Monstera as a houseplant- Supporting, Styling and Care: The Ultimate Guide
If you're looking to add a touch of greenery to your home, a Monstera plant is a great option. It has been one of the trendiest plants in the houseplant category, for a number of years now. You are sure to find a Monstera deliciosa or a Monstera Adansonii in any houseplant nursery or the plant section of any grocery store.
The Monstera Genus
The genus Monstera includes a wide variety of plant species, all of which are native to tropical regions of the Americas. The most well-known species is Monstera deliciosa, which is commonly known as the Swiss cheese plant due to the holes that develop in its leaves as it matures. Other members of the genus include Monstera adansonii, which is often grown as a houseplant, and Monstera obliqua, which is native to Mexico and Central America. All of these plants are characterized by their large leaves and distinctive leaf patterns. The genus Monstera also includes a number of climbing plants, such as Monstera epipremnoides, which is native to Ecuador. These plants are often used in landscaping in tropical areas due to their ability to quickly cover walls and other structures. In non-tropical areas, they make great houseplants. No matter what type of plant you are looking for, the genus Monstera is sure to have something that will suit your needs.
Monstera as a houseplant
Monstera are easy to care for and they can grow very well in pots. These plants not only add greenery to your indoor jungle, but it’s a great way to show off your green thumb. Compared to other plants, these add the luxury touch to your place – and it’s easier than you might think. Just one plant can totally bring that jungle vibe in your indoor garden.
Common types of Monstera popular as houseplants
Let's look at some commonly found Monstera species that make great houseplants.
Monstera, also known as split leaf philodendron, is one of the most popular types of Monsteras. It is known for its large, fenestrated leaves. In nature, it climbs up trees using its aerial roots. Plant's aerial roots appreciate support and they help in soaking up some extra moisture from the air to give beautiful leaves.
The Monstera adansonii, known for its beautiful heart-shaped leaves, can make an excellent addition to any home. These luscious plants are one of the more exotic indoor plants, with large oval-shaped perforations (which is why it's called the "swiss cheese plant"). They enjoy bright indirect sunlight but are otherwise easy to care for.
There are other less common varieties of Monstera that have some interesting left shapes and textures. You can also find more rarer Monstera with variegation. Variegated monstera are hard to come by and are slower growers compared to their green counterparts.
Monstera: A natural plant climber
Monstera likes to grow in nature as a climbing plant that loves to grow on trees. It attaches itself to plants using its aerial roots. In nature, you will see large fenestrated leaves maturing and growing even mature leaves while climbing tree trunks. A pole or a trellis is a great way to support your monstera. Monsteras are a vining plant, and they can get quite heavy as they grow.
Photo by Emilia Igartua on Unsplash
Should I let my Monstera plant climb indoors?
Yes, you should let your Monstera plant climb. They would love you for it. Monstera climber when made to grow upright can be a great statement piece in your living space. Supporting the thick stems on a moss pole will help the plant grow large leaves.
How do I get my Monstera to climb?
Potted monstera love to grow vertically just like in nature - so adding a support pole is the way to go. There are number of of ways to support the growth in the vertical direction and we will talk about a few below:
Moss totem pole is the most common way to support a growing Monstera plant. The best way to train Monstera to grow around the pole.
There are a number of versions of moss poles (also called as a moss stick) that can be used for these vining plants. Moss pole as the name suggests is a pole made out of sphagnum moss. We will touch upon a few kinds that you can use to promote vertical growth.
DIY Moss Pole
Using a moss pole is the easiest way to support climbing plants. All you need to do is install the moss pole in the pot, secure the plant stems with plant ties, and the new growth will attach itself to the moss pole.
Some common materials from the hardware store, and you can create your own.
Here is how to make a moss pole. To make a moss pole, you will need the following supplies:
- Support pole (PVC pipe (1”-2” diameter) or bamboo pole)
- Potting soil
- Sphagnum moss
- Wire mesh
- Wire cutters
- Cut the support pole to the desired length. If you get the pipe from a hardware store, theymight also be able to help get the pipe cut in the right length.
