In the houseplant world, one of the most common plants we see are the Monstera family.
They are sought after for their large size and unique holey leaves. Understanding the basics of the Monstera plant will help in caring for them.
Monstera plants belong to the arum/araceae family. This family also includes peace lilies and calla lilies. Relatives of this plant include pothos and plihodendron and are mistaken for the "split-leaf philodendron". It was cultivated in England in the late 1700's for its fruit and as an ornamental. There are 22 different species of Monstera plants including variegated varieties.
It was cultivated in England in the late 1700's for its fruit and as an ornamental. Unfortunately, these plants aren't likely to produce fruit as a houseplants.
IN THE WILD
Originating from tropical regions in Central America, Mexico to Panama are the most common regions to find Monstera plants. While loving most warmer regions, Monstera plants thrive best in rainforest settings. The humidity promotes growth of their aerial roots which are very important to their survival. Monstera plants use their aerial roots to either grow up trees towards the sunlight or towards the darkest areas of the forest to find a sturdy truck to attach to.
There still is not any scientific explanation to their holey leaves, however most believe that they are to help against high winds or to allow more light to pass through to the bottom of the plant.
Monster plants can grow up to 20 meters tall with leaves measuring in at about 1 meter long when in the wild. Most indoor plants top out at about 10 feet.
While exploring, it can be quite tricky to identify young Monstera plants. They do not have holey leaves until the plant becomes more mature. Some varieties get confused with pothos or philodendron plants when young.
Although most home owners use this plant for decoration, it has many other uses including food, medicine, and fibers. It was used to weave baskets and ropes, and as a treatment for arthritis in some areas. The food portion comes from the fruit it bears after about 3-5 years. It is known to be very sweet and taste like a combination of strawberries, passion fruit, mango, and pineapple. Unfortunately, these plants aren't likely to produce fruit as a houseplants but might in a greenhouse setting.
Caring for Monstera plants is relatively easy! Below we are talk about about everything you'll need to know for your Monstera to flourish.
Light - Bright, indirect sunlight is the best lighting setting for this plant. It can survive in low light settings as well.
Water - Monstera plants do not like to be too wet or too dry. Our rule of thumb is keep the soil slightly moist. This way the roots can get the water they need without the chance of root rot.
Humidity - Keeping the air humid is very beneficial to the plant. As stated above, Monster plants originate in rainforests where the humidity levels are high. Misting the leaves of the plant can help create more humidity. You can also buy a humidifier if needed.
Potting - Make sure your pot has a drainage hole and that you are using a well-draining soil. While this plant grows relatively slow, it does get big. Make sure your first few pots are easy accessible for when you need to transplant to a bigger pot. Room for a trellis or stakes is important so your plant can climb. Repot your plant every two years or so, depending on growth.
Fertilizer - Monstera plants do not need much fertilizing. Using any "plant food" during the spring/summer months with watering will help it grow. Avoid any fertilizing in the winter months.
Pruning/Cleaning - Pruning any new growth you do not want will help keep the size under control. It is quite important to keep your Monstera leaves clean. Dirty leaves create clogged pores and effects the photosynthesis cycle. Using a damp washcloth or paper towel, gently wipe the leaves off once a week or so.
-Some Monstera plants produce fruit that are edible and is said to be very delicious. (Where Monstera Delicious got its name)
-Monstera plants cannot create extra holes during it's lifespan. All future holes in the leaves are planned when the plant produces foliage.
-They have muscles. It is called the Geniculum and is the section between the leaf and the stem. It's appearance is wrinkled/wavy and allows the plant to direct the leaf towards the sun.