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Are Your Monstera’s Leaves Stunted? Learn the Secrets to Lush Growth

Are Your Monstera’s Leaves Stunted? Learn the Secrets to Lush Growth

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Are you having problems with your monstera not growing? While these plants don’t require much care, the conditions they do need are imperative to get right. Given the right conditions, monstera plants can grow into real “monsters” indoors.

You should need to trim this back a lot, every year. Each stem on the plant can produce up to ten leaves per season. If you aren’t seeing at least half that growth every season, chances are high that you can improve the plant’s growing conditions.

What a Monstera Needs to Grow

Optimal Lighting

Lighting is the trickiest part of growing monstera plants. Direct sunlight is a no-go as it causes leaf burn, but more importantly, the higher temperatures cause the water in the leaves to evaporate faster.

Bright indirect light is best. They can survive in low-light conditions, but that will be all they’ll do. Don’t expect much or any growth if you have a monstera potted up and placed in a dim corner of a room.

The Higher the Humidity, the Better Monstera Plants Grow!

Another aspect that can cause a monstera not to grow is having too low of a humidity level. Dry heat is bad for these plants. Just like direct sunlight will cause the water to evaporate faster, so too does dry heat indoors.

In the winter months, when the heating is on, they need a little extra care, such as misting, or for extreme dry heat, you may do better with a room humidifier. Pebble trays are another way to increase the humidity of plants indoors.

The ideal temperatures for monstera plants to grow are 68oF/20oC to 86oF/30oC. Growth slows below those ranges and stops in temperatures under 50oF (-10oC).

A Healthy Root System is Crucial for Monstera Plants to Grow

The roots of a monstera plant should be an off-white color and when you take it out of the pot, you should see healthy roots both thick and fine wrapped around the soil.

They shouldn’t be too close together, and if they are, it’s likely to need to be repotted into a larger pot to avoid the root system from being root bound, which starves the roots of oxygen.

The size of the plant pot is important because too small of a pot leads to the plant becoming root bound, but go too big and the excess soil leads to over-watering, and that again, starves the roots of oxygen.

When you repot a monstera, like most plants being re-potted, only size up gradually by no more than a few inches at a time.

Laying the Foundations with the Right Potting Mix

Monstera plants grow best in a well-draining potting mix inside a container with drainage holes. If you are using a container without drainage holes, add a layer of gravel, or marbles to the base so that the roots sit above the water and never in standing water.

Various mixes can be used, including combinations of bark, charcoal, perlite, and pumice to improve drainage. The faster it drains the better, but it will also increase how often you need to water your monstera.

Some mixes need watering every other day, while others can be weekly. The frequency of watering depends on your potting medium. It’s always best to finger test the soil before adding more water as that will help you to keep it moist, but never so much that the soil is essentially soggy.

Fertilizing Monstera Plants

Like any container plant, monstera plants will eventually use up all the nutrients in the soil so you will need to add fertilizer. The main nutrients that need to be replenished are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK).

A balanced fertilizer in either liquid or granular form can be used. However, before you decide on which fertilizer to feed your monstera with, inspect it to see what it needs help with first.

  • Nitrogen encourages photosynthesis
  • Phosphorus promotes blooming
  • Potassium stimulates growth

A balanced fertilizer has an equal amount of each of the three elements above.

Monstera plants, although they can bloom fruits, are not grown as bloomers. Most people don’t grow them for the fruit anyway. They’re mostly grown indoors for their large over-sized lush green foliage.

For that, you want to use a fertilizer that’s rich in Nitrogen and Potassium. Phosphorus, although important, isn’t as essential as the other two. As an example, a 20-10-20 fertilizer may be a more suitable feed than a 20-20-20 balanced fertilizer.

Caring for the Air Roots on Monstera Plants

With the right potting mix, light conditions, watering and fertilizing, your monstera plant should be growing so much that you need to trim it back.

When you do cut it back, there is one part of the plant that you should take extra care with. The aerial roots/air roots.

Air roots will grow out of the stems at the base of the plant. They help oxygenate the plant. The more mature the monstera, the more air roots it will develop.

When you have these, you can keep them or snip them off. If you choose to trim them, do it in stages. Never cut off more than half of all of the air roots on the plant in a short amount of time.

If you’d rather keep them, but want to tidy them so they aren’t straddling to the floor, and across it, you can use a moss pole for the air roots to climb up, helping the plant look good, rather than out of control as these parts can grow long.

Cutting Monstera Leaves

When monsteras aren’t growing as fast as you’d like, growth can be sped up by cutting them back. This is the same with most plants. Remove older stems and leaves to make way for new plant growth. Monsteras are no different, and pruning is needed.

How you cut the leaves off a monstera depends on what you intend to do with them. If you plan to use them in a floral arrangement or just vase them up themselves in a vase of water, just snip the stem at the base using a sharp pair of pruners. The vase-life for monstera leaves is roughly one week.

It is also possible to propagate monstera plants by snipping a stem with a node as those can grow new roots letting you grow more monstera plants.

Final Thoughts

If you’re finding your monstera not growing as fast as you’d like, start by improving the lighting and humidity and consider the type of fertilizer you use.

Pruning can help spur growth, but it will need the root system to be healthy, and that may require a larger plant pot to increase oxygen to the root system.

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