- Fill the bottom third of the PVC pipe or the bamboo pole with potting soil for stability.
- Cut Sphagnum moss into small pieces, moisten it in a large bowl, squeeze out the excess water.
- Lay out the mesh on the surface, add the moistened moss, place the PVC pipe or the bamboo pole and fill the around with moss.
- Tie the mesh in place to make a cylindrical pole. You also use zip ties, or fishing line to help keep the mesh in place.
Now you can add this pole to the new pot.
3D printed Moss Pole:
This is one of the recent additions to the moss pole family. There are a number of designs available to 3D print the outer shell of the moss pole on a 3D printer. The shells are often stackable and come in a number of different colors. Although these look much cleaner and sleeker and are easier to use, they are the less sustainable option as you are using plastic for these instead of just a wire mesh or bamboo pole.
Plastic sheet moss pole:
Conceptually this is similar to a 3D printed moss pole, but in this case you can buy a clear plastic sheet that can be assembled together to make a cylindrical moss pole.
As the major construction is plastic, it is not the most environmentally friendly choice.
New generation non-moss pole:
We covered a number of variations on the moss pole. Another variation that has become popular recently is use of other mediums other than sphagnum moss. Soil, leca, bark and aroid mixes are also used inside the pole. There are no obvious advantages of one over the other. From our own experience, soil or soil mixes are probably not the best choice as they tend to be much messier and harder to be contained inside the mesh of the pole.
Moss pole maintenance and additional tips:
Although moss poles are very popular, they are relatively high maintenance. Moss on the pole needs to be kept moist, otherwise the aerial roots will not attach to the pole. This can be done by pouring water over the sphagnum moss or spraying the pole with water.
Apart from moss poles, there are a number of other ways to support a growing plant. Here are some alternatives to the traditional pole.
Coco coir pole:
A coco coir pole is made from the outer husk of coconuts, and its tightly woven fibers make it strong and durable. It's also absorbent, so it will help to keep your plant moist. You can find coco coir poles at most garden stores, or you can order them online. To install the pole, simply push it into the potting mix until it's firmly in place. Then, carefully tie the plant to the pole with some soft twine or ribbon. As your plant grows, continue to tie it loosely to the pole, leaving enough room for the stems to grow. With a little care, your monstera will thrive and produce large and beautiful leaves for years to come
Wooden planks also mimic natural substrates, so they're more likely to encourage attachment to the wood than moss. The trick to getting your plant to attach is to have higher humidity. Ideally, at least 50%. If you’re able to keep humidity at 50% (whether in a cabinet, green house or plant room) those aerial roots will attach in no time. No worrying about moistening a moss pole—just set it and forget it. The biggest con, however, is rot and having to extend the plank. Cedar wood is always best—although it can be tricky to find sometimes. Once again, you could also look at our Zella Trellis. It’s made to be easily extendable and made from cedar which is less likely to rot as fast.
This is our preferred method because sometimes, you just need a basic wooden plank from the hardware store. If you want something fancier, you can consider our Zella Trellis.
A trellis is a frame typically made of wood or metal that is used to support climbing plants. Trellises can be freestanding or attached to a wall, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many outdoor gardeners use trellises to support vining plants such as grapes, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Others use them indoors to display climbing and vining houseplants like philodendrons, pothos, Hoya, or a monstera deliciosa. A monstera deliciosa trellis should be strong, at least 2 feet tall and have wide spaced bars to accommodate the plant's large leaves and thick stems. When choosing a location for your trellis, make sure that it receives bright sunlight and the pot has good drainage. Once your Monstera starts to grow, you will need to train it by wrapping the vines and aerial roots around the bars of the trellis. With a little care and patience, you will soon have a beautiful living structure becoming the focal point for your room.
Monstrella supporting a very healthy Adansonii. Picture by Melissa A.
If you’re looking for a way to add some life and color to your garden, consider investing in some of our beautiful plant supports. Our selection includes options that are both aesthetically pleasing and sustainable, so you can rest assured that you’re making a responsible choice for your garden. Be sure to check out our full range of products and find the perfect support system for your plants!