Monstera mania: this year's top indoor plant
If there's one plant that will feature in most of our recent memories, it's definitely the Monstera. How could it not, with its iconic foliage popping up everywhere we turn? There are Facebook groups and Instagram hashtags dedicated to the love of indoor plants, filled with beautiful shots of monsteras in their new homes. You'll even notice monstera leaves when browsing fashion and jewellery labels, manchester brands and homewares stores, each eager to capitalise on the monstrous (pardon the pun!) and continued popularity of this lush green plant. Want to add one to your home, or learn a little more about the different varieties and their care needs? Read on!
This is perhaps the best-known plant in the Monstera family, and is easily identifiable by its huge leaves, which develop prominent fenestrations (splits) as the plant matures. This is a popular houseplant in spacious and brightly-lit spots, but it can also be grown outdoors quite successfully in filtered sunlight or full shade. With plants reaching up to 2m high and 3m wide, it is a stunning garden feature. Fun fact - as your Monstera deliciosa matures, it may even start to develop fruit! The fruit looks like a green ear of corn, is only safe to eat once fully ripened (this takes at least 12 months - you'll know it's ripe when the hexagonal scales start to fall off) and has a sweet taste, leading to the plant's common name of "fruit salad plant".
A dwarf form of the traditional fruit salad plant, Monstera deliciosa 'Tauerii' is perfectly suited to growing indoors and can grow up to 1.5m tall and wide. It has the same iconic split leaves as the deliciosa, just on a slightly smaller scale. This makes it perfect for more compact areas around the home.
Looking for variegation? The striking Monstera deliciosa 'Thai Constellation' is your perfect match. A newer variety close in size to the 'Tauerii' at around 1.5m high and wide, this monstera features striking splashes and flecks of cream (a little like stars in the night sky, hence its name!) across its green foliage. Generally speaking, these are available from nurseries as juvenile plants in small pot sizes with heart-shaped leaves. As they mature and grow, they'll begin to develop the characteristic monstera leaf splits.
This monstera variety has seen an immense spike in popularity lately, and it's not hard to see why. Also known as "Swiss cheese vine", this gorgeous plant has a similar growth habit to pothos, with long, vining tendrils which play host to an array of holey leaves that suit its common name perfectly. Monstera adansonii looks fabulous when trained up a coir totem, or else is ideal for spilling over the edge of a decorative or hanging planter. This plant can reach up to 1.8m high and 0.3m wide.
This variety has a similar vining growth habit to Monstera adansonii, however comparatively its leaves tend to appear larger with smaller leaf holes (fenestrations). As a prolific climber this plant is happiest when clinging to a coir totem or similar, but it also looks spectacular when allowed to spill over the edges of a pot or hanging basket. With care and in the right conditions, this plant can grow up to 2m high and wide.
First things first - this plant isn't actually a monstera at all, but its split leaves have earned it the common name of 'mini monstera'. True to its name, it will reach a maximum of one metre in height and around 60cm width. It's perfect for styling on bedsides and consoles where a full-sized monstera might be a little too large.
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General monstera care advice
All of these plants are from the Araceae family and are known as aroids. This means their care needs are similar - and the best way to meet them is to consider their natural habitat. Plants in the Monstera genus originated as South American rainforest understorey epiphytes. The Rhaphidophora ('Mini Monstera') also comes from rainforest habitats, however its native home is Malaysia and southern Thailand. When you think critically about the conditions these plants would be used to in their native habitats - plenty of shade from canopy trees with filtered sunlight peeking through, high levels of humidity and soil that's moist, but not swampy - providing the right care is not at all complicated.
If you're growing your monstera outdoors, consider keeping it on a covered porch or deck. You can also place it under a large tree that provides partial or full shade to mimic the conditions it's naturally adapted to. This plant family is also frost-sensitive, so keep yours sheltered from the elements throughout cooler weather. Indoors, a position with bright but indirect sunlight is key - keep it away from windows to avoid sunburn. Keep up the moisture by misting leaves with water regularly, or click here for some other pointers on increasing humidity for your indoor plants - look out for leaves with crispy, brown edges as a dead giveaway that your plant is suffering from a lack of humidity.
Soil conditions, food and watering
Monsteras like regular watering as they're accustomed to in their rainforest homes, and don't like to dry out completely. With that said, they also hate wet feet. To keep yours happy, always choose a well-draining soil or mix, and water on an appropriate schedule, especially indoors. Watering once a week should be fine in cooler climates, and perhaps a little more often when it's warmer (you'll know your indoor monstera needs a drink if the first inch or two of soil is dry when you test it with your finger). Outdoors, it will appreciate a generous layer of mulch to keep moisture locked into the soil. In terms of fertiliser, monsteras love food but aren't particularly fussy. Applying an all-purpose granular formula a couple of times a year (check the package for instructions) will keep them happy. If you prefer soluble or liquid formulas, feed fortnightly through summer, while growth is at its peak, winding it back to once a month during autumn and spring.