Everything about Monstera Genus

4 Feb 2022

The monstera can be found in homes across the world. Its intricate and eye-catching leaves make it a highly sought-after houseplant.

This guide will explore everything that you should know about caring for, growing, and reviving this stunning plant.

Main Characteristics

The monstera genus is comprised of a variety of plants. Most of the monstera species are vine-like climbers with bold and big leaves.

It is famous and well known for the holes on its leaves. The foliage has leaf holes which are called fenestrations. They maximize the sun captured by the plant and increase the spread of the leaf while minimizing the number of leaf cells needed to support.

This genus belongs to the Araceae family and is native to rainforests in Central America. Not only is the monstera is a stunning houseplant but it is fairly low-maintenance and hardy too.

Fun fact: Monstera is derived from the Latin word meaning “monstrous” and “abnormal”.

The Difference Between a Monstera and Philodendron

The monstera is often mistaken for a philodendron, specifically the split-leaf philodendron. There are, however, a few differences between the two.

The philodendron sprouts smaller leaves and is split, whereas, the monstera plant has fenestrations. The monstera also has rounder foliage whereas the philodendron produces more feather-like shaped leaves.

Another key difference is that the monstera grows edible fruits while the philodendron does not. Furthermore, the philodendron’s foliage is protected by a sheath and its leaves have a more ruffled appearance.

Types of Monstera

There are roughly 50 different species that make up the monstera genus. Each species produces a variety of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors.

Below, we’ll briefly discuss the top eight most popular species.

  • Monstera deliciosa: The ‘swiss cheese plant‘ sprouts leaves with many holes that almost resemble that of swiss cheese. It is by far the most popular monstera species and can be found in many local nurseries.
  • Monstera adansonii: This species is slightly smaller than the ‘swiss cheese plant’ and its thick leaves have a rougher texture.
  • Monstera obliqua: This houseplant has more holes on its leaves which makes it an extraordinarily delicate plant.
  • Monstera siltepecana: These houseplants have large, teardrop-shaped leaves with small holes that accumulate close to the center veins.
  • Monstera standleyana: It is also known as the ‘five holes plant’ and ‘philodendron cobra’. Its green foliage is mottled with creamy specks.
  • Monstera dubia: It’s also known as the ‘shingle plant’ and can grow up to 3 feet (91.4cm) tall. These heart-shaped leaves have light and dark shades of green variegation.
  • Monstera peru: This monstera sprouts glossy, leaves with deep green veins, and is decorated with light green specks.
  • Monstera minima: It has been nicknamed the ‘dwarf monstera’ and ‘monstera Ginny’. It resembles the monstera deliciosa and has light green, round edges.

Fun fact: The monstera deliciosa’s name is derived from the delicious Mexican breadfruit that it produces.

How Big Do They Get?

A healthy monstera can grow around 3 to 10 feet (91.4 – 304.8cm) tall and 1 to 3 feet (30.5 – 91.4cm) wide. Its mature size greatly depends on the species and care it receives.

How Fast Do They Grow?

A typical monstera is a fast-growing houseplant and will sprout about 1 to 2 feet (30.5 – 60.9cm) of extra growth a year.


This houseplant is known for its long lifespan and can survive for several decades. When well cared for, it can live for up to 40 years.


This houseplant contains calcium oxalates. Just like the begonia, this houseplant’s sap can cause micro-trauma when ingested. It has small, needle-like structures that cause oral irritation and skin dermatitis.

Are They Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

The sap found in the monstera’s roots, stems, and leaves is toxic to both cats and dogs.

When ingested it can cause the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Excessive drooling
  • Headache
  • Difficulty swallowing

The sap can also cause your pet to break out in a painful, red, and itchy rash.

The best thing to do is contact your vet as soon as possible.

How Poisonous Is It to Humans?

If either you or a child eats any part of the plant then you may become ill or experience negative side effects.

We’ll list the symptoms to keep your eye out for:

  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing

If the sap drops onto your skin then you may also develop a red rash.

Please seek professional medical advice should you or a child ingest any part of the houseplant.

Monstera - size, lifespan, toxicity, growth speed (infographics)

Monstera Care

Let’s jump straight into the precise care your monstera needs. We’ll start off by discussing the optimal watering schedule before moving on to pruning, repotting, and staking the plant.

How Often to Water It

The monstera thrives when grown in a moderately moist environment. You will want to water the plant regularly because when the soil is left to dry out the houseplant will begin to droop.

Ideally, you should water it once a week during the summertime and around once every 2 or 3 weeks during the wintertime.

