How to Water Monstera Deliciosa Plants


How to water monstera

I love Monstera plants and propagate them every year. I followed some advice I have read online when I first started growing them and this resulted in me both underwatering and overwatering my monstera plants at various times.

So, I took it upon myself to do the research and conduct some tests and experiments so I could learn firsthand the best methods for watering monstera plants.

I discovered that generic advice that stated a specific watering schedule for Monstera was not helpful, as I’ve found that the frequency of watering these plants depends on a multitude of variables.

In this article, I share with you my step-by-step guide on how to know when your monstera plants need watering according to your climate and conditions…

To get to the point…

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

So, for us to undertsand how to water our plants, it is important that we appreciate how monstera grow in the wild…

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.

monstera leaf yellow
This is a photo of my monstera that has been overwatered. As you can see, the roots are actually growing out of the base of the pot, and they were sat in water that pooled around the base of the pot (the plastic pot was in another larger, more decorative pot).

To grow Monstera successfully in your home, we need 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.

The method that I have developed is to allow the top inch of the soil to dry between watering to meet the moisture requirements and avoid root rot. Typically I find this means watering with a generous soak once every 7 days although this varies according to climate and conditions.

I always recommend feeling the soil in this way as this way you can precisely determine when to water your monstera, tailored specifically to your conditions.

I do not recommend using a moisture meter. I personally experimented with using one myself and found that it was not precise enough. I would get a reading that the soil was dry when, in fact, to the touch, it was still moist. I found that if I relied on the moisture meter, I would probably overwatered the monstera and it could have developed fungal disease.

My Best Tip: What I like to do is water my monstera with a really good soak and then pick up my pot periodically over the week to asses the weight. I can now pick up the pot and tell by the weight when the soil has dried to an inch and when it needs watering. This is an advanced tactic and may require some practice!

However, it is as important to maintain humidity as it is to water properly.

I used to spray my 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.

However, I tested a few different methods of increasing the humidity, and whilst the misting works well, I actually now use a humidifier. I found that this was more effective at mitigating the low humidity when I loved it in a much dryer climate.

I also loved the convenience of not having to mist regularly. I now group all my tropical plants together so that they can all enjoy the humidity, and my monstera looks great.

According to my research, a humidifier works better as it is better at creating humidity than spraying, which is more similar to its native environment.

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.

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 regardless of these variables.

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.

When my monstera leaves turned yellow, all I did was scale back the watering, cut back the yellow leaf and it recovered.

Check the soil to ensure it is not saturated and ensure that excess water can drain freely from the base of the pot.

Top tip: If you have had problems with overwatering then I recommend repotting your monstera into a clay or terracotta pot. I love to use clay and terracotta as they are porous, so it allows the potting mix to dry out more evenly after watering. This has been my most effective way of mitigating the effects of overwatering.

Under watered, monstera turns brown at the leaf margins and droops, which is also an indication of low humidity.

monstera watering
Here is a monstera plant that I spotted in a big, draughty store. I felt the soil, and it was suffering from both underwatering and 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, I would recommend misting your monstera as often as 3 times per week or using a humidifier.

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.

My best tip: Move your monstera to a bathroom. My monsters recover best in my bathroom as it has naturally higher humidity than the rest of the house, and it is nice and bright.

(Read my article, how to revive a dying monstera).

How Often to Water Monstera in Winter

As we discussed, Monstera grows well in bright indirect light, therefore growth can slow significantly in Winter which decreases the demand for watering.

From my research, at temperatures consistently between 55°F (12°C) and 65°F (18°C) your monstera plant is dormant.

If temperatures are in this range, then I found out that you should 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, I would mist the leaves at least once per week, as homes in Winter can often have very low humidity. For this reason, I sometimes have to use the humidifier for several of my houseplants in winter, as this always seems to be the time of year when the threat of brown edges occurs.

However consider that that in Winter, homes can have fluctuating temperatures and sources of heat can dry out pots quicker than usual.

I once had my monstera too near a radiator and the soil dried out very quickly as soon as it came on. So I located my potted monstera so it is not directly next to any source of heat, and I was diligently watching for signs of drought stress, such as drooping leaves, curling leaves, or brown leaf margins, so I could increase my watering and mist spraying accordingly.

How Often to Water Monstera in Summer

As I discussed earlier, It would be irresponsible to suggest an exact watering frequency in Summer as this depends on your specific climate and conditions. I think this is the most common flawed advice I see online pertaining to watering monsteras.

It’s more important to identify the optimal moment for watering based on your specific plant’s environment.

However, from my first-hand experience, I notice my pot drying out much more quickly in the Spring as my monstera gets ready to grow and unfurl beautiful leaves. Typically, I find it takes one week for the top inch to dry out, but at this time of year, I proactively check the top inch of the soil to see when it is drying out, as sometimes it is a day or two earlier than I would have guessed.

I think this experience highlights the redundancy of specific universal watering schedules.

My Method for Watering 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.

I always water my 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 monsteras’ health and further increases the plant’s resistance to drought.

What I sometimes do is leave water to pool around the base of the pot during Summer because usually, when I return half an hour later, the potting medium has drawn up the moisture from the bottom. I have personally found that this is the best way to ensure the potting soil is evenly moist.

However, I must caution against leaving your monstera in a pool of water indefinitely as this results in root rot. Discard any excess water in the tray or saucer after 30 minutes.

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 so that our monstera is healthy.

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

This is advice worth highlighting as I have seen many a monstera perish due to root rot. 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.

As we talked about earlier, watering so that water trickles from the base of your pot is also the best way to ensure the monstera has been properly watered and that the water has infiltrated the soil to be evenly moist.

If you plant monstera in pots without drainage holes or with blocked drainage holes, water pools around the roots for too long, and the monstera leaves droop, turn yellow, and die from root rot.

We need to keep in mind that water can still pool around the roots of your monstera in your pot if:

  • The drainage hole becomes blocked by roots or compacted soil. If you notice your soil draining slowly or not at all, 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. Using a saucer or tray underneath your plant pot is very common to prevent water from spilling in your home. Empty the saucer or tray half an hour after watering 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.

If you have any more questions about watering monstera plants, please leave a comment below! I love to hear from you!!

(Read my article on how to save a monstera with yellow leaves).

Key Takeaways:

  • 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, and monstera that are 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.

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