Monstera, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, is one of the most common ornamental plants. We can easily distinguish them with their unusual holes in their leaves, which actually serve a unique purpose; to help them withstand wind and heavy rainfall.
Now, if you’re interested in this plant, you might be wondering, “what is the best soil for monstera?”
Luckily, we’re here today to discuss just that, along with other monstera plant care tips. Let’s get started!
Since monstera plants are known for growing big and tall, a nutrient-rich and organic-filled soil is necessary. They also need an environment that’s moist enough without overwatering, has sufficient aeration, and is slightly acidic.
As such, monsteras can thrive in almost any type of soil, so long as it drains well. Of course, you have to make a few amendments to ensure these plants adapt well to the pot.
Monstera plants originate from Central American regions, including the southern parts of Mexico to Panama. This makes them accustomed to the weather and environmental conditions of tropical and subtropical areas.
The closer you mimic these types of environments, the better your monstera will thrive.
Monsteras enjoy a moist soil mix that drains fast and is rich in organic matter. While some commercial brand soil mixes are available in the market, you can make your own as long as you have the ingredients.
A good soil mix for monstera plants includes the following components:
- Five parts shredded bark chips (orchid tree)
- Five parts perlite
- Four parts coconut coir
- Two parts activated charcoal
- Two parts worm castings
Once you have these ingredients, you can start potting your monstera. To do this:
- Grab a large bowl and sterilize it before use.
- Combine all of your ingredients in the large bowl. Be sure to mix them well to spread the components evenly.
- Sterilize your gardening tools before transferring the soil to reduce the spread of plant diseases. This includes your pot, trowel, and gardening gloves (if you plan to use some).
- Lay a towel or sheet underneath the pot to keep your work area clean while potting. Alternatively, you can also do the potting outdoors.
- Fill the pot with the combined ingredients you just mixed. Be sure to leave an inch of space or two at the top for watering.
- Water the soil mix thoroughly to ensure it’s moist. Allow it to drain through the pot’s holes before planting.
- Pot your monstera plant into the soil mix and ensure the potting soil covers all of its roots.
Coffee grounds are one of the most common organic materials used for fertilizing many plants. They have a chemical composition of 2% nitrogen, as well as 0.3% phosphorus and potassium, making them great for soil structuring.
While there aren’t many studies to claim the advantages of coffee grounds on plants, they’ve proven themselves to add extra nutrients and improve soil moisture retention. That said, some gardeners rely on these organic materials as a substitute for perlite.
However, it’s been said that too much coffee ground can also put your monstera plants at risk. One of the potential problems they can cause is the increase of fungal growth due to added moisture.
If you have a green thumb and are looking for ways to utilize your biodegradable waste, then keep those eggshells handy. These organic materials are healthy for monstera plants, as they improve soil aeration and drainage.
The number one weakness of monsteras is frequently wet soil, so the extra draining capabilities are more than welcome. On top of that, the calcium found in eggshells helps boost a plant’s growth and reduce the risks of diseases.
Try to remember that the next time you crack an egg or two for your breakfast omelet.
Organic matter plays a vital role in supporting plant growth and soil sustainability. It’s unlikely for you to grow any kind of plant without adding a few soil amendments in the process.
Luckily, most of these components are easy to find and can be made at home. Here are a few other organic matters you can use to improve your monstera plant’s soil conditions:
- Peat moss: Improves soil’s moisture without retaining too much water
- Vermiculite: Keeps the soil mix light and increases its aeration
- Pumice: Helps maintain soil texture and improves the soil’s draining capabilities
- Leaf mold or humus: Aids in plant growth, improves weed control, and reduces erosion
- Mushroom compost: Helps condition soil while increasing microbial activity and providing a gradual release of nutrients
As much as cactus soil is known to have fast-draining attributes, it isn’t recommended for monstera plants. Yes, monstera does thrive in well-draining soils, but they still need a bit of moisture to get by.
Cactus soils tend to leave their area to dry out too quickly. While it may be possible to incorporate a few soil amendments to slightly increase moisture retention, it might not be healthy for the plant in the long run.
You’ll also spend more time constantly amending the monstera plant’s soil and watering it frequently to compensate for the excessively fast draining.
In addition to using the best soil mix for your monstera, it’ll do your plant well to take note of a few caring tips. Not only will these support your plant’s growth, but they’ll also keep its soil healthy and sustainable.
The growing season of monstera plants spans from spring up until fall. Since these plants don’t do well against overly moist soils, you can get by with watering at least once every one to two weeks.
However, it’s also necessary to let the soil dry out a bit in between waterings. Once fall and winter hit, you can reduce the frequency and amount of water. The best way to control this is by using a spray bottle.
Monsteras thrive in indirect sunlight with temperatures that range from 65 to 75°F. Since these plants are usually placed indoors, you can try to mimic the conditions with the help of a thermostat and a medium or bright indirect light source.
If the monsteras are placed outdoors, you must ensure they have sufficient shade to protect them from direct sunlight. Too much exposure can cause their foliage to burn, especially in warmer months.
A healthy dose of 3-1-2 or 5-2-3 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) fertilizer is vital to keep the leaves of monstera plants lush and vibrant.
If you plan to use a liquid fertilizer, you can also go with a 20-20-20 ratio, as long as you dilute half a teaspoon of it in a gallon of water.
Your monstera plants will appreciate it if you fertilize them at least once a month during spring and summer.
Monstera plants are known to grow around one to two feet a year, given they’re well taken care of. As such, you might want to stake them if you don’t want to ruin the plant or find it tumbling over.
To stake your monstera:
- Locate the areas around the monstera with the thickest stems. Since these will become heavier over time, they’ll need extra support.
- Dig small holes into these areas using a trowel.
- Insert your stakes into these holes. You can use bamboo stakes or moss poles and tie them with plant tape or string to keep them in place.
If you notice your monstera’s roots dangling all over, you can do a quick trimming to make them neat again. Another way of saving space is by tucking the aerial roots back into the pot if possible.
Nonetheless, the stems and leaves of monstera plants respond well to pruning, although it’s still necessary to exercise caution. Additionally, you can use these stem trimmings to propagate your monstera.
While many people get intimidated by the monstera’s roots growing all over walls, this plant is actually quite easy to take care of. It’s only as simple as devoting a bit of time to prepare for its space and soil conditions.
You can also find eco-friendly ways to sustain the plant by making your own soil mixes instead of buying them. Now that’s something your monstera plant and the environment will surely appreciate!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.