During the summertime, you can water it as soon as the top 2 inches (5cm) of the soil is dry. If you’re unsure of when to water it during the wintertime, you can check the soil too and once the first 4 inches (10cm) are dry then you can water it.

Top tip: The monstera can withstand tap water, however, it thrives when watered with filtered water.


Drainage is super important when it comes to this houseplant as it is very susceptible to root rot, just like the coleus plant. The most effective way to ensure that excess moisture drains out is to use a pot with drainage holes and plant the monstera in a well-draining potting mixture.

The container must have at least one large drainage hole at the bottom. This will encourage extra water to drip out instead of forming a puddle around the roots.

You can also throw in some gravel and sharp sand to allow water to drip off of the roots easily.

How to Prune It

Trimming the monstera regularly will encourage new growth and maintain a healthy-looking plant. It’s also a good idea to prune off any diseased, discolored, or damaged foliage too.

The best time to prune your houseplant is during the spring or summertime. You should be cautious not to over-trim the plant as you don’t want to remove more than 30 percent of it at one time.

Additionally, you should only prune the stems and leaves and never cut off the aerial roots.

Follow the simple steps below:

  1. Sterilize your pair of pruners and determine which sections of the houseplant you want to trim off.
  2. Take your pruners or shears and cut off any leaves about 2 inches (5cm) below the leaf node or near the base of the stem.
  3. Water the plant if needed and place it back in its sunny home.

When and How to Repot It

You will need to repot your houseplant once a year and it’s ideal to do so during the springtime. When your plant is rootbound, you will want to increase the pot size by around 2 inches (5cm).

Here’s a guide to transplanting your monstera:

  1. Slide the plant out of its pot and dust off the extra soil attached to the rootball.
  2. Fill a new pot with some soil and perlite.
  3. Place the rootball in the center of the container and add extra potting mix to cover the aerial roots.
  4. Pat the soil down with your fingertips to anchor the plant in place.
  5. Water the plant deeply right after you have repotted it.

Top tip: Repotting is a great way to encourage rapid growth and grow a larger monstera.

How to Stake It

Staking the monstera is a great way to grow an attractive plant and provide it with plenty of support. You can train your houseplant to climb along a moss pole or bamboo stake.

This will not only look amazing but it’ll take the extra weight off of the aerial roots. Staking a houseplant also gives it a good posture as it holds the heavy stems upright.

Follow the steps listed below:

  1. Choose your ideal stake and examine your plant. You will want to locate the heavy, thickest stems as this will guide you on where to position the pole.
  2. Dig a hole near the heaviest set of stems and stick the pole deep enough so that it doesn’t move or wobble.
  3. Now you’ll want to get out some tape or support ties. These will be used to secure the stem along the support structure.
  4. Place the tape or ties about 8 inches (20.3cm) apart as you anchor the stems around the pole.

Environment Conditions

Light Needs

The monstera thrives when placed under bright, indirect sunshine. You will see the houseplant flourish when it receives around 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day.

It can tolerate low-lit areas however it will produce leggy and unhealthy growth. Be wary that it isn’t positioned under direct light either. The harsh sun rays will scorch the foliage and cause its bright color to fade.

Best Soil

The monstera prefers loose, loamy, and quick-draining soil, just like the Easter lily. The optimal pH level is between 5.5 and 6.5.

The potting mixture must be rich and nutrient-dense too. You can achieve this by throwing in some compost or other organic matter.

Try out one of the potting mix combinations below:

  • 1 part potting soil + 1 part perlite + 4 parts pine bark
  • 1 part potting soil + 1 part coco fiber
  • 1 part potting soil + 1 part orchid bark
Can It Live in Water?

The monstera can live in water permanently, however, it will remain relatively small in size. The houseplant is unlikely to flourish in water and its roots may become too large for the glass jar.

If you decide to grow your houseplant in a jar or vase then make sure to replace the water twice a week.

Best Fertilizer

This houseplant should be fed during the spring and summer time as it’s actively growing. It loves being fed with a water-soluble, well-balanced, and liquid fertilizer.

When feeding your plant, it’s best to dilute it to half its strength and apply it once every two weeks.

If you want to promote new growth and encourage its leaves to split then you should use a fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The optimal ratios are 20-20-20, 3-1-2, and 5-2-3.

Pot Size and Type

The monstera prefers being grown in a pot made of porous material such as a terracotta container. They allow the soil to dry out quickly which will prevent the plant’s roots from rotting or becoming waterlogged.

