Encyclopedia of Houseplants

How to Care for the Forever Trendy and Tropical Monstera Deliciosa

updated Sep 15, 2022
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While some houseplants simply add a boost of greenery to your place, others are inherently stylish in their own right and serve a decorative purpose, equally as important as any Eames chair or pendant lamp. One of those ultra pretty plants that’ll instantly enliven any space (and is very easy to care for!) is the monstera deliciosa plant—aka the Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron.

Large eye-catching trees like the fiddle leaf fig or the more demure plants like the rubber tree are examples of the trendy plants taking over social feeds and designers’ rooms, but the monstera plant shouldn’t be overlooked.

Not only will this plant make you feel like you’re on vacation every time you look at its pretty, hole-y leaves, but it’ll also fare well when you actually head out for a trip, too—or if you’re generally a forgetful plant parent. Learn more about this beautiful indoor plant and get tips and guidance for growing and maintaining it below.

Care and Planting the Monstera Plant

  1. Plant in peaty, well-draining soil in a pot with drainage holes. Monstera deliciosa is a climber in its natural habitat, using its aerial roots to cling to large trees, so you should provide it with moss-covered support sticks or a trellis.

2. If its aerial roots get unruly you can trim them, but it’s best to just tuck them back into the pot. They’re not the type of roots that damage walls or surfaces. Water when the top quarter-to-third of the soil feels dry to the touch. Standard liquid plant fertilizer can be applied about once a month during the spring and summer growing season.

3. Keep leaves clean and dust-free by washing with a cloth dipped in a solution of a drop of dishwashing detergent in a few cups of water. Though it’s not required, the plant also appreciates regular misting of its leaves.

4. When Monstera deliciosa outgrows its current pot (about every two years), transplant to a new pot a few inches larger in diameter and depth than the old one.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

How much light a monstera plant need?

Monstera deliciosa plants need plenty of indirect light in order to fully form and grow properly, but not an excess of direct light otherwise, it can burn. This being said, the New York Botanical Garden states that these plants will do okay with direct sunlight in the winter months (October through February) when they’re not actively growing. 

Is the monstera plant toxic to cats and dogs?

Unfortunately, pet parents should steer clear of monstera deliciosa. According to the ASPCA, this plant is toxic to dogs and cats, so it’s best to opt for a more animal-friendly plant if you’ve got furry friends roaming around your home.

Credit: Viv Yapp

How to Propagate a Monstera Plant

The most reliable method of propagating Monstera deliciosa is air-layering. While it’s a more involved process than propagation for some plants, it might be well worth it if you want more of these beautiful houseplants. To do it, you’ll need floral or sphagnum moss, sharp, clean pruning shears, a plastic bag, and twist ties. 

  1. First, find a leaf growing out of a stem, with a short aerial root below it. Just below that root, cut a small notch about one third of the stem’s diameter. 
  2. Wrap the notch, aerial root, and the node where the leaf joins the stem with a 1-2 inch layer of sphagnum moss. 
  3. Moisten the moss and wrap it in plastic. You’ll need to be able to open the plastic to check on the root development, so secure it with twist ties. Keep the moss moist until roots develop, then cut the stem, and pot your new plant in soil.