Holey Houseplants | Caring for the Monstera Deliciosa Plant

By Kelly Heath

Posted in House Plants

The Monstera Deliciosa has a few names, the most common is the “swiss cheese plant” and it is also know as the split-leaf philodendron. Monsteras Deliciosas are famous for their natural leaf holes, the technical term being leaf fenestration, and they are probably one of the most recognizable monstera plants. Read on for our best tips on how to care for your tropical Monstera houseplant.

Caring for Your Monstera


They are survivors who tend to be quite forgiving and are somewhat drought-tolerant, preferring to be kept moist but not wet. Test the soil by inserting a finger approximately 1" into the soil, if the soil feels nearly dry to the touch, water the plant. To encourage fenestration one of the most important factors is consistent and thorough watering so when you do water them be sure to thoroughly saturate the soil until water seeps out of the container's drainage holes. Make sure your plant is never in soggy soil, and allow it to slightly dry out between waterings. The plant uses more water in brighter areas, and on average should be watered every 1-2 weeks. If the leaves are yellowing it is often the result of overwatering.

Soil + Fertilization

Monstera prefer a fluffy soil mixture with great aeration and drainage that will ensure their roots are drying out in between watering.

When you first bring home your plant it will likely have a slow-release fertilizer in the soil so we recommend waiting approximately four to six months to begin fertilizing as over-fertilizing can do much more harm than good when it comes to houseplants. Providing your Monstera with a stake to grow on when it is young, and after the initial 4-6 months, fertilizing monthly with a product formulated for use on houseplants when it is actively growing in the spring and summer, will help to keep your plant happy. If the leaves begin to look light green or pale around the veins you can fertilize it more often but be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging to avoid damaging the plant and its roots. If their aerial roots grow long and outside of the soil, you can tuck them back into the soil and it will not harm them.

Care For Monstera Plant Information Gemmells Garden Centre Ottawa Blog


Monstera leaves will continue to stay whole or have only a few splits in them in lower light. To encourage more fenestration place the plant in bright, indirect light, ideally in a window that is south or east facing. Not only will it fenestrate more, but your Monstera will also grow faster and larger and be more dramatic. Being native to jungles they are used to being under the cover of large trees, so the foliage can burn easily if it's exposed to too much direct sun. With that in mind, a west-facing window could work but it will need to be protected from the direct, and harsh, afternoon sun. When grown in the house, if it must be in a west-facing window, or if direct sunlight is unavoidable, it can take some direct sun on its leaves but exposure should be limited to just two or three hours of morning sun.

Unsure about the amount of light in your space?

  • low light gives off just enough light to comfortably read without any additional lighting
  • medium light will cast a soft or light shadow
  • bright light will cast a strong shadow

Temperature + Humidity

Being that they are pretty easygoing plants, regular home temperatures and humidity should keep your plant happy and healthy. They will thrive in temperatures ranging from 18-29 degrees celsius with a humidity level that doesn’t drop below 30% but is ideally at 50%. Our Canadian homes tend to be quite dry in the winter so a warm well-lit bathroom is often a favourite place for Monsteras. You can also mist the plant to increase the humidity and be sure to keep it in a draft free area.


These tropical houseplants will add beauty and greenery to any home while also purifying the air. They are rather easy, and quite forgiving, to grow however it is important to note that these plants are toxic to pets so care and safety is required when growing them indoors. Keep Monsteras out of reach of pets and children.


How to Care for the Monstera Delicious Plant aka Swiss Cheese Plant | Gemmells Garden Centre | Ottawa Gardening Blog

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