The pot’s width should also be about 1 or 2 inches (2.5 – 5cm) larger than the rootball’s diameter. This will allow for enough room for the roots to grow.

Top tip: We recommend growing the monstera in a hanging pot because its vines look stunning as they fall over the edge.

Temperature Tolerance

A monstera is native to warm rainforests and it thrives in temperatures ranging between 60 and 80°F (15.5 – 26.6°C). It’s important to make sure that temperatures never fall below 50°F (10°C).

This houseplant is sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, so you’ll need to try to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the year.

Humidity Level

The optimal relative humidity level is between 60 and 80 percent. High humidity leaves will promote glossy, vibrant, and bold foliage.

The humidity levels should never dip below 40 or 50 percent as your plant may begin to wilt. You can increase the humidity levels around the plant by spritzing its leaves with lukewarm water, grouping it amongst other plants, or placing the plant near a humidifier.

Top tip: You can grow your monstera in a bright, steamy bathroom or kitchen to ensure that it’s grown in a humid location.

Can It Live Outside?

The monstera can be grown outdoors in warm and humid climates. It does well when planted outside in USDA hardiness zones of 10 to 12, and it may even bloom when grown outdoors.

When growing it in your garden or on your patio you may need to alter your regular care regime. The plant must be placed in a shady position and it will need to be watered more frequently.

Additionally, the plant should be misted several times a week. When temperatures dip too low then you’ll need to return the monstera indoors.

Monstera - care, water, light, soil, pot, temperature, fertilizer (infographics)


Unfortunately, the monstera rarely ever blooms when grown indoors. There are a few ways to try to encourage flowering such as watering it well, feeding it regularly, and maintaining a moist environment.

If your houseplant sprouts any flowers then this will occur mid-summer. It produces creamy-white spathes with a spadix in the center. Typically, they last a few weeks before small fruits begin to emerge.

It is important to keep in mind that you should only consume ripened fruits otherwise they can make one feel ill.

How to Grow It

You can multiply your monstera collection by propagating it and planting its seeds. Ideally, you should grow a new houseplant during the springtime as the days are longer and your plant will have enough time to grow before the winter chill sets in.

Monstera Propagation

You have a variety of options when it comes to propagating the monstera. You can grow a new houseplant in either soil or water.

We’ll guide you through each process below.

Propagation in Soil

You can plant a monstera’s stem cutting, division, and air layer it. When propagating the houseplant in soil, make sure that the potting mixture is rich and fast-draining.

How to Grow It from Stem Cuttings

A single stem with a few leaves attached can be planted in soil and form an entirely new monstera.

We’ve put together a simple guide below:

  1. Use a sterile and sharp pair of scissors to cut off a stem with aerial roots and at least 3 leaves attached to it.
  2. Cover the cut area in rooting hormone and prepare a new pot with some fresh potting mixture.
  3. Plant the cutting in the soil and water it well.
  4. Make sure to keep the potting mixture moist and place it under indirect sunlight.
  5. The cutting will root in around 4 to 6 weeks and you can then care for it as you would a mature plant.
Air Layering

Air layering is a great way to propagate an epiphyte and houseplant with aerial roots. This will require you to grow roots before even slicing the stem off.

Take a look at the steps below:

  1. Make a small incision just below the leaf node and prop the cut area open with a toothpick.
  2. Cover the section in rooting hormone and then place damp sphagnum moss around it.
  3. You can anchor the moss to the cut area with some plastic and ties. Simply wrap the plastic around the moss and then secure it in place with the ties.
  4. After 4 or 6 weeks you should see new roots begin to emerge. You can then remove the sphagnum moss and snip off the stem below the roots.
  5. Plant the cutting in a pot with well-draining soil and water it deeply.
Propagation by Division

This method is highly successful and pretty simple. All you need to do is slice the rootball into different sections and then plant these divisions.

Check out the entire process below:

  1. Water the monstera the day before you plan on separating the rootball.
  2. Gently slide the plant out of its container and look for logical areas of division.
  3. Take out your knife and slice through the rootball.
  4. Plant each division in its own container with fresh potting soil.
  5. Water the plants well and find a warm home for them.

Propagating in Water

A stem cutting can be rooted in water easily. Always remember to replace the water every week or when it’s murky so that algae doesn’t build up.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Snip off a stem with aerial roots and a few leaves attached to it.
  2. Fill a glass jar with room temperature water and place the stem inside.
  3. Place the cutting in a sunny home, where it can bask under bright sunshine.
  4. In approximately one month, the cutting will sprout new root growth and you can then transplant it into the soil.

