Monstera, also called Philodendron, is a species of Monstera genus that evolved in the tropical regions of Central America and South America and on the Caribbean islands. Monstera are so called because they have produced very special, openwork leaves that enable them to withstand the very strong winds that are often found in the tropics. In addition, the openings let light through, which suits the lower parts of the plant very well.

Location and soil for the Monstera deliciosa

The unbelievable spread already suggests it – Monstera deliciosa does not make very many demands. It can be classified among the “beginner plants” with a clear conscience if it gets the right location:

  • Location in the semi-shade or in the shade
    • She doesn’t like direct (midday) sun, at least not when she’s young
    • young leaves have not yet formed any “air holes”.
  • in winter in our latitudes a little too little light, then a location in the direct sun is also possible
  • grows best between spring and fall in a bright spot without sun
    • pay attention to sufficient incidental light
    • Monstera forms small leaves with long stalks when it gets too dark
  • put it on the terrace or balcony in the warm season
  • Pitch should have temperatures of about 20 degrees
  • the pot area should also be kept warm
  • Mix potting soil from two thirds good compost soil and one third loose substrate (e.g. leaf soil or peat substitutes such as perlite or coconut hum)
  • Drainage hole required in the plant pot to prevent waterlogging
  • Don’t choose a pot that is too small, Monstera grows vigorously
  • Monstera can be grown hydroponically

The Monstera needs a climbing aid

The Monstera (Philodendron) is a climbing plant that climbs up branches and tree trunks in its homeland. Therefore, you should definitely give the plant a support or climbing aid in the planter. She definitely needs that support to really thrive. A thick stick of moss is very suitable, to which the monstera can cling with its aerial roots, similar to the bark of a tree.

The Monstera will also get by with other climbing aids made of metal or plastic, but the aerial roots don’t always find a good hold on them. Using a moss stick as a growth aid ensures that the aerial roots grow on the moss. If you don’t want to use a moss stick, you should guide the aerial roots into the ground. Here, like the actual roots, they absorb nutrients and water.

Fertilize and repot window leaf

If the window leaf is still small, it needs little fertilizer. The older plants can be supplied with nutrients very well with a weakly concentrated fertilizer solution, where the risk of over-fertilization is not so high. In return, they can be given fertilizer a little more frequently if they are growing very well.

The Monstera only has to be repotted when the pot is so tight that the plant is about to fall over. Then you can take the opportunity to bring a stronger support into the new pot, which is well anchored to the bottom of the pot.

Water window leaves

The substrate of a Monstera deliciosa is best kept evenly moist at all times. This works well if you pay attention to when the top layer of soil in the plant pot no longer feels damp. Then you can add a little water.

Since the Monstera likes a fairly high level of humidity, she enjoys it when you shower her off in the bath or give her a shower with the squirt bottle. Increased humidity also helps to avoid brown leaf tips and also prevents pest infestation. If showering is only occasionally possible, you should at least regularly wipe the leaves with a damp sponge. This allows the plant to breathe better. Incidentally, there are Monstera lovers who claim that the window leaf would be delighted if you soak this sponge in beer.

Dealing with the aerial roots of the Monstera

It is particularly characteristic of older Monstera deliciosa that they form an increasing number of aerial roots. These aerial roots are sometimes perceived as visually disturbing, but nevertheless they cannot simply be cut off. On the contrary, they must be handled with some care as they break quite easily. And they shouldn’t, because they are by no means meaningless excesses, but important parts of a Monstera plant that need special treatment:

  • Monstera deliciosa attaches itself to its support with aerial roots
  • are involved in the absorption of nutrients and water
Tip: If you are one of those people who find the aerial roots of the Monstera rather unattractive, you can use a trick. Gently bend the roots down into the soil, one at a time. They will then grow into the earth and are hardly noticeable anymore.

However, if your monstera is positioned in a way that the aerial roots are not immediately obvious, you can also grow them in a water tank in the background. This is an optimal form of hydration for a Monstera.

There is another exciting alternative for aquarists: let the aerial roots grow into the aquarium. It removes numerous substances from the water in the aquarium that you do not want there, such as nitrate and nitrite. This does not harm the plant, it can use these substances as food.

pruning and propagation

The Monstera will probably never mind a pruning, on the contrary. She will see the cut more as an invitation to grow really strong and she can be multiplied in the course of the cut:

  • Each cut shoot is a cutting that can become a new window leaf
  • Put shoots with some leaves and aerial roots in a glass with water or directly in a pot with moist soil
  • put in a warm place in the light
  • Once they have rooted, you will see that the cuttings will grow new leaves
  • if the plant grows too much for you, you can radically rejuvenate the plant without further ado
    • Cut the top of the plant, this will slow down its growth for a while
    • Treatment can be repeated several times
  • You can also cut back whole shoots on the sides (and make new Monstera out of them)
  • generally check all roots when repotting
  • dried roots can be cut away

Other care requirements, pests and diseases

Once you have found a good summer location and a good winter location for your Monstera deliciosa, it should be allowed to stand as quietly as possible. The window leaf does not like it at all if it has to be moved or rotated in between. The plant cannot turn its mighty leaves into the light fast enough.

The Monstera is not known for excessive pest infestation, scale insects or mealybugs can occur occasionally, but can usually be detected in good time with regular checks so that combating them is not too difficult. It can be done biologically, various species of parasitic wasps and predatory beetles are sold in specialist shops, which kill various species of scale insects.

If mold should appear on the soil, this is usually due to too much moisture. Then you will have to “bare” the Monstera completely before you wash the roots well and put them in a new pot with new substrate. You can usually get rid of mold this way.

Special breeding forms of the Monstera

In addition to the “normal” Monstera deliciosa, you can purchase two cultivated forms of the plant that have certain special properties:

  1. The Monstera deliciosa “Borsigiana” does not grow as well as the ordinary window leaf. It is therefore well suited as a houseplant for rather limited pitches or rooms where a normally growing Monstera can quickly help its owner to become claustrophobic.
  2. The Monstera deliciosa “Variegata” was also bred for a slightly weaker growth, but still has special optical features to offer. Its leaves are striped white and green (variegated).

The Monstera deliciosa is the right plant for anyone who likes to be surrounded by greenery, but does not want to waste a lot of time and thought on caring for a complicated plant.

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