Water monstera with a good soak so that excess water runs out of the drainage holes in the base of the pot. Mist the leaves with water regularly to increase humidity. Water monstera when the top inch of the soil starts to feel dry.
It is important to know often and how much to water Monstera deliciosa (also known as Swiss Cheese Plant) as the leaf margins can turn brown due to underwatering and low humidity or yellow due to overwatering and pots without drainage.
Monstera plants have different watering requirements at different times of the year as they can go dormant in temperatures cooler than 55°F (12°C) and 65°F (18°C) during Winter and demand less watering compared to active growth in Spring and Summer.
Keep reading for more on how to establish, how often, and how much to water your monstera plant in your climate and at different times of the year…
How Often to Water Monstera
Monstera deliciosa is a tropical plant that is native to the rainforests of Mexico, Central America, and Brazil where it thrives in warm climates with high humidity, frequent rainfall, and moist soils.
As monstera is adapted to rainforest conditions it is very susceptible to problems associated with underwatering and low humidity which cause the monstera leaves to droop and brown leaf edges as a sign of drought stress.
However, the monstera can also suffer root rot if the soil is saturated from overwatering or drains too slowly which turns the leaves yellow.
To grow monstera successfully in your home, it is important to emulate the watering conditions and the higher humidity of their native habitat in your home.
Monstera plants require the soil to be evenly moist but not waterlogged. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry between watering to meet the moisture requirements and avoid root rot. Typically this means watering with a generous soak once every 7 days although this varies according to climate and conditions.
However, it is as important to maintain humidity as it is to water properly.
Spray the monstera leaves with a mist sprayer regularly to create a humid micro-climate. This reduces water loss from the leaves, keeps the margins of the leaves a healthy green and recreates the humidity of its natural rainforest habitat.
How often you have to water your monstera and mist the leaves depends on several factors such as:
- Humidity level and temperature of your climate and in your home.
- The size of the pot (smaller pots dry out much quicker).
- Whether your monstera is in an area of significant airflow from draughts or the current of air conditioning or forced air or convection currents due to indoor heating.
- The capacity of the soil to retain moisture.
To establish how often to water your monstera, in your home, feel the top inch of the soil.
If the soil feels saturated then scale back the watering and ensure the pots drains properly.
If the soil feels moist then delay watering but if the top inch feels as though it is starting to dry out, this is the perfect time for watering.
Once you know how long it typically takes for the top inch of the soil to dry out from around your monstera you can establish a watering cycle that accurately imitates the typical moisture conditions of the soil in its native environment.
How to Tell if you are Watering Monstera too Often or not Often Enough
The symptoms of an overwatered monstera are that the leaves turn yellow and droop, although this can indicate a lack of nutrients in the soil and the plant requires a general house plant fertilizer.
Overwatered monstera can develop root rot and die so scale back the watering immediately if you notice the leaves turning yellow.
Check the soil to ensure it is not saturated and ensure that excess water can drain freely from the base of the pot.
Under watered monstera turns brown at the leaf margins and droops, which is also an indication of low humidity.
Air currents sap moisture from the leaves of your monstera and are contrary to the humid conditions of the monstera’s native rainforest.
If the leaf margins are turning brown mist your monstera as often as 3 times per week.
Note that it is not always necessary to increase the watering as low humidity is a common problem in a lot of homes, so it is often the cause of stress.
Only increase how often you water Monstera if the pot is drying out quickly and maintain evenly moist soil, only watering when the top inch of the soil feels dry.
(Read my article, how to revive a dying monstera).
How Often to Water Monstera in Winter
At temperatures consistently between 55°F (12°C) and 65°F (18°C) your monstera plant is dormant.
If temperatures are in this range water the monstera once every 2 or 3 weeks to ensure the soil does not dry out completely and to avoid root rot.
Even if the plant is in a dormant state, mist the leaves at least once per week as homes in Winter can often have very low humidity.
However consider that that in Winter, homes can have fluctuating temperatures and sources of heat can dry out pots quicker than usual.
Locate your potted monstera so it is not directly next to any source of heat and watch for signs of drought stress such as drooping leaves, curling leaves, or brown leaf margins, and increase your watering and mist spraying accordingly.
How Often to Water Monstera in Summer
It would be irresponsible to suggest an exact watering frequency in Summer as this depends on your specific climate and conditions.
However, you should increase your watering in Summer when the plant is actively growing and maintain humidity by spraying the leaves at least once per week or more particularly in dry climates.
Typically watering your monstera once per week in Summer with a generous soak is optimal for most homes, but you should always monitor the soil to detect when the top inch starts to feel dry as this is the perfect time for watering in your specific conditions.
How to Water Monstera
Knowing how much to water your Monstera is as important as how often to water Monstera.
The variability of climate, humidity, and temperatures can all influence how often to water monstera plants but the amount of water should stay the same.
Water monstera with a generous soak so that excess water trickles out the base of the pot.
This ensures that the water has infiltrated the soil properly so that the roots can uptake the moisture they require.
A generous watering also encourages the roots to establish which is good for the mosnteras health and further increases the plant’s resistance to drought.
Watering too lightly results in only the top inch or so of the soil being moist and the water does not infiltrate the soil and reach the roots where it is required which causes the monstera leaves to droop and turn brown as a sign of drought stress.
Watering with a good soak and then allowing the top inch to start to dry out replicates the moisture conditions of the soil in the monstera’s tropical rainforest habitat.
To learn more care tips read my article on how to grow and care for monstera deliciosa.
Grow Monsteras in Pots with Drainage holes so Excess Water Escapes
Monstera plants do not tolerate being in saturated soil with the roots standing in water so you must grow your monstera in a pot with drainage holes in the base so excess water can escape freely after watering.
Watering so that water trickles from the base of your pot is also the best to to ensure the monstera has been properly watered and that the water has infiltrated the soil so that it is evenly moist.
If you plant monstera in pots without drainage holes or the drainage holes as blocked then this causes water to pool around the roots and the monstera leaves droop, turn yellow, and die from root rot.
Water can still pool around the roots of your monstera in your pot if:
- The drainage hole becomes blocked with roots or compacted soil. If you notice your soil draining slowly or not draining at all then it is worth checking to see if you should clear the drainage hole in the base to allow water to escape freely.
- Saucers and trays underneath your pots. It is very common to use a saucer or tray underneath your plant pot to prevent water from spilling in your home. Empty the saucer or tray regularly to prevent water collecting and keep the soil saturated, rather than evenly moist to avoid root rot.
- Decorative outer pots. Monstera is sometimes sold in shops in a plastic pot with drainage holes but placed in a decorative outer pot that looks good and prevents water from spilling in your home. However the outer pot can prevent excess water from escaping and keep the soil damp around the roots, which causes root rot, so either empty the pot of water regularly or plant in a pot with drainage holes in the base.
(Read my article, on how to save a monstera with yellow leaves).
- Water monstera deliciosa plants when the top inch of the soil starts to dry out. Always water monstera with a generous soak to ensure the water has infiltrated the soil and reached the roots. Mist the monstera leaves with water regularly to maintain high humidity.
- Monstera plants that are underwatered or in low humidity turn brown and droop. Monstera that is overwatered or in saturated soils turn yellow and droop.
- Monstera is dormant in cooler temperatures and often requires less water in Winter and Fall compared to Spring and Summer.
- Ensure that monstera is out of the way of draughts and air currents and mist the leaves regularly to create a humid micro-climate that replicates the conditions of the monstera’s native rainforest range.