Growing from Seed

Growing a monstera from seed is straightforward and carefree. It is a reliable method and is usually successful.

Here, we’ve put together the necessary steps:

  1. Soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight.
  2. Place some damp peat moss in a shallow tray and scatter the seeds across it.
  3. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and locate it near a bright windowsill.
  4. Keep the peat moss moist and monitor the seeds for new growth.
  5. After 1 or 3 weeks the seedlings will begin to appear, and you can remove the plastic.
  6. It’s only necessary to transplant these seedlings into their own pot when the plants are large enough.


Although the monstera is a low-maintenance and hardy houseplant, it still needs to be cared for properly. There are numerous issues that your plant may face, but there’s good news because each of the problems can be rectified.

We’ll explain what could be causing a potential health issue as well as how to revive the plant.

Leaves Turning Yellow

The foliage will yellow when the houseplant isn’t watered correctly or it is exposed to extreme temperatures.

You will need to adjust your watering schedule according to the problem at hand. If the soil is too soggy then stop watering the plant for a week or so, and if the soil is dry then water it well.

The monstera doesn’t prosper when temperatures suddenly change. You will need to make sure that the temperature isn’t too high or too low.

Curling Leaves

The leaves may begin to wrinkle and curl when the monstera is underwatered, lacking humidity, and grown in hot temperatures.

If the soil is dry then you must water your houseplant immediately. It is best to always feel the soil to determine whether or not your plant is thirsty. If the soil is dry then you must water it well whereas if it’s wet then you should cease watering it for a couple of days.

This tropical houseplant thrives in a moist environment, so you should mist the foliage regularly or place other plants around it.

During the summertime, temperatures may become too high. You’ll need to search for a cooler area in your home to place your plant.

Droopy and Limp Foliage

When the foliage becomes limp or droopy then you’ll need to tweak your care regime. The houseplant is most likely over- or underwatered, nutrient deficient, and placed in a shady location.

You will be required to fix your watering schedule. The soil should never become soggy, however, it mustn’t be left to dry out either.

The houseplant will need to be fed more frequently as without the necessary nutrients it cannot maintain a healthy appearance.

If your plant isn’t receiving enough sunlight then it will become diseased. It is best to place it in a sunny location so it can absorb bright light.

Bacterial Leaf Spot

Bacterial leaf spot causes your poor plant’s foliage to become covered in small black dots. This fungal infection will require immediate attention. The best way to revive the plant is by removing the diseased foliage.

Brown Tips and Edges

The leaf’s tips or edges will brown when the houseplant is underwatered, placed in a shady area, or is grown in a dry environment.

You will need to deeply water the houseplant immediately, and you will need to position it under bright, indirect sunlight.

Furthermore, you will need to maintain a high humidity level. You can do this by placing an electric humidifier around it.

Root Rot

Root rot is the result of severe overwatering for a prolonged period of time. The only way to remedy the issue is by repotting the plant in fresh soil and cutting off any damaged roots or leaves.

You will need to refrain from watering the houseplant and going forward you should water it less frequently.

Why Aren’t New Leaves Growing?

The monstera won’t sprout new leaves when it isn’t grown in the right environment. If the plant doesn’t receive enough sunshine, water, or isn’t grown in a humid area then it won’t produce healthy growth.

The best way to resolve the problem is by finding a new and sunnier home for the plant. Additionally, you will need to water the houseplant more often and mist its foliage two or three times a week.

Why Are the Leaves Not Splitting?

It’s disappointing when these bold leaves don’t split and there are a variety of reasons for this. The houseplant’s foliage will only split once it’s at least 2 or 3 years old and if it’s grown in the optimal environment.

The leaves may not split if the plant isn’t receiving enough sunshine, is underfed, or when it’s watered incorrectly.

You will need to find a bright area for your plant to soak under indirect sunlight. Alternatively, you will also need to fertilize your houseplant more often.

If watering is the issue then you’ll need to either refrain from watering the plant or give it a good soak as soon as possible.

Why Is Water Dripping off of the Leaves?

You can breathe a sigh of relief because this is completely normal. It is commonly referred to as weeping, crying, and sweating.

It’s formally known as guttation, and happens when excess water and minerals drip off of the leaf. The moisture that looks like the teardrops is actually called xylem sap.

Final Thoughts

The monstera is a vibrant and bold houseplant that is simple to grow and easy to care for. The genus is comprised of absolutely stunning plants with an attractive and eye-catching appearance.

The houseplant may run into a few health issues, however, when cared for properly and grown in a suitable environment the plant will thrive.


  1. Mark says:

    Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

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