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Monstera deliciosa need to be watered when the soil is pretty much completely dry.
How often that will be varies depending on factors like light, temperature, and the substrate it’s in.
- Monstera need watering more often when they’re growing faster
- They like to be watered when the soil is nearly dry
- They’re quite tolerant of both under and overwatering, so are great for beginners/nervous waterers
- They don’t particularly care whether you top water or bottom water
- If you’re happy to drink your tap water, so’s your Monstera. If not, use filtered.
How often should you water Monstera Deliciosa?
You shouldn’t water Monstera on a schedule, because their water requirements will change all the time depending on certain external factors, like temperature and light.
If you want to water on a schedule, take a look at this article on keeping Monstera in LECA.
Instead of watering your Monstera every week, check the soil every week. If it feels dry, water. If it doesn’t, wait until next week.
I generally need to water my Monstera weekly in summer, because it sits right in a south-facing window.
Some people prefer to check their plants every couple of days, but I prefer to set aside an hour per week.
I check the soil with a moisture metre. They’re not 100% accurate but they work well enough for me. You can also try sticking your finger in the soil, or a chopstick if your finger doesn’t reach the bottom of the pot.
It's a myth that you should water Monstera when the top inch of soil is dry. If you keep your Monstera in bright light then the top inch may be dry a few hours after watering, but the bottom half of the pot is still saturated. You need to make sure MOST of the soil is dry.
If you still can’t tell if the soil is dry, take the plant out of the pot and feel it.
What’s the best way to water a Monstera?
I use two different ways to water my Monstera. Though they’re very different, I use them interchangeably depending on how lazy I’m feel.
Method 1 for watering Monstera
I use a large stock pot and a spare oven shelf. I put the shelf on top of the pot and sit the Monstera on the shelf.
Then I pour water over the top of the soil until the soil is thoroughly wet AND there’s water dripping out of the bottom of the pot (conveniently caught by the stock pot*)
Don’t worry about using too much water. As long as there are drainage holes in your plant pot and you’re using a decent soil mix it doesn’t matter how much water you use.
Overwatering is caused by watering too frequently NOT by watering too much in one go.
This is a great way of ensuring the soil is evenly and thoroughly wet. It’s great in spring, summer, and autumn.
However, I don’t like to saturate the soil completely in winter, because it can cool down the soil (and the surrounding environment too quickly). So in winter (and when I’m feeling lazy), we have method 2:
Method 2 for watering Monstera
Use a pump-action pressure prayer.
I LOVE using this, because it FEELS quicker, even though it probably isn’t. I can water all my plants without having to refill because you use less water per plant.
Consider using this method if you overwater OR your Monstera lives in low light. or if you just enjoy watering your plants a lot.
I just spray the top of the soil until it’s evenly moist. Over time the water will drip through to the roots below.
I don’t recommend using the spray method in summer unless you’re watering every couple of days but it’s great in winter when you don’t want to be giving your plants more water than they need.
I can water all of my 150ish plants with 15 litres of water. If I use the pressure sprayer (that holds 5 litres), I can water them all without having to refill it. So I'm only giving each plant a third of the water it needs to be 'properly' watered. But then, I don't measure the water that comes out of the drainage hole, so it's not an exact calculation. it also varies from plant to plant, because smaller plants get plenty of water from the sprayer.
Obviously, you CAN thoroughly water your plants with this method, but it takes a while.
You can also add nutrients/fertiliser to your pressure sprayer.
Honestly, I think I just like using the pressure sprayer because it’s more fun and you don’t get water everywhere.
*I reuse the water because I hate waste, especially nutrient water. I just use it on my houseplants, but a lot of people prefer to use it in their garden.
How can you tell if a Monstera deliciosa needs water?
Don’t get into the habit of waiting for your Monstera to tell you that it’s thirsty. If there’s signs of dehydration on your plant, you’ve waited too long to water it.
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 3 on a moisture metre, but don’t panic if it goes lower) rather than waiting for any signs of dehydration from the actual plant.
The pot is light
This is my preferred way of telling when to water my Monstera – I just pick up the pot and if it feels light, I water it.
This sounds like something only experienced houseplant people can do, but water is really heavy, and a well-watered pot is much heavier than a dry one.
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. Also, Monstera deliciosa are a pretty droopy plant.
As they climb, they get further away from the roots, so turgor pressure is lower and the leaves can’t support themselves as well. That’s why people put aerial roots in water.
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. Or, of course, the dreaded thrips.
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 leaf 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.
I like to keep my Monstera in plastic pots, because the soil doesn’t immediately dry out like it can with terracotta, but it isn’t as water-retaining as ceramic. It’s also easy to tell when the plant needs water, because of how light the pot is.
The type of soil it’s in
The ideal soil for Monstera deliciosa is 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.
Old Monstera grow slower and use less water (in relation to their size) than smaller ones.
Baby monstera in tiny pots need watering more frequently because they’re only in a small amount of soil. It really depends on the potting medium and type of pot though.
This is a blanket statement and will vary LOT across different specimens. There’s also a difference between ‘old’ and ‘has a lot of leaves’. My Monstera is OLD but only has three leaves (it was a cutting). I only know it’s old because the stem is THICK. Anyway, she grows very slowly nowadays so doesn’t need as much water as a younger Monstera that’s a similar size.
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 than a lot of houseplants 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 its 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.
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.
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?
My rule when it comes to using tap water is that if I can drink it (and enjoy it) then my Monstera can too.
I water all my houseplants with tap water (including my variegated Monstera) and the only one that complains is my spider plant. Even my Calathea don’t mind.
Do Monstera prefer bottom or top watering?
I like to do both. Because one of 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.
If your Monstera is in a terracotta pot, soaking the pot can help retain the water for longer.
You can bottom water Monstera, but if you have one in a big pot you may need to use something like a bucket rather than a saucer, because there’s a limit as to how high the soil will wick up the water.
Does water temperature matter?
It’s best practice to use room temperature water when watering Monstera deliciosa. However, they’re pretty resilient plants when it comes to shock, so if you accidentally water a healthy Monstera with cold water straight from the tap, I don’t think it’ll care at all.
However, cold water on already stressed plants isn’t a great idea.
You can either wait for it to reach room temperature or add in a bit of warm water. Don’t use water warmer than tepid.
How long can Monstera deliciosa go without watering?
Monstera can go for a good couple of months without being watered without feeling an ill effects. They can go for several months without watering and still be salvageable, though it might be a chop and prop job.
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.
Before you go, you might enjoy these articles:
- The Ultimate Guide to Monstera Deliciosa
- How to Care for Monstera Deliciosa
- How to Shower your Monstera Deliciosa