in
If you’re an overwater by nature, or you have a plant that you suspect has root rot, then go for a terracotta pot. Terracotta allows water to evaporate through the clay, and it allows air into the pot.
My Monstera Deliciosa seem to like terracotta, so they’re both in terracotta. My Monstera adansonii is far less tolerant of drying out, so he’s in a plastic pot.
Incidentally, adansonii are less tolerant in general, but grow faster then deliciosa if you keep on top of watering and give them adequate humidity (55%+)
The type of soil it’s in
Ideally, we need a quick-draining mix with some water retaining ingredients. A heavy, peaty mix will reduce the frequency you’ll need to water, but it’ll also massively increase the chance of root rot.
I have a recipe for aroid mix somewhere in this post (although I’m doing a dedicated article soon), but you can just add perlite and bark chips to regular house plant potting mix to increase drainage.
You definitely need a drainage hole in the pot, and you definitely don’t need to put gravel in the bottom of the pot.
The more light you give your Monstera, the bigger and more impressive its leaves will grow.
But it will need waaaay more water. Not only because it’s growing so quickly and is using more water, but also because, er, the sun is hot. And it’ll dry out the soil.
Humidity doesn’t replace watering, but a Monstera with adequate humidity (50+) will require watering a little less often.
Although the difference will be so negligible it’s barely worth mentioning.
I just didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten.
On the one hand, the bigger plant, the more often it’ll need watering. But also, a bigger plant = more soil, so it’ll take longer to dry out than a small plant.
In general, baby monstera in tiny pots need watering slightly more frequently because they’re only in a small amount of soil. It really depends on the potting medium and type of pot though.
Bigger plants definitely need a higher volume of water though.
It’s not as easy as saying a big plant needs watering more/less often than a small one, because you have to consider all the factors together. Check the soil, kids.
How much water do you give Monstera when you water them?
Thoroughly soak the soil, and let the excess water drain away through the drainage hole.
My Monstera is in a particularly chunky potting mix, so I tend to give it a pint of water (I know this because I always just dump my water glass on it), and then go and water my other plants. Then I go back at the end and water again with my trusty teapot, and pour slowly until water comes out of the bottom.
You don’t need to water twice, but I do recommend pouring slowly.
If you’re worried you’re not giving enough water, bottom water for an hour or so, and then pour water through the soil.
That way you know all the soil is soaked. Just be sure to let all the excess water drain away.
How can you tell if a Monstera is overwatered?
Monstera are more forgiving that a lot of house plants when it comes to overwatering, but they can only take so much.
- It’s leaves are yellowing (or turning brown or black)
If your Monstera only has one yellowing leaf near the bottom, then chances are it’s just an old leaf, and it’s reached the end of it’s natural life.
But if all the leaves are started to yellow (usually starting from the tip) and they look limp and sad, then you’re probably overwatering.
- It’s rotting
If the roots smell grim, and the stems are brown and mushy, you’ve overwatered.
In most plants, this stage is game over unless you know what you’re doing. Monstera are remarkably resilient though. Cut back all the rotten parts.
Healthy roots? Let them rehab in water.
If you have no healthy roots, you’ll need to propagate. Take any cuttings (leaf + stem + node) and root them in water.
If you’re watering your Monstera less than every couple of weeks, and it’s still looking overwatered, then you’ve either already got root rot, or your soil/pot is not allowing for adequate drainage. This repotting article should contain all the info that you need.
Can you use tap water on Monstera?
Absolutely. My Monstera goes through a lot of water and I always use it straight from the tap. I don’t even let it sit out, and I’ve seen no adverse affects.
The most important thing is to make sure that the water is broadly at room temperature. A touch cooler or hotter will be fine, so I just add a dash of warm water to bring it up to room-ish temp before watering.
Do Monstera prefer bottom or top watering?
I like to do both. Because my Monstera is upstairs, it’s convenient for me to top water it (usually using a glass and the bathroom tap). But every so often I haul it downstairs and let it bottom water, usually overnight.
My Monstera is in terracotta, and I’ve found that the occasional soak ensures that pot isn’t immediately sucking up the majority of the water.
I usually pour some extremely diluted fertiliser through before I take it back upstairs, because it’s the perfect time to do it when the soil is moist.
Final thoughts on watering Monstera
Do not panic about watering Monstera. As long as you’re watering less than once a week and more than once a month, it’ll likely be absolutely fine.
Monstera are the perfect plant for new plant parents who are interested in growing their plant collection.
They’re hardy enough to tolerate beginner mistakes, and they withstand a variety of conditions without complaint, but they’ll reward you with a tonne of growth when you get conditions just right.